Top Ten Things Ted Cruz did to the NSA and other Security Agencies that Edward Snowden Couldn’t

Edward Snowden’s revelations about the excesses of the National Security Agency have so far had no effect whatsoever on actual practices. But Ted Cruz’s conspiracy to shut down the American government as a bargaining ploy in his quest to stop the working poor from being able to see a doctor has been much more effective in reducing NSA activity.

It won’t be remembered in Washington that the United States military is still at war in Afghanistan, but Gen Ray Odierno affirms that military capabilities are being degraded by the GOP-engineered loss of civilian support staff (he is implying and loss of special pay, danger pay and bonuses for troops in the field.) Since this is the deliberate act of Sen. Cruz and the Tea Party representatives in the GOP House, wouldn’t that be, like, treason?

1. Some 70% of NSA staff have been sent home as a result of the Republican Party shutdown of the Federal government. Despite its straying into US territory and its possible industrial espionage abroad, the NSA does actually track terrorists, and we would like it to do that well; that ability has doubtless been degraded by Cruz’s grandstanding.

2. Likewise 70% of the CIA has been sent home, at a time when al-Qaeda is reviving. Perhaps the Defense Intelligence Agency is in a bit better shape, since it has more military personnel, who are exempt from being furloughed.

3. 4000 computer specialists working for US intelligence have been furloughed.

4. Some 400,000 civilian support staff at the Department of Defense have been sent home without pay.

5. Among those sent home are the officials who sign arms contracts and buy weapons. You hope our troops in Afghanistan are well stocked; how exactly new weapons and ammunition can be bought and trucked up from Karachi to the Khyber Pass is not clear.

6. The 1.4 million active duty military personnel will likely see paychecks delayed, with negative effects on morale. David Small writes : “The Marine corporal deployed to Afghanistan, making $2,193.90 a month, is worried about his family back home. His kids rely on food stamps, but that program was cut during shutdown. He will try to maintain focus in a combat zone. But he will be distracted and uncertain.”

7. Likewise, military special pay and bonuses, re-up bonuses, rewards for accepting positions in which there are special needs have all been put on hold, along with promotions. Again, a severe impact on morale.

8. Soldiers may not be able to collect danger pay, affecting 60,000 troops in Afghanistan. Those sent to attend classes will not be able to collect tuition payments.

9. The State Department, whose cables were released by Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Wikileaks, has weathered a few embarrassing cables. But now it will face increasingly difficulties in doing its job of representing the US abroad. Embassies will stay open for a while since some funding is multi-year. But some sort of disruption is likely if the shutdown continues very long.

10. Some security has to do with biological threats; WJLA notes: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is be severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks such as the flu or that mysterious MERS virus from the Middle East.”

28 Responses

  1. This sounds like good news to me. Anything that shuts down NSA is eventually good for the world and the americans.

  2. Hi Juan,

    Thanks for your article. Again, you make many interesting points that should stimulate to many common sense conclusions.

    After Pearl Harbor, the US converted its industrial capacity into war production in one month.

    When the war was over, downsizing military organization and the production of military hardware should have been policy, but wasn’t. Fear of “international Communism” appeared.

    Peoples were tired of war. Europe was ruined; Sovjet Union had sacrificed 20 million people against Nazi Germany. Welfare reforms and programs were launched and welcome.

    Still today, Russian people depend heavily on their small allotment where they grow their vegetables. And on the Babushka, of course. The state is dysfunctional, but not minimal.

    Even in the 50s, there were moments of light. Adam Rapacki Polish Minister and diplomat, presented at the UN 1957 his plan for a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe (comprising Czechoslovakia, Poland, East and West Germany), known as the “Rapacki Plan”. Unfortunately, it was never realized. Like now, in the Middle East?

    Instead a dangerous nuclear armament race boosted the economy, but could have killed us all, and still can.

    When Sovjet Union finally collapsed 1989, NATO had no purpose, and should have been dismantled, but wasn’t.

    Instead a new “enemy” suddenly appears: the terrorists, (“jihadists”, or just unknown “Muslims”).

    Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski, CIA finanzied and organized jihadists in Afghanistan, (among them Usama bin Laden), and still today, heavily “aids” Saudi Arabia, undemocratic to the last head chopped off.

    And the neo-cons went further,(and the military still does) encircling China and Soviet Union, seeking further world dominance. The Earth is too small for CIA/NSA: next is outer space. Lebensraum enough?

    1970 I read A. Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”. A sourcebook of evil, rage, and hate. A few years later, I read “The Pentagon Papers,” (read them!). The two texts display the same norms, values, and weltanschauung, but in contrast to “Mein Kampf”, the “Pentagon Papers” were cold, technocratic, and bureaucratic. But they share the same outlook: Power is right!

