President Obama 'Welcomes' The Debate On Surveillance That He's Avoided For Years Until It Was Forced Upon Him

from the that's-not-welcoming-it dept

President Obama's incredibly weak response to the revelations this week of widespread data collection of pretty much everything by the NSA is to say that he "welcomes" the debate. But, of course, he hasn't actually welcomed the debate at all, because people have tried to bring that debate to him for years, and he's brushed them off:
When it comes to surveillance, Obama has as president shown no sign of really wanting to have a robust debate. For years, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) have been pleading with the administration to disclose more information about call-tracking tactics that they suggested would shock many Americans.

The administration largely rebuffed those calls. Only after the leak Wednesday of a four-page “top secret” court order indicating that millions of Americans’ phone calls were tracked on a daily basis did officials begin to confirm the program’s details.

But Obama could have chosen at any time to disclose the data-sifting program, or even its rough outlines. That fact leaves critics unimpressed with his latest round of let’s-talk-it-over.
In other words, he's not "welcoming" the debate at all. The debate is happening with or without him, and when he had the chance to "welcome" the debate, he didn't. Now, it appears, he's trying to appear willing "to talk" about something that's now gone way beyond the stage where "welcoming the debate" is sufficient.

If anything, his helps explain why over-aggressive secrecy is such a stupid government policy. If they had been open about this and there had been public discussions earlier, and people were free to express their concerns, and the government could explain its position, then the discussion would have been different, and more interesting. But having all this information denied by government officials for years, only to come out via a leak just looks so much worse.

Update: So around the time this post went up, President Obama actually spoke directly about all of this. He focused on a non-issue, however: about how they're not listening to everyone's phone calls. Except that was clear from the beginning. It was always said that it was just the data -- but it's a hell of a lot of data: who you called, when you called, how long you spoke to them. That's data that most people feel should be private. After that, he said this:
Now, with respect to the Internet and emails, this does not apply to U.S. citizens, and it does not apply to people living in the United States. And again, in this instance, not only is Congress fully apprised of it, but what is also true is that the FISA Court has to authorize it.
But that's not entirely accurate, since it seems pretty clear that there was access to data that included US citizens, so long as the claim was that the investigation (not necessarily any of the parties) targeted non-US persons.

He repeatedly points out that Congress and the FISA Court have repeatedly known and authorized all of this -- which could be read as throwing Congress a bit under the bus (not that they don't deserve it):
So in summary, what you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout. And we’re also setting up — we’ve also set up an audit process when I came into office to make sure that we’re, after the fact, making absolutely certain that all the safeguards are being properly observed.
But that doesn't help. It just raises more questions about who Congress really represents, and whether or not "the public" is included.

The President does suggest that he might be open to reconsidering some of this, but also explains why he failed to live up to his promise to stop warrantless wiretapping:
But I think it’s important for everybody to understand, and I think the American people understand, that there are some trade-offs involved. You know, I came in with a healthy skepticism about these programs. My team evaluated them. We scrubbed them thoroughly. We actually expanded some of the oversight, increased some of the safeguards. But my assessment and my team’s assessment was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks. And the modest encroachments on privacy that are involved in getting phone numbers or duration without a name attached and not looking at content — that on, you know, net, it was worth us doing.

That’s — some other folks may have a different assessment of that. But I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have a hundred percent security and also then have a hundred percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.
He was also asked how he felt about it being leaked, and said he wasn't happy about it, given that it was secret for a reason -- but then uses the opportunity to throw Congress under the bus again:
That’s why these things are classified.

But that’s also why we’ve set up congressional oversight. These are the folks you all vote for as your representative in Congress, and they’re being fully briefed on these programs.

And if in fact there was — there were abuses taking place, presumably, those members of Congress could raise those issues very aggressively. They’re empowered to do so.
Congress: your ball.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:44am

    Pfft

    There won't even be any debate. Just carefully prepared government statements making excuses about why surveillance is necessary.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:45am

    Idiot

    Obama (via WSJ transcript:

    I think it’s interesting that there are some folks on the left, but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it who weren’t very worried about it when it was a Republican president.


    Fucking idiot.

    I'll have more polite words about this later, after I calm down. Maybe an hour or two.

    But right now:    Mr Obama, you're a fucking idiot to start peddling that Democrat/Republican shit.

     

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  3.  
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    James (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:46am

    Politician ignores tough issue until forced to acknowledge it

    News at 11.

