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EFF Says Obama Warrantless Wiretap Defense Is Worse than Bush

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  • RTFS?? (Score:5, Funny)

    by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:06PM (#27519551) Homepage Journal
    Without much more than a speculative sentence in the summary, what is slashdot going to talk about? We're not going to RTFA no matter how hard you try!!

    *WE SHALL WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED!!*
    • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Informative)

      by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:16PM (#27519707) Homepage
      The Obama administration is arguing that the Feds have sovereign immunity from any Federal Laws -- in other words, the Federal Government is not required to follow statutes or the constitution. We are apparently continuing fast down the Bush road to a completely independent, unaccountable, all-powerful presidency.
      • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheLinuxSRC (683475) * <slashdotNO@SPAMpagewash.com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:20PM (#27519789) Homepage
        Best said by The Who; "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"
        • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:38PM (#27520101) Homepage Journal
          LOL...I posted the same thing yesterday.

          Hmm....I fear now for the EFF.

          It seems that these days, if you speak ill against Obama (the chosen one), you will be smitten down and piled up upon by anyone that was a fervent disciple during the election or of a democratic leaning.

          It is weird, but, while Bush was in office, people criticized him on a constant basis (IMHO, much of it deserved in the last years), but, you didn't risk the vitriol, public shunning and public crucifixion that you seem to get if you speak ill of the Obama administration today.

          • Re:RTFS?? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by GNUbuntu (1528599) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:42PM (#27520177)

            but, you didn't risk the vitriol, public shunning and public crucifixion that you seem to get if you speak ill of the Obama administration today.

            Yeah you were just called a terrorist sympathizer.

          • Re:RTFS?? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by merchant_x (165931) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:47PM (#27520273)

            I disagree, there was a time during Bush's presidency where to criticize or question Bush's policy was equated to being an unpatriotic traitor. I'm pretty sure the Dixie Chicks experienced a lot of the vitriol, public shunning and public crucifixion you don't seem to remember anymore.

            • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:02PM (#27520547) Homepage Journal

              It's also good to see that this time around, politics seems to be irrelevant to the core debate. The principal credible criticisms of Obama have been coming from ostensibly "liberal" sources (not surprising, since the most die-hard conservatives among us are still caught up in inane mid-decade partisanship - questions of whether the president is a Muslim, or has a valid US birth certificate, or will take away your guns and re-educate you as a socialist). The left wing seems content to substantively criticise "their own" leader, which I think entirely contradicts the GP's assertion that it's dangerous to criticise "the chosen one."

              I haven't been optimistic for a while, but that speaks very well for the future of these debates. If the left had let this sort of thing slide and made the vacuous argument that it's OK as long as their own party does it, we'd be back in the bad old days of pointless partisan bickering. This is a far cry from the 2000 election when Republicans everywhere decided recounts of disputed close elections had become spontaneously illegal.

              • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Informative)

                by rpillala (583965) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:57PM (#27521505)

                Here are some examples to support your point.

                Here [msn.com] is Kevin Bankston, EFF on Olbermann last night. MSNBC is not the mouthpiece of the right wing. Olbermann was about as enthusiastic for Obama as anyone I saw during the campaign.

                Here [salon.com] and here [dailykos.com] are some current left wing blogs being very critical of this policy stand as they were when it was Bush's stand. Meanwhile the right wing media like Fox are spreading FUD and holding up Michelle Bachmann as an exemplar. I do understand that Fox has no credibility criticizing this since they were so nakedly in favor of Bush.

              • Re:RTFS?? (Score:4, Interesting)

                by swb (14022) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:12PM (#27521773)

                Questions about Obama's citizenship and links to Islamic religious belief are canards.

                Whether or not Obama's deficit spending and involvement in the affairs of private business constitute a step towards socialism or whether he will go along with gun control zealots in the Democratic party are not canards. They represent legitimate criticisms and legitimate fears.

                The media, who have been some of the thirstiest consumers of the Obama-aide, have begun to leak very subtle criticisms of him, but only subtle ones, and Obama himself still engages in gross exaggeration of his critics positions (http://www.slate.com/id/2215631/).

                It's still fairly early on in his presidency to have too many criticisms of Obama (although his spending is fair game), but in six months or so the "I'm still cleaning up after Bush" won't work.

            • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:20PM (#27520871)

              What the Dixie Chicks experienced came from private citizens, not the Bush administration. Big difference.

              • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Animaether (411575) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:32PM (#27521061) Journal

                no, no difference.

                parent poster replied to a post that also dealt with (private citizen) response to somebody criticizing Obama; that poster arguing that criticizing Bush never led to e.g. the plethora of comments deriding a person's (negative) opinion of Obama (the person, his actions, ideas, or even the government under him).
                parent poster, in turn, pointed out that we all too soon forget that there were -plenty- of public derisions toward those who were critical of Bush - *especially* just before, during, and shortly after the invasion of Iraq. The Dixie Chicks thing being a prime example because it was in the media -far more- than just some 'nobody' disagreeing with the war and their neighbors labeling them a terrorist sympathizer and yelling at them "if you're not with us, you're against us", "UN-AMERICAN!", etc.

                so yeah, no difference in terms of this particular comment thread branch.

                • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by DJRumpy (1345787) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:25PM (#27521999)
                  Agreed. It started at the top and rolled down hill. There was even a clip of someone who was invested by the feds for making a not so kind comment about Bush at his local gym. He was visited by the nice men in blue suites. Totally out of control and scary as hell to think it could have gotten that far.

                  I remember the story like it was yesterday. It sent chills down my spine. To say it wasn't the (then) presidents administration pushing the buttons is ridiculous.

                  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2001/12/18/eguillermo.DTL [sfgate.com]
            • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Poppa (95105) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:52PM (#27521413)

              Bullshit. The Dixie Chicks have their views and we have ours. BTW, Pelosi says it is un-American to enforce our immigration laws. How does that grab you?

              The Dixie Chicks have every right to speak their mind. I have every right to disagree with them and not give them any more money.

              I do take offense when Americans go off to France, for example, and criticize our President or our country. All they are doing is selfishly making themselves more important at the expense of the rest of us. Its a kick in the teeth to the brave soldiers risking their lives for our safety.

              • Please... (Score:5, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 09, 2009 @03:01PM (#27522567)

                Pelosi says it is un-American to enforce our immigration laws. How does that grab you?

                It "grabs me" that you're misrepresenting what she said. What she actually said [youtube.com] was first that the values of immigrants who struggle to make it in America is in itself part of the American spirit:

                "that optimism, that hope, that courage, that determination of immigrants of your families when you arrive here make America more American."

                She then asked her audience:

                "How then could America say it's okay to send parents of children away? What values system is that? I think it's un-American." Later she added "who in our country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families? It must be stopped."

                She is clearly attacking as Un-American the value system that believes kicking in doors at night and separating families is good. If you want to generalize that to "Pelosi says it is un-American to enforce our immigration laws", that's your own business, but it's clearly not what she was saying.

                I do take offense when Americans go off to France, for example, and criticize our President or our country. All they are doing is selfishly making themselves more important at the expense of the rest of us. Its a kick in the teeth to the brave soldiers risking their lives for our safety.

                You must be pretty damn insecure about your country then. And totally missing what's great about America-- for criticism of America by its own citizens is what makes our country strong- because American can withstand that criticism and also change for the better when appropriate. This country's strength is that it's in a way an "open-source" country (at least when its at its best.) . The more eyeballs who can find flaws and suggest improvements means that its flaws are discovered, debated, and hopefully corrected. It is the national right (and duty) to be critical of this country and speak about how we can be a better people that is one of the many great strengths of America. Self-analysis and criticism of America by Americans anytime, anywhere should be encouraged and celebrated. It is, in fact, the essence of our country of, by, and for the people, and is what our soldiers are fighting for.

                • Re:Please... (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by bendodge (998616) <bendodge@bsgpro g r ammers.com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @05:32PM (#27524757) Homepage Journal

                  This is an excellent example of missing the point. Here's the set up:

                  1. People enter the country illegally.
                  2. Then then birth US Citizens
                  3. Illegal parents are packed off.
                  4. The baby Citizens are left behind.

