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Obama Administration Defends Warrantless Wiretapping 788

Posted by timothy
from the high-moral-ground-is-a-grassy-knoll dept.
a whoabot writes "The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Obama administration has stepped in to defend AT&T in the case over their participation in the warrantless wiretapping program started by Bush. The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important 'state secrets.' The Electronic Frontier Foundation has described the action as an 'embrace' of the Bush policy." Update: 04/07 15:18 GMT by T : Glenn Greenwald of Salon has up an analysis of this move, including excerpts from the actual brief filed. Excerpt: "This brief and this case are exclusively the Obama DOJ's, and the ample time that elapsed — almost three full months — makes clear that it was fully considered by Obama officials."
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Obama Administration Defends Warrantless Wiretapping

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  • Change? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:08AM (#27489665)

    Yeah, the kind left in your pocket.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:09AM (#27489687) Journal
    The little R next to the president's name indicating party changed to a D and some Wikipedia pages were updated.

    Aside from that, business as usual I guess. No point in getting rid of all the cool toys the last guy left lying around, right?

    On another note, have you begun your responsible phased withdrawal from Iraq [barackobama.com] you promised me when I voted for you, Mr. Obama?

    Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 -- more than 7 years after the war began.

    How's that going, by the way?

  • Too bad so sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:10AM (#27489697)

    "The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important 'state secrets.'"

    Well thats what happens when you use unconstitutional and illegal methods to obtain those secrets. Tough shit!

  • Does this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PuckstopperGA (1204112) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:10AM (#27489703)
    Does this remind anyone else of the argument that "when the president does it, it's not illegal"?

    Nice to see that change came to town...
  • One word (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:11AM (#27489711)
    Unlawful. That is all that should matter, how disappointing.
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:12AM (#27489723) Journal

    I voted for him.

    This is my biggest disappointment so far in his presidency. It's a signal that, for all the talk about transparency, it's talk.

    I'm not saying that he's a failure as President, but I am saying that this issue marks the end of any honeymoon.

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:15AM (#27489761)

    Dude. They have secret spy courts. They have secret spy courts. They have secret spy courts. Say it 3x and it's still true. The only reason to now want a wiretap OK'd through a secret spy court is because you might not get the warrant. And if you might not get the warrant, it might be illegal to do the tap. Duh.

  • surprised? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:18AM (#27489807)
    I'm not. Who's going to willingly remove power from themselves once said power is already granted? Only an idealist or philosopher would do something like that..unfortunately no one fitting these descriptions is fit for the game of politics in this country..or any country holding a world power for that matter.
  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:18AM (#27489813)

    This is just so much more ammo for the "Please don't vote for either R or D!" argument.

    Choosing the lesser of two evils is not a good policy. "Throwing away" your vote on a third party is always decried as the best way to let the other guy in. No, no, no, you need to vote for whichever (R or D) is closer to your views or else all your doing is letting the other one, that you really hate, in.

    Can we agree that their both evil yet?

    Can we make 2012 a third party year? Please?

    Signed by me, a cynical brit that would love to see actual change on either side of the atlantic.

  • One man's trash... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:19AM (#27489833)

    Any concept can be used for both good and bad. IMHO, listening in on conversations to suspected terrorist contacts outside the US can be useful if the information sheds light on terrorist operations. Listening in on conversations that occur completely within our borders? That's tres KGB or Stasi. The radical left in this country has a paranoia about its own people. Ooo, a Ron Paul bumper sticker. They must be militia members! Better call the FBI. Newsflash: dissent is protected in this country and doesn't just apply to leftist speech.

  • Re:Change? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:20AM (#27489845) Homepage Journal
    "Meet the new boss.....

    ....Same as the old boss...."

  • by nadamsieee (708934) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:20AM (#27489849)

    Obama took out of his Presidential campaign to vote in favor of spying on innocent Americans [wired.com].

    What did you expect?

  • by Thelasko (1196535) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:20AM (#27489853) Journal

    The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important 'state secrets.'

    Never mind the, "Obama is just as bad as Bush," rant. What's the secret? Any guesses?

  • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:23AM (#27489899)

    insofar as this is a mess that the bush administration created,

    Is this going to be his excuse for his lack of leadership for the next 4 years? I mean really. At what point is he going to step up and say he's the President now and actually follow it up with action?

  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:23AM (#27489907) Homepage

    I didn't vote for Obama. I voted Libertarian. If you want to end the corruption and game playing with business, you should too.

    It doesn't make any sense to advise a person to vote Libertarian if their only concern is the corruption in the two mainstream parties and they don't actually agree with the Libertarian platform. But it's nice that you guys on the fringe right have a party to vote for. For me, a US citizen residing in the Nordic countries, I'd like to use my absentee vote to bring the US closer to the standard of living we have here, but there's no US party that falls in that portion of the political spectrum.

  • And old-time NSA employees, military and civilian, despise him for it, because a lot of them get off on unhindered access to communications.

    No, for them, it makes their job easier. The issue, when boiled down, is the old "greater good" argument again.

