NSA Confidential: We Love Big Brother If He's Got the Right Party Affiliation

Our willingness to choose partisanship over principles helps explain the surveillance state.

Note: This originally ran at The Daily Beat on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Read the original by clicking here.

In the first flush of stories about how the National Security Agency is surveilling American citizens, one stomach-turning revelation hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves: we get the surveillance state we deserve because rank political partisanship trumps bedrock principle every goddamn time on just about every goddamn issue.

The journalist Glenn Greenwald, who jump-started this overdue conversation on civil liberties and the war on terrorism, has promised that the revelations are just getting started. But nothing that comes out can be more dispiriting than the simple truth that Democrats and Republicans are both happy to love Big Brother as long as he’s got the right party affiliation.

In late 2005, The New York Times and others exposed broad-based, constitutionally dubious NSA surveillance programs of American citizens. If memory serves, there was a Republican in the White House, and the GOP held both houses of Congress too.

In January 2006, Pew Research asked whether it was OK to collect info on “people suspected of involvement with terrorism by secretly listening in on telephone calls and reading emails between some people in the United States and other countries, without first getting court approval to do so.” A slim majority of all respondents—51 percent—said yes while 47 percent said no.

The partisan breakdown, however, was vastly different, with 75 percent of Republicans finding it acceptable and just 23 percent dissenting. When it came the Democrats, only 37 percent of Democrats signed off on NSA snooping, with a whopping 61 percent saying screw off.

Fast-forward to June 2013, when a Democrat occupies the Oval Office after an easy reelection and his party controls the Senate. Pew asked respondents whether it’s OK that the NSA “has been getting secret court orders to track telephone calls of millions of Americans in an effort to investigate terrorism.” This time around, it’s Democrats who overwhelmingly support collecting collecting yottabytes and exabytes of metadata on us all, with 64 percent saying they are totally fine with NSA surveillance programs and a measly 34 percent disagreeing. Among Republicans, enthusiasm for eye-in-the-sky surveillance has taken a major hit, with only 52 percent agreeing and 47 percent saying no.

(Don’t let the constitutional fig leaf about “secret court orders” in the newer version of Pew’s question fool you. To the extent that anyone knows anything about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, they know it’s a freaky hybrid of a kangaroo and a rubber stamp that even Dr. Moreau couldn’t have conceived at his most demented. In roughly 34,000 requests spanning 33 years, FISA courts have turned down applicants for surveillance orders a total of 11 times.)

The same predictable, partisan-fueled march of the lemmings shows up in questions about monitoring email. In 2002, when wisps of smoke still rose silently from the World Trade Center’s wreckage like lost souls in search of some beggared form of heaven and Attorney General John Ashcroft still attacked anyone who “would scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty,” Pew asked, “Should the government be able to monitor everyone’s email and other online activities if officials say this might prevent future terrorist attacks?” To our credit as the Land of the Free, more Americans said no (47 percent) than yes (45 percent). In the latest tally, the nos have increased by 5 points, to 52 percent while the yeses have stayed at the same level.

Among Republicans and Democrats, however, situational ethics runs the show. Fifty-three percent of Republicans said yes and 38 percent said no. Now, 45 percent say yes and 51 percent say no. Democrats present a mirror image. Back in 2002, just 41 percent said yes and 51 percent said no. Now, the corresponding figures are 53 percent and 43 percent.

Such inarguably party-fueled reversals are nothing new—go Google the ideological contortions related to changing views of pols and pundits on whether Bush’s predilection for indefinite detention is worse than Obama’s fondness for presidential kill lists if you’ve got enough Prevacid in your medicine cabinet.

To be fair, sometimes partisans really do have a Damascus Road experience and change their ways of thinking. By all accounts, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), who grabbed headlines a decade ago by rechristening Congress's spuds as "freedom fries," really has scrapped his interventionist positions despite a strongly negative effect on his electability. But for the most part, reboots are little more than cynical ploys that are hard to take seriously even when they are as entertaining as postcoital pressers by fallen ministers. That includes the recent and largelyunconvincing repudiation of the Patriot Act by its original sponsor, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

More to the point, though, the virtually unyielding preference for partisanship over principle explains why regardless of which party controls the government, the surveillance state continues to grow. It’s totally different, don’t you see, when my guy is running the show!

