Obama's Response To NSA Was To Appease The Public, Not Reduce The Spying

from the total-failure dept

We've spent much of the afternoon detailing some of President Obama's statements concerning his response to the NSA surveillance revelations, combined with some of the documents released by the administration. But a key point in all of this is highlighted in the Associated Press's coverage of the press conference: President Obama flat out admitted that this was about appeasing a public that doesn't trust the administration, not about reducing the surveillance.
President Barack Obama made it clear Friday he has no intention of stopping the daily collection of American phone records. And while he offered "appropriate reforms," he blamed government leaks for creating distrust of his domestic spying program.

In an afternoon news conference, the president acknowledged the domestic spying has troubled Americans and hurt the country's image abroad. But he called it a critical counterterrorism tool.
Even more to the point, his comments represent a fundamental misunderstanding of why the public doesn't trust the government. That's because he keeps insisting that the program isn't being abused and that all of this collection is legal. But, really, that's not what the concern is about. Even though we actually know that the NSA has a history of abuse (and other parts of the intelligence community before that), a major concern is that scooping up so much data is considered legal in the first place. So, when President Obama says that we should blindly trust the government not to abuse the data, that's missing the point:
"Understandably, people would be concerned," the president said. "I would be, too, if I weren't inside the government."
That's not particularly comforting.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Aug 9th, 2013 @ 7:57pm

    Does President Obama actually think his speech appeased anybody? The only thing he managed to do was to reinforce everyone's perception that the only President Obama and the Democrats know how to do is to continue to lie to the American People.

    The problem is that there isn't anything that President Obama or Congress could do that could restore the trust that he lost with the American People. Ever since this Snowden thing began, his administration has made one blunder after another and the only thing that Democrats have done is to turn Snowden into a cause.

    At this point, I don't see Snowden ever returning to the United States because authorities would arrest him just as soon as he touched ground in this country. Law enforcement agencies use all kinds of duplicitous tricks in order to capture and/or arrest somebody they are after. Anyone think that the Federal government wouldn't resort to the same tricks?

    Snowden's cause has become a rallying point for injustice among the people and he simply has become an ideal, a martyr, for everyone who has ever suffered an injustice. I find it hilarious that Snowden's status as a champion of human and civil rights has been created solely by Democrats and the liberal media, although I suspect tha6t isn't what they intended when they began their campaign to discredit him.

     

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  2.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 9th, 2013 @ 8:08pm

    Re:

    the only President Obama and the Democrats know how to do is to continue to lie to the American People.

    Just as many Rs as Ds support this position (in fact look at the way certain Rs reacted to the speech today), and just as many Ds as Rs are against it. It's not partisan. Suggesting that this is a party position really just highlights a partisan position not based on facts.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 8:12pm

    Don't know if you have been paying attention, but outside the circle jerk here the situation is not so cut and dry. According to the rest of the US the support for surveillance is about 45/55 against (hardly a huge majority clamoring for radical change) and Snowden's approval rating is roughly equivalent to that of George Zimmerman. I am not saying that in hyperbole or exaggeration - the same poll asked about Zimmerman and the results were similar.

    The administration's job is to represent the interests of its constituents. It gets that wrong sometimes, true. But the numbers indicate you're in an echo chamber that is out of touch with what people (all the people, not just the ones you agree with) actually want.

     

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  4.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 9th, 2013 @ 8:13pm

    Re:

    Let's be honest here...

    There are plenty of Republicans who have done the same to Snowden as the Democrats have.

    And there are Dems and Republicans in Congress who are on Snowden and the American people's side.

    Hell, even some of the staff members of the Rs are getting fed up with the way things are done.

     

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  5.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 9th, 2013 @ 8:19pm

    Re:

    *Looks at poll*

    Hmm...

    24% are against Snowden...

    24% are neutral towards Snowden

    31% don't know him.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 8:23pm

    Re:

    I'm not a huge fan of the ongoing surveillance, but I also don't think that's the real issue at hand. What's at issue is that top officials in the executive branch have been deliberately lying to the legislative branch.

    The job of the government as a whole is to represent the interests of its constituents. The way it's supposed to do that is via democracy, under rules set forth by the constitution. When the executive branch embarks on a policy of lying to the legislative branch, that's a grotesque violation of the constitution.

