Candidate Obama Debating President Obama On Civil Liberties vs. Government Surveillance

from the quite-a-difference dept

We recently had a video showing then Senator Joe Biden, from seven years ago, “debating” the current President Obama on government surveillance. I hadn’t seen this until now, but someone else has put together a much better video showing Presidential candidate Obama in 2008 vs. President Obama in 2013. The difference is stark.

Not only is there a massive difference in what’s being said, but also in how it’s being said. The Candidate Obama spoke clearly, directly strongly and without equivocation about protecting civil liberties and not giving up our freedoms. President Obama’s speech, on the other hand, sounds weak, vague and unpresidential in comparison. In the first one, he makes these clear, declarative announcements:

This administration puts forth a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.

But as President, he says (while rolling his eyes — the video is incredible):

You can’t have 100% security… and then also have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience…. We’re, we’re going to have to make some choices.

As a candidate:

I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies the tools they need to take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedoms. That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. That means no more national security letters to spy on Americans who are not suspected of committing a crime. No more tracking citizens who do no more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. That’s not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.

As President, he talks vaguely about how his team made an “assessment” and that these programs keep people safe, and “in the abstract” people might claim these programs are “Big Brother” but he thinks there’s a “balance” to be struck. It’s funny how different dictatorial surveillance powers look when you’re the guy in charge of them.

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Comments on “Candidate Obama Debating President Obama On Civil Liberties vs. Government Surveillance”

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115 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

President and Candidate not the same thing

It’s simply the difference between a candidate speech and a Presidential speech.

You do understand the difference right ??

You know far more about security issues as the president than you do as a candidate, it’s also not a policy statement, plus, people (even presents) can change their mind, particularly if more information is made available to them.

Is it only Masnick that is unable to change his mind and opinion when provided with more information ?

gullible white cattle says:

Re: Re: hostile elite vs gullible whites

All this NSA spying is done by Jewish crime syndicates from Israel. this is not left vs right, GOP vs Dems, Socialism vs liberty. This is war against White people.

Why do hostile globalist elite defend Israel as a Jewish ethnostate with Jewish only immigration, but ravage White majority Europe/North America into a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Gulag with dystopian non-White colonization?

The world is 93% non-White, only 7% White. But 3rd world colonizers, Muslims, Sikhs, Hispanics, are aggressively advancing their agenda to annihilate gullible Whites, just as China annihilates Tibet.

How long will gullible Whites cuckold for murderous anti-White elite, who confiscate our guns, infiltrate/subvert our banks/FBI/CIA, indoctrinate White kids in academia/mass media, plunder White jobs/wages, & butcher White soldiers in bankrupting wars?

“Native” Americans invaded from East Asia. Yellow & Brown races committed 10-times more genocide, slavery, imperialism than Whites. Since Old-Testament, Whites have been victims of Jewish/Crypto-Jewish, Turkic, Muslim, N.African imperialism, slavery, genocide.

Gullible Whites should reject subversive ideologies- libertarianism, feminism, liberalism- & reject hostile slanders of racism. Peace to all humanity, but White people must organize to advance their interests, their fertility, their homelands. Spread this message. Reading list: goo.gl/iB777 , goo.gl/htyeq , amazon.com/dp/0759672229 , amazon.com/dp/1410792617

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: President and Candidate not the same thing

you elect a president to be president, to make decisions based on CURRENT KNOWLEDGE, and to lead the Government.

I don’t really think you know at all why you elect presidents, I would guess you don’t vote so you probably don’t elect anyone at all.

So you elect people based on their inability to change their mind ? Show me a leader who has ever done that ?? and I will show you a leader who never led.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: President and Candidate not the same thing

negative.

something like 9-11 happens, thats large enough for someone to take a step back and re-assess their thinking. something like WWII happens? they BETTER take a step back and reassess their thinking.

but this? its bullshit reasons by a bullshit president running a bullshit administration built on saying whatever needed to be said in order to get into office.
thats not leadership. thats acting on a childish “i want those toys” tantrum.
and now that he has the toys, what he said in order to get them doesnt seem to matter to anyone. that… should worry people.

horse with no name says:

Re: President and Candidate not the same thing

I agree with you on this one.