    Seriously ... where are the "old school" journalists who dared to ask tough questions? Of lots of people? And then report what they found out, even if it was tough to talk about?

    I'm not talking about Bill's under-the-presidential-desk un-sex, or JFK's affairs. I'm talking about Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, even Whitewater.

    Instead, the evening news is "Instant Index" "reports" of he latest viral video, and how many boobs Angelina has left.

    It's saddening. And now it's time for me to go have a beer and watch some Deadliest Catch reruns.

     

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  4.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:48am

    Re: Idiot

    Did you expect anything else?

    You should start expecting more bleating about how it was a Republican president who enacted the Patriot Act. That is politics, blame the other crowd.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:50am

    Of course. He welcomes the debate because a "debate" meaning endlessly talking about it but not actually doing anything differently.

    Parent: "Son, you've got to stop throwing our trash in the neighbor's yard!"

    Child: "I welcome the debate about the relative merits of trash and non-trash throwing policies towards our neighbor."

     

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  6.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:53am

    Re: Idiot

    Hes a fucking liar goddammit. Sorry Mike, but we were yelling just as loud when it was Bushie doing this. If this isn't proof positive that both parties are so far disconnected from the American PPL, then I dont know what is.
    -
    What do they mean to accomplish with all of this? We have to ask ourselves. Whats the endgame. It should be quite obvious that this has absolutely NOTHING to do with catching terrorists.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    Will Mike welcome The Debate On GOOGLE'S Surveillance?

    All surveillance is bad. Google is now shown as integral to NSA spying, just as I've said, while Mike not only studiously avoids looking at it, but excuses it as my tagline reminds:

    Where Mike's "no evidence of real harm" means he wants to let secretive mega-corporations continue to grow.

     

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  8.  
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    crade (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Idiot

    The answer to which should always be:
    Yes, so what are you going to do about it?

     

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  9.  
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    crade (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:56am

    Re: Politician ignores tough issue until forced to acknowledge it

    They are in jail.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Idiot

    Did you expect anything else?

    Yes. Actually I did expect better from the President of the United States. I did.

    As far as I'm concerned, the people who start injecting partisan politics into a discussion like this —on national security— those people are mostly trolls.    Trolls deservin' to be treated with contempt:    Trolls.

    I expected better from Mr Obama.

     

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  11.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Idiot

    Well, here in NI I vote for one of the candidates who talk sense

     

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  12.  
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    ScytheNoire, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:57am

    USA Government way too corrupt

    Corruption within the US political system is beyond out of control. They have created this two party system with both parties being owned by mostly the same people. It doesn't matter who you vote for in America, it's the same corruption that is going to happen. Both sides are crooked as can be and neither is working "for the people", unless those people are corporations.

     

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  13.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Idiot

    I never expect too much from career politicians. That way I am not disappointed

     

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  14.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Idiot

    I should add that it is never any of the mainstream parties.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Idiot

    That way I am not disappointed

    I guess I'm just too old. It probably never was really true that, "Party stops at the water's edge." But while that might have always been a lie, we sorta still believed it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Will Mike welcome The Debate On GOOGLE'S Surveillance?

    if google had guns, your analogy would be accurate

    until then, first things first

     

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  17.  
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    Michael, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:05pm

    Welcome

    He is welcoming the debate the same way you 'welcome' federal agents into your house to talk when you are suspected of a crime.

     

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  18.  
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    crade (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Will Mike welcome The Debate On GOOGLE'S Surveillance?

    I don't think Mike gets to decide any policies on google's surveillance, but you can "debate" at him until you are blue (now I get it!) to no result if you like.

    You could debate with google all you like too until you finally figure out that they don't decide the rules either, but just play by them.

     

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  19.  
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    crade (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Idiot

    talk is cheap.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:12pm

    Dear Mr. President Obama,

    Your words sound hollow like my stomach.
    My empty stomach is not your fault, your empty words however are.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    Why the US even has a constitution, the government these days seems to don't care about it no longer, just burn the damn thing already, they burned to the ground every other aspect of a free democratic loving society, burn the damn constitution and be done with it already.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Politician ignores tough issue until forced to acknowledge it

    The media is too scared of pissing off one political party/ideology by reporting the truth all the time.