    The popularity of the program isn't really significant; they've already pissed all over their democratic principles by the way they implemented the program.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 8:36pm

    If these unconstitutional domestic spy programs don't end, America will turn into a corrupt totalitarian state. The Constitution of the United States was supposed to prevent this from happening.

    As of right now, the Constitution is just for show and has no meaning or functions.

    How long did the great experiment called 'democracy' last before corruption destroyed it? A little over 200? The human race never ceases to disappoint me.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re:

    and 11% are (at best) "somewhat positive." In contrast, 14% were at least "somewhat positive" about a guy who is known for having chased down an African American kid and shot him for basically no reason.

    I know this is Techdirt and everything is the government's fault exclusively. But here their response seems to be consistent with the attitudes of the actual people, not the people as you imagine they exist. Is your position that Americans just don't know what's good for them, and so they need the enlightened Techdirt community to make decisions for them? That's what it's starting to sound like...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 8:48pm

    Re:

    Jesus, more drama here than on Facebook. Do you really believe this comes close to the greatest threat the republic has ever faced? Crack open a history book that covers basically any period prior to 1980, please.

    Civil war? A minor scuffle. World War 1 and 2? Playground battles. Civil rights struggle? Slavery? Burning of the White House? Secret war in Cambodia? Teapot Dome scandal? Japanese internment? All of this is nothing compared to this latest threat to democracy, right? Yep, might as well close up shop now.

    The ignorance, it burns so much.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 8:58pm

    Despite all those grave events, the Constitution remained in tack. Now it's being corrupted from the inside out, by enemies that wrap themselves in the American flag.

    Make no mistake, this is totally different from all those events you listed. America's democracy is teetering on the edge of the abyss.

     

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  11.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:03pm

    When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.

    While spying might be an awesome counter-terrorism tool, perhaps we should have given thought to other options.

    One need only look at the copyright fight (Yeah me mention copyright, keep reading anyways) to see how this fails.
    They increase the laws, penalties, surveillance and the problem gets worse.
    When they stop following those ideas and try other things, the problem gets better.

    It might be time to stop following the path laid out by those who profit from getting more expanding programs, and look at other programs without high powered lobbyists behind them.

    Want people to stop hating America?
    Stop screwing with them, their lives, their politics.
    Stop supporting dictators because it makes the oil flow easily.
    Stop calling out the "bad leaders" when you sold your moral highground out to treat your citizens the same or worse.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:03pm

    Re:

    States seceding from the Union and allowing people to own other human beings as chattel was not as much of a threat to the Constitution as this is?

    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:11pm

    "Amendment 13

    Abolition of slavery

    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce these article by appropriate legislation.

    December 6, 1865."


    Please take your own advice and learn United States history. Article 13 wasn't even part of the Constitution at the time of the civil war. It was amended 'after' the civil war that lasted from 1861 to 1865.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:18pm

    "I hereby formally declare that I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that meddling Snowden."

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:33pm

    Re:

    So you are arguing that slavery was not a threat to the union because it was Constitutional, but this surveillance is a threat because it isn't? I guess we can solve this problem the same way...we'll just amend the Constitution to make all this legal.

    And of course secession isn't a threat at all.

     

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  16.  
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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:44pm

    Quoting polls conducted by the liberal news media? Really?

    The polls everyone seems to be quoting are not accurate. There is not only overwhelming support for Snowden here in the United States but in other countries, Snowden has also become a folk hero. There is more animosity toward the liberal news media (who didn't start reporting on Snowden until after The Guardian broke the story and started revealing many classified documents that revealed the secrecy behind the spy program), the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress.

    Fact is, there is more support for Snowden in this country and abroad then there is for those against him.

    I can't believe you guys quoted polls that were conducted among liberal news media which was largely liberal Democrats who were taking those polls. IN the history of this country, there hasn't been a single poll that's refletive of the people living in this country.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I say we abolish all government established broadcasting and cableco monopolies for private and commercial use. What would be the problem with that, that the American people don't know what's good for them and need the mainstream media to enlighten them?

    Many people are ignorant thanks to our mainstream media. They get mislead by having the facts selectively presented to them. That needs to change. The mainstream media monopolies need to go.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and places like Russia and other places where the government has an undue influence over the media many people will believe the most ridiculous propaganda. You don't think the fact that the government establishes media monopolies has any influence here?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I know this is Techdirt and everything is the government's fault exclusively."