                  Think logically. The solution isn't to quit throwing out the criminals. The solution is to delete the technicality that creates such heartbreaking situations in the first place: birth citizenship. Then you can ship them all back as a family and not have to deal with illegal residents or stranded kids. I think high-profile politicians like Pelosi are being intentionally dense on this issue, because they'd rather do something big and spectacular than a quick, boring solution that makes the problem go away with no power, fame, legacy and re-electability.

          • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by flitty (981864) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:48PM (#27520287)
            Please put your strawmen away before they get burned. The only side that seems to call obama the "chosen one" are republicans. *MOST* Democrats have no illusions that Obama's Wiretapping votes and stance on Afghanistan have been the weak points. It was a hell of a lot better than Stay the Course McCain. So please, worship the guy all you want, but the rest of us will be realistic about what a politician is.

            while Bush was in office, people criticized him on a constant basis ... you didn't risk the vitriol, public shunning and public crucifixion

            That's the funniest part of your post. I believe Phil Donahue lost his job on TV because he wasn't pro-bush/war enough. There were reports of people with Anti-Bush shirts and bumper stickers being pulled over by police. Over the past few weeks, Obama's been called everything from the anti-christ to a fascist, and that's just on Fox news. They seem to be doing just fine.

            Go watch Jon Stewarts shown on Tuesday night (apr 7) the middle section, it's a little history lesson for you.

            • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Niris (1443675) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:50PM (#27520351)
              I love how comedy news shows are becoming a more reliable source for news than the traditional. Then again, hasn't "news" always been sort of a joke in this country?
              • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity.yahoo@com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:21PM (#27520897) Homepage

                No. During the Vietnam war, newspapers were really a powerful influence in public policy due to their honesty about the cost of the war.

                We're just wrapping up the longest war the US has been involved in since World War 2 and until recently it was illegal to publish pictures of dead soldiers to quell public outrage. Had we seen daily pictures of dead soldiers on TV for seven years, the public acceptance would have been far lower and diminished far faster than it did.

                Now, yeah the news is a farce. They split us down the middle every 4 years to turn the nation against one another, simplifying our political decisions into an us versus them, red versus blue game.

                Now, the only credible news are the comedians comfortable with criticizing the government by exposing their ridiculous actions.

                Sadly, the comedy is in the absurdity of the truth they tell.

              • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:41PM (#27521207) Journal

                Don't blame the news for pampering to the customers tastes. If the customer wants celebrity gossip to be on the front page, then the customer gets just that.

                If you don't want the press to dance to their customers wishes, then make an independent press. How? No idea. Sooner or later everyone has to be paid and will listen to the one doing the paying. Only wives don't follow that golden rule.

            • Re:RTFS?? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:28PM (#27521003)

              Please put your strawmen away before they get burned. The only side that seems to call obama the "chosen one" are republicans.

              They may not use the exact phrase "chosen one", but I know quite a few Democrats (even party officials) who compared him to Jesus. "Pontious Pilate was a governor, and Jesus was a community organizer." If that's not a messiah hero-worship complex, I don't know what is.

            • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Informative)

              by mattwarden (699984) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:42PM (#27521225) Homepage

              Your post is hilarious. Just look back at the slashdot comments from the left during the campaign. You're just as bad as Obama himself; say one thing during the campaign and a completely different thing once elected.

              And "Stay the Course" McCain? You mean like staying in Iraq for years, continuing bailouts, acting above the law, etc? Glad we didn't get any of that!

            • Re:RTFS?? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by benj_e (614605) <walt.eisNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:22PM (#27521933) Journal

              Apparently you missed the news that McCain supporters were pulled over by police. Or that Ron Paul supporters are dangerous militia kooks.

              I don't think it's a Republican/Democrat thing. When a group comes to power that feels they have been oppressed, the first thing they do is exact revenge. Sometimes that's lopping off heads, sometimes that's making fun of the opposition.

              Regardless, the theme continues throughout history.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nutria (679911)

        in other words, the Federal Government is not required to follow statutes or the constitution

        Anyone here old enough to remember that Newt Gingritch used similar Democrat stupidity (House Bank scandal, House & Senate exempting themselves from following worker safety laws, etc) to sweep into power back in 1994?

        • Re:RTFS?? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Xonstantine (947614) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:41PM (#27520161)

          Obama is going to fix that with amnesty and citizenship for the 20 million or so illegals in the country.

