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Obama Sides With Bush In Spy Case 906

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the disappointment-for-civil-liberties dept.
palegray.net is one of many who writes "President Obama has publicly sided with the Bush administration on the question of whether the President should be allowed to establish warrantless wiretapping programs designed to monitor US citizens. The President has asked a federal judge to stay a ruling that would allow key evidence into the domestic spying case against the government. 'Thursday's filing by the Obama administration marked the first time it officially lodged a court document in the lawsuit asking the courts to rule on the constitutionality of the Bush administration's warrantless-eavesdropping program.'" jamie points out that Obama's views and opinions were made clear through his Senate vote and numerous public statements, but many others see this as a disappointing start to an administration promising transparency and openness.
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Obama Sides With Bush In Spy Case

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  • Every one... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:19PM (#26579929)

    Let us think back to Bush's speeches and promises, and how he failed on nearly every one.

    What about the part where he promised to help stabilize Iraq?

    What about where he promised we'd see no new terrorist attacks on American soil?

    There's a lot of things to dislike Bush over, like spending for one. But Bush has delivered on some huge promises, as much as many here are not willing to admit that or dislike some means uses to accomplish this end.

    It only stands to reason that Obama would like to continue successes on both agendas.

  • I knew it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thule (9041) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:24PM (#26580025) Homepage

    It was politics all along.

    A court just recently affirmed the legality of it. Obama continues in the tradition.

    The reality is that this stuff has done on for decades. The tradition is that any intelligence collected could not be used to build a case against a US citizen. It is not admissible in court. You cannot be prosecuted based on the intelligence.

    Call Detail Records and metadata are owned by the telco's and are therefore proprietary and not private. They can do whatever they want with them.

    The *only* thing that has changed is that the wall between the FBI and the NSA built during the Clinton administration was torn down. NSA/CIA can now give leads to the FBI that can be taken to a FISA court. The court can provide a retroactive warrant. Only after FISA court approval can the FBI and the Justice Department use the lead to build a case.

  • Really, I'm just withholding comment until some form of long-term context is established.

    Pray tell then, what the hell are you doing on Slashdot? ;) And me out of friends slots....
  • by Rei (128717) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:28PM (#26580109) Homepage

    Didn't it occur to anyone here that Obama's attorney general pick hasn't even been confirmed yet? Obama is only nominally in charge of the DOJ at this point. So who do you think it is filing these papers? Well, the names are right in the PDF [wired.com], starting with Michael F. Hertz. Yes, Michael F. Hertz, Deputy Assistant Attorney General under Alberto Gonzales.

  • So? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FatSean (18753) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:29PM (#26580117) Homepage Journal

    I don't go to church, but I pay so others can go even though I think it is a hateful waste of time.

    I am a product of my society, and have no problem giving back some of my wealth to help my less fortunate fellow citizens.

    I do not agree with most 'welfare' programs that hand out money, but health care is worth the cost.

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:35PM (#26580229) Homepage Journal

    Let's hypothesize that Bush/Obama are acting in good faith, and let's use as many weasel words in their favor as possible.

    That leaves us with a situation where it appears (apparently deceptively) that the government broke the law. The government does not want a court to review their actions to clear them of this wrongful accusation, because the evidence is a national security secret and could result in the deaths of many secret agents and programs and an inability to gather foreign intelligence in the future.

    It is insufficient to seal this evidence and let the court review it behind closed doors, because...

    I come up with a total blank. What am I missing? They think the judge will blab to Osama? I can't come up with a best case scenario that doesn't involve something ridiculous.

  • by Knara (9377) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:38PM (#26580277)

    I have to wonder if this is another example of a trend I've seen lately, where anything that isn't seen as "smooth sailing" and "virtuous follow-through", no matter how small or misleading the "anything" might be, is cause for alarm and panic -- a secret indicator of Obama's true political boogeyman ways.

  • Re:So? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:42PM (#26580353)

    I do not agree with most 'welfare' programs that hand out money, but health care is worth the cost.

    No, it's not. Not until people are expected to take reasonable care of themselves. People aren't "hardwired" to eat more today any more than they were 50 years ago. It's a personal choice, and people like to sugar coat the truth or say "it's not your fault," but if you're obese, its YOUR fault and YOU need to get your diet under control. Instead of making excuses (or letting others do it for them) these people need to act.

