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How Chris Christie Could Use the NSA Playbook 266

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Conor Friedersdorf has written a tongue-in-cheek article in The Atlantic advising New Jersey Governor Chris Christie how he can use the NSA playbook to successfully defend himself of the charges that a senior member of his staff was involved in shutting down George Washington Bridge traffic, a stunt meant to punish the mayor of an affected town for opposing his reelection. Christie's NSA-inspired explanation would include the following points: There are almost 9 million people in New Jersey, and only one was targeted for retribution, an impressively tiny error rate lower than .001 percent; The bridge closure was vital to national security because [redacted]; Since the George Washington Bridge is a potential terrorist target, everything that may or may not have happened near it is a state secret; Going after a political rival is wrong but it's important to put this event in context; Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich was the only target of non-compliant behavior. No other Fort Lee resident was ever targeted for retribution, and any delays that any Fort Lee resident experienced were totally inadvertent and incidental; Finally a panel will be formed to figure out how to restore the public's faith in Chris Christie. "To some readers, these talking points may seem absurd or deliberately misleading," concludes Friedersdorf, "but there isn't any denying that so far they're working okay for the NSA.""
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How Chris Christie Could Use the NSA Playbook

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  • beacon of freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @09:33AM (#45925787)
    it is really telling that the public official closed the bridge illegally and nobody is sitting in jail for this.
  • Random satire (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @09:47AM (#45925835)

    I'm struggling to understand how this qualifies as "News For Nerds" or "Stuff That Matters".

  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:04AM (#45925883)

    Too late for all that. Christie allready apologized at length and fired the staffer involved. I don't get it anyway. How was closing lanes to a bridge going to hurt the mayor of Fort Lee? It inconvenienced a lot of the people in the area but they overwhelmingly voted for Christie anyway. The whole thing sounds idiotic. Is he hiring 7th graders for his staff or something? I would have broken his legs or something if I was angry with him. A traffic jam? Really?

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:04AM (#45925885) Journal
    I look forward to the posting of mainstream stories on the green line site (my son's colloquialism).

    Often they arrive after being picked apart by the news media, but there are still moments of insight in this forum that I can't find anywhere else.

    All that,AND they talk about computers here.

  • how did those emails and texts get to the media?

    i'm not saying the NSA did it. but how easy would it have been for it to do so?

    i'm not even saying the NSA would be pursing this as policy. the NSA is not an iron machine, it's composed of people. there's greed and corruption everywhere. for every virtuous edward snowden, there's another guy like edward snowden who knows a political operative and would do what snowden did, but for the motivation of cash instead. sell this kind of info for six or seven figures

    that's how dangerous the NSA is to democracy. infiltrate the NSA, abuse its powers as an employee, destroy the legitimacy of our government with the leaks and manipulations you are now capable of

    we live in a world where the NSA can decide presidential elections, or any elections. right now. everyone has dirt on them. focus on the candidates you want to weed out, get dirt like this bridge fiasco on them, leak it to the media, and voila: you decide elections

    this is why the NSA has to be curtailed. it is incompatible with democracy. the NSA will destroy this country, make everyone believe their government is fake

    the NSA must be made transparent, congressional oversight bolted on, its scope of powers severely reduced, etc. secret courts? what the fuck? no! not acceptable

  • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:24AM (#45925983)

    It is really telling that your entire list refers to a certain Democratic president, and mixes in things that (in your opinion) are bad policy. There are plenty of legitimate complaints about corruption in government, and then there are partisan shills. By acting as the latter, you demonstrate that you have no real concern about the former.

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:33AM (#45926011)

    By labeling that poster a "shill" you are obviously attempting to delegitimize the criticism over policy matters. Should we likewise label you a "shill" acting in defense of the administration or its policies? Apparently nobody here can hold an opinion without being a "shill." That does get to be tedious.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:42AM (#45926049)

    Or maybe the president for the past couple of years has been a fucking democrat and recent examples are the first ones that came to mind?

  • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:43AM (#45926055)

    Is he hiring 7th graders for his staff or something?

    Take that back! I have a son in the 7th grade, and I assure you that most 7th graders are more mature than politicians.

    I would have broken his legs or something

    So you do understand NJ.

  • by Proudrooster ( 580120 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:46AM (#45926059) Homepage

    So by looking a Chris Christie's friends what can we determine from him? All of his friends seem to be petty, vindictive, bullies. Then when things go bad, it is every man for themselves which shows a lack of loyalty since everyone except Christie has had to resign. It won't be long until one of his friends turns on him, but then it will be an all out character assassination against that old friend.

    This little stunt happened on the first day of school, messing with kids and communities on a stressful first day, the people of NY & NJ, interstate commerce, and possible security and emergency services.

    Some of the friends are going to need a timeout, where big people go for timeout. A little jail time.

  • by DiamondGeezer ( 872237 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:49AM (#45926067) Homepage

    I think its telling that Chris Christie didn't attempt any of that BS when he apologized.

  • by Capt.Albatross ( 1301561 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @10:51AM (#45926087)

    This should be posted on a political forum. Maybe slashdot could create a second site for stories like this.

    I think you have misunderstood the target of the referenced article. It is not actually about New Jersey politics, it is about the weakness of the NSA's justifications for its recently-revealed actions. Those actions seem to have attracted a lot of interest on slashdot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @11:00AM (#45926123)

    When Rupert Murdoch and couple of other billionaires started their own network in the 1980s and Fox News in the 1990s, they intentionally wanted the network to be on the right side of the political spectrum because they felt that part of the US market was being under served by other news outlets. After all, Regan was big then, the DEmocrats still had a strangle hold on Congress and the Conservatives had non outlet that catered to them.

    Flash forward 25 years and the country as a whole has moved more to the right. So, hows does Fox News differentiate itself now?

    By being so wacky right wing that they have become a parody of themselves. Colbert is making a real nice living by just accentuating some of the rhetoric - not adding too much to it, BTW.

    That's how ridiculous they have become.

    When I see commentators and anchors talk out of their ass; like blaming the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 on the financial meltdown; which it turns out it had nothing - zero - contribution to the financial meltdown.

    Fox News narrative is now scaring old white people. My doctors office has it on (all those old white people live it) and the BS that comes out of those people's mouths makes me wonder how these people can keep a straight face - actually I can - they millions of dollars a year to read the BS the Fox writers come up with.

    Also, notice how all the "anchors" are pretty MILFs with short skirts and hooker/stripper heels?

    All of the women on Fox News look like strippers.

    Infotainment, baby! with shitty half truths and lies.

    And parroting what they see on that shitty lying network. I've actually talked to people who were convinced that we the US will become just like Greece and they put their life savings into Gold - when it was pushing $2,000 an ounce (it since has fallen 40%). Guess where they got that idea from?

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @11:09AM (#45926159)

    It is really telling that your entire list refers to a certain Democratic president, and mixes in things that (in your opinion) are bad policy.

    If you're going to criticize the President that is actually in power you are stuck criticizing Obama at the moment. Don't you think it is fair to criticize him for the policies and actions of his administration?

    You call him a "shill," and yet you are attacking the commenter for criticizing the only president in power he can comment on, not the comments. What does that make you?

    Can we store your comment until after the next election and flip "Democrat" to "Republican" to use on you? It will probably be just as applicable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @11:10AM (#45926165)

    I agree with the OP comments, but I like to read rebuttals.

    I read the one about fast and furious that you said was completely made up (Over 200 dead Mexicans disagree), so I followed you link, even though it was Huff Post. I figured the Huff Post would have a link to where the information that it was fake would be. It didn't even MENTION Fast and Furious.

    Were you just posting random links hoping people wouldn't follow them? It talked about the IRS scadal, and I've read the DNC talking points on that and they are all lies. No right wing group got tax exempt status for over 2 year, a process that is not to take longer than 90 days. Because of that many donors could not donate until they got the status. I've yet to find a source to debunk that bit of fact.