    That and reporting outright lies as if they were facts (like 'DEATH PANELS' in Obamacare, that never existed in any versions of the bill) brings in more viewers and advertising cash.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

    Oregon Senator disputes Obama's claim

    Oregon Senator disputes Obama's claim that Congress was briefed.

    Dem. Senator disputes Obama’s claim that Congress was briefed” by Jonathan Easley, The Hill, June 7, 2013
    Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Friday disputed a claim President Obama made at a press conference only moments earlier, when the president said that every member of Congress had been briefed on the National Security Agency’s (NSA) domestic phone surveillance program.

    Merkley said only select members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees had been briefed on the program…

    […more…]


    Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley disputes Mr Obama's claim.

     

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  24.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:22pm

    Excuse me, your highness....

    "President Obama's incredibly weak response to the revelations this week of widespread data collection of pretty much everything by the NSA is to say that he "welcomes" the debate."

    Pardon moi, to his Worship, but we already had this debate and the results have been in for several hundred years. Being a constitutional scholar, I'm quite surprised that he hasn't bothered consulting the very document that resulted from that debate between men better than he or I....

     

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  25. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Out_of_the_blue, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:22pm

    pirate mike unwilling to talk about google and there role in the spying.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Pfft

    Does the fact that the NSA records every call allow everyone to record everything without letting anyone know?

    If someone says, "I do not give you permission to record this call," can you say, "well, the NSA is already recording it so there is no reason I should not as well."

    That is what I would do... and try to get the case up to the taco supreme court.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Will Mike welcome The Debate On GOOGLE'S Surveillance?

    Are you afraid Google will know that you suffer from Argyria?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Will Mike welcome The Debate On GOOGLE'S Surveillance?

    Don't let Blue happen to You. Abort today.

     

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  29.  
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    Aaron T (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:38pm

    Congress and the Judiciary and the issue of trust

    Quoting Obama:

    "If people don't trust Congress and the judiciary then I think we are going to have some problems here,"

    He does read the polls right? Only 6% of likely voters think Congress does a good job. 68% think it does a poor job! About the only group who consistently gets a lower approval rating in the US are the terrorists themselves!

    And the judiciary is a red herring. The FISA courts are designed to be a rubber stamp for the executive branch since they meet in secret, their decisions are secret and unlike other courts there is nobody representing the other side. Our whole American justice system is designed around BOTH sides being able to make their argument in front of a judge/jury and the FISA court is therefore the most un-American court in the nation.

     

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  30.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:40pm

    Re:

    Clever! Capital "o"... too bad the IP address triggers a new avatar.

    And just why is it that you want to be able to comment as him, of all people?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Will Mike welcome The Debate On GOOGLE'S Surveillance?

    Integral in the sense that NSA is forcing them through FISA because they're the ones with some of the data they're after. Someone is always going to be holding the data they're after though. What's your suggestion, that we crucify all of them until people stop volunteering for that position and there's no more search or social services on the internet anymore? HEY WAIT! That last thing I said would be an absolutely perfect way to convert the internet into a dumb, one-way, content delivery network a la cable TV...

     

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  32.  
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    anonymouse, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re:

    This is a story about the government not Google, go somewhere else and ask them about Google, or maybe mike will fit it in when he has time, there are much more interesting things happening right now than one business alone, all of them are involved in this not just one you want to target.

     

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  33.  
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    DCX2, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:56pm

    Can't you see the weasel words?

     

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  34.  
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    DCX2, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Can't you see the weasel words?

    Shit sorry, I hit enter and it accepted the comment blank...Weird.

    Sure, "this program" isn't the one collecting the contents of your communications. They played the same game with the "Terrorist Surveillance Program".

    Some *other*, still secret program, is the one that authorizes collection of the contents of our phone calls.

    Or they're paying word games, where the word "collected" doesn't actually mean "collected" until it gets observed by a human being.

     

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  35.  
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    DCX2, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Can't you see the weasel words?

    Also, he says there is no "100% security and 100% privacy without incovenience".

    There is no 100% security. Period. Ever. NOTHING will ever get 100% security.

    The question is are you happy with 95% privacy and 95% security, or 10% privacy and 96% security? Is that a trade off you're willing to make? 80% of your privacy for 1% security?

     

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  36.  
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    Kevin, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 1:07pm

    Media involvement

    Lets face it, the only reason this is finally a big deal is that the media has recently found that they are also being targeted with secret surveillance.

    Had that not happened we probably would still be complaining and they would still be ignoring us.

