Scoring Obama's NSA reforms (spoiler: it's not good)


When I was a teacher, if a student scored as poorly as that on a test, I was advised to get in touch with the parents so they could intervene at home, or at least would be less surprised when a failing grade was reported at the end of the term.

Who do I need to call about Mr. Obama’s recent debacle?


Haha. This warrants a post? Really, a review card on his speech?

No one expected anything from that speech. No one expects any reform actually, mostly thanks to the public’s (the minority that cares about the story) and the “Left”'s blind adoration of the amazing faux-courage of our favorite faux-heroes and real status-quo enforcing team of Gatekeepers, The Guardian, Greenwald, Snowden, Poitras, Schneier, and co.

Drink as much of those people’s Kool-Aid as you please, peeps, but don’t pretend to be scared, disappointed or pissed off later when Obama doesn’t score high on your pathetically pointless “NSA reform card”. You’re getting what you deserve.

Would you care to advise us what changes in behavior we need to make to “deserve” better?


I’m not even a little bit shocked. The really depressing thing is that 2016 isn’t going to bring any “Change” either. We are going to pick between whoever the American Taliban party nominates or Hillary is going to carry on with Bush’s fifth term. Either way, American Taliban or Bush the Third, nothing is going to change. My jerk off fantasy is that a democrat with balls appears out of nowhere to disrupt Hillary’s coronation and runs as dully moderate in most things, but runs a vehemently anti-police state campaign. If a democrat had a pair, they would stand up, point to Hillary, and declare her Bush the Third for being a cowardly police state croney. They win the primary, and then strip libertarian leaning Republican moderates away from whatever pro-police state bigot the American Taliban party selects.

I know it is just a fantasy.

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The people who put him in office? (Not as if other candidate would have done differently)

We ought to make law-makers have to sign a legally-blinding contract with the voters. Take the moral ambiguity out of the process…

Left, right, liberal, conservative…the only way it’ll change is to start over.
“Burn it to the ground” in a manner of speaking.

Really? So they’re doing it for the ratings and they could give two shits and maybe a touch of ejaculate about their Constitutional rights? Are they all in it for the money? Because, you know, I’d be willing to have my entire online history (and then some) dredged up for review, to be denied the ability to move around freely in my native country, to have my friends and family screwed with when they try to travel, etc. etc., just for some facetime with the talking heads. I mean, it’s not like any of the people you mention have a history of doing these sorts of stories…

So, you’re commenting on a post in a left-leaning blog criticising Obama’s speech with the phrase “Left’s blind adoration”?

When you had your irony gland removed, did you notice any effects on your cognitive abilities?


Here’s what anyone person could do: take personal responsibility and question the motives of the people I mention in my prior entry. Questions their words and motives directly. Post in the forums they visit, use and read. Spread the news.

The people who have been involved with this whole NSA affair have way too much at stake to trully rock the boat and work for real, long-lasting changes in the way elected goverments conduct their business.

The Guardian’s editor said that he chose not to release the explosive information contained in Snowden’s documents regarding the disasters that are the Afghan and the Iraq war because they are so explosive and therefore damaging to our dear leaders and, by extension, his own lucrative career as editor of the Guardian.

Bruce Schneier, in a Q&A with Eben Moglen (, repeated the lie that Manning’s diplomatic cables’ release was indiscrimate and akin to an info-dump (something Snowden himself has said in past public comments).
Schneier again, a few days ago, after a visit to Congress, explained that “of course” he would not chat about anything he’d heard or talked about there, althoug it was crazy and weird, in his own words.

And I’m not going to get into Greenwal’s working with Omydiar at setting up a media organization that will “bring robust coverage of politics, goverments, etc” again. Need I remind anyone that Omydiar, just like Zuckerber, heads a private mass-spying agency, aka, eBay/PayPal; an organization that has helped the US government queltch dissent in the past, i.e. Wikileaks blockade, and the PayPal14 over-the-top prossecution.
Would people have been outraged if Greenwald had decided to set up a “media organizaion” with Mark Zuckerberg, or Sergey Brin, or Bill Gates, Marissa Mayer as publisher? Same thing here.

Start reading journos who really are independent. Alexa O’Brien is one. Andy Worthington is another. And how about giving Arthur Silber’s blog a spin?

There are millions of people who expected things from his speech. There are millions of people who believed his speech. Fact of the matter is, this post will probably convince at least a few people that Obama is kind of pathetic. Doesn’t do much good at this point, though, since it’s his second term.

Thank you for your reply.

