Re: Obama’s NSA Speech—Ralph Lopez Is Right. So Was James Otis. So Why Aren’t More Liberals, Progressives And Democrats…Wait, Didn’t I Just Write This?

James-Otis-Quotes-1A political writer from the alternative media wrote a clear, well-researched, pretty much irrefutable 0p-ed for the Digital Journal , crystallizing an issue that should have been obvious all along. The NSA’s incursions on the privacy of U.S. citizens are a bright line violation of the Fourth Amendment, one of the bulwarks of American individual rights. Yesterday, President Obama rationalized and embraced those unconstitutional acts and policies. The writer, Ralph Lopez, is angry and outraged. Why isn’t everybody?

In particular, why isn’t the very same group that compared the less obtrusive Patriot Act measures imposed by the Bush administration to “1984” and fascist regimes screaming bloody murder? That group would be, in case you’ve forgotten, liberals, progressives and Democrats. The technical terms for this are “hypocrisy,” “absence of integrity,” “dishonesty,” “blind loyalty,” “misplaced priorities,” and “foolish.” The technical term for the consistent Republicans who support the NSA’s over-reach is “wrong.”

Unfortunately, Lopez’s piece is burdened by a ridiculous title (“Should Obama be tried for treason after his NSA speech on Friday?,” indicating that either Lopez or his headline writer has been infected by the signature delusion of this President and his enablers—that giving a speech is the same as doing something), but its main points are as solid as granite:

  • “The language of the amendment, which embodies the sentiment in Patriot speeches of the American Revolution that “a man’s house is his castle,” is beautifully crystalline in clarity as all the Founding Fathers’ declarations were. The Fourth Amendment guarantees:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

“In modern times, electronic communications such as emails and telephone calls have been held to be an extension of a person’s “papers and effects,” from a time when the only non-verbal communication was written letters, i.e. “papers.” This means, quite simply, that all private communications of private citizens are none of the government’s damned business, unless it can show “probable cause” that they involve a crime, and the government can prove it to a judge. In the real world judges already tend to give wide latitude to police and prosecutors who are convinced they have “probable cause,” a fairly low standard which might consist of a mere hunch based on the most circumstantial of evidence, like a man rooting around in a dumpster where, the day before, the cops found a cache of drugs.” 

In his speech yesterday, the President said, …in an extraordinarily difficult job, one in which actions are second-guessed, success is unreported and failure can be catastrophic, the men and women of the intelligence community, including the NSA, consistently follow protocols designed to protect the privacy of ordinary people. They’re not abusing authorities in order to listen to your private phone calls or read your emails.”

Really? They are collecting private data that can allow them to do that when and if they choose, and that is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The point has been made, in the New York Times and elsewhere, that Obama did not “endorse leaving bulk data in the custody of telecommunications firms, nor will he require court permission for all so-called national security letters seeking business records.” Lopez properly notes,

  • “Endorse?” It is not up to the president to “endorse” anything in the Constitution. He is sworn by oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” since it was here before him….It is instructive that the oath of office required by the Constitution, before assuming office, makes no mention of defending the nation’s borders, territories, or even people. The president is sworn to defend one thing and one thing only: ” the Constitution of the United States.”

Well said. The President pointedly avoided condemning the use of so-called “national security letters,” which can require companies to provide specific and limited information to the government without disclosing the orders to the subject of the investigation, saying,

“Now, these are cases in which it’s important that the subject of the investigation, such as a possible terrorist or spy, isn’t tipped off. But we can and should be more transparent in how government uses this authority.I’ve therefore directed the attorney general to amend how we use national security letters so that this secrecy will not be indefinite, so that it will terminate within a fixed time unless the government demonstrates a real need for further secrecy. We will also enable communications providers to make public more information than ever before about the orders that they have received to provide data to the government.”