    Until that happens, I'm not going to support national health care. And before you tell me it costs more to treat other symptoms related to obesity, I say cut off health care to treat those as well. You want to be fat and get diabetes? Fine, don't expect anyone to help you pay your related medical bills.

  • by plague3106 (71849) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:46PM (#26580415)

    Sorry, I can't fault him for not being rash. That's what got us into this perdiciment to begin with. Also, there are others that seem to be making it difficult to acomplish some of his goals. Like the Sentator that somehow claims that the people in Gitmo are somehow more "dangerous" than any other human in custody.

  • by oliphaunt (124016) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:15PM (#26580945) Homepage

    This is the answer. See Emptywheel's analysis, here [firedoglake.com], which reaches the same conclusion.

    She makes the point that the Bushies are probably stalling the Holder confirmation so that the statute of limitations can begin to run out on Bush's FISA wiretap crimes. There is a specific block of time in 2005 where the taps were illegal, between when James Comey refused to reauthorize the program and when Congress rolled over for Bushie and shafted the American people once again.

    The SoL on the criminal portion of FISA is four years, and in about seven weeks we're going to hit that four-year anniversary. So if they can keep Holder out for another few months that's one less act of treason they have to worry about.

  • by TarrVetus (597895) <TarrVetus@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:16PM (#26580963)

    Americans will drop $5k on a 60" hdtv, but don't want to spend a dime on doctor bills to have a baby. WTF?

    This will probably get me modded for flamebait, but...

    The developing perception is that people should not have to pay for health care--at least, they do not wish to perceive paying for it. It can be argued that a government would wish for its population to be healthy and productive, but I can make all of my other health choices for myself: I pay for what quality of food I want, buy tobacco or alcohol at my discretion, and purchase gym memberships/exercise equipment/etc. with my own money. If I want to spend less on good food for a good computer, I should be able to. I don't expect my tax money to go to a national food program which will hand me vouchers for my meals.

    When looking at the situation from that perspective, it's odd that one can choose all of those things, but expect the government to assist with or choose healthcare. If I want good healthcare, I'll save my money, and negotiate with the healthcare providers to pay them if I cannot do so right away; I have done this for expensive emergency trips to the hospital without insurance.

    Being without health insurance doesn't doom us, but it does change what we have to do. I would rather have the choice of insurance, and pay when I need healthcare, than no choice to pay for everyone's insurance and a compulsory 'safety net' for myself.

  • by mweather (1089505) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:25PM (#26581119)
    Can you give an example of this government control and loss of freedom in, for example, Canada? And can you explain why they have about the same taxes (I'll give you a hint, the last people they invaded was US.)
  • It might not be a blip on your radar, but what about someone making $20k or less a year?

    And yet, statistically speaking, the poor are having far more children than the rich. Somehow they're affording it.

  • by ojustgiveitup (869923) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:40PM (#26581367)
    I've always been curious about these statistics. The per capita figure is a mean calculation, and it seems to be thrown around a lot as the only meaningful measure of cost. I'd be very interested to see a comparison of the median health costs for a few different countries. Could these statistics be victims of the type of "above average number of legs [open2.net]" distortion that the mean is known to be sensitive to? Perhaps the per capita expense is higher in privatized health systems, but do most people really spend more?
  • by genner (694963) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:49PM (#26581503)

    Buahahahahha.....oh wait you were serious let me laugh even harder.

    I'm reminded, completely coincidentally of course, of something I've been meaning to ask for a while now... Can someone explain to me the difference between 'Troll' and 'Flamebait'?

    It's the same diffrence as funny and insightful but only applies to people you disagree with.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:04PM (#26581755)

    Democracy cannot survive when the rulers can keep secrets from the people.

    And this case is a complete joke. Really? It is a secret? Seriously? Is it still a secret when like 7 billion people know it? Who exactly are we still hiding the secret from? Mr Magoo?

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:48PM (#26582405) Journal

    Oh it gets worse then that. Companies are selling health insurance [opinionjournal.com] to private individuals in Canada. That's right, in the same country that refuses to allow you to pay for your own health care, people are purchasing [www.cbc.ca] health insurance policies because they aren't getting the treatment they deserve.