    So I stopped following your talking points because they appear to be just made up with random links.

  • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @11:15AM (#45926185)

    Your point for 4 is no better than what was originally stated. It's still very bad monetary policy.

    And for 5 you're the one spreading bullshit. The republicans have been unable to pass anything to actually get in the way of Obamacare. Sure republican governors have opted out of building exchanges but the law gave then that choice. What the law didn't do was allow insurance to be sold across state lines, which would have only required a federal exchange. It was a colossal miss by the law. Oh and the gp post is correct Obama's constant executive changing of the law is sure as hell completely illegal.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @11:16AM (#45926189)
    You are correct that he should not have brought the Fed's stimulus into this discussion and probably not Solyndra or PPACA (at least not the way in which he did). However, the point to note is that the media have already spent more time covering the bridge closing than it has the IRS targeting Obama political opponents (both in slow walking applications for non-profit status and starting audits against those who have spoken out about problems with PPACA), or on the Fast & Furious gun running by the BATF to Mexican drug cartels.
  • by readin ( 838620 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @11:36AM (#45926283)
    So you use a bunch of left-wing websites to "debunk" the news?

    I don't have time to go into everything, and in fact most of the list doesn't interest me that much.

    But the IRS scandal wasn't hatched a couple days before the national press finally noticed. The IRS behavior was being noticed and complained about for many many months before it became widespread knowledge. You probably heard about the IRS being used as a political weapon in spring of 2013.

    From July of 2012, "Even worse, the IRS has responded to dozens of tax-exemption applications by tea-party groups with astonishingly intrusive document demands, seeking not only donor lists but also lists of volunteers." []

    Mr. French is referring to a DailyCaller article from February 2012, []

    Yes it's true that these are all conservative websites, but who else was going to cover news at that time that was negative to President Obama and wasn't already high profile?

    Anyway, here is a non-conservative site debunking your debunking []
  • by readin ( 838620 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @11:44AM (#45926327)

    It is really telling that your entire list refers to a certain Democratic president, and mixes in things that (in your opinion) are bad policy.

    You're right. Maybe we should do something about that guy.

    But we won't. When Nixon did similar stuff, the Republican senators went to him and told him it was time to go. He resigned in disgrace. The Republican senators and representatives were punished mercilessly for it and lost many seats in Congress. The Democrats have learned the lesson well - in this age of widespread ignorance their political fortunes depend more on the popularity of their president or presidential candidate than it does on their individual actions. The demonstrated in with Clinton that they will defend their guy no matter what (even when he lies under oath - that used to be a big deal). They certainly won't go after Obama.

  • Not "working well" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jodido ( 1052890 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @12:11PM (#45926441)
    The NSA's "defense" is not "working well." Except maybe with Democrats and Republicans who wish Snowden never existed. For a lot of the rest of the population NSA excuses are making things worse for them, not better.
  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @12:22PM (#45926505)

    It is really telling that your entire list refers to a certain Democratic president

    Abuse of power has been far worse under this president than under previous presidents. And that certain Democratic president happens to be our current president.

    and mixes in things that (in your opinion) are bad policy

    All of the things he lists are actual abuses of power, not mere policy disagreements.

    and then there are partisan shills

    "Shill" implies a clandestine attempt to influence discussions; there is nothing clandestine about his (or mine) views. And while I can't speak for felrom, I'm not partisan: I disliked Bush with the same fervor as I disliked Obama, but since Bush is thankfully gone, there is no need to criticize him anymore.

  • by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @12:27PM (#45926535)

    I think you're mixing politics with ethics.

    Does anything you brought up matter to the overall point that government is in the habit of breaking it's own laws?

    Fast and Furious lost "strength" as a scandal because gun walking was revealed to be a "standard" technique implemented at a local level. There's questionable legal and moral basis for this, regardless of whose fault it is politically. There's a big difference between something seen as a "fake scandal" and something which "didn't happen." Gun walking does happen and it shouldn't.

