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Thread: Obama’s Path From Critic to Overseer of Spying

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    TheWalrus's Avatar
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    Obama’s Path From Critic to Overseer of Spying

    WASHINGTON — As a young lawmaker defining himself as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama visited a center for scholars in August 2007 to give a speech on terrorism. He described a surveillance state run amok and vowed to rein it in. “That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens,” he declared. “No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.”

    More than six years later, the onetime constitutional lawyer is now the commander in chief presiding over a surveillance state that some of his own advisers think has once again gotten out of control. On Friday, he will give another speech, this time at the Justice Department defending government spying even as he adjusts it to address a wave of public concern over civil liberties.

    The journey between those two speeches reflects the transition from the backbench of the United States Senate to the chair behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. Like other presidents before him, the idealistic candidate skeptical of government power found that the tricky trade-offs of national security issues look different to the person charged with using that power to ensure public safety.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/us...ying.html?_r=1

    A sobering story which reminds me of that scene from Oliver Stone's wonderful movie Nixon where Nixon visits the Lincoln Memorial at midnight. It's during the Vietnam war and protesters are sleeping on the memorial steps when he arrives (the whole thing is based on a real incident -- though I think in real life none of the protesters actually woke up).



    That final exchange between Nixon and the young student could be repeated almost word for word today between Obama and a young student (knowing Oliver Stone it's designed to give you that feel no matter who is president), though I think it's an improvement to observe that today's "crime" -- spying -- is less egregious an offense than an illegal war in a time of compulsive military service.
    Last edited by TheWalrus; 01-17-2014 at 02:03 PM.
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    Dolphins9954's Avatar
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    Obama "If you like your privacy, you can keep your privacy period."





    "Politics is the Art of Looking for Trouble, Finding it Everywhere, Diagnosing it Incorrectly, and Applying the Wrong Remedies"
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    Eshlemon's Avatar
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    Senator Obama becoming predominant over President Obama?

    Obama calls for significant changes in collection of phone records of U.S. citizens

    President Obama called Friday for significant changes to the way the National Security Agency collects and uses telephone records of U.S. citizens, moving to transition away from government control of the information and immediately require authorities to obtain a court order to access it.

    After more than six months of controversy over U.S. surveillance policies, Obama said that — barring a specific threat — he has ordered an end to eavesdropping on dozens of foreign leaders and governments who are friends or allies, a move the White Hope hopes will restore trust in the intelligence community and in the government’s ability to balance national security and privacy interests.
    Calling for a “new approach” to the collection of phone records, Obama said he was “ordering a transition that will end the . . . bulk metadata program as it currently exists and establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata.”

    But, he warned, “This will not be simple.” Obama indicated that a decision still needs to be made on which entity will hold the data. He observed that two options — allowing either the phone companies or a third party to retain the bulk records — both “pose difficult problems,” including new privacy concerns and legal ambiguity.
    Obama said the transition from the existing program would proceed in two steps. “Effective immediately, we will only pursue phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization instead of three,” he said. “And I have directed the attorney general to work with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court so that during this transition period, the database can be queried only after a judicial finding, or in a true emergency.”
    Obama has instructed Holder to reform the use of national security letters — a form of administrative subpoena used to obtain business and other records — so that the traditional gag order that accompanies them does not remain in place indefinitely. But he did not, as has been recommended by a White House review panel, require judicial approval for issuance of the letters.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi...4bc_story.html

    The cynic in me sees this as political rhetoric and spin and nothing significant is going to come of this, the optimist change is coming. Little hope any executive office gives up any significant power and lack of politicians trustworthiness makes the cynic predominant.
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    phins_4_ever's Avatar
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    At the end it is our fault. There is no way around.
    We are so busy for decades cheering "USA #1" and trashing everything outside this country. We are so busy declaring everything we do as 'great' and 'honorable'. We are so busy declaring 'the American way is the only way' and we are so busy to annoint us the one and only free country. We have forgotten to question our government, control our government and we are more consumed with our own pathetic little lives that the line 'we the people' sounds more like a joke rather than the serious beginning of a written document which laid the ground work for this country.
    We are more consumed watching faked reality shows rather than grab a good book and educate ourselves and use that education as a tool.

    We deserve everything we have and we will have (debt, surveillance, war after war, high gas prices, high inflation rate etc) because we let it happen. We rather vote for the lesser of two evils rather than standing up for our true believes and that includes everybody from the right to the left and everything in between and around the political spectrum.
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    phins_4_ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshlemon View Post
    Senator Obama becoming predominant over President Obama?









    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi...4bc_story.html

    The cynic in me sees this as political rhetoric and spin and nothing significant is going to come of this, the optimist change is coming. Little hope any executive office gives up any significant power and lack of politicians trustworthiness makes the cynic predominant.
    Of course it is BS. Who is watching the watchers? There is no self control.
    But yeah, let's make a guy like Snowden enemy #1. Guys like him should receive a medal and a hero's welcome.
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    Dolphins9954's Avatar
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    Obama and Holder's recent appeal on a Federal judge's decision declaring the NSA actions unconstitutional speaks for itself. They appealed the ruling to another court saying National Security and terrorism trump privacy and liberty. The judge rubber stamped their argument and reversed the correct ruling. Obama is a fraud who is an enemy to privacy and the Bill of Rights. Worse than Bush. Anyone falling for this is an idiot. The Supreme Court will be the ones to decide this. Unfortunately that's not a good thing either.
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    Valandui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phins_4_ever View Post
    At the end it is our fault. There is no way around.
    We are so busy for decades cheering "USA #1" and trashing everything outside this country. We are so busy declaring everything we do as 'great' and 'honorable'. We are so busy declaring 'the American way is the only way' and we are so busy to annoint us the one and only free country. We have forgotten to question our government, control our government and we are more consumed with our own pathetic little lives that the line 'we the people' sounds more like a joke rather than the serious beginning of a written document which laid the ground work for this country.
    We are more consumed watching faked reality shows rather than grab a good book and educate ourselves and use that education as a tool.

    We deserve everything we have and we will have (debt, surveillance, war after war, high gas prices, high inflation rate etc) because we let it happen. We rather vote for the lesser of two evils rather than standing up for our true believes and that includes everybody from the right to the left and everything in between and around the political spectrum.
    Yes and no. I agree that we have become too complacent and that is a huge chunk of the problem. The problem is that much of the infrastructure for the problems we're facing today was set up in secret by the power brokers years ago (i.e. the Federal Reserve Act, etc.) and by the time anyone knew what happened it was basically too late.

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    LANGER72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phins_4_ever View Post
    At the end it is our fault. There is no way around.
    We are so busy for decades cheering "USA #1" and trashing everything outside this country. We are so busy declaring everything we do as 'great' and 'honorable'. We are so busy declaring 'the American way is the only way' and we are so busy to annoint us the one and only free country. We have forgotten to question our government, control our government and we are more consumed with our own pathetic little lives that the line 'we the people' sounds more like a joke rather than the serious beginning of a written document which laid the ground work for this country.
    We are more consumed watching faked reality shows rather than grab a good book and educate ourselves and use that education as a tool.

    We deserve everything we have and we will have (debt, surveillance, war after war, high gas prices, high inflation rate etc) because we let it happen. We rather vote for the lesser of two evils rather than standing up for our true believes and that includes everybody from the right to the left and everything in between and around the political spectrum.

    Human frailties like Greed, Ego, and Envy will never allow it. It is a dog eat dog world. If you don't think that is true, you will be someone meal next.
    Anyone preaching the political or religious gospel is just grabbing your wallet.
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