    Suppose they wiretap 1000 phones without a warrant. 999 of them are mistakes and nothing comes from it except the violation of citizen rights. (which is a huge thing, IMO) but that 1000th one yields a goldmine of terrorist activity that they would have missed had they been forced to wait for a warrant. Because of the wiretap being quickly put in place, they're able to stop a legitimate terrorist threat.

    That's a good thing, right? But it's also a hugely BAD thing as well.

    A damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. But to say it's because NSA folks get off on it is simply stupid.

  • by gnick (1211984) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:25AM (#27489931) Homepage

    I think that some people are just learning that the D's respect your privacy roughly as much as the R's. But, of course, when it's the R's doing it, the D's are very vocal about how they're violating people's rights and need to be run out on a rail. If this was a new policy and not a continuation of one from the previous administration, the R's would likely be waxing Libertarian and doing the same thing now.

    I won't go so far as to welcome "the new boss - same as the old boss" because Obama is certainly markedly different from Bush on a wide swath of issues, but some things never change. Once a government claims a power, taking it back is very, very difficult.

    Personally, I voted Barr/Root mainly because fiscal liberalism scares me and social liberalism just seems right (even though I wished that they had a better VP choice). Still, I'm holding my breath that having a charismatic president in office will have some positive repercussions domestically and internationally.

  • by your_mother_sews_soc (528221) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:25AM (#27489933)
    Between the promise to not hire lobbyists, the parade of appointees who have had problems paying their taxes, the proposal floated to have soldiers provide their own insurance for battle injuries (since rescinded), and now this, I hope people start to realize they voted for Obama for the wrong reason. It was more of a vote against Bush and his party than anything. and it was also a fantastically executed marketing campaign. More money was spent on the Obama campaign than any other election. They tapped into what their target audience wanted, hired the best speech writers, and pulled it off.
  • by FatSean (18753) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:26AM (#27489953) Homepage Journal

    The secrets would be the techniques and procedures used by our intelligence agencies.

    Call me simple, but maybe we just need to let those 'secrets' go so the public's faith can be restored.

  • Par for the course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:26AM (#27489961)
    I feel sorry for the people who voted for Obama (I voted "none of the above"). They're getting more of Bush when they wanted to "move on". This is the exact opposite of what they expected, but it's been par for the course. Besides this, we also have his reversal on the ban on federal funding for stem cell research: one day he signed a bill overturning the ban, and two days later, he reinstated the ban in an omnibus spending bill. He definitely should have read and understood the latter before signing it. In addition is his complete 180 on earmark spending. During his campaign, and early in his election, he was adamantly opposed to earmarks [youtube.com]. Then recently he came out in favor of them [youtube.com], and stated that he had always supported them.

    Say one thing, do another. Just like Bush and the GOP. Were you really expecting any better from the Dems?
  • by Idiomatick (976696) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:28AM (#27490003)
    EXACTLY! Someone give this man a mod point. I'm pretty sure the 'they are both evil' thing is pushed by the Reps so that the Dems will vote for third parties and weaken their vote.

    Option 1: You vote for a third party that truly represents you, they get 1% of the vote, the guys you hated win. Next year there is a repeat of the exact same thing maybe you gain a percent. Eventually with enough fighting you can win the party you wanted.

    Option 2: You vote for the lesser evil. (Obama has done A LOT of good and reversed many of the horrible mistakes Bush made already, even in the first weeks). You get some things you wanted some things you didnt. The guy you hate does not come in power. Next year to be more competitive both sides push more to your side (clearly left in my case as i'm not from the us). So each year you get parties that are closer to what you wanted.

    End result in 50years? Essentially the same thing. But with option 2 you spent 50 years with the lesser evil the whole time.
  • Re:Don't blame me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:28AM (#27490007) Homepage Journal
    "I voted for Kucinich! In the primaries"

    You know, while I am pretty much completely against most everything Kuchinich is for, I must say, out of all the candidates, I think I may respect him the most.

    I feel with him, at least you know 100% where he stands on what, and is clear about it. He doesn't say shit just to get elected, or pander to his current audience.

    Unfortunately, with the typical 'drone' American citizen today, that can be led by the nose via TV, this means a person of this type, will never get elected.

  • This last election I quit forever voting for the lesser evil. Your vote is wasted only if you vote for a candidate because the candidate can win, even if you don't really like him/her. While people may get some warm fuzzies by supporting a winner, it's sort of like picking the way you die: some ways are better than others but in the end, you're at the same spot.

    Our problem is that two private organizations, the Democratic and Republican parties, have hijacked our government. They've created self-protecting rules for elections, as if the election system was made for them. And when it all comes down to the end, they aren't all that different except on the edges. Both want to spend us into oblivion. Both are warmongers (just google up some Clinton speeches from the time she helped Bush go to Iraq) or look at Obama's lack of progress on that front. Both are out to further their parties' interests with only a glance toward their constituents interests.

    If people would quit drinking the "wasted vote" kool-aid, we'd have some hope. As it is, America is being destroyed by inches from the inside.