To which proposition Lopez responds,

  • “The feds maintain that sweeping up bulk data held by telecommunications firms, such as phone records, emails, and and browsing histories, does not violate the Fourth Amendment, because a “search” is not a “search” until they look at them. That is like saying, we will take every receipt, hospital record, prescription, and and old love letter in your big bottom drawer, but we promise not to look at them”….It is not up to Obama to decide he requires court permission. It is the Constitution he is sworn to uphold which requires it.”

He goes on…

  • “The truth is, Obama cannot declare any part of the Constitution null and void. In fact, any law which flies in the face of the Constitution, that is, not just questionable but repugnant, is already null and void. One of the earliest major US Supreme Court decisions, Marbury v. Madison, held that any law passed by Congress which was “repugnant” to the Constitution was “void.” Chief Justice Marshall wrote: “a law repugnant to the constitution is void, and…courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.”

Obama’s speech yesterday was, if nothing else, a strong vindication for the motives of Edward Snowden, if not his pursuit of them. There is nothing in the speech that any genuine and knowledgeable supporter of the Bill of Rights should find re-assuring. The President calls for “a national dialogue” on a topic that is beyond dialogue, the basic rights guaranteed to citizens under the Constitution. He, incredibly, talks about advisory panels and independent inquiries, when he has pointedly ignored the recommendations and conclusions of past panels, notably the Simpson-Bowles commission on debt reduction. He promises vague reviews and new standards, but the entire speech boils down to a plea to trust a President, who has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he is unworthy of trust, to oversee a Federal agency when he has repeatedly shown—the I.R.S., Obamacare, the Justice Department, the Secret Service, the NSA—that he is incapable of oversight. I’m doing all of these things, he says, and you can trust me that it will fix everything…even though I have shown no indication in five years that I  1) respect the Constitution and 2) am capable of protecting the citizens of the nation from agencies under my supervision from violating their rights.

Is that overly harsh? Tell me why. The President is currently before the Supreme Court for lawless recess appointments he made when the Senate wasn’t in recess. He is amending—as in “violating” and “refusing to enforce”—politically inconvenient provisions of his signature health care law that his supporters in the House, Senate and news media kept lecturing Republicans were “settled law.”

Lopez writes,

  • “As sentiment for the American Revolution grew, one man, James Otis of Massachusetts, railed against one of the most hated of the kings prerogatives: the British General Warrant. The “warrant” was essentially a blank check for the king’s agents to search through homes, belongings, letters and personal effects of any subject, at any time, for no reason. Otis thundered from his seat in the Massachusetts State House that such law made men the “servants of servants.” “What is this but to have the curse of Canaan with a witness on us: to be the servants of servants, the most despicable of God’s creation?”  The discontent which led to the American Revolution was many years in the making. But in 1761 Otis gave a particularly fiery speech in which he pronounced “a man’s house is his castle.” John Adams, who observed the speech, later wrote: “the child independence was then and there born.”

As I was walking through Houston’s Bush airport yesterday, I heard one again the recorded announcement stating that “inappropriate jokes” could lead to my arrest. Inappropriate jokes! The authors of the Bill of Rights would be horrified to know that such a statement would be routine in a public place in 2014, and even more so that travelers would shrug it off—a basic admission that in this setting, at least, the Federal Government does not acknowledge the existence of the First Amendment. The Founders would presumably be equally horrified, as Lopez points out, that a President elected in part on his promise to restore respect for the Bill of Rights—remember closing Guantanamo?— is now blithely attempting to reassure Americans as the government whittles away the right not to have one’s property searched without a warrant.

No, Obama’s speech isn’t an impeachable offense. But it is evidence of one of the most cynical betrayals of liberal principles by a Democratic President since, well let’s see, FDR, Wilson, and Jackson. All of which should prove to liberals that if you watch your enemies to the exclusion of all else, your supposed friends will stab you in the back. But I guess getting stabbed by a someone who says things that warm your heart doesn’t hurt as much. Right?

Is that it?

