But just because someone makes a speech such as the one contained in the article, it doesn't mean they're going to follow through. Politicians are, after all, notoriously untrustworthy.
It doesn't mean a President even has the authority to stop a lot of these programs. Many are a product of congress or internal to their agency and don't directly answer to the President. It can be pretty hard to kill a big program in Washington, there are a lot of interests making a lot of money on these programs, and they're not just going to sit back and let some do-gooder President stop the gravy train.
Obama said a lot of stuff just like this in 2008, and look where we are now.
Being in favor of freedom is a great idea during a campaign.
The NSA operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense and reports to the Director of National Intelligence. The President decides who runs those departments.
One of my biggest disappointments with the Obama administration is that they won't even pay lip service to stopping these programs anymore. I'm sure the guys who brief him on the programs are saying that it's saving Amercian lives every day and that if he stopped them we could have another 9/11 and that they're only targeting terrorists, but I think it's the President's job to think critically about the scope of these programs and what they mean about America in aggregate. Or maybe he has and this is just not the decision that people want to hear.
I'm living in Ukraine. And I need to say that US and UK are scary me. UK is almost Orwell state. US is trying hard to get there too.
I'm telling you, guys: any country with weak government is much farther from the police state than US. Freedom of speech is almost absolute. Money movements need some paperwork but here are plenty of weaknesses in tax laws and regulations. Private medicine and private schools are as good as everywhere but cheaper and affordable with little effort.
And when it comes to innovation or something - nobody prevents one from offshoring the business and work with SEA from, lets say, Honk Kong.
Just my 2 cents.
I'd agree and further your point by saying that one can talk about freedom, but it has largely become an empty signifier with no real meaning anymore.
When people say, "You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide," ask them if it's fine to install cameras in their homes, not just in the living room but the bedroom and bathroom. Ask them if they'd mind wearing a microphone and video camera every day, so others can check on what they've said and done.
Every time I see some quote like the above one pushed out I'm reminded of the simple and obvious paradox in the presentation of governments that want to control everyone through police state actions.
Why not have the same attitude and conviction toward those in government? Who needs watching more than those with real power? Yet, as we've seen recently with the NYPD outrage at a judge's call for police to wear video cameras on their uniforms to verifiably document and record all their actions, it's only the weak that are supposed to be unafraid of total observation.
We're told that the secrecy is absolutely necessary to protect us, though there are examples where decades later disclosures of demanded secrecy indicated that the secrecy prevented exposure of improper and even criminal government activity.
Civilian review doesn't exist or in the few cases where it does is either powerless or a Potemkin body never actually providing real oversight. Remember the U.S. senators that were given inside information about "W" Bush's Iraq actions but were told that they could not disclose any of the information to anyone, under a very real threat of being charged and prosecuted for disclosing top secret material? U.S. Senators! U.S. President Obama has officially classified information related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Why, other than to prevent average people understanding how they will be screwed by any result? This is a treaty that will overrule U.S. laws and legal precedents. Somehow we're only supposed to be concerned about such overpowering treaties if they involve human rights.
Why aren't crimes committed by those in government given extra harsh penalties, just as crimes committed by average people against government are? It's so difficult to get a charge, much less a conviction, against those with governmental power that there's laughably little deterrent to criminal activity in government. Oh wait. I forgot about Obama's harsh treatment of those whistle blowers that disclose government abuses and crimes. It's not the crimes in government that are investigated, prosecuted and harshly punished but the disclosure of those crimes.
P.S. This comment system is terrible. Why separate the original post from the comments?
Absolutely true, but just imagine if we voted in the guy who was already against this stuff in 2008.
Yes, absolutely! Obama is personally 100% responsible for failing to put a stop to this! Not only does he run the involved departments, but he is a lawyer first and ought to know better to begin with. And in fact, I am certain that he DOES know better. That he is not only willing to trash our civil rights, but to actually ARGUE and defend it when we object? That's not even a stubborn man. That's a man of incredibly poor moral character. So, we have to ask ourselves - what's in this for him personally? It's a sure bet he didn't do this just so he could sit at the cool kids' table in the DOD lunchroom.....
You guys are missing the wood for the trees. Never mind all that specific stuff....
In Gillmor's upcoming race, it's Freedom versus the unholy trinity of Orwell, Kafka and Huxley.
The problem here is that's unrealistic because Freedom is never a candidate for a major party.
Give up on the sham; it no longer deserves an iota of your faith, if it ever did.
You want freedom? Try looking outside the box.
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