It has allowed me to begin to evaluate your position on the scale that runs from healthy skepticism at one end to paranoid delusion at the other.


Part of that fantasy involves your belief that using ‘libertarian’ as a name-calling tool actually works. Did you miss the part where ‘libertarian’ actually means ‘constitutional’, rather than Rep or Dem? Used as the name of a political party with a capital ‘L’, it still includes a wide array of opinions and positions. Used with a small ‘l’, it just means, "There’s a Constitution, that’s the law of the land. If you don’t like it, change it - but don’t pretend it only exists when it’s convenient for you and your pals’.

That’s all - nothing more complicated. The takeaway is - libertarian does NOT equal Tea Party, even though there might be some libertarians amongst them. If you’re going to insist on name-calling, at least get them straight, k?

BTW - Rand Paul has introduced a constitutional amendment to disallow all branches of government from making any laws which do not apply toll citizens equally - like Obamacare, which only applies to the 99%. They don’t have to use it at all, themselves. So, it doesn’t really matter if you approve or disapprove of that particular program - you can feel however you like about it. But it matters if you think a bunch of priveleged power-mongers should be allowed to tell YOU how to live, but not have to do so themselves.

I am Alice, and I approve this message…

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Did you miss the part where libertarian (big or small L) doesn’t mean “constitutional”. Libertarians (small L and big) consider the US constitution to be a roughly “libertarian” document, but it isn’t libertarian just because it is a constitution. If you slapped into the constitution, through a legal method, that it is okay for the government to seize all land, abolish private property, banish private enterprise, nix free speech, and institute a state religion, it wouldn’t suddenly be “libertarian” force people to work on collective farms at gun point after going to their non-voluntary church services in the morning. Libertarianism isn’t bound to the US. You could go setup your libertarian utopia on Mars even if it doesn’t have a US constitution.

Wow there buddy. Maybe you need go back and re-read what I actually wrote. I never said the word “Tea Party” or equated Tea Party with libertarian, and I never name called libertarians.

When I say “moderate libertarian”, I am talking about someone who values social, civil, and fiscal liberty. Any libertarian worth his salt is repulsed by theocratic religious nuts what were on display during the Republican primaries. They are repulsed by the vast amounts spent on military spending, police state tactics, the war on drugs, writing bigotry into the constitution, and basically every drop of the Republican platform that isn’t “cut taxes”.

The Republican party is made up of three major ideological factions. You have religiously driven folks, military driven folks, and moderate libertarians (small L). There is currently a civil war brewing within the party between those factions. Religious nuts and military nuts are a lost cause and Democrats will never strip them away, thankfully. Libertarian tendencies from some Republicans is something that Democrats could better exploit with the right candidate. Democrats will never see eye to eye with even moderate libertarians on economic issues, but on social and civil liberty, and repulsion at a police state, there are points of overlap. Those folks need to pick. Do they value civil and social liberty so little that they are willing to stick around with wasting votes on Republicans who are about as likely as Democrats to implement their fiscal wants? Personally, I think that there are a lot of libertarian leaning folks who could be convinced to jump ship and accept Democrats as the lesser of two evils if they value their social and civil liberty more tax cuts.

That is a pretty interesting argument that you are apparently having with yourself. I never mentioned Obamacare. Also, Rand Paul is a hardly a libertarian massiah. I am pretty sure that writing bigotry into the US Constitution because god told him to is pretty low on the Libertarian Party’s agenda.

I’m not having any argument with myself - I simply didn’t confine myself to your original post.

I still think you’re confused about the meaning of the word, itself. It does not equal Republican, though I mentioned Paul and he is one. I don’t even hold any party memberships myself. (And I can’t say I think too well of any of the existing parties, either. If they fail at their own present internal squabbles and fall apart tomorrow, I’d probably jump for joy and be more hopeful than I have been in decades, actually.)

Yes, the Constitution is subject to all kinds of interpretation, and always has been. It’s intended to be. But your characterization of lib thought goes wayyyy down the road towards the funny farm. The whole thing was never built to create that freakishly egalitarian socialist dream, any more than its intent was to create and maintain the 1% (if you doubt, go read those guy’s bios again). So - it doesn’t lean that way, either. But - they came back around and hustled like mad to get that Bill of Rights in place, simply because they knew any further arguments (and there plenty) would keep them from getting a union together at all. They had to let the interstate dust settle a little first.