The realities as President are sometimes different from the theoretical concepts as a candidate. There are things that the Candidate Obama may not have known or truly understood that he now understands as President Obama.

This is perhaps the best example you will see of theoretical versus practical. What works in theory doesn’t work in reality. It’s easy as heck to talk a good game when all you are doing is riding the pine, it’s totally different when you are actually in the game.

Will says:

Re: President and Candidate not the same thing

Jesus Christ people! Why was this comment flagged? Are people not allowed to have dissenting opinions? Are we not allowed to have a public discourse on those opinions? I see nothing trollish, racist, or prejudiced mentioned! So why flag it?

To the people who reported the original comment I am thoroughly disgusted at you. You can’t First Amendment with only opinions you agree with. You’re no better than people who stifle free speech.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: President and Candidate not the same thing

Why was this comment flagged?

I’d tend to agree with you since it was mostly fairly innocuous, but if I had to guess it’s because it has the tone of one of the regular trolls who has repeatedly shown themselves completely uninterested in “public discourse” in favour of ad-hom attacks (the pejorative “Masnick” is often the start) and “dissenting opinion” that ends up looking like the Argument Sketch

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: President and Candidate not the same thing

People are too trigger happy with the report button here, which is unfortunate.

I personally don’t like the report mechanism. I would prefer a scoring system similar to slashdot or stack overflow, and a mechanism to filter out comments with low score. I think it would be fairer.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: President and Candidate not the same thing

I believe the ‘trigger happy nature’ of some people here is due to the ‘boy who cried wolf’ syndrome, where some posters have demonstrated that they are better off ignored/reported due to their actions so many times that people just automatically report any comments by them.

While I personally may disagree with such thinking, it’s rather hard to blame people for acting like that, as you get hostile or trolling comments shoved in your face enough and eventually you just don’t feel like giving those commentors the benefit of the doubt anymore.

In this reported comment for example, they were doing fine right until the last line, when they pulled out the personal attack. Without that there, I doubt it would have been reported, but with it there people can see that the poster is not in fact someone interested in a debate or discussion, but only interested in attacking and/or name calling those that disagree with them, marking them as someone best ignored.

Anonymous Coward says:

You can’t have 100% security… and then also have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience…. We’re, we’re going to have to make some choices.

Makes perfect sense in a real world, and I guess he made some choices.. What other choices could he have possibly made ??

And here is his choice, perfectly consistent with his previous OPINION (as candidate).

I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies the tools they need to take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedoms.

So what is inconsistent here ???????

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

  1. What terrorists or even attacks have been stopped, that could not have been stopped through already existing procedures and laws?
  2. What part(s) of the constitution hasn’t been tramped to death, doing more damage than the terrorists could have even dreamed of, all in the panic to ‘deal with the terrorists’?

    Think about those two questions and you might see the problem.

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

For another article, I actually looked up what Amendments had & hadn’t been trampled & considered why. I don’t remember if I submitted that post, though (I think it was in reply to a troll, who didn’t deserve to see all that effort). Here’s what I came up w/:

Amendments violated in some way: I (core Freedoms), IV (unreasonable searches), V (Due Process/ Trial by Jury), VI (Fair & Speedy Trail — violated w/ the Whistleblowers), VIII (excessive fines — Copyright fines should violate this), IX (other rights not listed), X (over-stepping authority) & XIV (Due Process again).

The Amendment II is under fire, but doesn’t seem to have been violated, as yet.

The other Amendments (III, VII, XI, XII, XIII, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII) either would be difficult to violate; would be difficult to violate w/o complete, meaningful public backlash (namely those dealing w/ term limits, etc.); or don’t really apply to limiting government power, so the Government doesn’t seem to be interested in violating them.

I do not apologize for using Roman Numerals. It felt appropriate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Amendment II has been violated at the state and city levels. Illinois has been trying to ban guns for awhile and Chicago has, on occasion, actually done that. When pushed back on this issue they’ve crafted a large number of hoops you have to jump through in order to have a firearm any longer.

unedit says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The Second

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

This! even if SCOTUS decided the first part didn’t matter.