    Unless the military-industrial-congress-white house-mercenary-NSA-terrorist complex is not dismantled – or the US simply collapses into regions (rather peacefully like the USSR) – the future for welfare, justice, work, peace, and environment looks bleak and grim.

    War and military are as American as pie. Why?

    When it should be the Quakers, MLK, the peace and civil rights movements, the cultural, and intellectual achievments.

    “A New American Century” will kill us all.

    Cheers, Björn Lindgren

  3. “…his quest to stop the working poor from being able to see a doctor”

    Maybe it’s just my part of the country, but Obamacare DOES not make it easier or less expensive for the working poor to see a doctor.

    • “Maybe it’s just my part of the country, but Obamacare DOES not make it easier or less expensive for the working poor to see a doctor.”

      Paul Craig Roberts considers Obamacare a disaster for all of the country. link to counterpunch.org Note in particular the link to his website for the article – Obamacare: A deception – link to paulcraigroberts.org

      When President-elect Obama and later President Obama began (unsuccessfully in some cases (Tom Daschle) and successfully in others) to stack his Obamacare development team with insurance industry insiders that was a signal to regard anything that was created with the greatest skepticism. According to a booklet from Consumer Reports there are some good things for some people in Obamacare, but the real beneficiaries and the insurance and related corporations. Another transfer of the government fisc to private businesses with education and social security next for the sacrificial altar.

    • It does if they have pre-existing conditions, as many of them have.

      And if the far right blackmails the government into repealing Constitutionally-upheld law, do you seriously think they will come up with an alternative? The whole point of the crusade for them is that they are better than the poor, and thus the poor should get sick and die like they deserve. Otherwise they would have an alternative plan.

      If this happens, there will never be another chance until whites become a minority of the electorate – but the emboldened Tea Party will simply keep shutting down the government to eliminate the EPA and all forms of consumer and safety protection, all remaining financial regulations, and finally, the very right of people different from their kind to vote in elections. America will become an apartheid state run by a dwindling minority and their guns.

      • Super, for what it’s worth, a family member has a pre-existing condition, a potentially fatal one if treatment is not continuous, and one that requires daily meds that are expensive only because the manufacturer makes a huge profit off un-negotiable pricing. She fortunately can still work, and has currently affordable employer-managed coverage. Her employer has just been bought by a HUGE national “health UNsurance” monster, that of course operates under the US Business Model of More Work And Less Pay For Fewer Benefits, so who knows how long that will last. But under the ACA, if she loses coverage for any of the possible reasons, she and others in her situation have to first apply for and then be denied coverage by an existing for-profit monstrosity, then GO WITHOUT MEDICAL COVERAGE ENTIRELY, and that includes COBRA “extensions,” for at least SIX MONTHS before even starting the process of getting the “benefit” of boughten “coverage” under the ACA. In my book, that ain’t making it easier or affordable for several million people to go see a doctor. (She did have COBRA “coverage” briefly not too long ago, for $640 a month, with a big deductible and co-pays and all that.)

        I, on the other hand, have both VA medical benefits, thanks to another kind of “pre-existing condition,” including NO-COST medications to the extent of the VA formulary, and am now enrolled in Medicare, that costs, with the AARP supplemental coverage, $177 a month (no meds, thanks to the Part D “deal”)– due to simple survival to a certain age.

        Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

        • You are talking as if the choice is between the ACA and a better system. I am telling you that the Tea Party demands returning to a failed system as a matter of their birthright as Americans. Read the gun magazine editorials. They are talking about a right to armed rebellion if the electorate dares to even express ideas like, the poor have a right to healthcare. So there are no better alternatives on the horizon if the government caves in to extra-legal blackmail. They will not be voted out of office for doing this because they have gerrymandered districts overrepresenting people who plan to do even worse things in the future.

  4. While these points ought to play well for most Republicans and establishment boosters I have to say that the military cuts should be expanded and the savings used to fund civilian programs such as, though certainly not limited to, reopening national parks. Ted Cruz, the most effective accidental peace activist ever.

    • “Ted Cruz, the most effective accidental peace activist ever.”

      The military-industrial-security complex and the neocon-saturated media will never allow that to happen. For many authoritarians in high places advocates for peace are the ones committing treason.

  5. Ted Cruz and the Tea Party wing-nuts have certainly done their share of damage to national security with the shutdown, and Edward Snowden has done his share with the egregious violation of his security clearance and the trust (mistakenly) placed in him. Together, they represent the worst that America places in positions affecting national security. That one is a miscreant does not mitigate the actions of the other.