     

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  37.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Will Mike welcome The Debate On GOOGLE'S Surveillance?

    Has anyone else noticed that when you see a report flag, based on the content of the post and the timing of the comment you can always guess it's going to be ootb before clicking?

     

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  38.  
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    Rapnel (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

    hm

    Repeal the Patriot Act.

    Then we can talk.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Can't you see the weasel words?

    Also, he says there is no "100% security and 100% privacy without incovenience".


    Some of the tradeoff depends on how you look at security.

    “I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but the people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take power from them, but to inform them by education.”
               ——Thomas Jefferson


    I can think of few things more essential to the security of America than an informed people, capable of organizing themselves for political action.

    If you demand for your security the capability of detecting all terrorist associations, then always remember those people in down Alabama terrorized by the NAACP, half a century ago.

    We have an inconvenient history.

     

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  40.  
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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    The way things are headed

    Obama might to end up with a lame-duck second term, and he hasn't even gotten through the first half of year 5 yet. The guy has scandals popping up left, right and sideways and all he can say is "I learned about this the same way the rest of you did. On the Friday news."

    So at this point he's either lying on his face, he's completely incompetent, or everyone around him has insulated him from all the dirty scandal stuff in order to give Obama plausible deniability. All three options do not help his credibility as a president.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Idiot

    That's barry to you, barry sortoe.

     

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  42.  
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    Jason, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 1:39pm

    But I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have a hundred percent security and also then have a hundred percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.

    Exactly. It is a tradeoff, between privacy, security, and inconvenience; it always has been and always will be. And we as a society have got to decide where that tradeoff should be and whether a nominal improvement in one category is worth the corresponding drop in another.

    But there hasn't been any debate, not in any meaningful sense of the word. Laws are passed with little discussion (often in a hurry) and then interpreted in secret. Even if every single member of Congress was aware of it, and even if the general public assumed things like this were probably happening, the fact remains that there was no public debate about whether this tradeoff was worthwhile.

    How can we debate the merits of this or that surveillance program if it's implemented, operated, renewed, and run entirely in secret? How can we decide whether or not the privacy we're trading for (supposed) security is worth it? If (when?) a secret surveillance program is abused, how can we fight that abuse? Would we even know it was happening?

    I can understand the desire to keep a program like this secret. But for the kind of erosions of basic expectations of privacy that we've been seeing lately there must be, at the very least, a correspondingly strong benefit, and the deliberate choice of the people that said benefit is worth the trade. Since we aren't even told whether or not the surveillance being conducted is being successfully used, and to what benefit, to prevent acts of terrorism (aside from "it's stopped terrorism!") even that determination is impossible.

    Yes, we as a society do have choices to make. The problem is, not only are we not being given the chance to make them, but we're not even being told there is anything to discuss.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Idiot

    That's barry to you, barry sortoe.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Politician ignores tough issue until forced to acknowledge it

    "That and reporting outright lies as if they were facts (like 'DEATH PANELS' in Obamacare, that never existed in any versions of the bill) brings in more viewers and advertising cash."

    They do exist, that 10 year old is proof and now that it's out suddenly she's going to get the transplant...yeah death panels don't exist and libertards are capable of reasonable though.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:02pm

    Re:

    we as a society have got to decide where that tradeoff should be


    NAACP v Alabama ex rel Patterson (1958)
    The question presented is whether Alabama, consistently with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, can compel petitioner to reveal to the State's Attorney General the names and addresses of all its Alabama members and agents, without regard to their positions or functions in the Association.


    In the United States, is any state absolutely and always entitled to know the membership of a political association? Is that consistent with the 14th amendment?

    If it be not consistent with the 14th amendment, then is that conclusion compelled by the 14th itself, freestanding? Or is there some other provision within the bill of rights—one that might apply equally to the federal government.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    The only reason these things were 'classified' is because they didn't want everyone to know how much and how many of their rights have been violated and for how long.

    It Would Violate Your Privacy to Say if We Spied on You. -NSA

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    He has added new meaning to the phrase "black ops".

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Will Mike welcome The Debate On GOOGLE'S Surveillance?

    Yep, and the fact that he studiously ignores all of the other players being forced to play this game:
    Yahoo
    Facebook
    Microsoft
    Skype (and the fact that Skype eavesdropping capabilities came within a month or two of Microsoft acquiring it).