That same dynamic also helps to explain what is arguably the single-most important political trend over the past 40, 50, or even 70 years: the rise in the percentage of voters who flatly refuse to identify with either the Republican or Democratic Party. In 2012, more voters—38 percent—called themselves independent than admitted to being Democrat (32 percent) or Republican (24 percent).

And it points to the only place from where actual relief from an ever-bigger, ever-more-intrusive surveillance state is going to come: oddball, ad hoc coalitions formed not by party apparatchiks but by rogue elements that somehow sneak into power and are buoyed by the plurality of Americans who refuse to be cowed by party politics. It is characters such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rand Paul (R-KY.), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO.) and Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI.), Thomas Massie (R-KY.), and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) who are lobbying for more government transparency, accountability, and restraint.

This crew has virtually nothing in common other than an inspiring streak of ideological independence that mirrors the plurality of American voters. (Paul, who has co-sponsored legislation with Wyden, did not even thank the Republican Party on election night in 2012, choosing instead to thank the “Tea Party.”) They will doubtless find themselves on different sides of the barricades when it comes to questions of taxes, regulation, and spending. But it is impossible to imagine any of them shifting their positions on ubiquitous surveillance of Americans or kill lists or torture simply based on which party controls the White House or Congress. Which, sad to say, is a relief in the current political climate. And the reason their efforts deserve not just our sincere thanks but our vocal support.

Note: This originally ran at The Daily Beat on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Read the original by clicking here.

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  • Hyperion||

    No, we all don't. Only team hacks.

  • sarcasmic||

    Red Tony?

  • Hyperion||

    More like real Tony, and Tulpa, the Derp twins.

  • ||

    Tulpa isn't a team hack, more like a chronic contrarian.

  • Hyperion||

    Maybe I was thinking about Cytotulpical, or maybe it was Tulpatoxical?

  • wfieve||

    Start working at home with Google! This is certainly the nicest-work I have ever done . Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, Bling6.com

  • Zeb||

    And a confirmed utilitarian.

  • John||

    No, some people actually do believe in these programs and support them no matter who is in charge. Nick seems to assume that the only reason anyone supports these is out of partisanship. That is not true. To say otherwise is to give the counter arguments short shrift and to not really advance your cause.

    Nick, some people actually sincerely disagree with you. You would be best served by explaining why they are wrong rather than just calling them hacks.

  • sarcasmic||

    When words like "only" and "anyone" are used, you can be sure that a strawman is about to be slain.

    Sure enough...

  • John||

    Needs more christfag, shreek.

  • sarcasmic||

    Nick seems to assume that the only reason anyone supports these is out of partisanship.

    Die strawman! Die!

  • John||

    Would you go away so the adults can talk ab it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Everyone in the world can see you made a strawman argument. Everyone.

    You can admit it or dig in. Knowing you you're going to dig in. Which is hilarious because you look like such an ass when you do it. Fucking hilarious!

  • Irish||

    The make up sex between you two must be intense.

  • Zeb||

    It always happens on gay marriage threads. It's best just to look away.

  • Kevin47||

    You clearly made a straw man argument.

  • Sevo||

    "You would be best served by explaining why they are wrong rather than just calling them hacks."

    John, am I missing something? 4th Amendment; Res ipsa loquitur.

  • John||

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    I agree with your position. But "reasonable" is hardly a clear word. What is reasonable? Some people think this is perfectly reasonable. You don't. And I frankly agree with you. But this side needs to do better than screaming 4th Amendment and hack.

    IN short, the sacrasmic standard is a pretty low one.

  • Sevo||

    "What is reasonable?"
    That's secondary. First:
    "no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
    Let's see that warrant, with *particulars*, before ANY search is done, reasonable or otherwise.

  • robc||

    Exactly. The reasonable search can only occur after the warrant is issued.

    But only if its reasonable: either no warrant should be issued for unreasonable searches, or no unreasonable searches should be performed, even with a warrant.

