Thursday, December 5, 2013

Malevolence Mirror

On November 27, 1978 Harvey Milk and George Moscone were murdered, vaulting Diane Feinstein from a Board Supervisor to the Mayor of San Francisco.  More than a political advance, the way that she handled the issues put her in the good graces of many – and allowed her to build a moderate reputation and the respect of many constituents.  She held that position for a decade, then after a narrowly lost Gubernatorial bid, was elected Senator for California and has been reelected four times.  In the 2012 election she claimed the record for the most popular votes in any U.S. Senate election in history, having received 7.75 million votes.  I voted for her in three of the four elections and even contributed to her campaigns.  At 80 she is the oldest currently serving Senator.  Despite her popularity and positions of power within the Washington establishment – her performance this past weekend shows that her time is up.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” this past Sunday, Candy Crowley  asking, “Are we safer now than we were a year ago, two years ago?”  
“I don’t think so,” Feinstein replied. “I think terror is up worldwide, the statistics indicate that. The fatalities are way up. The numbers are way up. There are new bombs, very big bombs. Trucks being reinforced for those bombs. There are bombs that go through magnetometers. The bomb maker is still alive. There are more groups than ever. And there is huge malevolence out there.”
“So, senator, I have to say, that is not the answer I expected. I expected to hear, ‘Oh, safer,” Crowley said.  So would I, especially given:
·         US Intelligence spending has doubled since 9/11 to more than $56 billion per year – according to The Guardian
·         Nearly 5 million people (1.6% of the population) of the US hold security clearances – according to The Atlantic
·         1.4 million people hold Top Secret clearances – according to The Atlantic
On the 12th Anniversary of the 9/11 bombings, TheWashington Post ran a comprehensive analysis pulling data from Government’s own published findings showing that the frequency and impact of terrorist attacks in the U.S. have dropped dramatically since 2001, to the point of being statistically negligible in the past several years.
“In the last five years, the odds of an American being killed in a terrorist attack have been about 1 in 20 million (that's including both domestic attacks and overseas attacks). As the chart above from the Economist shows, that's considerably smaller than the risk of dying from many other things, from post-surgery complications to ordinary gun violence to lightning.”
Senator Feinstein has been a staunch supporter of George W. Bush’s and President Obama’s policies.  As Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee she has endorsed the secret courts that do not allow those charged to know of their charges, be represented by counsel or have any of the other Constitutional protections we assume all defendants have.   This court also directed private companies to turn over consumer information without any warrant or probable cause.  Billions of dollars are spent on intelligence and are not transparently reported to the public. 
So despite the huge allocations of money, the statistical decline in attacks – the Senior Senator from California believes that the U.S. is in worse shape security wise than two years ago?  The easiest way to solve that is to eliminate the programs that she’s endorsed and supported and return America to the freedom it extols to others.  And that begins by looking at the malevolence she claims is there and look instead in the mirror.

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