18 Jun

Obama: I’m no Dick Cheney!

                                       

obama watching

Barack Obama sought to once again use Dick Cheney as a whipping boy to create a distinction between his and the previous administration.

President Barack Obama used a television interview set to air Monday night to defend his administration’s use of far-reaching surveillance programs as carefully supervised and controlled.

Obama also appeared to reject comparisons between himself and Vice President Dick Cheney, who strongly backed similar surveillance efforts in the George W. Bush administration and has defended Obama’s continuation of national security-related programs similar in many respects to those pursued by the previous administration.

“Some people say, ‘Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney.’ Dick Cheney sometimes says, ‘Yeah, you know? He took it all lock, stock, and barrel,’” the president told interviewer Charlie Rose in the exchange recorded Sunday, according to excerpts of the transcript published by BuzzFeed. “My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances?”

Hang on. We’re doing all this to set up a system of checks and balances instead of preventing terrorism?

Really?

In an interview that’s been heavily promoted by the White House and Obama aides, the president acknowledged that a program which collects massive amounts of data on telephone calls made in or through the U.S. could theoretically be used to invade individuals’ privacy, even potentially yielding conclusions about callers’ health conditions.

Dick Cheney didn’t do that.

Then Obama goes off the rails

“All of that is true. Except for the fact that for the government, under the program right now, to do that, it would be illegal. We would not be allowed to do that,” the president said, according to a transcript. “The number of requests are surprisingly small. ….Folks don’t go with a query unless they’ve got a pretty good suspicion.”

But, but, but, Barack, you said

“No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.”

And yet you are collecting everyone’s emails and phone calls.

Then Obama goes Orwellian with “Newspeak”

Newspeak is the fictional language in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell. It is a reduced language created by the totalitarian state as a tool to limit free thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, peace, etc. Any form of thought alternative to the party’s construct is classified as “thoughtcrime.”

when he says “transparent” and “secret” are the same thing.

In the interview, Obama appears at one point to equate transparency of the surveillance programs with their oversight by the courts and Congress — even though the public was kept in the dark about the nature of the snooping until the leak of highly-classified documents by an National Security Agency contractor via Britain’s Guardian newspaper earlier this month.

“Should this be transparent in some way?” Rose asked.

“It is transparent,” Obama insisted. “That’s why we set up the FISA Court,” the president said, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — which carries out its work almost entirely in secret.

And what’s this “We” thing?

WE set up the FISA court?

The FISA court was set up in 1978, somehow done without one Barack Obama. In 1978 Obama was a member of the choom gang, doing weed and later on, coke. Employing the royal “we” for the creation of the FISA Court is waterboarding the truth.

So let’s see how different Obama is from Cheney.

Spying on everyone?

Check

The NSA’s domestic program, as described by sources, is far more expansive than what the White House has acknowledged. Last year, Bush said he had authorized the NSA to eavesdrop — without warrants — on international calls and international e-mails of people suspected of having links to terrorists when one party to the communication is in the USA. Warrants have also not been used in the NSA’s efforts to create a national call database.

In defending the previously disclosed program, Bush insisted that the NSA was focused exclusively on international calls. “In other words,” Bush explained, “one end of the communication must be outside the United States.”

Congressional oversight?

Check

After the special program started, Congressional leaders from both political parties were brought to Vice President Dick Cheney’s office in the White House. The leaders, who included the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House intelligence committees, learned of the N.S.A. operation from Mr. Cheney, Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden of the Air Force, who was then the agency’s director and is now a full general and the principal deputy director of national intelligence, and George J. Tenet, then the director of the C.I.A., officials said.

And here’s how you know they were told everything:

It is not clear how much the members of Congress were told about the presidential order and the eavesdropping program. Some of them declined to comment about the matter, while others did not return phone calls.

Safeguards?

Check

A senior government official recalled that he was taken aback when he first learned of the operation. “My first reaction was, ‘We’re doing what?’ ” he said. While he said he eventually felt that adequate safeguards were put in place, he added that questions about the program’s legitimacy were understandable.

And why did Bush and Cheney do what they did? We were at war.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Cheney said, “We made the decision based on 9/11 that we no longer had a law enforcement problem, we are at war. And Congress, in fact, authorizes the president to use military force to deal with the crisis.”

As I have written repeatedly, our liberals friends have zero long term memory. They have what Bernie Keirik calls a “9/12 mentality.” They forget what it was in the aftermath of 9/11. They forget the insecurity, the fear.

Obama has declared the war on terror over. If it is over, why do we even need these programs?