  • by shadowofwind (1209890) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:33AM (#27490087)

    I find the increasing emphasis on surveillance technology to be worrying. Aerial reconnaisance technology developed for use in Afghanistan will eventually be used domestically in my opinion. Surveillance satellites are already used that way, with hardly any public outcry. It seems the American left that's in power cares about equality, but not so much about protecting against abuse of government power. And I don't think the philosophy has been very good for the rest of the world either. Unmanned reconnaissance followed by poorly informed airstrikes has been a big part of the reason people in Afghanistan dislike and don't cooperate with the US-led coalition.

  • by downix (84795) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:34AM (#27490097) Homepage

    Except.....

    You can get the warrant retroactively through the FISA courts. If you happen to be polling, and run across something critical, you file the paperwork, BAM, warrant. If you happen to not, the data is purged.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:35AM (#27490119) Homepage Journal

    I know there are a few others here on Slashdot like myself who did not believe a word out of this guy's mouth during the campaign (and no I did not vote McCain)

    You didn't really believe half the stuff he promised would come to pass did you? His own voting record (what little of it that is) and his writings (we actually got two) pointed to a direction not in line with his campaign. Throw in the fact he had basically zero experience people either were relying on the novelty of a black President or were so partisan that anyone not "R" was the only choice.

    Look at his appointees, I would swear Hillary won. I was one of the deluded types who didn't really fret over Bush having such powers and holding such views because I knew the press would be merciless. I was worried about the next guy and apparently it will be fun to see if anything gets made of it, let alone the clowns in Congress who had a cow when he did this.

    So did ya'll really buy into this shit or not?

    It really blows my mind that so many act surprised.

    News at 11, water is wet, fire is hot, and politicians only want power for themselves.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:35AM (#27490127) Journal

    because Obama is certainly markedly different from Bush on a wide swath of issues, but some things never change

    Yeah, like gun rights. "Markedly different" doesn't always mean better.....

  • by Gizzmonic (412910) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:38AM (#27490191) Homepage Journal

    Suppose they wiretap 1000 phones without a warrant. 999 of them are mistakes and nothing comes from it except the violation of citizen rights. (which is a huge thing, IMO) but that 1000th one yields a goldmine of terrorist activity that they would have missed had they been forced to wait for a warrant. Because of the wiretap being quickly put in place, they're able to stop a legitimate terrorist threat.

    This happens frequently on TV shows, but has it ever really happened in real life? No.

    The entire national security apparatus is a huge expense and a bigger curb to our freedom than anything an outside enemy has ever imposed on us. And what do we get in return? Bloated bureaucracies that have no clear mission. "Homeland Security" was created after 9/11 because the "Department of Defense" failed to defend us, as did the FBI, CIA, NSA, Secret Service, etc. So what's the solution? Another nebulous bureaucracy to drain taxpayer money and entangle us in more foreign wars, all the while bickering with the other agencies for prestige. It's a raw deal if you ask me.

  • by ivan256 (17499) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:38AM (#27490197)

    It's hard to argue that "the lesser of two evils" is bad policy when you're holding the greater of the two evils up as an example.

    This story shouldn't shock anybody at all. Obama was open about this before the election. Many people, including myself, pointed out many times before the election that on issues of privacy Obama was the most Bush-like of the candidates in the last election. But he charmed the pants off everybody and convinced you all that McCain was Bush-2.

    So now you can be surprised. And you can be surprised again in 10 years when you look back at how we used to have the best healthcare in the world until Obama flushed it down the toilet for a more European style system.

  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:43AM (#27490259) Homepage Journal
    No way. This is not about "national security" in the sense of busting terrorists and preventing catastrophic damage. It's about control, plain and simple. There are no credible threats. Is this [militantislammonitor.org], busting some loser ice cream man after paying a shady informant a quarter-million bucks (commonplace even while many Americans are jobless and starving), the best that they can do?

    Sweeping powers like rampant warrantless wiretapping will always be abused. Why care if you're not up to anything? Surely you won't mind if I follow you around and read over your shoulder, or even follow your wife into the restroom to make sure that she's not doing anything illegal. Huh. You'd think that we would be better than to allow state-sponsored voyeurism. But it's for your own good - the terrorists and pedophiles are out to get you!
  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:45AM (#27490297)

    It's hard to argue that "the lesser of two evils" is bad policy when you're holding the greater of the two evils up as an example.

    But surely at some point you have to concede that the lesser of two evils really isn't that much lesser, or that different, and that it doesn't really matter which evil gets in because when it comes down to it they are actually both evil?

    So now you can be surprised. And you can be surprised again in 10 years when you look back at how we used to have the best healthcare in the world until Obama flushed it down the toilet for a more European style system.

    You don't have the best health system in the world. You have a good health system in terms of quality, and a poor one in terms of coverage and costs. You know that you already pay more in taxes towards the state health provisions in the US than I do as a UK citizen? And that you don't get the benefit of that because you or your employer have to pay for insurance on top of that?

    I also have top-up insurance, BTW, as an employer perk, but it's not quite the same thing. I only mention it to demonstrate that if you have money you can still buy your way to better accommodation, private rooms etc. in the UK.