  • Almanian!||

    Man, for a search called "Reasonable"....

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Drink!

  • John||

    But a warrant is only needed for one's home. There is nothing that says a warrant has to be there for other searches.

    It is not as simple as you are making it.

  • Zeb||

    I'd say "papers and effects" includes electronic records, but I'm not sure what the courts think at this point.

  • LibertyMark||

    Where in the hell did you get the idea that warrants are only for one's home?

    So, the only place my "person" has meaning is if I'm standing in my home?

    I can only have "papers" at home?

    Can I not have a "house" that is not my "home"?

    And surely, my "effects" are everywhere!

  • Sevo||

    John| 6.14.13 @ 12:52PM |#
    "But a warrant is only needed for one's home. There is nothing that says a warrant has to be there for other searches."

    Is this like freedom of the press only applies to those things with lead type?
    John, cut it out.

  • jace||

    why are you reading the 'and no Warrants...' as a dependent clause and not a separate clause?
    IANAL, but methinks there are several reasonable searches w/o a warrant - i.e., cop sees you commit a crime and pursues you into your home.
    Granted, I'm with everyone on this issue.

  • some guy||

    According to the data it appears that about 52% of Republicans, 37% of Democrats, 44% of Independents and 51% of Americans are "always" okay with surveillance.

  • sarcasmic||

    He's slaying a strawman! Don't confuse him with facts!

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Those facts support John's argument. And it wasn't John who wrote "We All Love Big Brother if He's Got the Right Party Affiliation." Yes, hyperbole in a headline is nothing unusual, but Nick's implication that blind team loyalty is responsible for growth in the surveillance state deserves to be challenged.

  • some guy||

    Yeah, I was supporting John in opposition to Nick's hyperbole. The title now says "We All Love..." Did Nick change it or am I going crazy?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    But, really, the only counterargument amounts to saying life should be lived in a cage for our own good.

  • sgs||

    "Nick seems to assume that the only reason anyone supports these is out of partisanship."

    Really? Then why did he write this in the article?

    "To be fair, sometimes partisans really do have a Damascus Road experience and change their ways of thinking."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I really thought the more distance we got from a shocking terror attack the less accepting we would be of trading freedom for supposed security, regardless of party.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Gillespie argues that if and when the surveillance state gets beaten back

    Sure, Nick.

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

  • some guy||

    Corollary: Real hobgoblins exist, but are ignored in practical politics.

  • sarcasmic||

    Real hobgoblins must be nurtured and allowed to grow to fruition. Can't keep the masses scared with imaginary ones all the time. Need a real one once in a while.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    You sound like one dem Troofers, suggesting that our government would run one of dem dere false flag operations on Amuricuh to get us all gin'd up for war or to give up freedoms or such.

    Shut up and wave the flag!

  • some guy||

    The real hobgoblins are corruption, abuse, waste, fraud, cronyism and regulation: All the things government is best at.

  • seguin||

    I'm a level 3 Troll. I'm not scared of some 1+1 hit die low level enemy.

  • ||

    Note: This originally ran at The Daily Beat on Tuesday, June 11, 2013.

    We got the beat!

  • Mainer2||

    Yeah !

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Would you go away so the adults can talk ab it.

    Lindsey graham is John?

  • Hyperion||

    We have to protect the childins from scary terrorists. So we have to spy on Americans and take away their guns, while we give guns to the terrorists in Syria. See, it's a brilliant plan, you just don't understand it cause you're not as brilliant as our elected betters. Just have to trust them, they know what's best for us.

  • Mainer2||

    It's just common sense.

  • ||

    Look, the guy has a Nobel Peace Prize. He's like the Albert Einstein of peace, man. So shut up and listed to your betters.

  • robc||

    What the hell was the nobel committee thinking?

    Oh wait, they werent.

  • seguin||

    They were thinking - "Ooooh, look Sven, it's ein Black President! Let's give it him, dat vould be vun, no?"

  • fish_remote||

    Just the tip.....I swear.

  • Aresen||

    It will only get beaten back when the incumbent sufficiently over-reaches in a way that outrages all sides.