Nina Totenberg suggests that the FISA Court has been largely neutered since 2008:

As a result, the FISA court became “less a court than an administrative entity or ministerial clerk,” says William Banks, director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University. “They weren’t reviewing law anymore; they were simply sort of stamping papers as approved or filed.”

After 2008, Banks adds, the FISA court didn’t “have a substantive review of these directives that come down the pike.”

Obama is doing pretty much exactly the same thing as Cheney and Bush. He really is Dick Cheney, like it or not. He can claim FISA Court this or FISA Court that, but he has diminished the power of the FISA Court. Additionally, the FISA Court seems appears to be rubber-stamping Obama demands:

But how “strict” is that oversight?

The court rarely, if ever, denies the government’s requests, according to annual reports issued to senior members of Congress by the Department of Justice and collected by the Federation of American Scientists.

In 2012, the government made 1,789 applications to the court — one was withdrawn by the government and 40 were modified by the court, but “the FISC did not deny any applications in whole or in part,” the report states. In 2011, there were 1,676 applications, of which two were withdrawn and 30 modified, but once again, “The FISC did not deny any applications in whole, or in part.” In 2010, there were 1,511 applications, of which five were withdrawn and 14 modified, but “The FISC did not deny any applications in whole, or in part.”

Wait- didn’t Obama say the number of requests were “surprising small”?

Congress is briefed but stymied from real oversight:

Meanwhile, the other body meant to provide oversight — Congress — is often briefed in meetings where “aides were barred and note-taking was prohibited.” This maks it almost impossible for lawmakers, who may not be experts on the topics, to provide proper oversight.

animal farm cover

Still, the real issue is Obama and what a lousy hypocrite he is.

But the fact that these operations are operating under the rule of law is not the end of the story. For if we are not approaching the totalitarian nightmare of a novel like “1984,” the revelations provide a stunning example of how President Obama has come to resemble a character in Orwell’s other dystopian parable, “Animal Farm.”

That 1945 novella tells of a farm revolution led by pigs, who drive out their oppressive human master, only to move into his house, don his clothes, and wield his brutal whip to subjugate the other animals. At the story’s conclusion, the pigs’ victims gaze in on their new masters drinking and playing cards with half a dozen farmers. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

To anyone comparing the conduct of Barack Obama with that of George W. Bush, the sense of confusion should feel familiar. America’s 44th president ran against almost all of Bush’s national security policies. But once power was in his hands, he began to embrace them as avidly as the pigs wielded their whips.

Senator Obama had voted against renewal of the Patriot Act in 2005 because he said it allowed the government “to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document — through library books they’ve read and phone calls they’ve made.” But in 2011, President Obama signed the renewal of the same law and defended its roving wiretaps and searches of business records as vital to America’s counterterrorism efforts.

Presidential candidate Obama ran against the very ethos of Bush’s national security program, saying it put forward “a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.” But just last week in California, President Obama told Americans they “have to make some choices as a society” because “you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.”

The real effect of the NSA stories is to cement a narrative about Obama that will likely become part of his legacy: the liberal senator and constitutional law professor who, like the pigs in “Animal Farm,” metamorphosed into what he had so notoriously opposed. Guantanamo remains open. Drones still rain down on Pakistan, Yemen, and anywhere else the president sees fit. Leaks are prosecuted vigorously and reporters are investigated to uncover their sources. And now, the president is affirming the surveillance practices he once mused could be unconstitutional. In light of these actions alone, it seems that Barack Obama has learned that George W. Bush got a lot of things right.

The point of noting the president’s porcine transformation is not to criticize his current policies, but rather to serve as an instructive example for future White House aspirants: The responsibilities of power are difficult to reconcile with lazy criticism that is so easy to dispense from the sidelines. As long as he fails to recognize the debt that he, and the nation, owe to his predecessor, he will be practicing a vice that Orwell was a master of depicting: hypocrisy.

And then there’s the issue of charity:

According to their tax returns [notes Coulter], in 2006 and 2007, the Obamas gave 5.8 percent and 6.1 percent of their income to charity. I guess Michelle Obama has to draw the line someplace with all this ‘giving back’ stuff. The Bidens gave 0.15 percent and 0.31 percent of the income to charity.

Meanwhile, in 1991, 1992 and 1993, George W. Bush had incomes of $179,591, $212,313 and $610,772. His charitable contributions those years were $28,236, $31,914 and $31,292. During his presidency, Bush gave away more than 10 percent of his income each year.

For purposes of comparison, in 2005, Barack Obama made $1.7 million — more than twice President Bush’s 2005 income of $735,180 — but they both gave about the same amount to charity.

That same year, the heartless Halliburton employee Vice President Dick Cheney gave 77 percent of his income to charity. The following year, in 2006, Bush gave more to charity than Obama on an income one-third smaller than Obama’s.

Cheney was honest, generous and not a lousy hypocrite. So despite Barack Obama doing exactly as Bush and Cheney did on a national security basis, in the end we come to the conclusion that Barack Obama is correct- he is no Dick Cheney.

About DrJohn

DrJohn has been a health care professional for more than 30 years. In addition to clinical practice he has done extensive research and has published widely with over 70 original articles and abstracts in the peer-reviewed literature. DrJohn is well known in his field and has lectured on every continent except for Antarctica. He has been married to the same wonderful lady for over 30 years and has three kids- two sons, both of whom are attorneys and one daughter on her way into the field of education. DrJohn was brought up with the concept that one can do well if one is prepared to work hard but nothing in life is guaranteed. Except for liberals being foolish.
This entry was posted in 4th Amendment, American Intelligence, Barack Obama, CIA Leak, Dick Cheney, Liberal Idiots, NSA Wiretap's, Politics, POWER GRAB!, Privacy Issues, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 at 8:10 am
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29 Responses to Obama: I’m no Dick Cheney!

  1. Greg says: 1

    The Obama administration gathers information as authorized by Congress in accordance with the FISA Amendment Act of 2008. A degree of Congressional oversight is built into the process. Moving from comprehensive data gathering to a focus on specific information pertaining to specific individuals requires court authorization.

    The Bush administration, governed by a controversial doctrine known as Unitary Executive Theory, authorized the gathering of information largely without oversight, by secret presidential decree.

    Which approach strikes you as being most in compliance with Constitutional law?

    Obama’s observation is correct. He’s no Dick Cheney. If he were, I wouldn’t have voted for him.

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  2. MOS #8541 says: 2

    Richard Chaney is above the lousy hypocrisy of the idiot.
    Chaney can and would pummel the turd.
    Richard Cheney is a professional. The turd/idiot is a political emulator, no substance, just a theatrical failure.
    The lies are becoming too much to handle. Soon or later, his party is going to have to dump him and the slut. If not, the next 8 years will belong to the GOP.

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  3. Richard Wheeler says: 3

    Obama “I’m no Dick Cheney,”—Now he’s dissing his relatives.
    Snowden “Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the greatest honor you can give an American.” There may be hope for this kid. Naw
    Mos#8541 Cheney—Don’t call me Richard ChAney I’m a DICK ChEney.

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  4. James Raider says: 4

    DrJohn,

    “the real issue is Obama and what a lousy hypocrite he is.”

    Hypocrisy is about as low as one can reach for description of character. This particular individual has demonstrated it in spades ever since he appeared on scene, from his personal life to his political life, his insecurity oozed out and it has long been evident that he was and is a hypocrite. But to those who manage him, he is a useful hypocrite.

    John Lennon:
    You can wear a mask and paint your face
    You can call yourself the human race
    You can wear a collar and a tie
    One thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside

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  5. Aqua says: 5

    @Greg:
    It’s illegal to single out taxpayers based on their political leanings……did not stop this administration.
    It’s illegal to single out individuals for EPA compliance based on their political leanings….did not stop this administration.

    The Obama administration gathers information as authorized by Congress in accordance with the FISA Amendment Act of 2008.

    See above.

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  6. Greg says: 6

    @MOS #8541, #2:

    Obama shoots baskets and has an occasional beer. Cheney shoots lawyers while drunk, and then relies on the Secret Service to keep him away from local authorities until he’s sober.

    But seriously. . . I asked a very much to the point question in #1:

    Which approach strikes you as being most in compliance with Constitutional law? The high-handed secret presidential decrees of the Bush administration, or the lawful process of the Obama administration?

    Some people make Bush’s mountains into molehills, and take exactly the opposite approach with Obama.

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  7. MataHarley says: 7

    from OP: Obama is doing pretty much exactly the same thing as Cheney and Bush. He really is Dick Cheney, like it or not. He can claim FISA Court this or FISA Court that, but he has diminished the power of the FISA Court. Additionally, the FISA Court seems appears to be rubber-stamping Obama demands:

    Selective excerpts here. The linked Salon article follows with some prior history, which was disingenuous to delete. The next paragraph states:

    In 2009, the court denied a single application, modified 14, and approved another 1,320. In 2008, the court denied another application, and made “substantive modifications” to two more, but approved more than 2,000. In 2007, the court denied a whopping three applications. It denied a single one in 2006. It denied zero applications in 2005 and 2004, though it denied four in 2003. It approved all applications in 2002 and 2001.

    So, since the start of the War on Terror more than 11 years ago, the court has denied just 10 applications, and modified several dozen, while approving more than 15,000. ”It is a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp,” Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst, told The Guardian.