    Well anyway, that's up to you crazy Americans to decide upon, but don't be so quick to dismiss the models used by the rest of the civilised world.

  • by lorenlal (164133) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:47AM (#27490335)

    The problem with everyone voting for the lesser evil is that it allows the two at the top to keep taking care of themselves in the name of "representing the people." It doesn't take a majority to create real change. 10% of the population can have a huge impact on the dealings of two parties that each have 40-45% of the population's support.

    But continuing the status quo is a guaranteed loser. If you are indeed truly happy voting for someone in the D or R range, then please vote for them. If you aren't, then vote for someone you actually like, not against someone you don't.

    Voting for someone (third party or not) should be a statement of who you want representing you.

  • Re:Excellent news! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:48AM (#27490353) Homepage
    Didn't those who voted for him expect he would try to clean up the mess rather than pile more crap on top?
  • by lorenlal (164133) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:49AM (#27490361)

    Mod parent up.

    Just ask George Washington what he thought of political parties.

  • by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:52AM (#27490405)

    Obama's also done a lot of bad. Or, rather, Tim Geithner has. And it's just gonna get more interesting from here.

  • Re:Defending Obama (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nothing2seehere (1496253) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:54AM (#27490443)
    Warrantless wiretapping isn't a "conservative" thing to do. We should bash Obama because what he's doing is un-American.
  • This happens frequently on TV shows, but has it ever really happened in real life? No.

    How do you know?

  • by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <sorceror171@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:00PM (#27490561) Homepage
    ...and contributing to the EFF [eff.org], the ones actually pushing this issue.
  • by reashlin (1370169) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:01PM (#27490565)
    No No No No No

    It's because everyone thinks like you that no-one votes for the 3rd EVER.

    A democracy only works if people vote for those they want in power. Not if people vote for those they think will get in power.
  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:01PM (#27490567) Journal

    Your libertarian comment is quite political in the truest sense, as it is the far right which has tried to paint itself as libertarian without actually being so, and the far left which has encouraged the misunderstanding to keep its own faithful. I fail to see how being anti-war, anti-empire, anti-drug war, pro-privacy, and pro-freedom are characteristics of the far right.

    But those scary libertarians support gun rights, so they must be living in a mountain compound somewhere preparing for the revolution or something. Far-right extremist nutjobs that they are.... ;)

  • by boatboy (549643) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:04PM (#27490607) Homepage
    Obama very clearly opposed this, then got in office and supports it. The clear inference here is that he learned _something_ between then and now to lead him to believe this was saving lives or in some other way acceptable. I get 'those who would sacrifice privacy for security deserve neither'. I have to believe that there are pros and cons both ways to this, but that the scale tip toward the pros. (For the record, I'm not an Obama supporter on just about any other issue.)
  • Re:Change? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by remmelt (837671) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:06PM (#27490647) Homepage

    No but that's because blah blah blah.

    It was a stupid excuse he was defended with back then and it'll be a stupid excuse this time.

  • Re:Change? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jasmusic (786052) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:09PM (#27490715)
    Wait till you see all the people killed when he socializes our healthcare on the lie that "it will help the economy".
  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:12PM (#27490755) Journal

    Yes, because anybody who is opposed to gun control must agree with 100% of what the religious wing of the GOP stands for. I'd love to have a debate with you about abortion (I'm pro-choice) and stem-cell research (in favor of, but skeptical about governmental involvement) but based on the close minded remark above, I'm doubtful that you have anything interesting to say.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:16PM (#27490861)

    No, no, no. It's only bad when the other guy does it.

  • by fnj (64210) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:21PM (#27490953)

    Bunk. If you vote for the lesser of two evils, and he wins, you END UP WITH AN EVIL S.O.B. If the guy who is even more evil wins, you END UP WITH AN EVIL S.O.B.

    EITHER WAY, you end up with an EVIL S.O.B.

    For the sake of all that is holy, everyone stop over analyzing and strategizing, pull your head out of your ass, do what you know you really want to do, and vote for the best candidate.

  • I get it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@NoSPAM.gamerslastwill.com> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:26PM (#27491061) Homepage Journal

    I understand that those lawsuits can't move forward without incriminating some former leaders and putting others in jail.

    I understand that. But maybe that's what we need and want. Maybe we want to see some former leaders go to jail to get some closure.

    I understand that Obama is respecting the office, but what the fuck? Someone needs to pay the price. John Yoo should be hanged for treason. Dick Cheney should be hanged for treason. Bush should spend his life in prison because he is too stupid to know what he was doing was seriously illegal and wrong. Those people subverted the Constitution of the United States and attempted a coup de'tat. That is treason.

    Bush ignored his presidential oath. You remember the one he took where he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America? He wiped his ass with the constitution. That is impeachable. That is unforgivable. The people of the United States of America demand justice. The fact that we can't get it means we've lost our republic. Touché Mr Franklin.

  • by Locklin (1074657) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:32PM (#27491189) Homepage

    Except it's not 1000 phones, it's 100,000,000 phones, 10 or so with information about a serious terrorist plot, and 10,000 false positives.