    It was still wrong for the IRS to delay applications the way they did; the IRS still insisted on information they weren't entitled to. The IRS did share information with people outside government that they shouldn't have. It's not ok that these things happened just because it hurt people evenly across the political spectrum.

    It's not ok for any president to ignore implementing a law. Does the fact that Bush's administration ignored environmental law make it ok that Obama's administration ignores the health care law? This doesn't make any sense. Can the next administration pick a new set of laws to ignore? It's silly. We don't want a system where that kind of behavior is ok.

    Your arguments are part of the problem here. (PART, not the whole problem, calm down...) We have to stop looking at things in terms of who is winning and losing politically. The root problem in our country is a pattern of poor governance. Regardless of who is in power, we need to expect and receive competent and ethical government. We are not getting that. (And the point of this discussion is that Christie is part of the problem, not the solution.)

    There were many moderate Republicans and Independent voters who recognized after Bush that the Republican party had "lost" the ability to effectively govern (I was one of them). There will be many moderate Democrats and Independents who now come to the same conclusion about the Democratic party. As you point out, government is more than just the person at the top, it's the infrastructure, culture and people installed in the hundreds of administrative positions under the president. Now though, we have few (no?) credible alternatives to turn to...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @01:36PM (#45926859)

    Can we store your comment until after the next election and flip "Democrat" to "Republican" to use on you?

    I suppose this is a rhetorical question, and my answer is irrelevant, but still, I suggest you do not.

    The left/right paradigm makes all proper debate useless, and makes people entrenched in one of two positions, forever allowing such things like this to happen in the first place. Like the goats in Animal Farm, people who do these things kill all discussion.

    Therefore, it was wrong to bring up the left/right paradigm when this guy did it, and it will be wrong to do it when the other group of puppets are in position as well.

  • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @02:32PM (#45927145)
    Government programs are usually, not always, more efficient than private counterparts. Medicare, for example, operates at an 8% overhead, while insurance companies were complaining that the 15% overhead that the Affordable Care Act allows them was untenable. The advantage that private industry has is in innovation, not efficiency.

    It's the government's job to promote the economy and maintain public resources. In this case that meant pushing clean energy, both as a long-term economic goal and as a means of environmental conservation. There are many ways that the government can work towards objectives like this one, one way is to give money to private organizations and another is to simply go ahead and do it. You're asking me why I have the preference that I do: one factor is that giving public money to private companies is one avenue, the most traveled avenue, for corruption. So this always makes me pause. Even when everything is above board, this isn't taking advantage of the system that we've set up for ourselves - the market and private companies are there as a source of innovation. Innovation can sometimes lead to efficiency, and that's great and all, but when you're looking to just get something done as smoothly as possible you're not looking for new methods and creative ways of thinking about the problem. If we're looking to flood the country with solar panels then we can do it ourselves, there's no need to go through some roundabout public/private process.
  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @03:00PM (#45927287)

    Medicare, for example, operates at an 8% overhead, while insurance companies were complaining that the 15% overhead that the Affordable Care Act allows them was untenable.

    And Medicare doesn't do proper checks for fraud. Keep in mind that a lot of the insurer overhead is put in place by the same government which doesn't put that same burden on Medicare. Going back to the solar power example, the US government would probably "streamline" its manufacturing by waiving itself from the more burdensome EPA and OSHA regulation, just like it did in the past with nuclear power.

    If we're looking to flood the country with solar panels then we can do it ourselves, there's no need to go through some roundabout public/private process.

    Protip: we're not looking to flood the country with solar panels. This is a great example of why governments can be so inefficient. You are arguing that the federal government can very efficiently do a colossally wasteful action. But suppose we don't want to do that?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @05:37PM (#45928223)

    Medicare's policy is indeed pay first, check second.

    This is due to lobbying by private providers who don't want Medicare being dilatory, to the point of not wanting Medicare to do any diligence.

    Why do you attribute this failure to government, and not to the persons who lobbied for it?

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern