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The Obvious Question

Oh my god, the posts are practically writing themselves today.  Here’s what Obama just said about the surveillance mess:

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Friday offered a robust defense of the government surveillance programs revealed this week, and sought to reassure the public that his administration has not become a Big Brother with eyes and ears throughout the world of online communications.

“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” Mr. Obama said, delivering a 14-minute answer to two questions about the surveillance programs at an event that was initially supposed to be devoted to the health care law. “That’s not what this program is about.”

So, here’s the question: If we are to believe that nobody is listening to our telephone calls, how would we actually *know* that??  Isn’t it the current policy to not let you have access to that information?  If I recall correctly, you need to go to court to find out if the telecomms have turned over your personal communications to government officials and that in many cases, this has been classified as “state secrets” so you can’t ever really be sure.  To have standing in court, you have to show you were harmed by the surveillance but if you only suspect harm and can’t prove you were surveilled, then you’ll never know the extent to which your communications have been monitored.  Jeez, does the Obama administration think we’re stupid??  Based on the previous two presidential election cycles, yeah, probably.

There are other obvious questions, such as, who decided that the surveillance was “legal” and whose definition are we using when we say it was “limited”?  Then there is the “what are you going to do with information that you accidentally dig up that indicates a citizen has been engaged in questionable activities”?   I’m talking about anything from setting up a secret rendezvous with your mistress, to scoring a dime of pot with your pizza delivery, to meeting up at the local Occupy event* (which isn’t illegal but with the batallions of police around the events, sure feels like you’re doing something wrong)?

The final question I have is will an ordinary citizen who gets ensnared for doing something non-terrorist in nature get the same kind of immunity as the bankers did for destroying the world’s economy?  Just askin’ because otherwise, I’m not sure I’m very sympathetic to any sort of surveillance activity.  If you can’t nail the bankers, who are the biggest domestic and global terrorists around, for anything, you shouldn’t be allowed to listen in on ordinary people doing ordinary human things.

Otherwise, it’s not fair or just, it doesn’t sound like equal access to the law, and the people in charge should be held accountable and/or impeached.

*RD’s Law: The power intrinsic to a legal citizen action is directly proportional to the magnitude of the police presence.

9 Responses

  1. Limited? As in all phone records

    Legal? The NSA is restricted form operating in the United States.

    This just gets better and better.

    • Not since the Patriot Act. It amended the National Security Act to give NSA limited authority to operate in the US. It never really stopped the NSA anyway, since they just obtained their US data from GCHQ anyway.

  2. To the Malefactors Of Great Wealth and their lackeys, a “terrorist” is anyone, in any country, who resists the global hegemony of the MOGW, or even questions the justice and legitimacy of that hegemony. 👿

  3. Jeez, does the Obama administration think we’re stupid?? Based on the previous two presidential election cycles, yeah, probably.

    My thoughts exactly – especially as I read some former Conflucians beating the drum about how they knew Obama was a lying, double-dealing weasel back when he flipped on telecom immunity back in 2008, even though those very same folks supported (rather belligerently, I might add) his reelection last year.

    If you knowingly reward bad behavior, you shouldn’t really expect to get anything but bad behavior.

    • It sucks to be unpopular. The people you are referring to didn’t have the ovaries.
      You have to not give a rat’s ass what other people say and you need to be comfortable with isolation and ridicule. Some of us are just tougher than others.

      • Or, to answer your original question: “yes, the Obama Administration thinks most of us are stupid, and they have every reason to do so.”

  4. Riverdaughter…

    Glad to see you back in the ring!

    I am wondering, was the Boston Marathon massacre the terrorist attack woebama claims our gov’s wholesale illegal communications harvesting managed to avert? if so, heckuva job Prez Pipsqueak. Mission accomplished. My head hurts!

    Why is anybody even listening to this guy any more???

  5. Riggggght. This is the same prez who said Obamacare would reduce our family premiums by $2500/yr.

    Does he even know? Do they brief him on the golf course?

    Whiff-whiff, the IRS debacle, the NSA debacle, whiff-whiff, smells like Chicago politics. Wouldn’t it be something if his stooges could find something they could use next election. Want another Chicago guy in the White House?

    freaking never again.

  6. The same logic has flipped free speech into the defense of unlimited money in politics while disallowing, bugging, intimidating, and restricting the locale of actual speech.

    Well, at least we know what their gods are: money and power.

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