    • “Edward Snowden has done his share with the egregious violation of his security clearance and the trust (mistakenly) placed in him.”

      In our increasingly Orwellian world that is a new definition for treason – alerting the people to the fact that the government is amassing incomprehensible amounts of data on all citizens and, in addition to robbing them of their right to privacy, making it possible for Big Brother to put them in their place.

      • I did not state that Snowden committed treason. In fact, he did not commit treason, as he did not convey the classified information he took without authorization to an enemy engaged in hostilities against the US. Nevertheless, he engaged in unauthorized theft of highly classified information, and in revealing its contents he has done harm to US security, particularly in the area of counter-terrorism.

        • Bill:

          I personally am a LOT safer after Snowden alerted the masses to some of what the government does to us.
          In fact, you are, too.
          But if I have to explain, you wouldn’t prob’ly understand anyway.

        • “I personally am a LOT safer after Snowden alerted the masses to some of what the government does to us.”

          No, Brian, you are not a lot safer. In fact, you are less safe since Snowden’s unauthorized theft of classified information was dumped into the public realm. Now that Snowden has alerted terrorists who would do us harm to classified methods of linking up their phone conversations, they can take counter-measures. As a result, Snowden has made our counter-terrorism efforts more difficult and the rest of us less safe.

    • “National Security” is one of those phrases like “National Interest.” And maybe “National Velvet.” Bill knows what they mean, but it’s apparently a state secret not to be shared except by “traitors” like Snowden, or to be damaged by maybe more closer to that mark, people like Novak and Pollard and the people who are driving the Bus of State over the prostrate bodies of the Undeserving Poor…

      So much of “National Security,” when a little light and air gets to it, turns out to be fraud and Folly and cigars laced with enzymes to make Castro’s beard fall out. All so terribly Serious, and of course infinitely Expensive. Strong medicine, with the excuse that it was all necessary to save the patient, even if it killed her…

  6. Cruz gets no credit as he immediately urge his colleagues to restore funding to the defense and intelligence apparatus.

    • Right about Cruz. He’s trying to subtly win over the marginally anti-imperial Rand Paul people. Paul should point out Cruz has never repudiated the Iraq War, even if he believes he must cooperate with him on certain issues.

      • I think you don’t understand where the Pauls are coming from:

        link to talk2action.org

        link to talk2action.org

        link to talk2action.org

        link to talk2action.org

        Far-right Catholics are all the rage in America now, even as they’ve lost their hero in Rome. The Fatima Center has many views in common with Ron Paul, but it has many views in common with anti-Semites – hatred of the UN, an obsession with Jews and Masons as being to blame for all of capitalism’s ills rather than the pathology of inequality itself, etc.

        Does Ted Cruz have a problem with any of this?

  7. “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

    Sounds like a plan!

  8. Wow, I guess the peace movement really wants the 19th Century back more than it wants the poor getting health insurance. Maybe that’s why so little has been done to advocate transferring military spending to social spending, a simple distinction from the Tea Party agenda that most of you can’t be bothered to make.

    When the poor and minorities have to fight another Civil War in this country because the neo-Confederates tried to destroy it and you stood aside, you all won’t have saved many lives after all. Syria X 1000.

    • I doubt your analysis.
      Fat, dumb and self-medicated Americans rising up in revolt ?
      On TV, maybe.

      • You mean the TV full of violent dark-skinned youths used to justify the Tea Party slogans of “taking back our country”?

        Maybe you underestimate the sheer volume of the cruelty that is planned by, dreamed of, promised to the Real Americans.

  9. the fear and ignorance of Conservatives are what give the Tea Party and Republicans such power in this hostage taking we are part of now.

    Cruz and the Tea Party idolators are perfect examples of evil and stupidity.
    Good to hear something good coming from the bigoted hatemongers.

    we already pay for the poor to go to ERs, those who have jobs pay. the poor don’t have money to pay, so the rest of us do. what is needed is Single Payer/Medicare for All. otherwise we will bankrupt the country.
    and cut the Military. about 1billion every single year to fight the “enemy” that is otherwise known as Fear, Ignorance and Corporate Military Congressional Complex

  10. “the fear and ignorance of Conservatives are what give the Tea Party and Republicans such power in this hostage taking we are part of now.”

    As a student of World Wars One and Two I find the attitudes and their attendant bullying to close to the Nazis’ tactics in Germany in the early 1930s. The Tea Partiers and their ilk may not engage in the same physical violence, but their arrogance, abuse of power, and determination to impose their minority views on the majority of the people are too similar to be ignored.

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