_____________________

Source: Washington PostDigital Journal

Graphic: Rugu

60 thoughts on “Re: Obama’s NSA Speech—Ralph Lopez Is Right. So Was James Otis. So Why Aren’t More Liberals, Progressives And Democrats…Wait, Didn’t I Just Write This?

      • That was actually an example of colonial perfidy, according to Robert Graves’s research. They were using snowballs as a cover to get close enough to sentries to throw rocks wrapped in snow at them.

          • No, you hear no such tears; that is pure imagination on your part. Don’t let it obscure the facts for you – stubborn things that they are.

            What you should see is disgust at misbehaviour, misbehaviour that was actually brought out and established at a trial by people who had an interest in the cause of those who had misbehaved. That should show you that the facts support my description.

            • Strawman, I’ve made no argument opposing such a claim.

              Try again.

              My advice is that you drop your standard operating procedure that consists of swooping in on generalized comments and reading what you want out of them and then arguing against something that was never asserted. Especially if the comment you pounce on was blatantly tongue in cheek. These things get messy when you read what you want.

              • What straw man, and what generality? Just there, you asked if you heard an emotional reaction to loss. Just there, I told you what I was really trying to show. When I deny what you speculated about me, that is all I am doing right there (though it does anger me to be treated so dismissively, as though the facts of the matter weren’t what was important, but only my emotional position was).

                When I tell you what I am really annoyed about, that should give you a basis to engage with my position, if you choose. But coming back swinging at me is no way to engage with the matters I raised – even if you happened to be right about me. Perhaps even particularly then, because that pattern of thinking guarantees you will never listen to people who have a personal involvement (and, oddly enough, people are inferring my personal position from what I present, as though nobody could ever be guided toward or away from a position by stubborn facts).

                • The facts of the matter are spiffy.

                  You joined this discussion by responding to a tongue in cheek comment as if something counterfactual had been claimed (nothing of the sort occurred). Expect your follow on arguments to be wrung through the washer and dismantled in detail.

          • Leaving aside the irrelevance and incorrectness of the “oppressive government” part (it was years before even the rebels stopped acknowledging its legitimacy), you either missed the “perfidy” part or have internalised its values yourself. Disguising yourself as a harmless snowball thrower in order to cause actual bodily harm is as much perfidy as Germans disguising themselves as Americans during the Battle of the Bulge, or insurgents concealing themselves among innocent bystanders.

            • I think the fact that the snowball throwers were an actual threat was pretty well established at the trial. And I speak as one from the chilly north—nobody thinks snowballs are “harmless” except those who have never caught a frozen Spy Pond Special right in the face. They break noses, teeth, cause black eyes. .

              • Jack, he’s just revealing his emotions regarding the loss of the colonial bumpkins who no longer kowtow to an overly subsidized tourist attraction with excessive Yes-mum’s and God-save-the-queen’s or whatever.

                • Eh? Give over. I just get very irritated when people substitute an analysis of my motivations – whether accurate or not – for the actual matters I raise. I personally find it offensive, since it guarantees that the issues never will be addressed. Even if I stipulated everything you claimed about me (which self respect forbids), you would still make it all about me – essentially an ad hominem – and you would continue to sideline the very things that were actually established at trial by people who considered that facts were stubborn things. For you, facts are no more than psychological background.

                  • No, you see, I haven’t denied the unruly behavior of the crowd, nor did my general comment that led to your kneejerk response that zeroed in to the very specific rebuttal of what YOU read into my comment.

                    That’s a clear indicator that emotion guided the response.

                    • When I tell you that you are distracting from the issue, that is not an accusation that you are denying something, it is a description of rhetorical tactics that are not swayed by the actual issue.

                    • I think you are getting confused here.

                      You and I are having 2 arguments.

                      1) about your error of conflation of “considering a government oppressive” and “not acknowledging its legitimacy”. You erroneously conflated the two to rebut ablative’s response to your first comment. I demonstrated the error and showed that “oppressive was relevant”. You called this a distraction. It wasn’t.