I do not see the gun lobby forming militias. Today I would imagine they would be labelled as terrorist organizations and quickly quashed. Only the part of the that supports a large politically connected industry is preserved. However it is certainly the first part that made this amendment important in the eyes of the founders. A gun in the hands of an undisciplined, unorganized citizen is only a tool for killing, not for preserving the Union.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:6 The Second

Well-regulated meaning well-trained. George Mason, co-author of the Second Amendment, said thus: “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” The militia is the American people. Granted there are individual militia groups, hundreds in fact, that are in keeping with our Constitution.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 The Second

The militia argument is flawed to begin with simply for the fact that at the time the Constitution was drafted the word did not mean what it means today. At that time the term referred to the ENTIRE BODY OF THE PUBLIC that was capable of bearing arms for the defense of the country against tyranny originating EITHER abroad or within, not an organized trained military. The terms “well regulated” means essentially PREPARED. So to translate the second amendment to modern language…

As a public that is prepared and capable of defending itself and it’s liberty is necessary for it to remain free the right to keep and bear arms shall not be fucked with.

Unedit says:

Re: Re: Re:6 The Second

“Well regulated” seems pretty clear, even though it may be hard to pull off. It means disciplined and trained as a fighting force.

But since that is too difficult for people to wrap their heads around, and they do not get along well with their neighbors anyway, just toss that out. Redefine the words, ignore that militia has a very clear meaning and purpose. You say “well regulated” means essentially prepared. Well unless you drill with your fellow citizens, learn to shoot accurately and conservatively, learn the tactics of battle, you are not prepared.

So you do not have a force that can repel an organized army, which is what you will need to hold your liberty, you have a bunch of people waiting to shoot who ever steps on their lawn or cuts them off in traffic. They will fall easily when there is more than one person shooting back.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 The Second

Your comment fails in it’s assumption that the only way to repel a large conventional military force is with another conventional military force. It’s the same assumption that has proved to be the Achilles’ heel of powerful military forces though out the ages. It is what ultimately lead to the defeat of the British in the American revolution. It is what made Vietnam ultimately an unsuccessful effort. It has plagued forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and countless others. An armed citizenry is better capable of resisting tyranny even by unconventional means regardless of where that tyranny originates which is what the second amendment is all about. It has nothing to do with forming a conventional army from the general population necessarily.

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I was focusing on Federal Violations.

& as far as I’m aware, I probably could go & get a gun if I wanted one; so from my point of view, I don’t see the infringement people are talking about.

I agree keeping guns out of the hands of criminals & crazies is appropriate for the safety of everyone else, so I don’t see that as infringing the 2nd Amendment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

And who determines who the “criminals and crazies” are? If you disagree with certain government policies, belong to the “wrong” political party, believe in certain so-called “conspiracy theories”, are known to believe in things like freedom and liberty, then hmmm, you might be a crazy or perhaps a terrorist. Sorry…no gun for you!

TheLastCzarnian (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Maybe he made some choices, and maybe they were made for him.
It took him 2 weeks to go back on his promise not to appoint lobbyists in his administration. That’s abnormally quick. Who is to say that the intelligence that was being gathered was not on him as well?

He was very pricipled up until his election. Then, suddenly, he was all national security and Hollywood.

Of course, no one would think to blackmail the President of the United States of America, that’s just tinfoil-hat talk.

But then, so is gathering all the data of all the communications in the world and sorting through it as you see fit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Well, yes but the joke goes something like this:

“So, this guy wins the Presidency, and a group of men in expensive suits take the new President to a dark, smoke-filled room. One of them says, ‘Roll the tape!’ and a tape comes on the projector. It’s the JFK assassination, but the angle is suspiciously like the view from the grassy knoll.

“At the end of the film, one of the suits asks, ‘Any questions?’ The president replies, ‘Uhh, yeah. What’s my agenda?'”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yep he gave them the tools and then some and then again more some and then again and again and again.

To his other promises that he knew were all just empty he never gave a thought apparently.

He sold the American people out, although he may have sold it a bit less that Romney would have but still.

As others said he is a POS but he is the best POS we got right now and that is just scary.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:

“As others said he is a POS but he is the best POS we got right now and that is just scary.”

I take issue with that. That we’re relegated to just two primary candidates from the two-party system (both two sides of the same coin) is where the problem truly lies. Also, why does each candidate require such a huge war-chest in order to campaign? This instantly eliminates the working/middle class citizenry. We’re always stuck with a few elitist candidates and their coffers, i.e. corporate and special interests who want favors. We get to choose between one elitist or another elitist. The deck is rigged.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Also, why does each candidate require such a huge war-chest in order to campaign?