So - I don’t see it as being about this agenda or that, nearly so much as a matter of preserving personal choices to the very greatest extent possible…which pretty much means, the less collective stuff, the better, be it the 99% or the 1%, either way. That’s the whole goal of abundant civil liberty - we all get some, and we all get the same. And, it leaves all kinds of room for us to argue the fine points all day, every day, if we feel like it. It boils down to fiscal and bureaucratic conservatism, but says nothing whatsoever about our social stance. Heck - I’m extremely liberal socially, myself. Others tend to think much more conservatively - and that’s just fine. Long as you don’t tell me how to live, I won’t tell you, either.

My issue was strictly with using that term as a pejorative, when it shouldn’t be. It simply doesn’t carry that connotation. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen it combined with, or used in close proximity to, ‘Tea Party’ as if the one described or was the equivalent of the other.

I just liked Paul’s amendment idea. Sure, sure, they’ll finds every possible workaround and justification, just as they do now. But then, we would have a legal, rather than a mere political challenge available to it. I don’t even remember the last time I met anyone who didn’t think our ‘fearless leaders’ were a bunch of scum-sucking, self-aggrandizing fools.

Er, no. I do. But that was 2008, and we’re over it by now.

It’s all clear now.
We will record everything by the people, trace every friend of the people, and pretend to do it all for the people.

Did you read the words I wrote? I never once said that libertarian meant Republican. I said that the Republican party has a libertarian leaning faction that is in conflict with the military nuts and the religious nuts that is ripe to be picked off.[quote=“AliceWeir, post:15, topic:19843”]
But your characterization of lib thought goes wayyyy down the road towards the funny farm. The whole thing was never built to create that freakishly egalitarian socialist dream, any more than its intent was to create and maintain the 1% (if you doubt, go read those guy’s bios again)

Where the bloody fuck in any of the words that I wrote do you see anything about egalitarian socialism? I’ll give you a hint: none of them.

No. A libertarian is not just a fiscal conservative. A libertarian seeks to reduce the amount of violent state intervention and wants to maximize the number of human interactions that are voluntary and without coercion. Fiscal policy is certainly a spot that libertarians get a hard on for, as they view tax collection as violent coercion, but it is just one of many things that they object to. If you claim that you want to ban gay marriage you are using the brutal oppressive power of the state to crush a perfectly valid contract for insane religious reasons, you are not a fucking libertarian in any way, shape, or form. If you want a big ol’ military budget so you can go curb stomp other nations, you are not a libertarian. If you think that the state should use violence and guns to make drugs illegal and drag citizens to jail for messing with their own sovereign bodies, you are not a libertarian. If you think that the state should warrantlessly be able to spy on all citizens and slurp up their data, you are not a libertarian. If you think that a woman should be tossed in jail for wanting to remove a fetus from her body, you are not a libertarian.

Other than the fact that Republicans sometimes want to cut some selective taxes, the Republicans are anathema to libertarian ideals.

Seriously, did you read anything that I wrote? Quote a single place where I used libertarian as a pejorative or equated them to the Tea Party. I’ll give you a hint, I never did. You are having some sort of insane argument with someone who isn’t there.

Agreed. Your usage was different. I don’t see you getting your fantasy…but hey. I didn’t see us these deep in the brown stinky stuff when Obama first got elected, either.

Sound like maybe you were having a particularly rough day? If so, sorry about that. I didn’t wish it on you, for sure.

Your new description sounds much more on the money. And I agree about Republicans being anathema to libertarian ideals. But then, so does an awful lot of Dem platform stuff. The major parties are like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee…after they’ve fallen off the wall and gotten all smooshed together. I often wonder if the extreme religious right has any idea at all that they simply push their own support away with both hands so hard that even the Reps are having second thoughts. (Maybe they should go read the book of Paul again? He actually warned 'em about that. sort of thing…).

As I see it from here, the only reason some libs got hooked up with the Reps is because that’s the way the game is rigged. If you don’t have a major party affiliation? No money to run,and they both will just ban you from any major debates so the indies don’t find out there’s a lib running until they hit the polls. I neither agree with or approve of the cozying-up with the Reps, but I understand it as a purely pragmatic move. Yeesh. I don’t even want to vote for a nominal Rep, if I can possibly avoid it. But I’d feel the same if they jumped in with the Dems. Overall, the association simply polarizes people who otherwise might find agreement - such as your dream sitch where the libs and indies wander on over to the ballsy Democratic Clinton-destroying candidate. There’s no reason for you have that dream, except that you are seeing that affiliation problem, too. But really - libs as Dems? Eh.

Oh no - we were having an argument, all right. But I think I probably had mixed some of what you said with some of what somebody else said because I was sleepy., and you got your buttons pushed. I will apologize for my part in it, absolutely.

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