                      2) your knee jerk response to the dual tongue in cheek comments made at the start of this.

                      I think you mean this comment to be in regards to argument 1 not argument 2

            • Subtle shifts in terminology won’t save you here. A government can be oppressive to the people long before it loses acknowledgment of any legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

              In a letter endorsed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives, dated February 11, 1768 (2 years prior to the Massacre), language was used clearly implying Massachusetts felt oppressed by the Townsend Acts.

              Certainly a government will lose its actual legitimacy long before the people show outward acknowledgement of such and attempt the rectify the situation using their most original right of self-defense, as beautifully penned in this cool sentence: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

              Your quibble falters and collapses since you rest upon its shaky shoulders your argument centered on shifting terminology.

              • Who’s quibbling? I said, leaving that aside – because it was irrelevant, as well as incorrect as at that date, even according to contemporary opinion. Then I addressed the substantive matter, whether it was a perfidious and dangerous attack. Isn’t your response, arguing instead about whether there was a separate oppression, a complete distraction from the issue, and isn’t that what a quibble is?

                  • Did you pick up on the “perfidy” part?

                    The wickedness of perfidy lies in the use of deceit and abuse of good faith, not in the harm done. That is why the German soldiers who acted perfidiously during the Battle of the Bulge could have been court martialled and shot rather than being treated as P.O.W.s.

                    Now, it is open to people to argue that the (non) snowball throwers were not perfidious after all. It is not open to them to argue that I am merely angry because they attacked British soldiers; I am angry because of the abuse of truth involved, a sort of philosophical view of how we ought to work with the world. It’s almost Zoroastrian, if you want to look into that.

                • No, see, now you are denying the clear demonstration that you conflated two different things in attempt to rebut ablative’s comment. You are now doubling down on it and diverting into an argument on debate terminology… almost worse than another person who used to frequent here.

                  It was quite relevant because the government WAS oppressive at that time, regardless of if the colonists openly denied or aggressively contested its legitimacy.

                  I showed you how relevant the descriptor “oppressive” was, rendering he remains of your argument moot.

                  • Let’s pretend you are right, just to see where that takes us. Are you seriously suggesting that perfidy is justified against an oppressor? My view is that perfidy is never justified, any more than denying a child molestor a fair trial because “child molestors don’t deserve it”.

                    So, that’s why I said it was irrelevant. The issue is the perfidy, and nothing can justify that – which makes it irrelevant whether the targets were really oppressors or not.

                    If your views had obtained at the time, the soldiers would have had a show trial followed by judicial execution. You are acting out the very things one of your own worked against, during the trial.

                    • Let’s pretend you are right

                      No need to pretend, I am right. Go back and read the demonstration of your error.

                      “Are you seriously suggesting that perfidy is justified against an oppressor?”

                      Probably not? Maybe not? I don’t know… maybe since the colonists had petitioned old mad king George several times and appealed to the good senses of parliament time and again, they were even more vexed when the motherland decided to doubled down by garrisoning men among them, not for defense, but enforcement.

                      Were the colonists perfidious as you’ve so lumped them all together? No. There is nothing dishonest (or honest for that matter) about tossing objects at someone. Unruly and riotous yes.

                      Were certain extremely agitated members of the crowd wrong headed to provoke young Privates in a foreign land to open fire? Possibly.

                      My view is that perfidy is never justified

                      Easy to say. I don’t recall Sydney being marched on by the imperial Japanese army in WW2 to see what desperate Aussie defense policies would be enacted.

                      any more than denying a child molestor a fair trial because “child molestors don’t deserve it”.

                      Terrible analogy. You don’t know they are a child molester until the evidence is weigh and proof beyond reasonable doubt made. However, underdogs in a fight know they are underdogs before the go into the fight.

                      So, that’s why I said it was irrelevant. The issue is the perfidy, and nothing can justify that – which makes it irrelevant whether the targets were really oppressors or not.