This! When it costs around $3M to be elected to the senate, around ?1M to be elected to congress and $500M to be elected president it’s clear that in the modern media world speech has become money and anyone with it has the loudest voice. That’s nowhere close to democracy.
How you fix that I don’t know…. maybe elections should be publically funded with each candidate given exactly the same budget…. but I’ve no idea how one enforces that.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The establishment is too well-entrenched to ever allow for that to happen. They want a candidate who will protect their interests (money and power) and nothing less will suffice. Thus, by making our electoral process so cost-prohibitive, that automatically keeps the working class citizenry out of the process.

Minor correction: we’re a Constitutional republic, not a democracy.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Minor correction: we’re a Constitutional republic, not a democracy.

Yeah, I know that… There are no democracies, though many governments (including the US) always refer to themselves as democratic.
Oddly, in this day-and-age and with modern communications and the internet a “true” democracy is in fact possible. Which makes one wonder why none exist or are in the process of being created… guess that kinda underlines your point, huh?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What is required is to make candidates represent the people, so I suggest for all democracies:

1) Require candidates to be funded by individual donations, from donors in their constituency, and limit the maximum donation. This would require candidates to build a popular base among the people they are meant to represent to fund their campaign. Large donations from the rich and corporation are expressly prohibited.

2) Allow the to affiliate with a party, and pass some funding to party headquarter, but do not allow the party to fund the campaign of any candidates.

3) The constituency for a directly elected president is the whole country, so they can accept funds from any Individual voter.

Note for US citizens.
The electoral college system for president was the best that could be done where communication and travel were limited by the horse, or convenient sea and river routes. Under these conditions, the Presidential candidates could not tour the country. Therefore a collegial system was required so that people could elect someone to select a president from among those elected. With modern communication and travel capabilities, a direct election is possible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

One way is to place limits on the length of time for a campaign with mandatory allocation of extra funds to non-partisan government programs that benefit the general public. If you can’t campaign legally until 6 months before an election, the amount of extra money you have becomes pointless for the purposes of getting elected because you don’t have time to spend it. Suddenly the playing field is much leveler and there is the potential to greatly benefit the public.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You can’t have 100% security… and then also have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience…. We’re, we’re going to have to make some choices.

Makes perfect sense in a real world,

No, it really doesn’t because the statement sets up a False Dichotomy.
You can’t have 100% security at all.
There is no such thing and striving for it at the expense of privacy and freedom is an ever-devolving circle that gets you increasing small returns of imaginary security at the expense of ever-increasing amounts of very real freedoms being lost.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

your President said that, you agree with him,

I don’t have a president and no, that’s not what the quote says.
The phrasing sets up the idea that you can have 100% security if you remove “enough” privacy and convenience to do so. This is completely false, and in fact history has shown that beyond a certain point the opposite becomes true.

but that does not mean you MUST therefore have 0% security.

Again a false dichotomy and I suggested no such thing. Some security is achievable without any sacrifice of privacy.
The entire basis of the United States is supposed to be that one must be incredibly careful and deliberate and measure even the smallest sacrifice of such things as privacy and freedom against a collective gain for the country as a whole, meaning all the people in it not the government.
If such a calculation is found wanting it should not be considered acceptable. It is blatantly obvious that such calculation is not being performed anymore since most of the recent sacrifices have be undeniably large for security “gains” that achieve barely in increase in perceived security, never mind actual security.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Right on. Sacrificing freedom for security is a false dichotomy, as is the line “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about,” a weak excuse for violating our privacy.

But then it was never about our security to begin with. It’s about propping up a police state wherein the wealthy are protected by the system and everyone else is relegated to slave class, monitored fastidiously in order to make sure that nobody can challenge the status quo.

In order that something be cleaned, something else must become dirty. The same holds true for money: in order for the rich to become richer, the poor have to become poorer. The 400 most wealthy Americans have more accumulative wealth than the bottom 150 MILLION. The gap between rich and poor continues to widen with each passing year.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What’s inconsistent is the government’s job description. Their job is to uphold the constitution, not provide safety and security for the people, unless it serves to uphold the constitution in its application.