          Don't like the current voters, get new ones who are more agreeable.

      • Re:RTFS?? (Score:5, Funny)

        by thedonger (1317951) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:37PM (#27521139)

        We are apparently continuing fast down the Bush road...

        So, when Bush does it, Bush is bad. When Obama does it, Bush is bad.

    • by eclectro (227083) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:50PM (#27520335)

      Folks, this is what many of us voted for and this is the conclusion of the EFF;

      Again, the gulf between Candidate Obama and President Obama is striking. As a candidate, Obama ran promising a new era of government transparency and accountability, an end to the Bush DOJ's radical theories of executive power, and reform of the PATRIOT Act. But, this week, Obama's own Department Of Justice has argued that, under the PATRIOT Act, the government shall be entirely unaccountable for surveilling Americans in violation of its own laws.

      This isn't change we can believe in. This is change for the worse.

      Tyranny we can believe in.

  • by PriceIke (751512) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:07PM (#27519565)
    It's gratifying to see this issue getting some exposure here. God knows this is not a story that the doting MSM would ever run on its own, without significant blogosphere activity forcing them to acknowledge it.
    • by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:16PM (#27519709) Journal

      It's gratifying to see this issue getting some exposure here. God knows this is not a story that the doting MSM would ever run on its own, without significant blogosphere activity forcing them to acknowledge it.

      Still, I don't expect even the blogosphere to treat Obama like it treated Bush. Where are the posts comparing Obama to Hitler? Would Stalin be a better comparison? Not that I would agree with either comparison, but I sure read from a whole bunch of people here that would apply Godwin to Bush at the drop of a hat.

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:30PM (#27519943)

        Still, I don't expect even the blogosphere to treat Obama like it treated Bush. Where are the posts comparing Obama to Hitler?

        Bush had years to build up a reputation. Obama is still in the process of tearing down his original reputation. Give him two years and if he's done anything near what Bush did two years into his first term I think you will see plenty of people making such comparisons.

        • by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:35PM (#27520033) Journal

          Still, I don't expect even the blogosphere to treat Obama like it treated Bush. Where are the posts comparing Obama to Hitler?

          Bush had years to build up a reputation. Obama is still in the process of tearing down his original reputation. Give him two years and if he's done anything near what Bush did two years into his first term I think you will see plenty of people making such comparisons.

          Bush's motorcade was pelted with snowballs on the way to his inauguration [salon.com] while Obama got a party. With the except of a couple of months after 9-11, Bush was pretty much relentlessly attacked by the media, Hollywood elites and blogosphere for all eight years.

      • by The Rizz (1319) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:35PM (#27520035)

        Where are the posts comparing Obama to Hitler? Would Stalin be a better comparison?

        The posts are comparing Obama to Bush. That's practically the same thing, nowadays.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by clinko (232501)

      I don't know, this _is_ anti-obama... Ahem... [foxnews.com]

  • If they don't tap the phones, how will they know that we're getting the "Change we can believe in"?
  • Change (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordKaT (619540) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:08PM (#27519585) Homepage Journal

    Was one hell of a marketing slogan, don't you think?

  • FTFA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:10PM (#27519603)

    The DOJ claims that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying -- that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes...No one -- not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration -- has ever interpreted the law this way.

    Wow, nothing like taking things to the next level, huh? I guess Obama brought his A-game.

    • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:27PM (#27519895) Journal
      It's important to note that the DOJ references the PATRIOT Act as justification for this argument. It's a little awkward for the EFF to say

      No one -- not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration -- has ever interpreted the law this way.

      when we're talking only about a single administration.

      Yes, the Obama administration's stance is intolerable. But the problem, I believe, is not the administration -- it is the law. Repeal the PATRIOT Act. Pass a law requiring stricter oversight of government surveillance.

      THAT is the answer. Not some mindless, useless "Obama is teh suxxor" bullshit.

      • Re:FTFA (Score:4, Insightful)

        by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:41PM (#27521205)
        Judging the speed with which the Democratically-controlled House and Senate (and Obama, by signing it into law) just spent $1 trillion of our tax money as "stimulus," do you REALLY think the reason the PATRIOT Act can't be repealed, IMMEDIATELY, if the Democrats decide to do so?
  • by tjonnyc999 (1423763) <tjonnyc@@@gmail...com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:10PM (#27519605)
    "The DOJ claims that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying â" that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes."