                      Still not irrelevant. The people of Boston were incensed over the garrisoning of an army of enforcers. That mob was there and irate quite honestly and openly. That some members of the crowd threw objects at the soldiers is not perfidy, but an angry mob doing what angry mobs do at the symbols of their oppressors.

                      The more I meditate on this, your use of the word perfidy is irrelevant. What the hell are you talking about?

                      An angry mob was there doing what angry mobs do. They shouldn’t have frightened the young soldiers, but that isn’t perfidy.

                      You’ve made mountains out of mole hills as though a calm crowd of people would declare “gentlemen, we are here to pelt you with nothing but snowballs! Have at you sir!” to which the gentleman office responds “great fun! Have at you cheeky fellows! …. hey wait, that’s a rock you perfidious fiend!”

                      Brother, go back and reanalyze how much you’ve read into the Boston Massacre. Perfidy? Ludicrous.

                      if your views had obtained at the time, the soldiers would have had a show trial followed by judicial execution. You are acting out the very things one of your own worked against, during the trial.

                      This non sequitur is self-evidently absurd. I need waste no time dismantling it.

        • Not certain how my tongue in cheek comment to ablative’s likewise comment, if chosen to be taken seriously, excludes the history of an unruly crowd.

          I think your emotions are showing…

  1. Everything one needs to know about what Obama said in yesterday’s speech was said in numerous other speeches, previously:

    “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan. Period.”

    Or, as Otter so memorably said: “You fucked up. You trusted us.”

  2. Remember, kids, the government should spy on us because Paul Revere spied…

    Forget the fact that he was spying on his government so that he and his friends could wage war and defeat their government.

  3. Hello, Jack,

    It is a breath of fresh air to see Obama criticized for real problems and those which matter most.

    A fact not enough people know, which informs and inflames the ethics considerations, is that “just metadata” is in many ways more powerful and intrusive than reading the contents of communications. Research the intelligence technique called “traffic analysis”. Listening to a phone call and hearing “Let’s meet for coffee” is nothing compared to knowing that a government employee called a reporter the day before the reporter broke the news of a scandal. Why even listen to “I’d like to make an appointment” when the “mere metadata” show that ten years ago the woman you’re running against called an abortion clinic?

    There is settled case law that since call records belong to a third party, the phone company, that the people conversing don’t have a legal expectation of privacy. This case law is wrong and must be changed. All executives and legislators who let this stand are betraying their oaths of office.

  4. There is settled case law that since call records belong to a third party, the phone company, that the people conversing don’t have a legal expectation of privacy. This case law is wrong and must be changed.

    But until this case law is changed, all federal courts must reject Fourth Amendment challenges to the collection of call records, unless actually brought by the phone company to whom the records belong.

    • The reason for the case law is that, frankly, back in the 70’s, there wasn’t such things as metadata as we know it today. The records of the phone company were about what time calls were made, where they were made to, and the address associated with the number.

      Now, there is positioning data, demographic data, search history, all sorts of things. Also, the data back in the 70’s was for an entire house – if there were 5 people in the home, who knew who made the call. Now, with individual ownership of cell phones becoming so common, that one number identified YOU, and ONLY YOU, so where that phone goes it is logical to assume you are there with it.

      I hope it gets overturned soon. I think we have the right court for it.

  5. One by one your liberties are being stolen, effectively making this document [ http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/79/Bill_of_Rights_Pg1of1_AC.jpg ] a worthless piece of paper.

    That document is intended to protect you against a tyrannical government which in recent years has proven more and more the case to be true.

    You are under attack — and the rest of the world with you — . Presently, you are being disarmed by “gun law” so you can not revolt or overthrow if needed.