The first and second amendments reserve the rights for the people to provide their own security by forming and training their own voluntary militia to guard the security of the people. The government’s job is to make sure that those rights are protected.

The framers seem quite clever in this regard that they knew a government that owns it’s own militia would inevitably turn that force against its own people, which is why standing armies are not allowed despite the fact that they exist. Security is the responsibility of the people and the government’s job is to make sure that they do nothing that would violate our protected rights.

The bottom line is the government secures our liberty, the people take care of their own security. It’s unfortunate that the two concepts have been muddied into being synonymous.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Ben Franklin

There is no amount of security that can facilitate a fair exchange for the value of liberty. I recall someone saying they’d rather die than live without liberty. I believe that man was Patrick Henry. Oh my how we’ve been brought down to whimpering cows compared to the people that fought for the liberty we give up so easily! My ancestors lived in colonial America during the American revolution, they may have even been rebels. I’d hate to insult the sacrifice of my ancestors by cowing myself to the tyranny they fought to overthrow.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Ben Franklin

I always thought that he was copping-out when he said that. It ought to be “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, get neither liberty nor safety.”

Eponymous Coward says:

Wow, a stark contrast here it's like Barack Obama vs. Bizarro Obama...

It’s disheartening to hear the zeal with which candidate Obama once spoke with, maybe because he was on the right side of history in this argument at that point, compared to how President Obama sounds tired and disconcerted when trying to spin this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wow, a stark contrast here it's like Barack Obama vs. Bizarro Obama...

The difference is that in 2008, he believed what he was saying. He spoke with conviction, with passion.

Now, in 2013, he can’t keep the weariness out of his voice. He’s just going through the motions; reading off a list of talking points that his staff decided have the best chance of allaying the public’s fears.
But he’s not going to convince people, because he himself is clearly not convinced.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What terrorists?


More people get killed by automobiles each year than have been killed by terrorists over the last 20 years.”

and look how many police offers are employed in surveillance activities to reduce the number of people killed by automobiles.

You rightly accept that, and most people can understand how IT REDUCES activities that lead to auto deaths. It’s a shame you cant.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: What terrorists?

Your argument revolves around a false premise, that being that omnipresent law enforcement would result in less accidents, that the whole population should be inconvenienced because of a few bad drivers. The same scapegoat logic is used for why we should all be treated like potential criminals, because there might be a boogeyman in our midst.

Even if you conceded all your personal freedoms to the government in exchange for security, the world wouldn’t suddenly cease to be a dangerous place. The only difference would be that you’d be enslaved. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

The police cannot prevent an automotive accident anymore than they can prevent a crime. They can only react to a given circumstance either while it’s occurring or after the fact.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What terrorists?

There is a difference between police monitoring traffic, and only noting and reacting to traffic violations, and a government recording every message and conversation you have over any communication network.
The police do not generally keep records of traffic so that they can, possibly years latter, go back through the records to find violations to discredit people for political purposes. he governments data collection allows for this possibility, and that is how it will be used to protect the incumbent powers.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: What terrorists?

You rightly accept that, and most people can understand how IT REDUCES activities that lead to auto deaths

No, I don’t “rightly accept it” and statistics actually suggest it reduces auto deaths far less than you imagine if not actually increasing them (relatively). In the UK, road deaths have always declined on a consistent curve… until the government started focussing on “speeding” and vastly increased the police “surveillance” done to combat it in the 90’s. Since then the curve has levelled off and road deaths have declined much more slowly.

The primary keys to avoiding road deaths are driver skill and vehicle safety improvements. These are barely affected by law never mind police surveillance. If the equivalent amount of money currently spent on surveillance were spent on driver education and training would have a far greater effect than many times as much spent on police enforcement. The same is true of “security” – there are far more cost-effective and less invasive ways to increase security than treating everyone as criminals.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Obama is a true politician. When campaigning, he lies through his teeth… I don’t know why anyone is surprised at any of this.

Because resigning ourselves to this notion is resigning ourselves to the defeat of the democratic system of the US. If we expect all politicians to lie and break campaign promises, then the system needs to be changed, because it is broken.

We elect people on what they say they’re going to do. If what they say is assuredly a lie, why vote for them? If we’re voting for them because the other guy is worse, how is our system any better than single-party systems such as the USSR or China?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s true that the democracy itself is not flawed: the flaw lies in the current system of political parties. The Republican and Democrat parties together comprise almost every voter in the country, and are funded by the same lobbying groups, resulting in the same laws getting written no matter which of the two viable candidates gets elected.
In short, every election becomes, “Which despot would you prefer to be tyrannized by?”

This wouldn’t be a problem if people voted based on each individual candidate’s qualities, rather than simply choosing a party and blindly voting for its members, but unfortunately the human mind apparently does not work that way. The vast majority of the populace will pick a political party, and, through sheer force of will, utterly convince themselves that their side can do no wrong and their opponents can do no right.

In light of this blind faith, I can find no solution to the current problems plaguing this nation. The two parties together have a monopoly on political power, and they evidently intend to use their power to further their own interests rather than for the greater good. The public will remain arbitrarily divided into two sides, each only acknowledging the corruption of the opposing team; utterly paralyzed by pointless infighting.

…Still, I’m just one guy, not some sort of perfect oracle. I never would’ve expected the SOPA uprising, nor the internet’s subsequent collective discovery of ACTA.
Maybe the public will finally become disillusioned with political parties? “Vote for people, not for parties.” It seems unlikely, but it could happen. The human race has always been full of surprises.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think democracy itself is flawed. If it were invented today, everyone would laugh at the idea of choosing our leaders the same way as the winners in stupid reality TV shows.

A popularity contest based on lies and empty promises is not “representing the people.” The only way to get a representative sample of a population is to choose members randomly.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 "Jury duty on steroids"

The only way to get a representative sample of a population is to choose members randomly.

So only people too committed or stupid
to get out of Congress Duty will be making laws?

What is scary is that I cannot imagine that being any worse than the people we elect now.

But we’ve even Al Franken go dead inside once he entered office. This problem may be beyond better candidates.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

We elect people on what they say they’re going to do. If what they say is assuredly a lie, why vote for them?

A very good question. The only answer I have is the old quote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.”
That or a perception of no choice because the notion of revolution in our “politically correct” world is abhorrent and the spectre of possible need for violent revolution even more so.

how is our system any better than single-party systems such as the USSR or China?

I don’t think it is, it just started from a better place.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:

Because resigning ourselves to this notion is resigning ourselves to the defeat of the democratic system of the US. If we expect all politicians to lie and break campaign promises, then the system needs to be changed, because it is broken.

Electing a politician is like buying a car. Different brands have a few different features, but in the end, it’s still going to do exactly the same things.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m starting to have problems with telling China, Russia, and the US apart. It’s not one thing by itself, it’s the accumulation of actions taken. I’m getting to where I can’t tell the good guys from the bad ones in congress, they are all beginning to look the same with very few exceptions.

Journalists data are gathered not by court order but by grabbing months at one time of phone data looking for leakers.

Being as it is embarrassing for the administration to have revealed it’s broken all the constitutional guarantees involving privacy, the solution is to try the whistle blower as a spy.

Promises are given that this data that has no bearing on terrorists will be dropped. At the same time, they will hold foreign communications just in case. The UK does the same thing. That means that US data is being held for the US in the UK spy bank and they both share data. So this is an empty promise.

For all the money spent on the NSA, the TSA, and HLS, where are all the terrorists captured? Apparently even the heads of these bureaus can’t find real events where their data actually mattered. Sort of like the Fusion centers where it was brought up that they were not providing relevant and timely data of usefulness and meaning. It looks by the actions the real enemy of the state is it’s people.

In very mysterious circumstances, war journalist, Michael Hastings, is killed in a car crash where he was speeding as if to get away from someone. The engine is found ejected from the car, 60 to 70 feet away with locals saying it sounded like a bomb going off. Hours before this, he contacted Wikileaks stating he was being investigated by the FBI.

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/journalist-michael-hastings-killed-car-crash-article-1.1376574

The passage of the NDAA does not sound like a democratic law. It sounds like one passed by Russia or China.

