Thursday, June 13, 2013

uh.., where the Hon.Bro.Preznit's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board at?

nydailynews | So, why is it that many Americans, including me, are so upset with the Obama administration gathering up telephone records?

My concerns are twofold. First, the law under which President George W. Bush and now President Obama have acted was not intended to give the government records of all telephone calls. If that had been the intent, the law would have said that. It didn’t. Rather, the law envisioned the administration coming to a special court on a case-by-case basis to explain why it needed to have specific records.

I am troubled by the precedent of stretching a law on domestic surveillance almost to the breaking point. On issues so fundamental to our civil liberties, elected leaders should not be so needlessly secretive.

The argument that this sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable. Terrorists already assume this sort of thing is being done. Only law-abiding American citizens were blissfully ignorant of what their government was doing.

Secondly, we should worry about this program because government agencies, particularly the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have a well-established track record of overreaching, exceeding their authority and abusing the law. The FBI has used provisions of the Patriot Act, intended to combat terrorism, for purposes that greatly exceed congressional intent.

Even if you trust Obama, should we have programs and interpretations of law that others could abuse now without his knowing it or later in another administration? Obama thought we needed to set up rules about drones because of what the next President might do. Why does he not see the threat from this telephone program?

If the government wanted a particular set of records, it could tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court why — and then be granted permission to access those records directly from specially maintained company servers. The telephone companies would not have to know what data were being accessed. There are no technical disadvantages to doing it that way, although it might be more expensive.

Would we, as a nation, be willing to pay a little more for a program designed this way, to avoid a situation in which the government keeps on its own computers a record of every time anyone picks up a telephone? That is a question that should have been openly asked and answered in Congress.

The vocal advocate of civil liberties was absent because neither Bush nor Obama had appointed one, despite the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and a law passed by Congress. Only five years into his administration is our supposedly civil liberties-loving President getting around to activating a long-dormant Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. It will have a lot of work to do.


Joyce M said...

We will eventually see the scope of the data collection. A lot of misinformation has been disseminated and is now being walked back. & But, as for now, the Koch brothers have signaled to their minions to throw Greenwald and Snowden under the bus. At MSNBC, as their viewers call for the head of Chris Hayes, another MSNBC show host tweeted he could come in early and do his show in Chris Hayes' time slot. Meanwhile, back at the Congressional building...

CNu said...

wait..., I missed the Koch/Cato signal to throw doods under the bus. (or I couldn't parse it out of either the twitter feeds or Mitch McConnell old school skullduggery.

As for Chris Hayes, I've also totally missed the tension between the Ed Show afficianados and the the Chris Hayes young turks. To be honest, I don't miss the Ed Show, at all, thus my perspective may be skewed.

Joyce M said...

My husband loved Ed's show and now doesn't watch any political shows. I never like Chris Hayes and even the "Nation", the magazine he works for is starting to be critical of the Greenwald reporting. And this from the Cato Institute..

Joyce M said...

Everybody is on to mission creep in Syria, even Maddow and Hayes....but hopefully it is too late for Hayes.

Joyce M said... Notice the love for Chris Hayes in the comments.

CNu said...

lol, I haven't watched the show since it stopped running on saturday and sunday mornings, and to be quite honest, I was more drawn to his frequent guest talking heads than I was to Hayes. So I've missed all of this past week's pearl clutching and vapors catching by Hayes over Snowden and Greenwald.

As for the "perfectability" of the U.S. noted in the comments, I don't subscribe to that particular article of faith either, and in particular I find it increasingly hard to swallow under the aegis of the current president-select.

CNu said...

lol, you tickle me hating on Hayes...,

Joyce M said...

When President Obama was elected, I noticed some of my friends thinking the U.S. would become some type of heavenly paradise....but, as I believe, we are responsible for ourselves and our own situations to a major degree. Although, I grew up under Jim Crow, I didn't know about it until I went to college and read about it in the textbooks. Our family, white neighbors and teachers did a pretty good job obscuring the fact that racism existed. Since we weren't financially poor and had loving parents and grandparents, we never noticed anything was wrong growing up. People will mostly think something is wrong during times of major warfare or financial upheaval. With the Republicans constantly introducing bills to overturn women's reproductive rights, and cut benefits to the poor, women have crystallized for the most part around a party they see as working in their interests. When I go shopping, I see young black workers in jobs that they didn't have access to before. I also see a lot of black women my age working in stores where there was previously very few black staff. I see change in people's attitudes toward me and my family members--much more respectful and friendly. My daughter previously wanted to work for Walgreens--now she wants her own company and she spends a lot of time on her business studies. Having a black president is a beacon of hope and raises the aspirations of our children. And Eric Holder and the DOJ are holding people accountable that previously got away with murder. If you notice, Obama won in states where blacks are a small percentage of the population, like Wisconsin, proving what my father told us about not letting your skin color be an excuse. And for people like my father, I am happy he lived to see the day when a black family occupied the White House. I am glad that President Obama was elected not only in my father's lifetime, but also in my daughter's. And as a civics lesson to people like Hayes, Snowden and Greenwald....Congress creates the laws. I live in Texas. As bad as the publicity of Texas is, I only have to look over the border and be thankful that I'm on this side of it.

This is off topic, but I think it is an important site.

CNu said...

Joyce, I genuinely appreciate your perspective and am compelled to agree with the majority of what you've written. I grew up in a segregated community in Wichita KS, but under the guidance of aggressively integrationist parents who were wholly unafraid to sally forth and commune with whoever, wherever things were on and moving. I firmly believe that access and exposure is the key to a whole lot of what ails us as a people in this country, and I also believe that "as goes blackness, so goes America".

That said, I have lamented the extent to which black moral and ethical social capital has been spent on the symbolism of the Hon.Bro.Preznit who has - in my opinion - put a black face on much of the Col. Jessup-ing at the heart of American global hegemony. I have long equated this presidency to Denzel Washington being featured on a marquee. Yes, Denzel's gifts and talents draw the audience, and yes, he is handsomely compensated for his contribution to the production, however, the producer(s), director, writers, yadda, yadda, yadda..., are the primary arbiters of the plot, the effects, the score, and when everything is said and done, the main profiteers from the undertaking.

Inasmuch as the Hon.Bro.Preznit essentially came out of nowhere and was cast by Brookings for this role, with Deval Patrick as his understudy, in the event that something untoward befell him prior to his election, I am firmly convinced that not only did black folk spend a vast fortune in our hard-earned moral and social capital in America on electing Obama, but that we further lost a great degree of political agency in the process.

Instead of being a man of the people, (cause Obama has shown himself quick to drop his own people like a hot potato) this president is an ivy-league designee of American elites - acceptable to and wholly and completely loyal to their script and their designs, on him, on us, and on our place in America and on the global stage. This troubles me greatly, and thus, I withhold the benefit of the doubt, and I intellectually dissent.

Final thought, there is a war brewing among the elites who have shared power regionally, culturally, and somewhat equitably in the U.S. lo these past 50 years. Some upstarts are jockeying for admission to the club. Cato is one among several (many) mouthpieces for that upstart elite demand for admission to the highest echelons of proprietary political control in America.

Dale Asberry said...

I also suspect that some of the position jockeying is in response to diminishing returns in the Great Wealth Redistribution as well.