    Your privacy is constantly invaded to “protect” you against “terrorism” using 9/11 as an excuse — even though there is evidence of clear failure of the most basic of protocols that further enabled this event such as warnings prior to the event, and of course unreasonable delays in scrambling jets for unauthorized deviations in flight path (you would be surprised at how fast this happens)

    As Jack stated above — an unreasonably lax protocol for search and seizure already exists. One thing I have to ammend to Jacks statement on this is that they can and have seized property, money, etc of bystanders (aka — if you were picking through the garbage where a drop was made the day before, all your stuff and money can be taken from you — which would in effect disadvantage you in court due to lack of finances to fight back and of course this is a guilty-before-proven-innocent scenario akin to being convicted and punished of a crime you have not been proven to have committed)

    And so on ….

    Yet, it takes outside sources, hackers, and rogues to fight for you ? What the hell does it take to wake American Citizens up that their is a Cold War going on against you — and the most disgusting part, is that most of this is done right in your face while some of it is like the NSA stuff which people have been made aware of this for a very long time — (need only look at the PHRACKS of old from BBS days). Canada is pretty much the same, although our rights were never really protected against tampering the way your document was written, and is not as liberal [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Freedoms ].

    At a glance, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms looks longer, but it does not allow for the same extent of freedoms and gurantees as the US Bill of Rights. I could sit here and tear this thing apart, but to keep it short, I will only poke at a couple :

    Section 10: right to legal counsel and the guarantee of habeas corpus. — This does not gurantee that you will have a lawyer. As quoted by legal aid to me when I was denied “You have a right to a lawyer, but you do not have the right to funding for a lawyer” — this denied my habeas corpus and I was subsequently convicted for a crime I did not commit with no possible recourse.

    Section 11: rights in criminal and penal matters such as the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. — If this was truly the case, then how is it that people end up in jail “waiting” for trial — for years sometimes. Growing up, I always assumed jail was for “bad” people — aka, the guilty.

    Section 2: which lists what the Charter calls “fundamental freedoms” namely freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and of other media of communication, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association. — I can think of a recent example the G20 Summit where nearly all of these freedoms were tanked.

    And so on….

    When your government no longer abides by the rules that it created that are supposed to be there to protect you — what then ? Who is there to protect you from tyranny except yourselves. With the US’s “Patriot Act”, this allows for your government to “step in” and essentially swoop you away to some place unlisted (possible not even in the country), if they think you are going to revolutionize things or change things that differ from their agenda.

    Sadly, I feel that North America as a whole is no longer a democratic and free society with all these closed door deals and legislation being written that are not only unhealthy for it’s own citizens, but some, for the entire planet. The above article is just one of many things which prove that your government no longer listens or gives a crap what you have to say and will continue regardless. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first, and won’t be the last time you see something like this.

    To be blunt, I am shocked — there is not more in the news about the recent loss of Net Neutrality to Verizon which further enables the FCC to re-write legislation about the internet while simultaneously allowing cable companies to “bundle” websites much the same as they do television stations.

    • I’d wager that the average individual would sign away all their rights for a free iPad.

      Pop culture has eroded any confidence in ourselves or jealousy of our rights (even if we aren’t using them).

  6. Progressives like me have been screaming about this for over a decade. No one cares. And since people in power (regardless of party) find it useful to gather information on everyone ranging from actual terrorists to potential rivals, it will only get worse.

  7. I challenge everyone else to do what I did.

    Arrange a meeting with your Congressman or Senator’s staff and drive to their office so that they know how much time you’ve invested, and explain, showing your work, how an upcoming piece of legislation undermines critically important fundamental rights.

    If only one Senator’s staff agrees to meet you, well, that’s good to know at re-election time, isn’t it?

    If you find out that your Senator does not buy into the lie that there’s a “trade-off” between security and freedom, then you’ve got a keeper, regardless of whether the label says “left” or “right”.