    But to add to the list of things wrong. In some European countries [allnurses.com], the governments are Euthanizing it's seniors by denying them life saving treatments after a certain age. This practice extended to some severely injured young people but it recently started getting bad publicity in the UK and they are stopping it. Then there is the 50k limit. It seems if a life saving procedure costs more then 50k, you simply will not get it at all. Now this isn't the cost-effectiveness analysis where they attempt to determine if your life is worth saving or not, it's just the cut off line where you won't get the treatment. And at least in the UK, apparently if you go around them on that 50k limit or bypass their denial from the cost analysis, you lose your government medical rights altogether.

    Most people have some glory minded image of government health care. It's probably engraved into their minds by activists like Michael Moore [timesonline.co.uk] and their mockumentories. But evidently, it isn't what it seems.

  • Re:fucking nigger (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:27PM (#26582895)

    To anyone wondering how many of these racist ACs are actually registered users in good standing you should check out the mod on parent comment.

    ATM it is 0 Flamebait with the following percentages:
    50% Flamebait
    30% Insightful
    20% Underrated

  • by Radical Moderate (563286) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:32PM (#26582975)
    My wife's a cancer survivor. There's an exam she can have that will very accurately predict not only the chance of a recurrence but also the chances that her sisters will also get cancer. And the catch:

    If she "fails" the exam, there's a good chance her sisters won't be able to get insurance, no one wants to cover someone who's a high cancer risk. So my wife may forgo testing and preventative treatment so that her sisters won't be disqualified from getting insurance. How F'd up is that? Under single payer this wouldn't be an issue. Applying "free market" ideology to health care only makes sense if you never get sick.
  • by Radical Moderate (563286) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:47PM (#26583143)
    You have no clue what an expensive trip to the hospital is. My wife's bill for breast cancer came to about a quarter million dollars, how the hell are you supposed to negotiate when your opponent literally holds your life in their hands? I suppose we could have sold the house and lived in our car for the decades it took pay off the med bills. If that's what you mean by "change what we have to do", I'll pass, thanks.
  • by joggle (594025) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:57PM (#26583257) Homepage Journal

    And they aren't denied in the US? Senior citizens have a high rate of being uninsured in the US you know. However, I don't think the UK has the best healthcare plan in Europe (France probably has the best).

    They must be doing something right in Europe though because every country I've checked on the CIA's factbook has a higher life expectancy for both men and women and a lower rate of infant mortality than the US.

  • Re:So? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:23PM (#26583569)

    no: then you are a hypocrite

    False. It's the sort of thing that only works if everyone does it. This relates to the concept of cooperative play in game theory, and one of the reasons why we have an evolutionary drive towards tribalism.

    Think of it this way. Let's say five of us have access to a fishery. It can indefinitely support each of us catching one fish per week. If any of us overfish it, however, then the fishery goes dry (i.e. runs out of fish) and is permanently destroyed.

    We understand that this is the case, and would like to keep it indefinitely. Are we just going to restrict ourselves out of own volition? Of course not; it doesn't work. All it takes is one guy to decide to overfish it, and the fishery is destroyed. In fact, you know of several people who will overfish it unless they are stopped.

    So are you a hypocrite if you overfish it? Not at all. It's going to be destroyed by your neighbors; you may as well take what you can.

    The only way this can work is if we ALL agree to band together: should anyone step out of line, the rest of us have to punish that person. In tribal times, this would simply be violence or death; nowadays it's prison or a fine. With this system, we can work together, and the fishery can be sustained indefinitely.

    You can see in this example why you have such a wide range of base instincts and why they are so useful. This is why people are altruistic; it is necessary for this scenario to happen. This is why these same people are vengeful; possibility (or certainty) of revenge or punishment is a strong disincentive towards taking advantage of someone.

    As an aside note, this is *exactly* how wildlife regulations currently work in the civilized world. You have an allotment of fish or mammals you are allowed to fish or hunt; if you poach, you get a fine or prison.

    Like your 'donations' scheme, it only works if everyone does it. I'm not going to donate to health care in a two tier system when a negligible percentage of the population does it. It won't make a difference and I'm wasting my money.

    If you haven't guessed, I am Canadian, and I like the system we have here. I am never sick, but I am more than happy to pay my share, because everyone does. We are a better country for it.

