Memory of the Camps

Alfred Hitchcock’s Memory of the Camps is on YouTube.

I’m about halfway through Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side.

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I thought this BBC piece on Altamont and fame culture was interesting: Altamont at 45: The most dangerous rock concert.

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Evil Post-Axis of Evil

The president [Obama] believed that bin Laden wasn’t just evil, he was charismatically evil.

–Mark Bowden, The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden, (New York, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2012), 61.

Yes. A man who kills 16-year-olds with missiles from drones determines that another man is evil.

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US Respect for Sovereignty

The White House was still considering an Air Force option, a massive air strike using B-2 Spirit bombers to level the house.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates supported the air strike because it kept American ground forces out of Pakistan, which made the mission less like an invasion of the country’s sovereignty.

–Matt Bissonnette, No Easy Day, (New York, Penguin, 2012), 171.

This refers to plans to kill Osama bin Laden in his home in Abottabad, Pakistan. No Easy Day and Scahill’s Dirty Wars detail a US entitled to kill anyone, anywhere, quite unlike the just America we were taught in junior high school civics.

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Senate Republicans Gain a Pig Castrater

Republican Joni Ernst – who boasted of her prowess at castrating pigs in a campaign advert – became the first woman elected statewide to represent Iowa and the first female combat veteran elected to the Senate.

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AFDI Poster on MUNI

Saw this on MUNI yesterday. I’ve been reading about right-wing radicals in Germany, but had no idea I’d see stuff like this in San Francisco.

AFDI poster

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I thought Citizenfour was quite powerful as a humanizing portrayal of Snowden. I didn’t learn anything new particularly about NSA programs, since I’ve been reading each story I come across, but the film quite effectively transported me into Snowden’s hotel room in Hong Kong and into conversations with Snowden, Greenwald, Poitras and MacAskill. Snowden comes off as a completely responsible, quite sincere, thoughtful young man. He very clearly and explicitly says that he does not want to be the story, and one believes him. Whereas Assange can impress people as narcissistic and Bradley/Chelsea Manning’s sexual confusion was only one of a number of facets which distracted from Cablegate, Snowden sounds like a young Ellsberg – very intelligent and well-spoken.

Poitras’s style was interesting, I thought. The camera a number of times holds for lengthy periods on fairly static shots of architecture, which served to impress the viewer with the monolithic, pervasive nature of the NSA’s networks. There’s a long disorienting shot out the window of a train at night or going through a tunnel, which draws you into the dark network Snowden’s revealing.

The film successfully touches on a number of different aspects of the surveillance state, bringing in the idea that when we talk about “privacy” we’re talking about security, about our constitutional right to freedom from unlawful search and seizure. I think this is a hard sell for too many viewers. I don’t fault the film here. I saw it with a friend who was a few minutes late because she was watching the Giants’ game. In discussing the movie afterwards she questioned just how important some of the issues raised were. Greenwald and others speak passionately about the dangers of the surveillance state, but my date pointed out that she can’t feel much fear that the NSA is going to be breaking down her door because of anything she’s said on the phone or in e-mail. My own experience is that friends and colleagues on the one hand self-censor, and don’t mention politics, drugs, Bittorrent use, etc. in e-mail or social media for fear of the all-knowing eye, or on the other hand seem oblivious to any danger – why worry about Google programmatically reading every single e-mail sent or received, if it means free e-mail and potentially more accurate search results when shopping?

Snowden at one point convincingly says he doesn’t think it is possible for anyone no matter how brilliant and educated to individually fight all the electronic surveillance systems in existence. We’re told of the multitude of methods of surveillance and repeatedly shown NSA officials blatantly lying to Congress about their existence. The lack of accountability for this last has been personally troubling to me – I remember Watergate and Iran-Contra – how is it that the heads of the NSA can with impunity flat out lie to Congress about spying on American citizens? What will viewers come away with when walking out of the theater after Citizenfour? I’m wondering how many will see it as a call to action, and how many as a well-executed depiction of Edward Snowden’s experience, which may not be seen as intersecting our own.

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5ifth Estate

Watched The 5ifth Estate yesterday on disc, and found it to be largely a character assassination of Assange. I enjoyed Daniel Brühl, liked seeing Berlin, and was glad to see a movie depicting the Collateral Murder incident, but overall found the piece largely a study of Assange’s narcissism and Berg’s doe-like altruism. Looking forward to Mediastan and We Steal Secrets.

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Booz Allen

I just received this invitation and am in something of a quandary: should I stay in San Francisco, or take a job with Booz Allen getting my hands dirty defending our nation with mission focused work in Fort Meade, MD? Decisions, decisions … Just how dirty might my hands get? One wonders.

October 13, 2014 10:06 AM

Hi Michael,

Do you like the technical side of things? If you are interested in low level development, come learn more about our Embedded Software development team supporting mission focused work in Fort Meade, MD. Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty with really interesting and challenging work that helps defend our nation. Enjoy this while you are supported by the stability of Booz Allen’s 100 year heritage, our competitive compensation package with benefits that emphasize training and work-life balance, and ample opportunities to grow your career. Desired skillsets include C/C++ application development, reverse engineering, low level programming, kernel/device driver programming, protocol analysis etc. A TS-SCI + polygraph is required; however, the firm is willing to process a clearance for qualified candidates that are willing to entertain a contingent upon clearance offer with a deferred start date.

If you are interested, please forward me a current copy of your resume to and let me know a good day and time for us to connect.

Please disregard this message if you are aware of any conflicts of interest (including non-solicitation agreements).


p.s. Suits NOT required. We care about your ideas not what you’re wearing.

Dawn Hines
Booz Allen Hamilton Recruiting Services Team

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Favorite Movies

Reading through on-line profiles of single women my age I’ve come across several women who list their favorite movie as Forrest Gump. I kid you not, Forrest Gump.

Getting towards the bottom of a margarita and looking forward to Citizen Four.

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