    • To a degree (a very, very small degree) I agree that there is a trade-off. Someone in the US who gets a call from a known terrorist outside the country should be watched, and the watching should begin as soon as that first call is received. Some sort of warrant or “proof of further need” should be required at some point, but I’m willing to buy that “getting a call from someone who wants to kill us” is a good enough reason to start watching someone right away. I also think that all foreign governments (hell, all foreign citizens) are fair game for NSA spying, in addition to non-resident aliens in the US (and all illegals, because fuck you sign the book on the way in if you want the protections).

      But that really is it. Should they be able to collect their info with a warrant? Sure.

      Granted, I have no faith in the FISA courts (or courts in general) to deal with bullshit applications (show me a cop or DA that got sent to prison for lying to a judge for a warrant, and I’ll show you a mythical creature), but in theory the process should prevent abuses.

      But I suspect that such a legislator will be just as rare as the one Fred describes.

  8. Jack,

    Back to “Super Crunchers” and meta data. I can see an argument made to deny even private companies the right to gather all that personal data. It simply allows too much power concentrated in the hands of a few to manipulate the system.

  9. I lean progressive, but without these now heavily eroded rights, saying this is the ‘land of the free’ is a tragic joke. Many freedoms people take for granted were once progressive and debated heavily to be in the Bil of Rights, but giving them up for fear? I don’t like the nuts on the farm a few hundred yards away using machine guns, but I’d rather live with that than this Orwellian present with so many rights being erased. I wish I could support in more ways the rights that made the US, in despite of the politicians on both sides clamoring to take them.
    I don’t believe in snowballs though, the idea of banana cream pie for some targets tempts the imagination.

  10. I’ve been shocked and saddened by the acceptance from friends of government (at the local and national level) monitoring and spying on private citizens. I know two men who could not be different on paper. One is a Christian ex-Marine multi-gun owner from Oregon who works in the skilled blue collar trades. The other is a university educated Jewish therapist from Florida (he dislikes guns and their numbers among civilians) now living in NYC.

    Both men fail to see the big picture and the long road that the government spying and recording will lead too. They are fine with cameras in public, government recording phone calls, emails, and web searches.

  11. Jack says: Why aren’t more liberals…. BTF says of his friends: They are fine with cameras in public. And so am I, and I’m about as progressive as it gets.

    Yes, the Fourth Ammendment right is being whittled away. It is being trimmed back to its intent as far as I can make out. The 4th Ammendment was to stop boots crashing overtly through doors at will.

    But has the 4th Ammendment ever stopped a spook from intercepting letters or tapping phones when a judge ruled ‘no’ but the national interest said ‘yes’? That seems to be the question Mr Obama is hinting needs open discussion. That is, he is telling us – no it hasn’t

    Possibly, for a state to survive the intents and capacities of the populace to revolution and the influence of foreign powers must be known. Now we have computers, the state needs to involve less tame persons and irregular non-state agencies – the internet companies in the process of knowing. So the nasty secret surfaces, by means of leaks.

    We were always watched.

    You never had the 4th Ammendment rights you thought you had. But they were always an illusion and since when was honesty unethical? We should thank Mr Obama. Once we’ve confronted necessary use of power we can talk about how to limit the abuse of power realistically. We should not shoot the messenger.

    All of the above is just an alternative skew, no less skewed or speculative than the average commment so far, I feel, but still very thin I know.

    • He’s not the “messenger”. He’s the boss of those ‘watchers’ you discuss. That makes him one of the watchers as well. Lefties would do good for honesty if they’d quit trying to divorce Obama from his job.

      • Mr Obama is allowed a defence I trust? This scenario seems to be the only plausible one left in which the President might be a little bit honest.

        A Presidient finds the security services are beyond his control in the same way they are beyond the court’s authority. Does he take away their means to commit the crime (and to do their job). Say the truth loud and proud, condemn his/her employees and thus force their misdeeds under cover, and off his/her hands. Cover-up, or carry a message to the people that the right they prize is no longer viable, seeking a dialogue?

        I do not say Mr Obama is honest, but can we say definitely he is not? If the premise is granted, what would you or any other honest person do?

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