    Sure, it's a bullshit argument, but the fact that they're actually trying it, reeks of the kind of tactics used to build up the NKVD's influence in post-revolutionary Russia. Putting even one fragment of the government "outside the law" is a very frightening precedent.
    • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:03PM (#27520551)

      This has nothing to do with Obama (other than that his DOJ is making the argument), and it is not a bullshit argument from a legal standpoint.

      It's called sovereign immunity [wikipedia.org], and we brought it over to our legal system from the British system when we declared independence. To put it shortly, it's exactly what you quoted: Congress has to waive its immunity in order for you to sue the federal government. There are a few laws on the books outlining cases in which they automatically waive that right. I don't know if this would be one of them, except to say that the DOJ obviously feels there's at least an argument to be made that it isn't.

      I agree with what somebody else said in another thread earlier: Sovereign immunity has no place in a democratic society. That said, though, it's here and as frightening as it may be, it's far from a bullshit legal argument to have a lawsuit dismissed. It's a good one.

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:10PM (#27519615)

    Hey, you asked for a government that would listen to the people...

    Now that you've got one, you're all mad and stuff. Man, this democracy stuff is weird. There's just no pleasing you people!

  • by imgod2u (812837) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:11PM (#27519631) Homepage

    This is kind of disturbing. I know politicians turn 180 at the drop of a hat but Obama's entire popularity -- and the benefits that come from it -- relies on being anti-Bush. This is a very hot issue. One of the most important ones in fact. For him to continue supporting it is almost political suicide. Yet he's doing it anyway. Which makes you think, what could possibly be so important to keep secret?

    We know it has nothing to do with national defense. The crones in Washington have never had a problem with outing CIA agents in the field for political gain.

    Do they have illegal records of Dick Cheney torturing kittens or something? Wait, that wouldn't surprise anyone.

    • by evilphish_mi (1282588) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:18PM (#27519763) Homepage
      if his entire popularity is truly reliant on being anti-bush then the American people are screwed.
    • This isn't a 180 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Chibi Merrow (226057) <mrmerrow AT monkeyinfinity DOT net> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:25PM (#27519867) Homepage Journal

      Obama voted yes for the telecom immunity bill. He supported the wiretapping program in the Senate, why do you think he'd stop supporting it when he was elected President?

      • Re:This isn't a 180 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Nutria (679911) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:32PM (#27519967)

        Obama voted yes for the telecom immunity bill. He supported the wiretapping program in the Senate, why do you think he'd stop supporting it when he was elected President?

        Substance doesn't matter to "Hope And Change" zombies.

        Not that it matters much to the "Saddam planned 9/11" crowd, but liberals are supposed to be Sooooo Muuuuch Smarter, Hipper And Rational than Bible-thumping Young Earth Creationist conservatives that you'd think they'd care a smidgen about reality.

        • by ravenshrike (808508) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:02PM (#27520537)
          *sighs* The Saddam9/11 crowd was never that large a subset of bush supporters. As a matter of percentage, the hope and change zombies are a much bigger piece of the pie.
          • Re:This isn't a 180 (Score:4, Informative)

            by radio4fan (304271) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @05:00PM (#27524265)

            *sighs* The Saddam9/11 crowd was never that large a subset of bush supporters.

            *sighs*

            9/6/2003: WASHINGTON (AP) â" Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists' strike against this country.

            Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it's likely Saddam was involved.

            Source [usatoday.com].

            So no, not a large subset, but a MAJORITY of Republican supporters (and Democrat supporters too, for that matter) were part of the 'Saddam/911 crowd'.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by whoop (194)

        It's quite simply one word: Hope.

      • Re:This isn't a 180 (Score:4, Informative)

        by EllisDees (268037) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:55PM (#27520425)

        I guess we were all hoping he would stick to his original 'principles': [cnet.com]

        For one thing, under an Obama presidency, Americans will be able to leave behind the era of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and "wiretaps without warrants," he said. (He was referring to the lingering legal fallout over reports that the National Security Agency scooped up Americans' phone and Internet activities without court orders, ostensibly to monitor terrorist plots, in the years after the September 11 attacks.)