     

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  49.  
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    New Mexico Mark, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    Re: USA Government way too corrupt

    With respect to that comment, I recently found this short presentation, and it is well worth watching. It takes it from "the system is hopelessly broken" to "the system is badly broken but maybe not hopelessly if enough people act appropriately".

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_must_r eclaim.html

     

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  50.  
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    Androgynous Cowherd, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:30pm

    Re:

    You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.


    But haven't we already made those choices, back in the 1700s when the Founding Fathers penned Amendment IV to the Constitution of the United States of America with the full support of the populace?

    And shouldn't that choice be respected until such time as society clearly indicates that it has changed its mind, using the approved process of further amending the Constitution?

     

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  51.  
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    Wolfy, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    I imagine it's very difficult for Obama to get an objective view on this wiretapping thing. The security types will always stress threats in their briefings in order to get their pet programs approved...

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    What a load of crap!

    The approval of Congress means absolutely nothing. Representative democracy crucially relies on the ability of voters to see what their representatives are voting for. Secrecy means the representatives can vote for literally anything, without any fear that the voters will punish them for their transgressions.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    Actually, given the way he's phrased things, there doesn't even need to be an investigation to collect the information. I'll explain using an analogy from a card game called Magic:The Gathering.

    Let's say I have a card. It's a spell card the says "Destroy target creature".

    My opponent has a very powerful creature card that I want to get rid of. Unfortunately it has an ability that reads "This creature cannot be the target of spells or abilities. Therefore, I cannot use my "Destroy target creature" card to get rid of it, because I can't target it.

    However, I have also have a spell card that reads "Destroy all creatures in play". I can use that card to remove his creature (as well as all other creatures) because it is a global effects and doesn't target the specific creature.

    So say I'm the NSA and I say "gimme all phone record on May 5th for Chicago, LA, and NY". I'm not specifically targeting anyone, so therefore I'm not technically violating the rules of the game. If I happen to find something while sifting through the data, I can just pass the information along to someone who can target the specific person(s) in question. When you call me out on it, I can "honestly" tell you that I'm not targeting anyone because nobody has actually explained the rules I am playing by (secret interpretation and all that jive).

    This rule also works well if they aren't actively monitoring services like they claim, and are in fact just getting data copies from them like I saw suggested in an earlier article.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re:

    But haven't we already made those choices, back in the 1700s…?


    You know, I'm just not a very good Jeffersonian.    In fact, I am  —at best—  a bad Jeffersonian.

    But even as a downright awful Jeffersonian, I do feel compelled to point out that none of us now alive were born yet in the late 1700s.    And, as for those of the founding generation—they're all dead.

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:59pm

    "That’s — some other folks may have a different assessment of that. But I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have a hundred percent security and also then have a hundred percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society."

    I think those choices for society were made long ago and codified by the founding fathers when they drafted the Constitution.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 2:59pm

    "That’s — some other folks may have a different assessment of that. But I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have a hundred percent security and also then have a hundred percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society."

    I think those choices for society were made long ago and codified by the founding fathers when they drafted the Constitution.

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    "That’s why these things are classified.

    But that’s also why we’ve set up congressional oversight. These are the folks you all vote for as your representative in Congress, and they’re being fully briefed on these programs.

    And if in fact there was — there were abuses taking place, presumably, those members of Congress could raise those issues very aggressively. They’re empowered to do so."

    That's also why we elected YOU. You have the ability to do something about it. Congress isn't blameless they could have done something too but that isn't the question. The question is why didn't YOU.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Excuse me, your highness....

    Amen.

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Idiot

    Voting is next to meaningless: it is throwing your opinion into a vast sea of opinions. It's fucking lazy. If you actually were interested in change, voting (and complaining on the internet) would not be the list of total effort expended.

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:16pm

    Re:

    [ Obama: ]    “… those members of Congress could raise those issues very aggressively.”

    Republican lawmakers: NSA surveillance news to us”, by Burgess Everett and Jake Sherman, Politico, June 7, 2013
    Several Republican lawmakers said they had not been briefed on the Obama administration’s classified programs to monitor cellphone and Internet traffic.

    That’s in direct contradiction to President Barack Obama’s assertion. The president said on Friday that “every member of Congress” has been briefed on the programs led by the National Security Administration. . . . .

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Right. Someone is either incredibly stupid and not worthy of public office or lying.