    Wow… I guess a bit of historical perspective is sorely needed.

    *Any* denials is a relatively recent event. A 1997 paper published in The Army Lawyer, ““So Judge, How Do I Get That FISA Warrant?”: The Policy and Procedure for Conducting Electronic Surveillance noted that, as of 1997, the FISC had not denied a *single* government request for electronic surveillance in almost 20 years. It further substantiated that federal district and circuit court reviews of some of those “rubber stamped” requests found that all were both lawful and constitutional.

    Obviously, attributing “rubber stamping” solely, or excessively, to the Obama administration is revisionist and partisan history.

    INRE “diminishing the power” of the FISC, well there was an interesting view on that in 2005 from conservative analysts at George Mason University.. They were (IMHO, rightfully) complaining that the Congressional “oversight” was crippling the efficiency of the CIA.

    One utterly predictable response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington were calls by members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to “shake-up” the Central Intelligence Agency. Some committee members want to see CIA Director George Tenet replaced, others are demanding radical changes in both the analytical and operational divisions of the agency. It would be shortsighted for the intelligence committees to place the blame for this latest intelligence failure exclusively on the CIA’s management. If the committees are interested in genuine reform, they would do well to begin by acknowledging their own culpability in crippling the agency. Under both Democratic and Republican chairmen, the intelligence committees have transformed the CIA into the functional equivalent of the Department of Agriculture, preventing the agency from acting in a shrewd and, as is sometimes necessary, ruthless manner. Any “reform” is doomed to fail if Congress continues to play its role as a partner, if not outright “owner,” in the management of the CIA.

    Joe Biden of older days was a supporter of FISA and Congressional oversight. But I guess ol’ slow Joe, and his boss, are learning the view from the WH is very different than the view from Congress – especially when you’re the ones responsible for national security. I, for one, am happy that Obama has continued a lot of the Bush intel policies. As the George Mason article notes, America cannot have it both ways — it cannot expect to deter an Osama bin Laden and keep its hands clean at the same time. Presidents need options short of war to handle this type of threat.” I’d prefer Obama was the hypocrite than the erroneous, ideological purist in this aspect.

    from the OP: And what’s this “We” thing?

    WE set up the FISA court?

    The FISA court was set up in 1978, somehow done without one Barack Obama. In 1978 Obama was a member of the choom gang, doing weed and later on, coke. Employing the royal “we” for the creation of the FISA Court is waterboarding the truth.

    To interpret the “we” as referring to the Obama admin – as opposed to “we” being the US federal government, as elected by the citizenry, or potentially even the Dem Party in general – requires that “we” citizens be completely blind to history, and deaf to the highly publicized “warrantless wiretapping” debates under Bush. It would also require Obama, himself, to be ignorant. Neither are true. To suggest otherwise as a talking point is to play to the lowest common denominator.

    Fact is “we”… being the elected Congress… passed FISA and created the FISC after Congressional hearings and The Church Committee revealed that the Nixon admin had used intel resources to collect data, outside of lawful means, on American anti-war activists. Obviously accusations about intel collection and abuse, involving Americans, did not originate with Obama. Nor will it end with him. Which is why we have elections, and also why Congress – pushed by the Dems – stepped in to pass FISA, and provide FISC oversight.

    But, as usual, Congressional solutions oft time are more like castration than penicillin.

    FISA’s primary function is to regulate electronic surveillance. Since everyone and their brother has cell phones, computers and Internet these days, the sheer volume and capabilities of electronic communications has exploded in the last 15 years. The majority of that traffic, even from foreign nations, runs thru servers based in the US and many being foreign owned. Hence the reason that there are far more FISC requests than a decade past… the exponentially increased use of the electronic communications media.

    The best thing that ever happened to terrorists was the Internet, email, cell phones, social media and websites. How else could they publicize their fatwas, provide bomb recipes, recruit and incite the masses, and communicate plans? Camel mail didn’t provide a prolific environment for terrorism, while the largely unregulated and instantaneous world of the WWW does.

    Also what has evolved is the level of data collected, how deep it goes, and how it is regulated. Understanding what is metadata – i.e. the categories of descriptive, administrative, technological and structural… is what the intel world and FISC deal with. Some of this data is already in the public domain, some isn’t, and none of metadata is “personal” data.

    But these various types of metadata fingerprints are strewn across a huge cyber and satellite communications world, endless websites, social media etc. Connecting the dots in today’s New Info Age is a daunting task, to say the least. But the dots are there…

    INRE “secret” vs “transparent”? I find it amusing that so many refer to the FISC as a “secret court” when it’s creation, plus current members, are published in even such widely used resources as Wikipedia. However specific cases, reviewing requests for surveillance, and evidence etal, should not be public domain…. unless, of course, you’d rather telegraph the bad guys we’re on to them. You know, like advertising a withdrawal date from active combat? The “need to know” phrase is still applicable.