        It's hardly a new stance for Obama, who has made similar statements in previous campaign speeches, but mention of the issue in a stump speech, alongside more frequently discussed topics like Iraq and education, may give some clue to his priorities.

        In our own Technology Voters' Guide, when asked whether he supports shielding telecommunications and Internet companies from lawsuits accusing them of illegal spying, Obama gave us a one-word response: "No."

    • by microbox (704317) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:34PM (#27520009)
      So Bush tried to hide behind state secrets, and now the Dems. They must be both in on whatever it is.

      After Bush madness, it seems that the Dems could go on a witch-hunt. Perhaps they don't because they're better than the Rs (think back to clinton's sex life). It seems much more plausible, however, that political MAD (mutually assured destruction) is keeping everything in check. I'm suggesting that the state-secrets would be hideously embarrassing for both Dems and Rs.
    • This is kind of disturbing. I know politicians turn 180 at the drop of a hat but Obama's entire popularity -- and the benefits that come from it -- relies on being anti-Bush. This is a very hot issue. One of the most important ones in fact. For him to continue supporting it is almost political suicide. Yet he's doing it anyway. Which makes you think, what could possibly be so important to keep secret?

      You have to keep in mind that a large percentage of the anti Bush crowd weren't really informed on the issues. They were anti Bush because it was fashionable to anti Bush. All their friends were, all the blogs they read were, much of the other media they were exposed to were. And they went right along with the herd.
       
      Meanwhile, those few of us who (regardless of our personal stance on Bush) tried to explain that the two parties never give up powers and perks gained by the other party were shouted down as 'haters' or ignored as 'irrelevant fossils' or even worse pejoratives. Obama Wasn't Bush - and that was all they needed to know. Those of us who didn't toe the fashion zombie line were cast beyond the pale.
       
      It has nothing to do with anything that must be secret, or national defense, or Cheney, or anything other reason. It's all about the little quid pro quo that goes on in Washington. The two major parties may tear down each others programs - but never the perks and powers, because they want them there when their guy takes the office.

  • Wow?!?! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dusty00 (1106595) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:12PM (#27519643)
    Are there any countries left that has citizens? I'm tired of being a subject.
  • by bugeaterr (836984) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:12PM (#27519645)

    Hurry, someone please shoot the messenger so we can place our craniums comfortably back into the sand.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:15PM (#27519695) Journal

    "State secrets" and "sovereign immunity" are two concepts that have no place in any democratic country.

    • by Zordak (123132) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:38PM (#27520091) Homepage Journal
      Why not? Should we post all of our military strategies on Facebook, just to ensure transparency? That would just make us vulnerable, and vulnerable democracies get conquered. And we've always had sovereign immunity. We inherited it from other democracies. Without it, we ALL get to pay every time somebody sues the government for damages, and the government would be crippled as the Congress and Executive would have to fight a wave of preliminary injunctions every time they took an action that some minority group doesn't agree with. Yes, both can be abused, and we should hold our elected politicians to the fire when they do so. But the democracy you envision is crippled, weak, and ineffective. A crippled, weak, and ineffective democracy will fail, just as surely as an over-reaching, oppressive, dictatorial democracy.
  • by nothing2seehere (1496253) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:17PM (#27519731)
    At this point, the people who railed at me for supporting Nader, for daring to call Obama an opportunist tool of the status quo, can now officially kiss my ass. Those who simply couldn't be bothered to check his Senate voting record but who insisted on wearing that Maoist "Hope" portrait at all times, I say to you today: I told you so.

    And as for the EFF, please use well the money I just sent you, and keep up the good fight.
  • by sam_handelman (519767) <.skh2003. .at. .columbia.edu.> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:23PM (#27519831) Homepage Journal

    The Obama administration has roughly the same goals as the Bush administration, so it's no surprise that they're continuing to pursue them.

      The change, and it is a change, is that they are pursuing them in a smarter way.
    1) By making this extreme argument, they give judges wiggle-room to reject it and then accept the state secrets argument, while still allowing the judge to make token gestures in favor of the rule of law, even write a long, pious opinion dismissing the second argument while accepting the first. I can see that it would be very easy for any judge to delude himself into believing he was making a Solomonic compromise. Very smart on their part.