    No, when the RIAA, MPAA, mainstream media, government established taxi-cab monopolists, and many others can't make a living without the governments help in the form of monopoly privileges that is their own fault. It is no one else's fault that you can't make a living without IP privileges, it is your own fault and your own fault alone. Don't cry to the government about 'piracy' and blame your failures on the government and on everyone else. It is your own fault. Abolish IP and if you can't make a living you have only yourself to blame.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:57pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, and if IP gets abolished artists will starve and no more art will ever be created. It will cost the economy billions of dollars and innovation will cease to exist or will substantially slow down. Yeah right.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 9:59pm

    Re:

    The problem with polls is that the outcome can be greatly influenced by how questions and possible answers are worded.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Re:

    (well, it's not the only problem but it is a problem)

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Re:

    "Civil war? A minor scuffle. World War 1 and 2? Playground battles. Civil rights struggle? Slavery? Burning of the White House? Secret war in Cambodia? Teapot Dome scandal? Japanese internment? All of this is nothing compared to this latest threat to democracy, right? Yep, might as well close up shop now."

    Yeah, and two wrongs make a right, right?

    Do you even know the history behind laws that protect us from being searched without a warrant? Do you know the reason why the founding fathers included these laws and the history of repressive governments without these laws?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, and if IP gets abolished artists will starve and no more art will ever be created. It will cost the economy billions of dollars and innovation will cease to exist or will substantially slow down. Yeah right.

    Stay on-topic please...I am sure that the community will be reporting this post shortly, just like they do with everyone else whose discussion veers off-topic.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:03pm

    Re:

    The polls everyone seems to be quoting are not accurate.

    Because...you said so?

    IN the history of this country, there hasn't been a single poll that's refletive of the people living in this country.

    Oh, never mind, I thought you were sane there for a second.

    Attention future Techdirt advertisers...you, too can reach this prime demographic...

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    and don't give me this nonsense 'but ... but ... but... this is the United states and that somehow makes us magically magically special. Our government would never abuse its power if given such power'.

    And don't give us this nonsense, 'the difference between us and other countries is that we are a democracy. We vote. So then we should vote and let the government do whatever the heck it wants after that point'. No, that's not how it works either and that defeats the whole purpose of having a democracy. The point of voting and having a democracy is so that we can hopefully influence how we are governed and hopefully remove politicians from office who govern in ways that maybe against our interests.

     

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  27.  
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    StayedAtHolidayInnLastNight (profile), Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:08pm

    Re: Circle Jerk

    45 for 55 against is a huge majority. Not sure where you studied math, but that number is huge.

     

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  28.  
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    Dug, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:12pm

    The misunderstanding isn't Obama's

    I think the misunderstanding is yours, regarding the roles of the various players here. Most importantly, you seem to expect Obama to tame the government. He IS the point person for the entire government. No president will move to reduce the power of the presidency, or of the government generally. Gestures in that direction are typically illusory. Expecting Obama to do otherwise is fruitless. He will only defend the question of whether this should be legal (not to mention whether it is in fact legal) if the question is forced upon him.

    This was a very valuable article. Thanks for raising the questions you raise.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The point is that our concerns are real. Your concerns, about piracy and all, are the ones that are overinflated. Yet you accuse us of making a big deal out of nothing. That makes you look like nothing but a foolish hypocrite.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:32pm

    Re: Re:

    "So you are arguing that slavery was not a threat to the union because it was Constitutional, but this surveillance is a threat because it isn't? I guess we can solve this problem the same way...we'll just amend the Constitution to make all this legal."

    Once again, missing the point. Why don't we all just ignore the laws because laws can be changed anyways (after all the government does it and you don't seem to think it's that big a deal). What's that you say, a poor person infringed on IP? They should be jailed forever!!!

    If you want to come here and have a serious discussion then proceed. But if you just want to come here and look foolish don't be surprised when no one takes you seriously.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:39pm

    Re: Re:

    "Civil war? A minor scuffle. World War 1 and 2? Playground battles. Civil rights struggle? Slavery? Burning of the White House? Secret war in Cambodia? Teapot Dome scandal? Japanese internment? All of this is nothing compared to this latest threat to democracy, right? Yep, might as well close up shop now."

    So what you're saying is that since the government has a very long history of abuse we should allow them to continue to abuse their power because ...

    Maybe part of the reason this is so upsetting is because the government has a long history of abuse and so we know, from history, that it can't be trusted.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Or are you arguing that since the government has had such a long history of abuse that somehow diminishes the seriousness of this abuse?