    From the beginning, the Dems have been at the forefront for implementing legislation, oversight and restrictions for US intelligence. From the ruminations of the conservative world today, as opposed to less than a decade ago, many should be changing their party affiliations and standing with the Frank Churches, Leo Ryans and Ron Wydens of Congress.

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  8. john says: 8

    This must be soooo confusing to the right wing when Cheney DEFENDS the NSA programs.

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  9. This one says: 9

    Only loons on the left would scream about a program they supported when Bush started it. Like this moron:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

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  10. Nan G says: 10

    This stands out:

    In an interview that’s been heavily promoted by the White House and Obama aides, the president acknowledged that a program which collects massive amounts of data on telephone calls made in or through the U.S. could theoretically be used to invade individuals’ privacy, even potentially yielding conclusions about callers’ health conditions.
    “All of that is true. Except for the fact that for the government, under the program right now, to do that, it would be illegal. We would not be allowed to do that,” the president said, according to a transcript.

    The government is (for instance) made up of 95% Dems in the IRS and, hearing Obama’s dog whistle of a call that the TEA Party was probably made up of foreign investors and other criminals, some IRS members stretched ”the law,” and dragged out approvals of TEA Party charities.
    The idea that ”it would be illegal,” didn’t stop Snowden.
    Even the woman at the State Dept who is trying to be a whistle blower is being accused of breaking the law….to keep her quiet.
    The GAO’s staff took huge amounts of money and blew it all on themselves…..law be damned.
    The law doesn’t scare Obama supporters during elections either…..some of them admitting to voting for Obama multiple times, other slashing tires so Republicans couldn’t drive others to the polls.
    A few have just been convicted of forging enough signatures to put Obama on the Indiana ballot back in 2008 when he would NOT have made it without the forgeries.

    So, don’t look for ”the law” to be much of a doorstop when it comes to gov’t employees and/or Obama supporters.

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  11. cristo52 says: 11

    He’s Dick Nixon.

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  12. MOS 8541 says: 12

    @Richard Wheeler

    His friends call him Dick Chaney. When he was in office, it was Richard.
    Do you know any of the Secret Service that had to pick up whore dog Clinton in the morning???
    Worked with a few…
    The nice thing about history, unless you were there, the stories change.
    There is a great philosopher, Heraclitus. You really need to read his work in the original Greek. You do read and write Greek and speak Latin?
    Emulators come in many shapes and forms.

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  13. DrJohn says: 13

    Somebody’s been reading FA!

    Before we go any further, let’s correct the president on some factual matters. The court that administers the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is not transparent; its rulings, including the “secondary order” leaked by erstwhile NSA contractor Edward Snowden, are classified top secret. It’s accurate to say that the court provides scrutiny–”a system of checks and balances,” as the president put it–but not transparency.

    The FISA court is not, as Obama implies, an innovation of his administration. It was set up in 1978, when Obama was still a member in good standing of the Choom Gang. As we noted June 6, the NSA effort was brought under the FISA court’s jurisdiction no later than Jan. 17, 2007, by which point Obama was a celebrity, but Dick Cheney was still vice president and would be for more than two more years.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323566804578553613885775452.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

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  14. Pete says: 14

    @Greg:

    Because Obama’s administration has been SOOOO trustworthy with regard to Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and the IRS scandals…you think believing Obama’s lies regarding NSA invasion of privacy of citizens is a badge of courage?

    What Bush and Cheney did with surveillance involved stopping terrorist attacks against the US and our allies. What Obama is doing with surveillance is pure totalitarianism against political opposition. Please stop being so willfully blind.

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  15. Pete says: 15

    @Greg:

    You are the most breathtakingly blind kool aid drinker I have ever seen.

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  16. Pete says: 16

    And now, Obama is negotiating with Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan.

    Obama is the most despicable, dishonest, anti-American scumbag to ever befoul the Oval Office. The fact that there are Americans who still support this lying piece of filth and swallow whole his disingenuous propaganda makes the ultimate sacrifice made by my fellow military brothers that much more wasteful. It is time to stop throwing pearls before the porcine left, and those too lazy and uneducated to understand what American exceptionalism once meant.

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  17. DON”T y’all quarrel,
    OBAMA is a DICK,
    who said that?