    Even then, the respite will be temporary.

    Prime example: Watergate.

  • ||

    Has Bernie even said anything about the NSA stuff? I haven't seen any quotes from him. I just assumed he was among the Obama partisans.

  • Jerryskids||

    I think plenty of people don't actually just support these programs when it's their team running it - they simply deny that the program is what it is.

    Reading the comments on some sites, the NSA isn't actually conducting a Big Brotherish Total Information Awareness-type operation, it's only those racist Bushfags who want you to think anything and everything Obama does is bad that make that claim.

    It says something - I'm not sure just what - that, no matter what the latest event in the news is, there are some people whose first thought is "Is this good or bad for our sides poll numbers?"

  • Tony||

    The calculation is not just blind partisanship. Liberals, who were rightly outraged by the abuses of the Bush II administration, oftentimes simply trust Obama. To them, Obama has never demonstrated that he possesses the ideological fixations of neocons or their lack of concern for civil liberties. So, until strong evidence points in another direction, they assume he's using these programs judiciously and purposefully. I know how this must sound to people 100% emotionally invested in the notion that Obama is the devil, but it's perfectly rational, even to a strong civil libertarian, to say I don't know exactly what measures are necessary to combat terrorism, so I'm going to vote for a person with good judgment and hope he does right by the country on both national security and civil liberties grounds.

    I don't know if any president or Congress will be able to put the data-mining toothpaste back in the tube, so it's possible that the only thing citizens can do is vote for people in whose judgment they trust. God knows the next idiot Republican in the White House isn't going to look to Obama's standards for any guidance on his own actions.

  • sarcasmic||

    You say it's not blind partisanship, and then explain why you are blindly partisan. Nice. Moron.

  • Almanian!||

    The derp and lack of self awareness are strong in this one.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    I actually had to re-read Tony's derp to make sure that I read it right. Yup.

    It's not blind partisanship to think it's only ok for MY guy to do it. Remeber, right people and such.

    Tony, here's a question for you. Since you're ok with Obama doing this, you'd be ok with Romney doing this if he'd been elected, right? After all, Romney doesn't have any history of civil rights abuses, so we could trust him.

  • Tony||

    I never said I was OK with it. I'm a strong civil libertarian and value privacy more than almost anything.

    I'd love for there to be reason not to think maximum collection of data by government and corporations is inevitable. But you can't indeed put the toothpaste back into the tube, the only political option people have is to vote for people they trust.

    And no I don't trust any Republican including Romney, mostly because of who they are beholden to.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm a strong civil libertarian

    *snort*

  • JWatts||

    The calculation is not just blind partisanship.

    And no I don't trust any Republican including Romney, mostly because of who they are beholden to.

    That looks like blind partisanship to me.

  • Redmanfms||

    That looks like blind partisanship to me.

    We he did say it wasn't just blind partisanship. What else it might be he has never (insofar as anything of his I've read) seen fit to indicate.

  • Tony||

    I was an independent going into the Bush years. The Bush years radicalized me against Republicans, as it should have done to everyone. They are corrupt, stupid, and arrogant. Literally almost anything would be better.

  • JWatts||

    So, at one point your weren't a radical partisan, but you got over it?

  • DarrenM||

    who they are beholden to.

    It's basically the same people Democrats are beholden to. I suppose there is an ouside chance you'll actually figure that out one day.

  • Tony||

    Only Democrats have any interest or shot at reforming the system that allows politicians to be beholden to powerful private interests. You guys and Republicans defend the system as free speech, so go fuck yourself.

  • Kevin47||

    Why should I want to "reform" a system that is beholden to private interests? What system has not been beholden to powerful people in the private sector? East Germany comes to mind.

  • BLEEDINELL||

    You're an uncivil nannymonger.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Comic Gold, Tony,

    To them, Obama has never demonstrated that he possesses the ideological fixations of neocons or their lack of concern for civil liberties.
    So, the fact that he's ridden roughshod over civil liberties doesn't mean he's not concerned about civil liberties. I'm sure he cries himself to sleep at night over it. Then gets up in the morning and does it again.