  • by mweather (1089505) on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:29PM (#26583641)

    Well bully for you. I on the other hand make a whooping ~$30,000 and between income/social security/medicare and state/local taxes I'm paying nearly 30% of my income out in taxes.

    You should move to Canada. The federal tax rate on the first 38k is only 15%. http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html [cra-arc.gc.ca] I haven't looked up provincial rates, but I kind of doubt they are higher than the federal rate. They seem to be making up the difference by having a federal sales tax (~12% combined federal and provincial, depending).

    Windows XP costs If Microsoft really is making 75% margins, given most OS sales are discounted OEM sales, $5 is probably not far off form the actual cost.

  • by ogdenk (712300) on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:29PM (#26583645)

    I would take nationalized crap health care vs no healthcare any day. I'd be willing to pay 35% or so in flat income taxes with no returns.

    Insurance for my family (me, wife, 2 kids) through my employer would cost $1,200/month. I make 30k/yr. Do the math. That's half my salary BEFORE taxes. I don't qualify for Medicaid. That's with the employer paying a chunk and that's a plan with a $2,000 deductible.

    Now I've got the state putting tax levies on me because I couldn't pay for the last year on a $12,000 hernia surgery that my wife needed and my son's visit for a ruptured ear drum. They are talking about seizing my property. I make just enough to make my rent and basic utilities. I have had impacted wisdom teeth for 4 years. I need dentures as well. I drive a paid-for beat-up vehicle with 200,000 miles on it because I can't afford a car payment. My wife is unable to work due to the cost of daycare for the kids in proportion to what she'll make with little experience in the workforce.

    So if they are against people like me, an educator and a community-oriented person who goes out of their way to help people having access to health care then FUCK THEM. I deserve to live too. Just because I'm not some privileged prick or some bottom-feeder unemployed welfare case, doesn't mean I don't deserve health care too.

    In my opinion, even as a libertarian, ensuring everyone has affordable equal access to health care (via taxes if necessary) falls right in line with securing the rights of the people. The right to LIFE. Part of remaining alive means remaining healthy. Allowing hospitals to destroy my livelihood financially without even a court hearing just because I want to stay alive and no longer be in pain is the opposite of securing MY rights.

  • by bwen (675669) on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:36PM (#26583715)
    As one of the "dudes" who says "push," I think what you are saying is a bit oversimplified. Ob/gyn's have the highest malpractice insurance- averaging over $130,000 a year in my state. Do you think this is because you could do it? So you finish in the top of your class in high school and college and spend most of the next decade working your ass off in med school and residency and then have loans of hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay off and we are "OVERPRICED?" The vast majority of the patients I saw at the last hospital did NOT pay for their healthcare. This makes it hard to recoup expenses. Anyways, go watch your cheap-ass TV.
  • My US born wife lives with me in Canada. When she was living down in the states, she was a retail worker who made retail worker wages. Her health insurance through her employer cost her 500$/month.

    Making some reasonable assumptions for hourly salary and assuming she was working a full 40 hrs (she usually didn't), that means she was paying 28% of her salary for health care.

    Put another way, in Canada with the same income, she'd be paying 25% for her whole income tax load. Therefore her health insurance ALONE was costing her more then her entire income tax burden in Canada. (I made the assumption she was living in an expensive province, with the highest provincial tax rate, her taxes would be lower in most other provinces).

    We just had our first daughter. The entire out of pocket cost was 300$, because we upgraded to a private room. My wife was pre-eclamptic, which meant they needed to induce. We spent 4 days in Labour and Delivery due to complications, with 24 hr specialist nursing care (they sat in our room most of the time, and were 15 seconds away when they weren't).

    After 4 days of complications the doctors recommended a C-section (our choice to do it or not), we accepted their recommendation and my wife was C-sectioned. Our daughter had a touch of Jaundice, so they wheeled a light unit into our room and we spent another 4 days in the hospital.

    My wife is of the opinion that even with good medical coverage in the states (like the package that I was offered when I looked for work down there), we'd be out of pocket probably 10K in co-pays for the whole experience (we were high risk, so there were about 10 ultrasounds, 4 cardiac exams, etc). Let me repeat that number again: 300$ out of pocket, and it would have been 0 if we hadn't decided on a private room for the last part of our stay (Labour and Delivery was private anyways, so those days don't count).