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

    Collapse Reported Threads, Please

    Well, I don't check timing, but 'reported' comments have a high propensity to be from just a few...you know the list. What I abhor is the lengthy troll feeding responses. While, at times, those responses cab be truly insightful, those really insightful responses remain few as well (though there does seem to be some propensity for them to group). The burden to get those gems is then very high. If those posters would just create a new thread and maybe refer to the offender (if it is really, really, really necessary), the endless troll responses might mitigate.

    Please don't feed the trolls. Start a new thread.

    I might add that there are a few commenter's that I auto don't read, and won't name.

    Well I guess my point is that I am casting a vote to collapse responses with reported links. Doing so would make reading the blog significantly more efficient. Also, after time, contributers might follow the axiom above. There would be no censorship, as (in my minds eye) clicking on the red link would expand the thread. However, I think the incentive would be great for those with something to actually say, as apposed to second guessing individual troller's psychopathy or monetary incentive to be such kludges, however funny, and creative some of those are.


    /Swimming upstream in a rapacious rip tide, into the wind, in a heavy surf...

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re:

    Furthermore, while this problem was not started by this administration, the current administration campaigned on a platform that promised to get rid of this sort of nonsense, not expand and defend it as they have done. THAT has nothing to do with Congress.

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:31pm

    so, there have been statements about protecting whistle blowers, there have been statements about transparency from the government, statements about stopping warrantless wiretapping. not bad. 3 out of 3, all of which turned out to be bull shit. and as for Congress, they are equally as full of it giving that they knew about this, but failed to tell those they represent. after the way they turned turtle on the phone unlocking bit, i'm not surprised. is there anything that anyone who is supposedly representing the people actually being honest about? is there anyone who is supposedly representing the people actually working for the people? it sure as hell dont seem like it. all that seems to be happening is that those running the USA want to blame everyone else, wherever they may be, for everything that is going on in the world, while in actual fact, they are doing either the same thing or are the instigators of what is going on. either way, sooner or later, i think there is going to be a nation that gets more than just a little pissed off and starts to give some warnings out. and i dont mean like the 'waste of time' ones that came out not long ago from a newly elected leader, i mean from someone that has the political clout and arms to back up what they say!! the USA is trying to instill what it wants on to those that are not afraid of them, unlike places such as the UK, Sweden and Aussi who bend over as soon as told. the ones i have in mind, i think will be prepared to counter the demands!

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:35pm

    Re:

    Tryin' to draw the helmet into a sparrin' match there blue?

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:35pm

    Re:

    Exactly, before we can even get to the question off trade-offs we need clear and convincing evidence that we're actually buying any amount of security or convenience by giving up some of our privacy. Once we know what we're actually getting only then can we decide on the trade-off. The efficacy of the security we are buying has been ruled classified however and literally every time a clandestine program like this is brought under scrutiny it fails. The claims were made about fusion centers and the original NSA warrantless wiretap program and failed under scrutiny. The audit of National Security Letters uncovered “widespread and serious” misuse of authority. Obama is self-servingly putting the cart before the horse here. He doesn't want a debate about efficacy any more than the copyright cartel wants a debate about the efficacy of ratcheting up copyright enforcement.

     

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

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:39pm

    Re:

    So what you're saying is we need to take our privacy out of play further up the stack so the NSA spying fizzles?

     

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

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re:

    ya, pirate mike is some other yahoo's spew

     

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

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Can't you see the weasel words?

    Schrodinger's collected

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    But the intent of the founding fathers (not just in the Constitution but through other related quotes) is very clear. This is not what they intended.

     

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

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Re:

    What was it about trading security for liberty? Oh wait those must be ridiculous ramblings of out of touch old codgers that had no clue about what was important about society. How silly we must have been to listen to people so out of touch as they were.

     

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

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    …through other related quotes

    "We have always a right to correct ancient errors and to establish what is more conformable to reason and convenience."

                ——Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1801.



    "Our children will be as wise as we are and will establish in the fulness of time those things not yet ripe for establishment."

                ——Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1810.



    "A generation may bind itself as long as its majority continues in life; when that has disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the rights and powers their predecessors once held and may change their laws and institutions to suit themselves. Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man."

                ——Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824.

     

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

  73.  
    identicon
    Asphyxiating Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Politician ignores tough issue until forced to acknowledge it

    "'That and reporting outright lies as if they were facts (like "DEATH PANELS" in Obamacare, that never existed in any versions of the bill) brings in more viewers and advertising cash.'