  • by gnick (1211984) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:34PM (#27491213) Homepage

    Yeah, like gun rights. "Markedly different" doesn't always mean better.....

    Nobody ever said anything about "better" - Just markedly different. Bush, for example, would never have said that he's striving toward a world without nuclear weapons. And, even though he and Obama are both for spending huge amounts of $$ that we're borrowing from the Chinese on credit, it never would have occurred to him to spend that money domestically.

    I've got major issues with both administrations, but you have to admit that they really are different.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:37PM (#27491249)

    Obama has done A LOT of good and reversed many of the horrible mistakes Bush made already, even in the first weeks

    Like what? Obama has done almost nothing except dramatically overspend. This completely overshadows all else he may have done or will do that is somewhat good, and points to voting for McCain as having been the wiser choice - McCain would have done all of the good things Obama has done, but not put forth nearly as onerous a budget (though he would have unfortunately continued the bailouts, but possibly not to such a scale and certainly not for the automakers).

    McCain also would not have been so totally left footed in international relations, just as an aside on something else that will matter in the long run.

    There's no way Obama is any kind of "lesser evil" here, on any scale you care to measure - though of course bandying around the term "evil" for either side is totally bombastic. Instead I would say, that Obama is by far the most misguided and lacking in long-term thinking than McCain was....

    Not that I'm a Republican, just a Libertarian who can sadly see through the smoke and mirrors that both parties erect.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:41PM (#27491325) Journal

    Bush, for example, would never have said that he's striving toward a world without nuclear weapons

    Probably because for all of his faults he knew how naive such a statement was.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:41PM (#27491329)

    It was frustrating as hell to have to defend my desire to vote for a third party when people kept arguing that I was wasting it by not voting for the two ruling parties. So apparently I'm throwing my vote away if I vote my conscience.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:43PM (#27491351)

    Can we please make 2012 a no party year? Candidates should be themselves rather than cloak themselves in stupid pointless ideologies.

    And this sums up the problem, you think the only elections that matter are the Presidential ones every four years. Why wait for 2012? Why not make 2010 a no party year? Why not make sure that the guys running the local government are doing a good job?
    If people would start putting more emphasis on local and state elections, it would have a much bigger impact on the state of affairs than any amount of effort on the Federal level.

  • Re:Change? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sun.Jedi (1280674) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:44PM (#27491375) Journal

    He may be yet another sleazy politician, but at least as of today, he hasn't invaded another country based on lies, and gotten over 4200 American soldiers killed

    Give him time. He's only had 3 months to screw us all over. We must endure another 3 years and 9 months AND pray there is enough left for a [sleazy or not] conservative to straighten out.

    And technically, adding soldiers to Afghanistan is the exact opposite of "bringing our troops home" which only reinforces your sleazy politician comment.

  • by Sj0 (472011) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:47PM (#27491429) Homepage Journal

    I've long said the left/right dichotomy is dangerous, and here's why.

    I've been called a liberal bastard, and I've been called a conservative bastard. At the end of the day, I'm a HUMAN bastard, and backing all the stupid inconsistent hypocrisy of the left/right dichotomy doesn't do a thing.

    So why do deficits matter when Obama is running them up but they're awesome when Bush is doing it? Why are rebate cheques communist when Obama is sending them out but they're awesome when Bush is sending them out? Why am I strange when I'm against the idea no matter who is sending them out?

  • Re:Change? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:47PM (#27491435)
    What's funny is watching so many who voted for Obama who still can't bring themselves to find anything to disagree with him on. There's nothing wrong with saying you find something disturbing even from someone you largely support. We've been an all-or-nothing politico.
  • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:48PM (#27491447) Journal

    "...because Obama is certainly marketed differently from Bush..."

    There fixed that for ya.

  • Re:Change? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by laughing rabbit (216615) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:59PM (#27491643)

    Actually it really has.

    You should get out more. And straighten out your eyes. They might stick that way.

  • by equex (747231) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:05PM (#27491759) Homepage
    Uhm, let's also ignore Archimedes, Kepler, Curie and Einstein. They are all dead. The founding fathers were the Einsteins of nation building. Heed their wisdom.
  • Re:Change? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by keithltaylor (966667) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:06PM (#27491777)
    no rationalizations or deflections on this one - I disagree with him. But this is one of about, oh, thirteen gazillion things that are 180 degrees better now. No need for rationalizations. I'm no longer embarrassed by my president.
  • Re:Change? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Firethorn (177587) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:13PM (#27491881) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, part of this is that I can promise whatever I want during my campaign, but once elected I get the good briefings, and suddenly some of my promises don't make sense anymore. Well, that's the charitable reason anyways.

    Wire tapping, Gitmo, Afghanistan, Iraq, all of Obama's timelines are looking a lot more like Bush's now.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:19PM (#27491975)

    There are two Americas. Guess which one gets all the rights and breaks the rules?

    Enjoy your prison state. Pay your taxes. The economy is bad for YOU the poor... but not the wealthy. The wealthy get your tax dollars through hand outs.