The militarization of the civilian police now results in SWAT operations for serving a warrant over student loan default.

http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/06/swat-team-busts-into-house-over-student-loan-default/

What the heck has happened to this country? I don’t recognize it as having been proclaimed the land of the free.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re:

Hastings was murdered by government agents, most likely FBI. Both those responsible for the act as well as giving the order have blood on their hands. Quite stupid of them to put their eternal souls at risk for the sake of a worthless government which doesn’t care about them either way. They’re merely role-players, like pawns on a chessboard.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Quite stupid of them to put their eternal souls at risk for the sake of a worthless government which doesn’t care about them either way.

I don’t think they worship the same god as you do. Like soldiers sent off to kill for their country, spies are absolved by chaplains for the wetwork they must perform in service to their country.

And besides which, the most pragmatic of them would eagerly serve an eternity of Hellfire knowing their nation’s flag was hoisted by their sacrifice.

ReallyEvilCanine (profile) says:

Obama's "tell"

As I watched this I realised that every time Obama is about to stretch the truth his speech pauses, and when he’s outright lying the pause is extended and usually verbalised as an “uhhhh”. Replay the video and note the difference in his head movements and speech patterns where he’s confidently telling the truth (as he believes it) and when he’s about to drop another whopper.

Anonymous Coward says:

you need a video of Obama, the worst liar in the Presidents seat. consider the things he said prior to becoming president and what he actually does. protecting whistle blowers was one of the main items he was going to do so as to encourage it to happen. look what he has in actual fact done! there appears to be nothing said prior to him being elected that he actually does. the sad thing is, not only did the people fall for it once, but twice! i would still dearly like to know who is behind all this. i reckon Obama is just the mouth piece, someone else is working him but is keeping extremely well hidden!

Unedit says:

Re: depose

And much of the Senate and Congress and quite a few justices. Not all by any means, just those for whom money and/or power talks louder than civic duty.

The problem is by earning so much of their wealth from investments, and by associating with powerful leaders from the private sector, certainly most of those who are corrupted believe that by supporting that small part of the population and that economic structure they are doing what is best for the country. They do not stop to consider that the vast majority do not share those same connections to unearned income or market players, and therefore benefit less and less by the elect’s skewed decisions.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Regarding the Second Amendment debate

Most of us have become very reliant on professional responders to take care of critical matters, so yes. Our own readiness as a militia, whether in response to enemy action or natural disasters, is quite lacking.

And while guns will be useful and training would certainly help, it is going to be sheer numbers that overwhelm the police (who regard themselves as a segregated elite).

We can probably count on the armed forces not being very cooperative when turned on their own people. Historically, military forces have always sickened quickly of gunning down the people they have sworn to defend.

The problem is, numbers don’t respond to potential of tyranny but suffering as a result of tyranny. The same way a civilian casualty in Afghanistan begets a terrorist-sympathetic family, Americans killed or disappeared by the government will beget families sympathetic to an organized insurgency.

So, if this goes to civil war, it’s going to get bloody.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Feudalism at least is honest about its intent.

Electing a politician is like buying a car. Different brands have a few different features, but in the end, it’s still going to do exactly the same things.

Not a great metaphor. Cars are all engineered to reliably transport us from place to place. The people we elect to represent us fail to do so in any reliable fashion. Whether this is due to the failure of the system or the failure of the politicians to do their job, either way, the current model isn’t working, and we might be better off going back to proverbial horses.

We are losing the bill of rights. We are losing the social contract, and we’re watching the rule of law disintegrate before us. What must happen before we accept these must be restored to the people by force? How far back must we turn the clock of social progress before we’ve accepted that we’ve lost too much?

…Same as the old boss.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

re: Feudalism... I should clarify

What must happen before we accept these must be restored to the people by force? How far back must we turn the clock of social progress before we’ve accepted that we’ve lost too much?

These are not rhetorical questions. This is not me saying the time for action is now.

It is possible that our political parties might get a conscience and learn how to deal with each other.

It is possible that our department of justice may realize that being Big Media’s goon squad is not the best move for their agency, and reparate the internet for setting back cloud-commerce.

It is possible that congress might get a clue and roll back PRISM and our extensive surveillance state, and we might start encrypting like crazy to keep the GCHQ MTI program out of US accounts.

But I expect that things are going to creep slowly forward encroaching on our civil rights until there is nothing left.

So at what point do we try to change the system rather than trying to work within one that doesn’t really work?

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