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  18. MataHarley says: 18

    @DrJohn, if anyone reads a fuller segment of the Charlie Rose interview transcript, leading up to that paragraph, it’s obvious he’s not speaking of his admin in general. The comment you are highlighting isn’t a stand alone statement, but a response to Rose during a conversation describing the procedure followed for FISC requests, per FISA law.

    Barack Obama: Well, in the end, and what I’ve said, and I continue to believe, is that we don’t have to sacrifice our freedom in order to achieve security. That’s a false choice. That doesn’t mean that there are not tradeoffs involved in any given program, in any given action that we take. So all of us make a decision that we go through a whole bunch of security at airports, which when we were growing up that wasn’t the case…. And so that’s a tradeoff we make, the same way we make a tradeoff about drunk driving. We say, “Occasionally there are going to be checkpoints. They may be intrusive.” To say there’s a tradeoff doesn’t mean somehow that we’ve abandoned freedom. I don’t think anybody says we’re no longer free because we have checkpoints at airports.

    Charlie Rose: But there is a balance here.

    Barack Obama: But there is a balance, so I’m going to get to your — get to your question. The way I view it, my job is both to protect the American people and to protect the American way of life, which includes our privacy. And so every program that we engage in, what I’ve said is “Let’s examine and make sure that we’re making the right tradeoffs.” Now, with respect to the NSA, a government agency that has been in the intelligence gathering business for a very long time —

    Charlie Rose: Bigger and better than everybody else.

    Barack Obama: Bigger and better than everybody else, and we should take pride in that because they’re extraordinary professionals; they are dedicated to keeping the American people safe. What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls, and the NSA cannot target your emails … and have not. They cannot and have not, by law and by rule, and unless they — and usually it wouldn’t be “they,” it’d be the FBI — go to a court, and obtain a warrant, and seek probable cause, the same way it’s always been, the same way when we were growing up and we were watching movies, you want to go set up a wiretap, you got to go to a judge, show probable cause….

    So point number one, if you’re a U.S. person, then NSA is not listening to your phone calls and it’s not targeting your emails unless it’s getting an individualized court order. That’s the existing rule. There are two programs that were revealed by Mr. Snowden, allegedly, since there’s a criminal investigation taking place, and they caused all the ruckus. Program number one, called the 2015 Program, what that does is it gets data from the service providers like a Verizon in bulk, and basically you have call pairs. You have my telephone number connecting with your telephone number. There are no names. There is no content in that database. All it is, is the number pairs, when those calls took place, how long they took place. So that database is sitting there. Now, if the NSA through some other sources, maybe through the FBI, maybe through a tip that went to the CIA, maybe through the NYPD. Get a number that where there’s a reasonable, articulable suspicion that this might involve foreign terrorist activity related to Al-Qaeda and some other international terrorist actors. Then, what the NSA can do is it can query that database to see did any of the — did this number pop up? Did they make any other calls? And if they did, those calls will be spit out. A report will be produced. It will be turned over to the FBI. At no point is any content revealed because there’s no content that —

    Charlie Rose: So I hear you saying, I have no problem with what NSA has been doing.

    Barack Obama: Well, let me — let me finish, because I don’t. So, what happens is that the FBI — if, in fact, it now wants to get content; if, in fact, it wants to start tapping that phone — it’s got to go to the FISA court with probable cause and ask for a warrant.

    Charlie Rose: But has FISA court turned down any request?

    Barack Obama: The — because — the — first of all, Charlie, the number of requests are surprisingly small… number one. Number two, folks don’t go with a query unless they’ve got a pretty good suspicion.

    Charlie Rose: Should this be transparent in some way?

    Barack Obama: It is transparent. That’s why we set up the FISA court…. The whole point of my concern, before I was president — because some people say, “Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney.” Dick Cheney sometimes says, “Yeah, you know? He took it all lock, stock, and barrel.” My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances? So, on this telephone program, you’ve got a federal court with independent federal judges overseeing the entire program. And you’ve got Congress overseeing the program, not just the intelligence committee and not just the judiciary committee — but all of Congress had available to it before the last reauthorization exactly how this program works.

    Mata Note: Last amended FISA circa 2008

    Now, one last point I want to make, because what you’ll hear is people say, “Okay, we have no evidence that it has been abused so far.” And they say, “Let’s even grant that Obama’s not abusing it, that all these processes — DOJ is examining it. It’s being renewed periodically, et cetera — the very fact that there is all this data in bulk, it has the enormous potential for abuse,” because they’ll say, you know, “You can — when you start looking at metadata, even if you don’t know the names, you can match it up, if there’s a call to an oncologist, and there’s a call to a lawyer, and — you can pair that up and figure out maybe this person’s dying, and they’re writing their will, and you can yield all this information.” All of that is true. Except for the fact that for the government, under the program right now, to do that, it would be illegal. We would not be allowed to do that.