  • entropy||

    Actually, he's not wrong about this one.

    Key words: "To them". That is what they think (and Republicans too). The issue is they stupidly trust their guys. That's why you get the "But he's a GOOD MAN!"

    It's the old "good czar" thing. He doesn't know what horrible things his government does. He's a GOOD MAN! He'd never do that.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I read about a song by the Russian Old Believers (religious dissidents) about how the Tsar wept bitter tears because he was killing them. The poor Tsar!

  • Duke||

    ...so I'm going to vote for a person with good judgment and hope he does right by the country on both national security and civil liberties grounds.

    Examples of such people, please.

  • entropy||

    never demonstrated that he possesses the ideological fixations of neocons or their lack of concern for civil liberties.

    Yeah, and guess what? The neocons don't hate on civil liberties just for the fun of it. They trusted Bush and assumed he was using these programs judiciously and purposefully (and still do assume that).

    Partisans on both sides are retarded by their partisanship. You can explain it, but not excuse it.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    To them, Obama has never demonstrated that he possesses the ideological fixations of neocons or their lack of concern for civil liberties.

    Oh no, he just funnels money to his cronies via the Department of Energy, uses the IRS and Justice Department to hamstring those opposed to him, continues shipping arms to Mexico because "DRUGS ARE BAD, MMMKAY" via legal and not-so-legal channels, commits the US to brushfire wars in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Aqua Buddha knows where else, assassinates citizens of foreign countries on secret evidences, claims the privilege to assassinate America citizens without due process based on secret evidence, and heavily monitors communications in those hotbeds of TERRAHISM we know as the United States, Germany and China.

    Yes, Barry is a civil rights hero.

    Kindly fuck off now, Tony w/o spaces.

  • Jordan||

    To them, Obama has never demonstrated that he possesses the ideological fixations of neocons or their lack of concern for civil liberties.

    The fact that this program still exists proves them wrong. You dumbasses really don't understand that intentions are irrelevant. It doesn't fucking matter whether I'm being spied on by Mr. Rogers or Joseph Stalin. It matters that I'm being spied on in the first place.

  • Almanian!||

    Joe Stalin I might trust - but that fuckin' Fred Rogers? No. Fucking. WAY.

  • Almanian!||

    Can you say, "surveillance"? Sure - I knew you could. "Surveillance" - that's a special word.

  • Jordan||

    Oh and a whopping 3 Democrats voted to restrict the President's ability to indefinitely imprison American's without trial. Fuck off, slaver.

  • Irish||

    The calculation is not just blind partisanship. Liberals, who were rightly outraged by the abuses of the Bush II administration, oftentimes simply trust Obama.

    You contradict yourself in the space between two sentences.

  • JWatts||

    Yep, that level of mental gymnastics is frakin' amazing. It's truly awe inspiring.

  • ||

    Shorter Toady, "It's OK if the right people are in charge and the the right people are my people."

  • Zeb||

    but it's perfectly rational, even to a strong civil libertarian

    It's rational only if you ignore the near certainty that someone who you don't like or trust will someday be elected president. That's what is so stupid about the people who think it's OK when their guy is in charge.
    I don't think Obama is evil. I think he is incompetent and in way over his head. And he fucking lied about taxes, transparency and medical MJ among other things and is not to be trusted with this either.

  • Zeb||

    Woops.

  • Loki||

    ^This entire post by Phony is pretty much partisanship distilled down to its most basic pants shittingly stupid essence. "It's OK when Obama does it because I trust him and he makes pretty speeches." *SWOOON*

    Thank you for proving that human stupidity is indeed an infinite resource. Now if only someone could come up with a way of converting your mental diarrhea to energy we'd be all set.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    Gotta love how Useful Idiot manages to claim Liberals were "rightly outraged" by Bush doing this shit, and then that Obama turning up those same exact policies to 11 islacking any "strong evidence" to get upset about, in the same fucking breath.

    Shorter version: Ideals are the only thing that matter, and Liberal Ideals are the only Ideals that count.

  • Redmanfms||

    Shorter version: Ideals are the only thing that matter, and Liberal Ideals are the only Ideals that count.

