It Takes Jon Stewart To Finally Ask Obama About Civil Liberties… But Lets Him Off The Hook On Bogus Answer

from the sad dept

In the various Presidential debates, no one seems to want to bring up President Obama’s near complete about-face on his promises concerning civil liberties. It’s so ridiculous that the Democratic party simply removed the issue from their platform — and that’s because he hasn’t just continued former President Bush’s abuses of civil liberties, he’s gone even further with them. And no one seems to want to ask the candidates about it… except a comedian. When President Obama appeared on The Daily Show recently, Jon Stewart actually asked him about this:

STEWART: I think people have been surprised to see the strength of the Bush era warrantless wiretapping laws and those types of things not also be lessened—That the structures he put in place that people might have thought were government overreach and maybe they had a mind you would tone down, you haven’t.

OBAMA: The truth is we have modified them and built a legal structure and safeguards in place that weren’t there before on a whole range issues.

However, as the EFF explains in great detail, President Obama’s answer is simply not true. It’s not even close to true.

To the contrary, there’s no indication that the still-active warrantless wiretapping program—which includes a warrantless dragnet on millions of innocent Americans’ communications—has significantly changed from the day Obama took office. With regard to the FISA Amendments Act, the Obama Administration has actively opposed all proposed safeguards in Congress. All the while, his Administration has been even more aggressive than President Bush in trying to prevent warrantless wiretapping victims from having their day in court and has continued building the massive national security infrastructure needed to support it. 

They then go on to look more closely at all of these different promises from President Obama related to this, all of which he’s fallen down on. Unfortunately, Stewart doesn’t push back on this point, as they then go straight to a joke, before moving on to another topic. Of course, for those of us who aren’t shackled to a party and, instead, find civil liberties to be a key issue, we’re left with two major candidates who don’t seem to care about massive abuses by the federal government.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “It Takes Jon Stewart To Finally Ask Obama About Civil Liberties… But Lets Him Off The Hook On Bogus Answer”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Unfortunately Jon Stewart’s first job is to be funny. It’s his weak spot. He can’t play hardball too long before he feels a need to crack a joke.

His interview with Obama was disappointing to say the least, but the fact that nobody else asks about these issues is even more disappointing.

And from Obama’s perspective, there just aren’t enough people that care to make an issue out of it.

Sneeje (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m not convinced that citizens don’t care, the problem is that they can’t comprehend what to do about it on top of the alligators eating their shorts every day.

On a daily basis they are stressing about their job, health, the hole in their roof, debt, kids, the environment, etc.

How can we expect them to make a stink that may jeopardize their job or security, when they might not even be educated enough to fully comprehend the issue?

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Since when has not fully comprehending an issue ever stopped an American from speaking their mind? It’s certainly never stopped me.

I’m a big proponent of the Being Loudly Wrong method of crowdsourcing the perfecting of arguments. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of people who’re quite happy to tell you how you’re wrong.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just to reinforce what Sneeje said… when I discuss this and similar issues with my non-geek friends (yes, I do have them), they start off ignorant of them. Once they’ve learned about the issue, they inevitably become very concerned.

I think most people care a lot, they just aren’t aware of the issue at all, largely because the media doesn’t care and so it doesn’t get widely covered.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

there just aren’t enough people that care to make an issue out of it.

I care, and therefore Obama doesn’t get my vote this time.

NC is very close, although is highly likely to go to Romney, and Obama doesn’t need it to win anyway. Too bad I don’t live in Ohio, where either candidate would do almost anything for a few more votes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Afraid of civil liberty alternatives to the (Double-tap drone strikes on innocent civilians, gun trafficking to drug cartels, massive warrant-less wiretapping and surveillance of US citizens, TSA harassment, Internet redirection for thousands of innocent websites, attack whistle-blowers, bypassing the peoples elect Congress as dictatorial issuer of royal decrees) Obama administration who will have more flexibility for Vladimir after the election.

Ed C. says:

Re: Re:

Simple, because anyone might be a “terrorist”. Of course, they get to make up what “terrorist” means, and they don’t even have to tell you what the interpretation of the month is for reasons of “national security”. But then they get to make up what “national security” means, and they don’t even have to tell you what the interpretation of the month is for reasons of “national security”.

George Zimmer (profile) says:

Hi Mike, I’m George Zimmer, Founder and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse.

This wireless tapping is a huge problem for me because the sight of my Cthulhu love tentacle during the Men’s Wearhouse annual naked twister party causes most people to recite the ramblings of the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, but in a higher octave, and we know what the government thinks of Arabs.

My first solution would be to clean out Obama’s ears with my writhing flesh snake, but unfortunately that would kill him. I guarantee it.

monkyyy says:

Re: Re:

no one will ever get to ask any politician a hard question, its simple if anyone ever does earn the right to interview one, it doesnt matter if they ask hard questions they will get ratings while asking had questions means they will NEVER work again in journalism as politician can pick and choose who gets to interview them;

so they will always always always, pick a safe bet on who wont challenge them and if possible someone who knows how to ask questions that make them look good like “so how did u find bin laden?” “how much worse would the ression be w/o those bailouts?” “just how much do u hate terrorism?”