    2) If the second argument *does* somehow fly, they have carte blanche to do what they want. I suspect that the Bush administration would've argued for the same thing, except that they weren't smart enough to come up with a line of argument that would've passed the laugh test (IANAL, maybe this one doesn't either.)

      Begin broken record mode: The only way to get real improvement from Obama (or from Bush, for that matter,) is to mobilize the public to control the government. No elected leader is going to do this for us as a gift, we have to maintain the pressure constantly.

      Personally, I'm much more disappointed with his ongoing embrace of "public-private partnerships" in education (crooked self-dealing and cronyism do not focus group so well, so they rebranded them as "public-private partnerships" in which the government partners with a private entity to give it money with minimal oversight and much righteous rhetoric.) My saintly mother blogs about it: http://chemtchr.dailykos.com/ [dailykos.com]

      And I'm sure Obama has not delivered from progressives on a dozen other fronts. Only way he will is *if we make him*. In the case of progressive causes that are popular with the public, this should be relatively easy, and ought to benefit the election prospects of the Democratic party anyway, so let's get going.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:24PM (#27519845) Homepage
    Read up on it [worldnetdaily.com] if you don't understand it. Just like it took Nixon to go to China, it will take Obama to get this through. Those of you who voted for Obama and really believed that he stood for "hope and change" were every bit as big of morons as the people in the Republican Party who thought that McCain was some maverick conservative.
  • Ya know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:27PM (#27519897) Homepage Journal

    I distinctly remember, way back when during the Reagan years, people were crowing about how we in the U.S. had it so much better than the Soviets. We didn't have to worry about providing papers to travel (Red October anyone?), we didn't have to worry about our neighbors spying on us and reporting "unpatriotic" deeds, we didn't have to worry about government agents bursting into our homes without a warrant and we especially didn't have to worry about the government listening in on our phone calls.

    Now we have two different parts of the government trying to justify why they can, whenever, they feel like it, listen to our phone conversations all in the name of stopping "them" from causing us harm. The worst part about it, the same people who 25 years ago were crowing about how free we were compared to the Soviets are now the same people (assuming they're still alive) who are defending these blatant infringements on our freedoms, all in the name of securing our freedom.

    Is that like, "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."?

  • by Millennium (2451) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:29PM (#27519931) Homepage

    So it's starting to sound like one of several things is going on here:

    • Obama is ultimately cut from the same power-hungry mold as Bush, even if he often seeks a different sort of power from his predecessor. This particular case just happens to serve both of their ends, so meet the new boss, same as the old boss. OR...
    • Bush actually had good reasons to do what he did, and Obama continues these odious policies as a distasteful but very real necessity.

    I'm not sure which of these possibilities would worse.

    It would help, however, if Obama would be more forthcoming as to the reasons behind the continuation, though; surely some more substantial explanation than "it's all a state secret" can be given without damaging national security.

  • Author of the Motion (Score:5, Informative)

    by Elder Entropist (788485) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:40PM (#27520135)

    I'm a bit cynical about the Obama Administration willingly giving up powers it has been given in the long run. But I'm not ready to say this motion represents the will of the Administration yet.

    The author of the piece, ACTING Assistant Attorney General Michael F. Hertz, is a leftover from the Bush administration and is due to be replaced once his successor is confirmed.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:52PM (#27521409)

    What does anyone expect from a bloated government bureaucracy that seems to exist for no other reason to protect it's own power.

    Conservatives and liberals are both happily sacrificing liberty for security, the only difference being their motivations for doing so. Conservatives generally have a fear of ambiguous foreign threats. Liberals want to be sheltered from the difficulties of life. Both lead to the same end result which is a massive state that regulates every aspect of our lives.

    This is not to say there aren't legitimate concerns on both sides of the aisle, because each side is too quick to dismiss the concerns the other side has. Virtually every issue has been so utterly politicized that there's little room for rational discussion. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't intentional so that everyone is weakened by fighting amongst themselves and thus distracted from the real threat. Otherwise how is it that people keep re-electing the same old garbage into office over and over again?

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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