    Steal from the poor, give to the rich. And they sold you that Robin Hood story too, just like the fairy tale that is America.

  • Re:Change? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by severoon (536737) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:19PM (#27491977) Journal

    Oh no. Things were so much easier when we could move forward based on the simple algorithm Bush = bad. Now that we have to actually think about stuff, what ever will we do?

  • Re:Does this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:26PM (#27492103)

    More likely, he is getting the same advice that Bush got, from different advisers. He doesn't have to be an idiot, corrupt, or a jerk to take advice from people who think they know what's best for the country.

    I'm about 100% sure the request for secrecy is coming from the NSA, and Obama's DOJ is accomodating as much as possible due to convincing arguments, just like Bush's DOJ did.

    Something must have convinced Obama to change course from his campaign promises. Do you think he just decided one day that it wasn't worth fighting against?

    Blaming one political party or another is not the best way to fight this, because it's obviously not a partisan issue any longer. It's the government against the people now, like it always has been only we couldn't see it.

  • by Zarluk (976365) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:35PM (#27492313)
    "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"
    The Who in "We won't get fooled again".
  • Re:Change? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:39PM (#27492395) Homepage Journal

    Well, when you one day don't have health insurance because you got laid off or whatever, let me know how high quality health care is for you then.

    You're at the emergency room

    Desk clerk: He's uninsured.
    Chief Doctor: Is he dying?
    Intern: Well, no...
    Chief Doctor: Okay, well stablize him and get him out of here.

  • Re:Change? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Miseph (979059) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:41PM (#27492421) Journal

    I haven't really seen that... I've just seen a lot of anti-Obama types criticizing people who did for their unwillingness to do so before they even say anything.

    That said, I'm extremely disappointed by this, I am disappointed that he can't find a single cabinet member who knows to pay their taxes, and I am even more disappointed in these Democrats who are committing tax evasion: I am OK with paying taxes to support social services and the like, and I am willing to accept that a great deal of that money will also, unfortunately, be spent on offense (it's not "defense" anymore when you're invading nations unprovoked)... but supporting such spending and then NOT paying taxes is just beyond contempt. I'm also not thrilled with his continuation of the Bush policy of socializing completely inappropriate industries (banks, autos) rather than ignoring the "too big to fail" bullshit and letting them die like they deserve and get replaced by businesses that know how not to fail.

    On the other hand, I'm glad that he's put and end to Gitmo and started to reclaim any sort of American claim to a moral high ground, that he's put us on a path to getting out of Iraq sometime in the next decade (better than never, like Cheney wanted), that's he refocusing the US military into the legitimate military operation in Afghanistan (a lot of us never opposed this war at all, despite what the vocal fringe claims), and that's he's at least giving lip service to the idea that average working Americans are more important than a small number of extremely wealthy ones.

    In any event, he's still a dramatic improvement on the last guy. He'd have to work pretty hard not to be.

  • Four legs good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T.E.D. (34228) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:42PM (#27492441)
    ...two legs better [wikiquote.org].
  • Re:Change? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:43PM (#27492475)
    And some people might call you a cynic for dismissing personal experience with human suffering with some set of statistics selected to push your predefined agenda.
  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:53PM (#27492631) Homepage Journal

    He set a timeline to shutdown gitmo in 1 year.

    Well he signed a order to create a plan to close it. Nobody was released, and no trials will happen until the plan is worked out. Maybe they'll get a better prison? How about Buffalo?

    Stopped torture that was going on.

    Actually, stopped "for now" any techniques not in the Army Field Manual. Another task force will "study" techniques and decide how much torturing they can do in the future.

    Allowed government to support abortions.

    So he's killing babies, now? I don't even know what this is about??

    Explained that the US is not at war with Islam.

    "He said" is not "He did". And I'm pretty sure this had been said before.

    Brought closer ties to Europe and the globe merely by being closer to the global center (US left).

    Pfft. Damn you made me squirt milk out of my nose.

    Strict lobbyist rules were made. Well... comparatively strict. (doesn't allow you to make desicions about things you lobbied for in past, no gift-giving, no jumping from government into a bussiness thats lobbying you).

    And those rules were immediately broken, ignored, and/or given "waivers". See, for example:

    • Mark Gitenstein
    • Ron Klain
    • John Podesta
    • Larry Summers
    • Patrick Gaspard
    • William Lynn
    • William Corr

    So, nothing. This would have been great if he had really meant it.

    Made an order for higher fuel efficiency standards in vehicles.

    You mean the one Bush proposed? That will help. [usnews.com]

    Opened up whitehouse.gov to have a more open converstation between the government and its people.

    He has a website? That's good governance, putting up a website? I can't find anyplace I can join the "converstation" there, anyway.

    Or barring that a very clear layout on plans, ideas and keeping the public informed.

    Having a marketing plan is not "keeping the public informed". Try finding out what's going on with ACTA.

    There was also some thing about whitehouse transperency .. saving letters or somesuch.

    Ummm... you mean the law that's been in place since the 1970's that says all whitehouse correspondence must be made public record?