PT (profile) says:

Where the power lies

I think the truth is that the President just doesn’t have the power people expect he has. The Federal government is less about Congress and the President than it is about what might be called the permanent civil service, the agencies that go on and on with their own agendas regardless of which party holds office. I don’t believe George W Bush had anything more to do with the abuses of his administration than blindly signing the papers that were put in front of him, and I don’t believe Obama (or for that matter, Eric Holder) has enough of a leash on the security agencies to restrain their existing power, let alone roll them back.

And let’s not forget what happened to the last President who acted decisively against the wishes of one of the agencies. No other president has taken that chance for fifty years.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Wow. Such a defeatist attitude. I really hope you enjoy reaping what you sow. Heaven forbid we try and change anything, now that we know Ross Perot got 19% of the vote in the early 90s, that means we can’t ever have a 3+ party system. Thanks so much for wasting my time and especially contributing negatively with your cowardly, defeatist attitude.

Money with Attitude says:

Re: Re:

Just love these… I hate “insert Party Here”…. Pull your head out of your ass and pick a person (regardless of party) who represents you and your views… NOT A DAMN PARTY the PARTY’S ARE THE PROBLEM… YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM WITH STUPID STATEMENTS LIKE THAT… Parties do not represent Ideas anymore

I vote for the person I think is the best, last time I voted for all 3 parties (different positions) and i will again…

mischab1 says:

Re: Re: Re:

“… pick a person (regardless of party) who represents you and your views”

Can I have a patch-work president? I want 10% of Romney, 40% of Obama … I’m not sure where the rest should come from. Are there any politicians out there truly interested in reducing the executive branch’s over-reach and improving civil liberties with more than lip-service?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“I Voted Democrat because I felt they are the lesser of two Evils.I do not like them but everyone must Vote and I have a big dislike for the GOP so I Voted against them across the board.”

I always vote for the best individual candidate whose track record closest matches my viewpoints. People voting party lines is how a lot of these worthless politicians get in and stay in.

monkyyy says:

Re: Re:

no voting is completely meaningless
and no, democrats is probably are greater of two evils if u think they are the lesser;

for example(assuming ur biggest selling point is peace) it rarely matters which side is in power for things but when in comes to extreme cases like cannadas debt issues a few decades ago, the leftys in government cut spending quite well, why? cause the lefty werent whining, currently people believe the war is over, why? because the leftys arent whining about obama being the violent warlord

so yes the government is full of evil men who will screw u over if they get a dime BUT their biggest goal is to stay in power(not to destroy the world) so voting the opposite party in means people of the “ur” party will be on the lookout of flat out evil things being done while they would ignore it if “they” won

or in other words the neo-cons are better about ending wars and the socialists are better at removing terrible regulation, a rightwinger would be able legalize pot when the prison system is getting to big for even the corrupts own good and the left will cut spending better when the system is risking hyper inflation

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Can I have some dressing with that word salad?

Seriously, I got a headache trying to parse that. One piece of garbage I’ll point out though is “neo-cons are better about ending wars”. Like the ‘lefty’-instigated wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

I’m wondering if you got your left and right mixed up here… since I think the ‘left’ would be more likely to legalise pot, and for all that I’m a Liberal, the left aren’t renowned for cutting spending. Or, I’m just totally confused by your baloney!

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s part of “the long slide”

The executive branch has never given up any power, once they take it. The longer they have the power, the harder the power to take back.

If you think about it, it’s an inherent trait of an “executive”. Their mandate is to execute policy (law, etc.) Clearly, the more power they have, the easier their job is (ask any CEO or dictator). Why would they do something to make their job harder like giving up some power?

The check on executive power is the legislature (not good – too disperse), judicial, and “the people”. Those groups are multi-party. The executive is single party. Originally, per the US Constitution, the executive was split. VP was almost guaranteed to be opposition party. I think the lack of that balance has burt the US, longer term.

Anyway, the lack of executive will to give back a power is why Bush should have been taken to task when the power grab happened. “Those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither.”

History has show this pattern: executive takes power at each opportunity. Usually for a reason (sometimes a valid one). But they never give it back when the “crisis” is over. Thus, the system eventually collapses (aka: re-boots)

monkyyy says:

Re: Not sure I care

mafia supporter here, they lie alot, and are probaly raising the protection fees all the time

buts heres the thing:

i just dont care. it doesnt impact me on a daily basis. i’ll pay the fee and move along

why do u call yourself a supporter? and if it doesnt impact u, why are u playing their little game of voting?

“I am very fond of truth, but not at all of martyrdom.” voltare

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not sure I care

You can hate one element of his platform and performance (or even more), but that still doesn’t balance out hating (nearly) everything about his opponent. So were I voting, I wouldn’t vote for the ‘worse evil’ even though Obama is hardly much lesser in some ways.

Maybe I’d vote for Jimmy Hoffa, he’s probably done more good for the country…

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...