Friday, June 07, 2013

I don’t welcome leaks

Today Obama tried to talk about ObamaCare, but all anyone wanted to talk about was ObamaSpy.

ARE YOU CALLING ME BORING? “When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”

This “metadata doesn’t count” argument reminds me of my personal definition of torture: if it can make a fanatical terrorist betray his compatriots and his ideals, that is if it works, it’s torture. In the same way, if the information that they’re collecting is worth collecting, it’s not an insignificant intrusion on our privacy.

WHAT OBAMA TOTALLY WELCOMES: “I welcome this debate. And I think it’s healthy for our democracy.” That’s why the entire apparatus of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and half a dozen agencies you’ve never heard of are trying to track down the leaker: to give him or her a medal for services to the health of democracy.

WHAT OBAMA FINDS INTERESTING: “And I think it’s interesting that there are some folks on the left but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it who weren’t very worried about it when there was a Republican president.” Name me some folks on the left who are worried about this who weren’t worried about it under Bush. Name me two.

OO, THERE’S A TRADEOFF! WHAT’D WE GET? WHAT’D WE GET? WAS IT A PUPPY? “But I think it’s important for everybody to understand -- and I think the American people understand -- that there are some tradeoffs involved.” Of course the American people didn’t trade our privacy rights, you traded them for us, in secret.

MODEST ENCROACHMENTS R US: “But my assessment and my team’s assessment was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks. And the modest encroachments on the privacy that are involved in getting phone numbers or duration without a name attached and not looking at content, that on net, it was worth us doing.” I’ll bet Obama thought good and hard for maybe up to five minutes about this one.

WHAT OBAMA DOESN’T WELCOME: “I don’t welcome leaks, because there’s a reason why these programs are classified.” Yes, so that we don’t know what you’re up to. That’s definitely a reason.

SOMEHOW: “I think that there is a suggestion that somehow any classified program is a ‘secret’ program, which means it’s somehow suspicious.” Classified: “adjective. Formally assigned by a government to one of several levels of sensitivity, usually (in English) top secret, secret, confidential”. And yes, secret programs are inherently suspicious.

PRESUMABLY: “And if, in fact, there was -- there were abuses taking place, presumably those members of Congress could raise those issues very aggressively. They’re empowered to do so.” Raise them where, raise them how?

ALTHOUGH WE DO HAVE COPIES OF THEIR TEXTS. ALL THEIR TEXTS: “We also have federal judges that we put in place who are not subject to political pressure.”

YES IT IS: “That’s not to suggest that you just say, trust me; we’re doing the right thing; we know who the bad guys are.”

I KNOW I FEEL SAFER WITH DIANNE FEINSTEIN AND LINDSAY GRAHAM AND THE FISA COURT ON THE CASE: “And the reason that’s not how it works is because we’ve got congressional oversight and judicial oversight.”

YOU SAID IT, NOT ME: “And if people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.”

VERY SERIOUSLY: “But my observation is, is that the people who are involved in America’s national security, they take this work very seriously. They cherish our Constitution. The last thing they’d be doing is taking programs like this to listen to somebody’s phone calls.” This paragraph only works on people who know nothing whatsoever about the history of the FBI, the CIA and the Justice Department.

“And by the way, with respect to my concerns about privacy issues, I will leave this office at some point, sometime in the last -- next three and a half years”. Is he so unsure about when he’s leaving office because he thinks he’ll impeached? “...and after that, I will be a private citizen. And I suspect that, on a list of people who might be targeted so that somebody could read their emails or listen to their phone calls, I’d probably be pretty high on that list.” Why? You’ll be painting pictures of yourself in the bathtub just like Bush does.

BY WHICH I MEAN PROSTITUTES: “But I know that the people who are involved in these programs, they operate like professionals.”

YOU CAN COMPLAIN: “And in the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amuck...” and we’ll be listening in and taking notes “...but when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance.”

Whenever Obama talks about “balance,” someone gets fucked. Sometimes, everyone gets fucked.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.


Left I on the News said...

"I don’t welcome leaks,"
And you know how we're going to find out who leaked, don't you? Metadata!

"Raise them where, raise them how?"
In secret, of course. And, as I wrote in my blog, never worrying about having the issue raised by a challenger in an election, since those challengers wouldn't know a thing about it. You know, democracy.

"judicial oversight."
I believe the judge's name is Magoo.

" The last thing they’d be doing is taking programs like this to listen to somebody’s phone calls.”
Of course PEOPLE are listening to your phone calls. COMPUTERS are, listening for key words.

Left I on the News said...

Last comment should read PEOPLE AREN'T...

WIIIAI said...

I meant to make something like your point
about democracy. If the three branches of government are all acting in concert to advance a position that was never presented to the voters, it's not representative democracy, it's just a rather large conspiracy.

mahakal said...

I don't think torture so much works as far as getting truthful confessions as getting people to confess what you want them to confess, which is to say, to confirm potential lies, or say anything regardless of its truth content.

WIIIAI said...

Well, sometimes it gets the truth, sometimes not. I probably shouldn't have shoehorned that in, at least not in an abbreviated form like that. My point, when there were arguments about whether stress positions or waterboarding or whatever constituted torture, was that if they could be effective, that is if they could make people act against their strongest convictions, if the pressure they put on the human body was that strong, they must constitute torture. I brought it up here because the arguments downplaying torture/spying seemed analogous. In this case, if the metadata spying is effective, ie, if the information is useful in finding terrorists, then it must be a significant intrusion on privacy. In both cases, you can't say that torture/data-mining is insignificant and also say that it's effective, but that is the argument being made.