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Jesus Christ, read first, then post. The original comment was:

    If these unconstitutional domestic spy programs don't end, America will turn into a corrupt totalitarian state. The Constitution of the United States was supposed to prevent this from happening.

    As of right now, the Constitution is just for show and has no meaning or functions.

    How long did the great experiment called 'democracy' last before corruption destroyed it? A little over 200? The human race never ceases to disappoint me.


    You agree with this? That this is literally the thing that will destroy the constitution and the US democracy? This is really a rational position to take, in the face of everything else that has happened in the past 200 years in this country? Of all the threats the country has faced and muddled through, of all the bad decisions that we have made and later corrected, the one that is going to destroy us is THIS?

    Perspective, people, get it.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 10:59pm

    Re:

    Don't know if you have been paying attention, but outside the circle jerk here the situation is not so cut and dry. According to the rest of the US the support for surveillance is about 45/55 against (hardly a huge majority clamoring for radical change) and Snowden's approval rating is roughly equivalent to that of George Zimmerman. I am not saying that in hyperbole or exaggeration - the same poll asked about Zimmerman and the results were similar.

    One poll is meaningless. I can just as easily point to a poll that says the opposite. In fact, here:

    http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/opinion/article/Snowden-affair-spotlights-gap-between-media-4682 698.php


    The national survey of U.S. voters by Quinnipiac University found that by a huge margin -- 55 percent to 34 percent -- respondents considered Snowden, the former National Security Agency contract employee, to be a whistle-blower, not a traitor.


    Not saying that's accurate either. Just pointing out that there is significant reason to believe that the public is, in fact, against the spying in a big way.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 11:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Whether of not "they need the enlightened Techdirt" is a moot point but to those of us outside the US it is clear now, and has been for many years, that "Americans just don't know what's good for them" in almost every area of life.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 11:09pm

    "The Ministry for State Security, commonly known as the Stasi, was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic or GDR, colloquially known as East Germany. It has been described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies in the world"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi

    The NSA's spying capabilities makes the Stasi look like amateurs. Again, please take your own advice a learn history. Those who don't, are destined to repeat it.

     

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  37.  
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    CK20XX, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 11:13pm

    Re:

    "Does President Obama actually think his speech appeased anybody?"

    I'm not sure he's even thinking anymore. Look at how gray he's become. He's probably given up on whatever vision he may have had at the start and is just staggering through each day as if it's a shift at McDonald's, just waiting for the day when it'll finally be over.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 12:38am

    Actually I think you will find he was trying to appease the American public and as the main driver of his wish to appease anyone is the amount of hard cash USA tech companies appear likely to loose from people outside the US it doesn't seem to be a very effective strategy.

     

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  39.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 2:15am

    Re: Re:

    The reality is that politicians of both parties have "gone native" with the intelligence establishment.

    Given Obama's rhetoric as a candidate it is really disappointing (and slightly surprising) that he went native so quickly. Generally one would have expected less from a republican.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 2:48am

    "Understandably, people would be concerned," the president said. "I would be, too, if I weren't inside the government.
    "
    If you are inside the government, the spying is used to support your position, however if you are outside and oppose the government it is used to reduce your threat to the government.
    So anybody who thinks that the government has gone too far has a very good reason to be concerned, they are easily classified as anarchists and terrorists, and spying is targetted against them.

     

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  41.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 3:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The solution is to believe what the Russian media says about the US and what the US media says about Russia - simple really...

     

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  42.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 3:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the difference between us and other countries is that we are a democracy. We vote.

    Actually you will find that most countries are now democracies by that measure. The mechanics of democracy are a very good cover for autocracy.

    True democracy requires more.

    It requires the absence of fraud and manipulation of the electoral process.

    It requires an electoral system that doesn't severely limit the possible outcomes of the electoral process.

    It requires an electoral system that doesn't effectively disenfranchise large parts of the population.

    It requires communication media that can give the public a full and unbiased view of the political arena.

    It requires that those in power respect the rights and wishes of minorities and do not assume that 51% of the vote gives them the right to do whatever they want.

    The US has failed on most of those counts in recent years (as do many other countries) so calling the US a democracy in contrast to others is questionable at best.

    I'd place the US slightly below Russia but above Zimbabwe in the democratic league just now!

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 4:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'd rather go by the words of the Declaration of Independence - those that encourage the overthrow of tyrannical governments being the sovereign duty of the populace.