    Now in my particular case, most years, yes, I probably am a net contributor to the medical system, given my salary. I'm OK with that, knowing that someone else who goes through what we went through will have the same care I and my wife did. Being proud of my country counts for something, and I'll pay for that feeling.

    Min

  • by Skjellifetti (561341) on Friday January 23, 2009 @10:40PM (#26584685) Journal
    TANSTAAFL [wikipedia.org]: When you do not use private markets to ration health care, you must still ration health care. In Norway (based on what a Norwegian friend tells me), health care to the elderly is rationed by assuming all old folks have consented to "Do Not Revive" orders. If you do want to be revived if you are old and obviously dieing, then you are expected to pay for the added cost. This is not unreasonable. Norwegian society has decided that it is not willing to bear the expenses in these cases, but will pay for others (e.g. young adults with cancer). This is not unjust since all health care is rationed everywhere, it is merely a different way of rationing health care than our U.S. market system which is content to let anyone die who cannot pay the bills for their own treatments.

    A better way to think about which system has better outcomes is to pretend that you have not yet been born. You do not know if you will be born into a rich family or a poor one. You do not know if you will be given healthy genes that give you the opportunity to live to 100 or a cancer gene that will kick in when you are 12. Which health care system would you prefer to be born into? One that you pay for through taxes, that guarantees everyone a basic level of care, and covers major problems up to some age or cost limit (many Euro countries) or one that each person is expected to pay for themselves based on their own personal medical history and, well, too bad if you were, say, born with diabetes (the U.S. system)?
  • Re:I knew it! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by darkmeridian (119044) <william.chuang@gm a i l . com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @11:15PM (#26584931) Homepage

    Wrongo.

    The court that issued the decision right before the Presidential changeover is the FISA court, which is the secret chamber of trial judges that issues secret warrants. They have a vested interest in upholding the legality of their actions. The FISA court is not an appellate court, either.

    Ripping down the firewall between the federal agencies means that the "anti-terror" wiretaps end up being used in criminal prosecution of non-terrorists. What ends up happening is that the NSA/CIA wiretaps all data flowing the United States and gets some information on a drug deal. That information ends up going to the FBI for prosecution. This widens the abrogation of Constitutional rights.

  • by Velex (120469) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @01:51PM (#26590199) Homepage Journal

    The doctors themselves are leaving to work in the US.

    I know this is pretty much -1 offtopic, but this one always gets me. If you've ever worked around doctors, you'd quickly realize that money is more important to them than their patients' safety.

    You're probably the kind of person who blames your doctor's answering service when they can't get a-hold of him after hours. It probably never occurred to you that the number one reason for that is that the doctors themselves provide answering services with bad on-call info. This provides two advantages: 1.) they can get a good credit to their bill, because they customer is always right even in spite of recordings proving otherwise, and 2.) the doctor doesn't have to actually be on-call (unlike me, who is just a lowly account programmer barely making 30k) while passing the blame to the answering service. That's just one example. Don't get me started on the unprofessional behavior they exhibit towards the operators (verbal, often sexually-charged assaults, threats against the operator's life and property, threats of libel and slander, etc. Once we almost lost a good chunk of our business because a doctor libeled us to a local hospital's vendor compliance department, and the recordings showing she was lying were barely enough to set things right).

    Sure, mod me down if you think I'm lying or trolling. It doesn't change how doctors in a capitalist system operate.

    Now, don't get me wrong. Wanting more money is the very nature of a capitalist system. The problem is that often times that's a complete conflict of interest for someone like a doctor. Do you really want a doctor who's more interested in how much more money he can be making off you and how soon he can buy his 4th house than just keeping you well? What if he makes more money off your being sick, especially since he can order tests that aren't really necessary or that he's not even necessarily qualified to interpret? (To be fair, sometimes doctors need to do that simply because of liability, but that's a different topic.) A doctor with healthy patients is like a network consultant whose clients have no problems: he might as well be out of business.

    I'd rather have a situation where people who get into medicine are more interested in saving lives and improving the quality of life for others rather than whether it's 200k, 300k, or 500k they'll be making. Even in countries with socialized medicine, doctors are very well off compared to someone who made the poor choice of not going into medicine. There's a certain point where acquiring more wealth is simply greed.

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