    They do exist, that 10 year old is proof and now that it's out suddenly she's going to get the transplant...yeah death panels don't exist and libertards are capable of reasonable though."

    Actually, the relevant rules governing transplants were put in place in 2004 when Republicans held the White House and both houses of congress and long before Obamacare. Try again, conservatard.

     

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

  74.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Re: Will Mike welcome The Debate On GOOGLE'S Surveillance?

    Has anyone else noticed that when you see a report flag, based on the content of the post and the timing of the comment you can always guess it's going to be ootb before clicking?

    I don't understand why people flag them. I make a point of looking at the flagged posts and if they weren't flagged I might just skim over them.

    To me the flagging is a sign that I should pay extra attention to them to see what all the fuss is about.

     

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

  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That is the most ignorant thing I have read today, and I have read a lot of ignorant shit today.

     

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

  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As we the people are not involved in the changes being made.

     

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

  77.  
    identicon
    ConspicuousContractor, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 9:13pm

    Re: Re: Idiot

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

    The "end game" would seem to make the "tin-foil-hats" look wise instead of crazy

     

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

  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 10:36pm

    Re: Pfft

    WashingtonPost also had a great rebuttal of why there wasn't any real oversight, and Congress and the judges were also VERY LIMITED in what they can do about FISA, which then is no surprise that a "general warrant" by FISA has NEVER been rejected.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/07/obama-says-the-nsa-has-had-p lenty-of-oversight-heres-why-hes-wrong/?hpid=z1

    The "oversight" talk is a joke. Especially when he's already requested "state privileges" over this whole situation". So much for that oversight:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/07/us-government-special-privilege-scrutiny-d ata

     

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

  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 11:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Will Mike welcome The Debate On GOOGLE'S Surveillance?

    Same.

     

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

  80.  
    identicon
    Milton, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 12:45am

    Re: The way things are headed

     

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

  81.  
    icon
    Votre (profile), Jun 8th, 2013 @ 4:57am

    So now we're all shocked and outraged? Seriously?

    Maybe you don't always get what you ask for from government. But you will certainly get whatever you let the government get away with.

    After 13 years of hiding our heads in the sand about what's been going on we're now going to act like we're shocked and appalled?

    Serves us right! Maybe this time we'll finally learn something. (Although I doubt it.)

     

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

  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That is the most ignorant thing I have read today…

    You making some kind of comment about 'xactly how downright awful Mr Jefferson could be?    What you gettin' at there?

     

     

    It is an inconvenient history.

     

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

  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 5:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And liberty according to the founding fathers is one of those inalienable rights.

     

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

  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Are you implying that the principles set forth in the Constitution are "errors" that need to be "corrected"?

     

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

  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 6:10am

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

    Are you implying that the principles set forth in the Constitution are "errors" that need to be "corrected"?

    Are you implying that Smith v Maryland (1979) results from the principles set forth in the Constitution?

     

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

  86.  
    identicon
    anon, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 9:18am

    why do we let these fuckers run our country?

     

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

  87.  
    identicon
    Leslie, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 10:30am

    Emo-progs and voting

    The Patriot Act was authorized and is reauthorized by congress, not the President. It was last reauthorized by congress in 2011, shortly after the 2010 mid-term elections. Millions of us did not, and actively refused to vote in 2010, and are now whining about the consequences of that decision, and clearly stating it's somebody else's fault that this happened.

    The Pat Act is up for renewal again in May of 2015, that's shortly after the new congress sits just as it was in 2011. If you really really really don't like this crap, then staying away from the polls in this critical mid-term election of 2014, is clearly not the solution!

    I don't god damned care what your excuse is, or your rationalizations. Not voting and the consequences belongs to WE THE PEOPLE. Stop whining and blaming others for our mistakes. Own them, learn from them, do better!

     

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

  88.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jun 8th, 2013 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Emo-progs and voting

    Thanks for pointing all of this out. It's important to vote. And it is even more important to vote at the local and state levels because those votes determine what laws get passed or don't get passed.

     

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

  89.  
    icon
    RyanNerd (profile), Jun 9th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    Prez needs a napkin

    Someone give Obama a napkin. He still has some bullshit on his lips.

     

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

  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 9:53am

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

    No, the decision in that case results from the errors that you were referring to.

     

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


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