     

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  44.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 4:15am

    Re: The misunderstanding isn't Obama's

    No president will move to reduce the power of the presidency, or of the government generally.

    Except Jimmy Carter - and look what happened to him!

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 4:17am

    Re: Re:

    Not really. And here's why: there was opposition to that idea from the elected for their people. Sure, they were heavily misguided, in my opinion, but the fact that they were willing to fight over that, and the elected aren't fighting nearly as vociferously this revelation, is staggering.

    It' almost like the élite have forgotten the collectiv e faces of America's Fathers.

     

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  46.  
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    FM Hilton, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 5:04am

    Words and Lies

    Every time someone from the government (any part of it) speaks about this, their nose grows longer.

    Polls don't do justice to the total American opinion. I'd say it's probably far, far higher against the spying than for it, and I'd love to think that given enough reason, most people would impeach the Congress and the President.

    Sad to say, we've not gotten to that point. Probably never will, at this rate.

    It's so much like spitting into the wind and about as useful.

     

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  47.  
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    Haudenosaun, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 5:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The question that should be asked is if democracy and empire can co-exist. The histories of previous empires have demonstrated that they cannot.

     

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  48.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 5:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The histories of previous empires have demonstrated that they cannot.

    I think the British Empire contradicts your assertion. Democracy in Britain certainly increased during the Imperial period (2nd half of 19th century 1st half of 20th).

    Of course increasing democracy certainly was a factor in the ending of the empire but your assertion that empire inevitably destroys democracy is clearly false.

     

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  49.  
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    Forest_GS, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re:

    That deserves a "sad but true" button!

     

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    Joseph Reichard, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 5:51am

    Martin

    Hey Coward where do you get your facts because nobody chased down any black and shot him it was the THUG(Black) who hid in the bushes and jumped an armed man and got what he deserved hopefully it will teach the rest of the wanna be THUGS that not all people are unarmed

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problem is, how many of those people who were asked knew about the NSA stuff and how bad things really are and how many of them don't know and how many of them are NSA apologists?

    When I talk about this stuff to people, they don't always understand right away until I start breaking down the details, THEN they're against the NSA and for what Snowden did.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re:

    "we'll just amend the Constitution to make all this legal."

    You're starting to get it now. You see the problem here?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re:

    Yes, I'm sure the only lies told were from the white house.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 7:29am

    Re:

    "Liberal News Media"

    - lol -

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    DCX2, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: The misunderstanding isn't Obama's

    It's really ironic that a man who tried to reduce the power of government is vilified by small-government conservatives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And only a few weeks earlier 55% of the US, according to the WSJ, viewed him as a whistleblower. So why are you pointing at this single poll as if it's definitive fact? Why are you poiting to the result as if a negative opinion of snowden automatically equates to classifying him as a terrorist/spy/enemy of the state and condemning him? You've got assumptions piled on assumptions in your 'analysis' of this result.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Top officials in the executive branch is not the same thing as 'the white house' nor was there a claim anywhere in that post that they were the only ones lying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think they just need to nationalize the backbones, right to the distribution box, and then open those distribution boxes to every supplier. Now that's competition, and it would cure a whole lot of other evil. Lot's of jobs too, since we could redirect some of that NSA money to put in fiber to the home, everywhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re:

    No one said 'greatest threat the republic has ever faced' but you? Nice straw man though. What was actually said was if the illegal, anti-democratic shit happening right now we won't have a true democratic-republic anymore, which is unequivocally true just as much as it would have been in any of your examples had we not overcome the challenge. The fact that we've overcome other challenges in history doesn't change that we face one now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    Re: Martin

    Reported because of racist overtones and not really being on point about anything to do with this article.
    Long story short, Joseph Reichard, fuck off.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    The issue that everyone keeps forgetting is that the Obama Administration in league with the U.S. Congress, thinks that every American is a security threat and a risk to national security. The only reason that you spy on Americans is that you suspect them, in some way, of committing a crime. When the government is spying on *every* American, it means that you suspect every American of the crime of being a threat to the national security of this country.

    Hell, President Obama and Harry Reid are always talking about how hard it is to pass bills in Congress and how they're always talking about going around Congress in order to get Congress.