    There are lots of pundits that love to play to the lowest common denominator in readership by using selective excerpt cut/paste, and then “implying” it meant something else. (both political sides…) Such lowball journalism gets lots of hits and whips up hate and a conspiratorial frenzy in the masses. That might be good for AdSense clicks, advertising and general traffic, but it’s not helpful when pundits and bloggers parse to deliberately misrepresent. You’re just increasing the low info voter gene pool.

    The existing FISC procedural rules and the court’s existence are “transparent” – i.e. readily understood and characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices. However the specifics of any request and ruling are classified, as it should be.

    You can take issue with the choice of words… and you and Taranto did. It should be obvious that it is transparent since reporters had the ability to look up how many requests have been made per year, and the final rulings…. as you cut/paste from Salon above…. even if not having access to the individual opinions and specifics. (easy enough since this disclosure to Congress is required by amended FISA law and the Patriot Act) So it is actually both “transparent” in it’s construct, and “secret” in individual decisions.

    But playing this word game is like saying the Afghanistan war isn’t transparent. Everyone knows about the Afghanistan war (transparent), but they don’t know the details of it’s overall strategy and combat mission plans because that’s (supposed to be) classified (secret).

    If you can find a single word that describes “transparent in procedure/existence but need-to-know disseminated findings as it relates to specific requests”, go ahead and email it to TOTUS. I’m sure he’ll be happy to improve his vocabulary to appease the masses. In the meantime, this is just nitpicky BS at it’s finest.

    ReplyReply
  19. Tricky Dick says: 19

    No Obama, you’re no Dick Cheney. You’re just a Dick!

    ReplyReply
  20. Wordsmith says: 20

    Excellent comment, Mata! All of it!

    There are lots of pundits that love to play to the lowest common denominator in readership by playing selective excerpt cut/paste, and then “implying” it meant something else. Such lowball journalism gets lots of hits and whips up hate and a conspiratorial frenzy in the masses.

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  21. so if there is no intrusion ,
    why are they so eager to order the GOOGLE PRIVAVY ACCOUNTS to be open for them. why the MICROSOFT ACCOUNT have been order to open their privacy account , why the FACE BOOK, why the other
    yahoo and LINKEDIN
    and other. why privacy is prostitute and becoming a total no more credible to the MEMBERs,
    WHY DID THOSE MEMBERS WHERE NOT GIVEN A CHOICE AS TRUE AMERICANS,
    THEY DAM WELL DESERVE TO HAVE A CHOICE, BETWEEN LET THEIR CONTENT EMAILS OPEN OR DESIST THEMSELVES FROM THE REGULATION,
    IS IT A FOREIGN COUNTRY HERE OR IS IN IT THE MOST IMPORTANT COUNTRY OF THE WORLD?
    AND NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO SNOOP HYPOCRITE SEARCH BEHIND THE BACK OF THIS PEOPLE WHO GIVE THEIR ALL FOR FREEDOM. LIMBS AND BLOOD AND LIVES FOR THIS FREEDOM,
    obama THINK HE IS THE RULER OF A NATION IN POLINESYA AND KENYA,, BACKWARD PEOPLE WHO NEED TO BE RIGOROUSLY KEPT ON SLAVERY CHECKS, HE WAS BORN IN THAT MINDSET,
    WHAT DID YOU EXPECT BY VOTING HIM ON AS OPPOSE TO A DEEP ROOTED AMERICAN WHO UNDERSTAND FREEDOM, NOT IMPOSITION,
    WHO UNDERSTAND LOVE OF AMERICA NOT HATE AMERICA AND TREAT THE PEOPLE SO ENSLAVED
    BY HIS STUPID NEFARIOUS RULES AND AGENCYSO MULTIPLE THAT THE PEOPLE BREAK A RULE EVERY DAY THEY OPEN THEIR EYES, EVERY FARMER BREAK A RULE EVERYTIME THE WORK WITH THEIR COW AND PIGS AND CHICKEN. AND SO ON.
    A REAL UPSIDE DOWN AMERICA, WHERE HATE AND DIVIDE IS LIKE A GIANT PUZZLE
    UNABLE TO BE MEND TOGETHER ANYMORE BECAUSE OF THE INDOCTRINATION OF THE YOUNG
    WHO DON’T TAKE ADVICE OF THEIR PARENTS ANYMORE BUT HEAR THE LIES OF THEIR
    IMMIGRATES FOREIGNERS INCITING THEM INCITING THEIR TEACHERS, TO HATE ,

    ReplyReply
  22. MOS #8541 says: 22

    Nice thing about Flopping Aces-Love the 1st Amendment

    ReplyReply
  23. MOS 8541
    I can read a bit of latin,
    rosa rosarium, amor amareto, millenium millage,
    richardus wheelarium, lizarderium, shitalous
    I could not resist

    ReplyReply
  24. drjohn says: 24

    @MataHarley:

    You go to great lengths to try to repeat what I said- that the programs are largely the same, except that the number of refusals for Obama could easily mean abuse of the privilege.