    Oh and that was week 1. He's not perfect but dear god think if it was McCain. Oh and he spoke to leaders on both sides of the good/evil barrier.

    There's a good/evil barrier in D.C.? I thought it surrounded the whole city.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @02:10PM (#27492957)

    Most republican voters HATED Bush for running up the deficit, but felt compelled to re-elect him because they thought Kerry would have made it worse, and at that time were too committed to the war.

  • by djp928 (516044) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @02:17PM (#27493103) Homepage

    The point isn't that you should do whatever George Washington says because he's mofo George Washington. The point is, someone over 200 years ago realized the dangers of political parties and talked about how we should try to avoid having them at all costs.

    Nobody is telling you "GEORGE WASHINGTON HATED POLITICAL PARTIES SO YOU SHOULD TOO!" The point is, just realize that this isn't some new development, isn't some new thing--200+ years ago, our first President saw the dangers and tried to warn us, and we didn't listen--in fact, we started having fairly well developed political parties almost the instant Washington left office.

  • Re:Change? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sj0 (472011) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @02:31PM (#27493331) Homepage Journal

    Bullshit.

    Obama's administration is already facing heavy criticism for every move they make or don't make. You've got an army of partisan hacks who loved torture when it was their guys doing it who will cut off Obama's balls if they hear about him doing it.

  • Re:Change? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rusty_Rebar (1144441) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @02:37PM (#27493425)

    you assume the Obama DOJ is looking to continue the program, rather than simply support the Defense of AT&T.

    Trying to stop a legal precedence from being made where private companies should be afraid to help their government, even when their government is with in the scope of the constitution is not the same thing as continuing an illegal spying program on the American citizens.

    The problem with this statement is the lawsuit is not addressing what AT&T did. This lawsuit is seeking damages from government officials who knowingly broke the law.

    These laws are very clear on wire taping, and it is not hard to get a FISA warrant if the taps are justified.

    What the Obama administration is doing is really disappointing. I was cautiously optimistic that this guy could implement some real change, but that does not seem to be happening here. Lots of talk, not much behind it.

    People often wonder why there is so little interest in elections in this country. Well this is it. A candidate takes the course of, "I am going to give you change [in how government is run]", gets a bunch of people excited about it, they rally and get the candidate elected, and then nothing happens. That is more likely to disenfranchise his base then anything the other side could have done.

    I voted for the guy, and I still think he is better then the alternatives we had, but my cautious optimism has turned into the realization that this guy is not really different then any of the others. I sort of expected that, but it is still sad.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki@co[ ]et ['x.n' in gap]> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @02:51PM (#27493633)

    The difference is, archimedes, kepler, curie and einstein left proofs, and consistent logical systems as to why we should consider their work when looking forward. When considering the implications of 200 year old political ideals, most often left out are the context of the time versus the context of the present.

    If the Founding Fathers were as sacred as many libertarians take them to be, the constitution would be a much different document.

  • Re:Change? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tsotha (720379) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @03:42PM (#27494377)

    On the other hand, I'm glad that he's put and end to Gitmo...

    He's done no such thing. He's simply claims to have a timetable, sort of, to close Gitmo. There are lots of thorny issues to be resolved before that facility is closed, and Obama hasn't done anything to resolve them yet.

    In any event, he's still a dramatic improvement on the last guy. He'd have to work pretty hard not to be.

    I keep seeing people clinging to this desperate delusion. So far he's no improvement over Bush's first ten weeks. Not by a long shot.

  • Re:Change? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by garett_spencley (193892) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @05:17PM (#27495897) Journal

    I'm Canadian and I always get a chuckle when Americans point to our health care system as "health care done right".

    First of all (and bare with me, the relevance will come in a second), our unemployment rate is equal that to the USA right now (around 8 or 9%). It's been pretty constant for the last decade or two. In 1999 8% was double the USA national unemployment rate.

    Canada is a borderline mercantilist state. We have very strict trade regulations (import tariffs mostly to "encourage" or "protect" national industries against foreign competition) and extremely high taxes. Our health care system costs us greatly. It costs us in terms of taxes and it costs us in terms of doctors. Our best doctors are constantly fleeing the country to better conditions. High taxes and heavy market intervention lead to institutional unemployment. But at least we can see a doctor every time we sneeze right ?

    My oldest daughter was 5 years-old before we had a family doctor. That was not due to lack of looking.

    We do have walk-in clinics where you can see a doctor for free. However, there is a trade-off. Because health care is free people go see a doctor for every minor little sniffle. The waiting rooms are usually packed, the doctors take a quick look at your throat and in your ears and send you out very quickly without taking a single glance at your medical history (they don't have it). So misdiagnoses are very high. The increased demand for medical services raises the costs of the entire system. This tends to push taxes and inefficiency way up. Of course, the government doesn't want to allow the costs to rise, so the quality of the health care suffers greatly, as many doctors leave the country and the remaining ones try to squeeze as many patients through during the day as they possibly can, since it's the only way to earn more. Not to mention the fact that the list of medical ailments that are covered gets lower and lower every year.