    If anyone is guilty of any crime, it's the Democrats for actually suggesting that the president bypass Congress in order to get things done.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Then why not make that clear.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re:

    You're not crazy you're just a obtuse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re: The misunderstanding isn't Obama's

    'Conservative' in the US doesn't mean small-government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Martin

    I'm pretty sure "THUG(Black)" isn't overtones of racism but explicit racism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Because it's not relevant to the topic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let's have a vote on whether the public should be indiscriminately spied upon.

    While we're at it, let's vote on whether the police should be allowed to break into homes without warrants, berate and maim the occupants while destroying their private property.

    And let's not forget to vote on whether banksters should be held accountable for their actions.

    This will not happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 9:01am

    Re:

    As if slavery no longer exists in Murica.

    lol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    "Understandably, people would be concerned," the president said. "I would be, too, if I weren't inside the government."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. BEST. QUOTE. EVER.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    disheartened patriot, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    Sadly.. 62,111 dead In the war on terror (not exactly sure the numbers are correct)would object to the principle of this intrusion .. the reason The combined military forces are in the middle east... is to offer up the the now delusional thought of freedoms that other countries adhered to especially the US.. which has by the numbers torn ours and many other nations apart at the core .. there has got to be a better solution to this madness

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re:

    Can't change the events that have already taken place in history one can only hope that moving forward some kid who has his thoughts about being president/congressman one day will happen along and read this .. and learn something that may be useful ..history has a way of repeating itself unless an intelligent group of people respond.. remark.. protest and do whatever it takes to be heard .. the internet gives people a voice that can be heard all over the world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    it doesnt matter anyhow .. he who controls the data controls the outcome .. that includes the polls

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 10:29am

    Re:

    And as everyone knows, the 13th amendment stopped the government from drafting people into the military and prevented it from making people serve on juries. Oh wait...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 10:29am

    I hope someday soon people will stop seeing everything as R's versus D's and realize that American Democracy needs us to focus on Liberty versus Federalism.

    Congress critters are showing their allegiance on this issue. Vote out the Federalists, keep the defenders of Liberty.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    After reading through the comments, I don't see a post from Jesus Christ on here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Jesus Christ, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    The Democrats and the Republicans are the "New Communists" of this country. It's time for Americans to take back their country and to throw out the petty dictators in the U.S. Congress and the White House and give the country back to "The People".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Martin

    And that's just not politically correct, you know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    Smarterthanyou, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    Don't blame The democrats. The irony, it's more supported by the GOP...

    Even the latest vote in the GOP controlled house showed Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner voting the same!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    icon
    arkiel (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 11:42am

    Clearly having a Constitutional lawyer for a president was a mistake. Having a lawyer for a president in general was a mistake. The smartass probably spent so much time wondering whether the program was facially Constitutional or not, he forgot to consider whether or not it was RIGHT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    The NSA and Company, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    Dear, Citizens of the World We Are The Borg ... I'm kidding it's just us the NSA , We're here to tell you we are your friend, we are to be trusted by all .. never questioned , we know everything about you.. where you live who you speak to on a regualr basis all your emails those hidden accounts as well ..what you watch on tv.. what games you play who you sleep with.. .and when (naughty people ) ..your medical history.. bank account numbers .. everything you search for on the world wide web ..every breathe you take we even have little black boxes in your car there's no escape.. .. but do not be alarmed YOU can trust us "except that part about we weren't collecting data on Americans shhh" We Are Your New Masters And Gods ...

    P.S Stop buying that salt at the grocery store down the street(credit/Debit ) ;) I told you we know everything

    Yours truly ,

    The NSA and Company

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 12:14pm

    The comment made by "Smarterthanyou" is misleading. While it may have been a Republican idea, it's the Democrats who took their idea and flipped it so far over the top that the Democrats have become the "New Republicans".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    " What's at issue is that top officials in the executive branch have been deliberately lying to the legislative branch.
    "

    The fact that almost everyone in government and in the media is lying to the American public is not relevant to the topic?

    Do explain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 12:38pm

    Re:

    "in tack" ?

    wtf is does that mean?


    perhaps you meant intact.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re:

    Crazy Pants

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin

    In addition to being "not politically correct" it is bigotry, but then you knew that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 12:51pm

    Re:

    Be honest, not everyone in congress is paranoid.

    All encompassing statements about everyone are usually deficient in some aspect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re:

    Yes, it is the Rs vs the Ds ... that is what they want you to believe. Divide and conquer - seems to be working out just fine for the puppet masters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re:

    How come you compare burning of the White House to this?