    Still, the real issue is Obama and what a lousy hypocrite he is.

    The rest of the criticism is what’s really nitpicky.

    ReplyReply
  25. MataHarley says: 25

    @drjohn: You go to great lengths to try to repeat what I said- that the programs are largely the same, except that the number of refusals for Obama could easily mean abuse of the privilege.

    There were no “refusals” of requests by FISC under the Obama admin. Considering that there were only 10 application requests refused since 2001 might be a clue that there is little difference between admins. When you go back to the 19 years up to 1997, where there were also no refusals, that makes Obama’s admin little different than all of them going back to FISA implementation. Do you have a point, other than nuanced speculative conspiracies that aren’t supported by historic FISC behavior?

    @drjohn from OP: Still, the real issue is Obama and what a lousy hypocrite he is.

    I already addressed this @in my comment above. I guess I’ll have to repeat it.

    I, for one, am happy that Obama has continued a lot of the Bush intel policies. As the George Mason article notes, “America cannot have it both ways — it cannot expect to deter an Osama bin Laden and keep its hands clean at the same time. Presidents need options short of war to handle this type of threat.” I’d prefer Obama was the hypocrite than the erroneous, ideological purist in this aspect.

    It seems that, after getting to the Oval Office and having the responsibilities and more privileged in depth national security briefings, Obama has thought it wiser to reverse his original position on surveillance as a Senator. That’s a plus for the nation.

    But with people like you, the POTUS can’t win either way. I will acknowledge when he does something right… which I fully admit is rare. Those with terminal ODS would whine that he was being a foolish, ideological purist if he didn’t change his tune to one more befitting a responsible CiC. Or they’d equally whine that even tho he’s doing the right thing, he’s a hypocrite.

    Me? I’m just happy to put a rare star in his “plus” column. It was looking pretty empty on that side of the list.

    And considering all the conservative hand wringing over Snowden’s snowjob – when the majority of the same were standing firmly behind Bush during the warrantless wiretapping era, or Able Danger – it cannot be overlooked that too many on the right are far from immune to hypocrisy themselves.

    The rest of the criticism is what’s really nitpicky.

    So the new definition of nitpicky is combating misrepresentation and partisan rhetoric with facts? I’ll keep that in mind.

    ReplyReply
  26. Nan G says: 26

    In light of how ObamaCare is rationing medical procedures based on whether you will live long enough to make it worthwhile to spend the money, this quote by Obama above stands out:

    “My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances?”

    What is the cost/benefit analysis of PRISM and related NSA domestic-spying programs?
    In other fields of government a top cost per saving one American life is capped at $3million.
    Estimates of the total NSA budget run from about $10 billion per year to over $20 billion per year.
    A good guesstimate is that NSA’s gathering of metadata has cost something on the order of $10 billion to date.
    So, have 3,333 American lives been saved?
    No.
    Testifying last week we learned that as many as 50 terror attacks might have been partially thwarted by these programs.
    How partial?
    Well, these programs exposed an American who wanted to attack Mumbai.
    Unfortunately, the attack went on anyway.
    No lives saved by his arrest.
    Inside the USA three Afghan-Americans wanted to blow up American subways in NY.
    The arrests were made because of British intel gathered using standard surveillance techniques, not our own NSA’s expensive metadata invasions.

    Seems when he wants to take away our freedoms, money is no object to Obama.

    ReplyReply
  27. Hankster58 says: 27

    Mata.. I am in SUPPORT of us “watching” the BAD guys.. and SUSPECTED bad guys 100%. Just Common sense…. it’s the fact, it’s VERY APPARENT, Obama is using the same powers, AGAINST his OWN CITIZENS, who have ZERO to do with “national Security”…
    THERE is the PROBLEM…. The LEFT has taken a Defensive progam, and used it as an OFFENSIVE WEAPON, on our OWN PEOPLE…..

    ReplyReply
  28. Nan G
    hi,
    according to my newspapers,
    IT’s CANADA intel that found the one who wanted to explode the trains,
    I am wondering where the BRITISH fit in,
    was it before or after,
    bye

    ReplyReply
  29. Dc says: 29

    Did the senate somehow not have access to these details when “Obama” was a senator?

    ReplyReply

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