    Specialists are even harder to come by. If you need a major life-or-death surgery you will get it right away, but if you need something minor (and by minor I mean not life-or-death, it could be affecting your ability to walk and/or work etc.) you're put on a waiting list for months at best to years at worst. If you can afford to pay to have the surgery right away you're out of luck unless you fly to the US to get it done.

    Of course, there is so much anti-American sentiment in Canada and we get our fare share of American health care horror stories up here. So most Canadians praise the hell out of our system, because everything is black and white and they think the alternative is the US system. They couldn't imagine not being able to go see the doctor whenever they sneeze.

    So this is not to say that the American system is not screwed up. However, most economists that I read blame government health insurance and intervention. If you listen to elder doctors and politicians like Dr. Ron Paul, they talk about the good ol' days when doctors charged different rates that varied depending on the patient's ability to pay. Non-profit hospitals were set up (and these tend to pull down the cost of for-profit hospitals since they have to lower their prices to compete). No one was turned away because they couldn't pay. And even today, the vast majority of new medical "breakthroughs" occur in the USA.

    If you want to do right by health care then get the government 100% the hell out of it. This means get rid of the American Medical Association and mandatory licenses (I know I know, those unqualified evil greedy doctors would then be able to become rich by killing all of their customers! /sarcasm). With all of the health care regulation it's very difficult for non-profits and charities to get set up, and the cartel of doctors that gets to decide who is granted a medical license has a vested interest in their competition. This holds back medical research as well as raises costs. Get rid of government sponsored insurance because as it is, hospitals do business with the insurance companies, not the individuals. So there is no flexibility in payment. You either have insurance or you're screwed. The more government gets involved the worst health care will get.

  • Re:Change? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Touvan (868256) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @06:05PM (#27496531) Homepage

    How about those supporters (like me) who feel no need to rationalize. Who really thinks Obama is a leftist? Maybe the hippie generation, but they can't tell their asses from their elbows.

    I for one, got exactly what I wanted. I thoughtful man who will make hard desicions based on the actual evidence, and then leadn on those decisions - even when he disagrees with me on one or two things.

    I can't see how that's anything like Bush.

    On the particular issue - some CEO at a company decided it was better to go along with a request from the President of the United States, because the President of the United States said it was a security matter, and we might be attacked. That CEO basically fell for the same crap that all those voters fell for when they elected Bush the second time (raise your hand if you think a CEO is more intelligent than the average voter - if you raised your hand, punch yourself in the face). And you all want to just punish the "corporation" (a legal document) for it.

    I don't get this lack of consideration. Everyone needs to grow a little.

    And for the record, I think most American CEOs are piles of overpaid crap - but in the one instance where the company did something because they were asked by the sitting president to do so, I don't think we should be punishing him for that (punish him for ripping off share holders instead, that's probably better). I'd be happy to throw the Bush administration in Gitmo though. For damn sure.

    It was Bush's (et al) leadership that lead to this garbage. Hold him accountable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @06:52PM (#27497011)

    We have the best government money can buy. All the campaign contributors have bought and sold their representation already. The decisions about the direction our nation is going in were made when the checks were being written. Sorry America this whole notion of being a democracy is just a sick joke.

    Obama took contributions from a number of large corporations including AIG whom he was eager to come to the rescue of.

    Obama is the best politician that our corporations could afford.

  • Re:Change? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by severoon (536737) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @07:01PM (#27497101) Journal

    You know, I was not a big Bush fan, but I also never drank the kool-aid that he's the devil incarnate either. Now that we're seeing Obama adopt some of the same positions after a careful and studied review of the facts available to the Office of the President, there are two possibilities to consider. (1) Obama is Bush III. (2) zOMG just because Bush did it doesn't automatically make it wrong and evil.

    It's easy to oversimply situations and reduce people to caricatures. It's easy, and it's a mistake, and many of you are guilty of doing it with Bush. Again, not a huge Bush fan...but do we really have to start judging Obama not based on what he does, but only based on what he does differently?

  • Re:Change? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hordeking (1237940) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:43PM (#27498029)

    Oh no. Things were so much easier when we could move forward based on the simple algorithm Bush = bad. Now that we have to actually think about stuff, what ever will we do?

    Don't look at me. I didn't believe Hussein Obama when he first said it, then I saw proof when he voted for telecom immunity. If you honestly believed he wasn't going to do this, you really shouldn't be voting.

  • Re:Change? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:01PM (#27498607) Homepage

    You know, I was not a big Bush fan, but I also never drank the kool-aid that he's the devil incarnate either. Now that we're seeing Obama adopt some of the same positions after a careful and studied review of the facts available to the Office of the President, there are two possibilities to consider. (1) Obama is Bush III. (2) zOMG just because Bush did it doesn't automatically make it wrong and evil.

    Then you should consider listening to the conservatives next time, as they saw this coming a mile away. As a Libertarian, I'm not the slightest bit surprised to see Obama take this stance. His entire -- but brief -- political career is replete with examples of such opportunism.

    Sorry to be such a cynic, but the truth hurts. See my tagline.

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