    How in earth could burning of a building be of any relative importance?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    identicon
    Dave, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 3:01pm

    Quelle suprise!

    An awful lot of attempted damage limitation a-going on here, I reckon. Nothing's going to change, I'll be bound. Thought the government was supposed to serve the people. That's democracy - or so I've been led to believe but all these technically-illiterate politicians seem to be following their own agenda, as indeed are the mob over here in the UK. Our lot seem to think a flick of a switch will make the net a NICE place. Wrong - it just ain't gonna happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 3:01pm

    Re:

    Obama and the Democrats? Come on dude. This is not a party issue. Bush Started this shit with the Republicans. Don't try to make this about Obama. It's about the whole fucking government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    icon
    Cixelsid (profile), Aug 10th, 2013 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re:

    "The creatures outside looked
    from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already
    it was impossible to say which was which."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    identicon
    Mason, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 3:57pm

    Re:

    Though I agree with everything you say I think your distrust is too strongly directed towards democrats as if they were the cause of these problems when in fact it is both major parties that are responsible for the systematic deconstruction of our privileges. Propagating any one party as superior to the other will only succeed in segregating the people more. This party system is simply used to turn the people against the people. We need to unite as citizens of American against these injustice and not attack a specific party. otherwise we wont solve anything but change the hand behind the crimes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    identicon
    TaniwhaNZ, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re:

    It's interesting that you bring up the teapot dome scandal. At the time (1920s) it was considered the worst political scandal in US history. The scandal was that one senator had accepted bribes in return for cheap leases on oil fields.

    He was the first senator to be sentenced to prison.

    What do you think would happen if a senator was caught doing that today? Would it even be made public? If he even lost his job, the senator would just slide into a sweet gig at some hedge fund or energy company. Or he would just wait a year then run for Mayor of some huge city.

    The system is completely dysfunctional now. It's just not possible to say things are going fine with a straight face.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 5:36pm

    “Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked in this fashion; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, whose mind is free. No, not the rack nor the atomic bomb, not anything. You can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.” -- Robert Heinlein

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    B4187, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 5:42pm

    Response to: kenichi tanaka on Aug 9th, 2013 @ 7:57pm

    "President Obama and the Democrats know how to do is to continue to lie to the American People."
    Why make it a partisan issue by saying this? The fourth amendment is not a dem vs rep thing and should not be viewed through that lens. We saw that with the amsash vote.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 7:21pm

    Re:

    So, ignorance of their basic constitutional rights should be justification for the rest of us losing ours?

    The whole point of our system is that we make decisions based on fact, not fancy. And the simple fact of the matter is that there is no good evidence that these programs are beneficial. When the 45% can present arguments based on merit to counter the arguments presented by the 55%, then we'll pay attention to them. Until then, we will INSISIT that these things be stopped. Immediately. We don't want transparency or reform, we want an outright end of these programs.

    “...Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty, may acquire fresh Property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrendered their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.” - John Adams

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97.  
    identicon
    Stuff Happens, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 7:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah... bad stuff happened before, so why should we stress ourselves out worrying about this?

    We all ignored the Civil War, we ignored Vietnam, we ignored the burning of the White House... and THAT all worked out fine!

    Oh wait. No. We didn't. And we shouldn't now.

    If your only gripe is that this is labeled as more significant, then you're no better than a grammar nazi, and need to start looking at the big picture. Even if this is the tenth worst threat, it's a huge threat to our way of life.

    If your gripe is that we're freaking out about what's taking place... then I don't have an insulting enough label to place on you, so I'll just say that is an ignorant and lazy view.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:57pm

    I'm going to spend the next 10 hours reading all these comments and arguing with trolls as if it makes any difference at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 11:43pm

    Re: Re:

    That particular poll is complete bullshit though, you should really learn why these polls which only target about a thousand or so people are absolute garbage and don't reflect the opinion of any living person.

    It makes you look smarter than the idiot shills who want more of the police state.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  100.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Re:

    "Paranoid"?

    We live in the era which will be remembered as having one of the largest domestic and foreign spying programs ever devised and your response is "you're just paranoid"? Get off your high horse, you ignorant slob.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2013 @ 12:15am

    What's important is that Snowden is a traitor and a heretic. The Hindenburg caught on fire because of Snowden turning the heat up in his apartment. He also killed the Lindburg baby and resurrected his corpse to wash dishes in his baby sweatshop. Did you know Snowden runs a baby sweatshop? That's where he runs his small business of knitting custom nazi paraphernalia. 90% of all official Hitler's-ghost approved nazi flags come from his baby-sweatshop that he runs in his basement. He also is part Chinese and Russian, at night he likes to shed out of his white male skin and become a vodka-drinking, america burning terrorist. It is said that he also made a pact with Osama Bin Laden, who possessed a doll that Snowden keeps in his purse so he can consult it on how to further destroy American dreams and the smiles of young children


    Just please please please PLEASE don't pay any attention to all that stuff he revealed. Here, look at this not-biased poll telling you that a bunch of morons (approx 1000 of them!) barely know who Snowden is and may have only made their opinion through the use of coin-flipping. You are a true American and believes that Snowden is the anti-christ, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2013 @ 3:07am

    You can make a wrong legal, but at the end of the day it is still wrong albeit not illegal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    icon
    RyanNerd (profile), Aug 11th, 2013 @ 4:59am

    Re: Re:

    I for one can hardly wait for when it'll finally be over.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    identicon
    Isakill, Aug 11th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    Source for quote

    "Understandably, people would be concerned," the president said. "I would be, too, if I weren't inside the government."

    I can't find a video of him saying this. Is it a paraphrase of the entire speech, or did he ACTUALLY say this? Where is the source?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    One might try reading the post and comprehending its content, apparently that is too difficult.

    OP - "the Obama Administration in league with the U.S. Congress, thinks that every American is a security threat and a risk to national security."

    Reply to OP - "not everyone in congress is paranoid"

    Your maniacal response - "We live in the era which will be remembered as having one of the largest domestic and foreign spying programs ever devised and your response is "you're just paranoid"? Get off your high horse, you ignorant slob."

    So I am an ignorant slob because I implied many in Congress are paranoid, interesting concept but lacking in logic. The definition of paranoid includes things like "suspiciousness, persecutory trends, or megalomania" ... are you suggesting that Congress does not exhibit these traits when they "think that every American is a security threat"? Are you attempting to claim that no members of Congress exhibit these traits? Please explain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  106.  
    identicon
    bigpicture, Aug 11th, 2013 @ 10:46am

    Principles

    Good governance must be based on good principles, the founding Fathers knew this well and the Constitution is a set of principles against which to contrast any governance methods.

    Unfortunately there are two ways to measure against these principles (1) What is the spirit and intent of each principle, and how good is the governance match? (2) How can I get the interpretation of each principle to match my own agenda, and how can I sell this interpretation to the public? Unfortunately even a rock solid Constitution still requires ethical people to administer. How did we get to the point where there are SECRET laws, and it is a felony to divulge the content of those laws?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107.  
    identicon
    Bob Jacobson, Aug 11th, 2013 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Obama's Placification Strategy

    Kenichi, it's unnecessary to make this a partisan issue: it runs down your argument and takes our attention in a worthless direction.

    Both parties participated and still participate in this racket, but they're not the worst offenders. The worst offenders are this and other nations' "intelligence communities" which are globally joined and constitute a para-government that's unaccountable to politicians of any stripe. I believe because it has dirt on everyone, it probably gets politicians of all persuasions to do its bidding lest they be exposed for some petty or capital crime.

    Focusing on Obama and his ilk may be satisfying, doing something when it seems we can't do anything. But it won't solve a thing. This is much deeper than that. We need some real anti-authoritarian, collective oppositional innovation, not old slogans.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  108.  
    identicon
    Bob Jacobson, Aug 11th, 2013 @ 3:02pm

    How foolishly complacent. Never before has government reached into your home, your place of work, and your head.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109.  
    identicon
    Bob Jacobson, Aug 11th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    At the price of freedom for the colonials. Just displaced fascism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  110.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Aug 11th, 2013 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Please explain - you make no sense...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think anyone is saying anything like "two wrongs make a right". It's a matter of keeping things in perspective. As awful as the government spying is, it is not (yet, anyway) an existential problem as the AC was suggesting. It's pretty easy to go into the past and find lots of times when even worse things were being done, and we survived them. Despair now is premature and unwarranted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  112.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 9:38am

    Re: The misunderstanding isn't Obama's

    He IS the point person for the entire government.


    No, he's not, except for the purposes of foreign relations. He's the point person for the executive branch. He doesn't speak for the other 2/3rds of government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  113.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Re:

    If you say Liberty vs Corporatism, then I agree with you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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