    That's not what he's arguing. He has no ideals. He claims to be a civil libertarian and "bothered" by Obama and Congressional Dems butchering civil liberties and then in the very next paragraph excuses them for their trespasses of his ideals.

    Shorter Spaces: Team is what matters, ideals be damned.

  • DarrenM||

    Shorter Spaces: Team is what matters, ideals be damned.

    It's like the parent who insists his psychotic child can do no wrong. Touching, really.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    I don't know exactly what measures are necessary to combat terrorism, so I'm going to vote for a person with good judgment and hope he does right by the country on both national security and civil liberties grounds.

    When Tony doesn't exactly know what to do with a problem, he generally just hopes the massive power of the state will deal with it, so he supports more and more state power, and pulls voting levers for people he likes.

    Of course, he's not really sure that will accomplish anything, and that it won't lead to horribleness later, but it sure feels better than doing nothing. After all, we have to do something!

  • Seanrude||

    The next president will look to Obama's standards for guidance. One president's excesses are the next president's baseline behavior.

  • triclops||

    Let me translate what Tony said for you guys; "Obama says the right things when he tramples civil liberties, so he probably has a good reason to do so".

  • Jordan||

    Yeah, pretty much. Or how about this:

    "Liberals are unprincipled, partisan dumbasses who will go happily to the gas chambers if the right Top Men are operating them."

  • Tony||

    Liberals are just trying to pick up the pieces of the epic disaster that was the first decade of this century. When the gas chambers start being built, by whomever, I'm sure we'll pipe up.

  • Kevin47||

    Picking up the ball and running with it would be a better analogy. And yes, I am certain you will pipe up. Those chambers had damn well better be LEED certified!

  • Paul.||

    Again, based purlely on the numbers Gillespie cites, the GOP is fundamentally more honest than Democrats.

  • Duke||

    Yep. That’s pretty obvious from simple observations too. The GOP sucks very hard. But nobody sucks as hard as the Democrats. They bring sucking to a whole new level.

  • entropy||

    I don't know that they're fundamentally more honest. I think the neocons are slightly longer sighted. They know they'll be back in power at some point and they want their warfare state getting all banged up in the mean time.

  • entropy||

    *don't want.

  • Paul.||

    I really think that Republicans are Republicans, they're a party of law and order, and so they're just consistently aligned with the idea that we're catching terrorists hiding behind every blade of grass with the surveillance state.

    There's too much evidence that the GOP doesn't think long term in other areas-- such as overall size of government.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Does that include Ron Paul? Rand Paul? Mike Lee? Justin Amash?

  • Calidissident||

    I don't think the numbers show a huge difference either way. In the surveillance question, there was a 47 point swing among Republicans and a 54 point swing among Democrats. On the "monitoring everybody's emails" question, there was a 21 point swing among Republicans and a 20 point swing among Democrats. Pretty similar in both cases

  • LibertyMark||

    I don't know how many times I have thought, "That is the stupidest thing Tony has ever said!", only to wait a day or two and think it again.

    His post above about how it's not partisan to be completely, utterly partisan, is the current stupidest. I guess until he posts again in a few minutes.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Peak derp is a lie.

    Or, as Einstein put it much more eloquently "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

    Tony, Tulpa, and PB consistently prove that there is no upper limit on stupidity.

  • Redmanfms||

    Speaking of Tulpa, I haven't seen his multiple blank spaces in the threads for a while.

  • Zeb||

    He's punishing us for being unserious and glib by denying us his wisdom and wonderful ideas about gun storage.

  • sarcasmic||

    I wish he'd punish us more often.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The calculation is not just blind partisanship. Liberals, who were rightly outraged by the abuses of the Bush II administration, oftentimes simply trust Obama.


    "And surely you can't think that such a display of personality cult has anything to do with partisanship. No, siree!!!"

    To them [liberals], Obama has never demonstrated that he possesses the ideological fixations of neocons or their lack of concern for civil liberties.


    Which is the same as saying that they want to believe anything about their fearless leader except that he's just as autoritarian as any of his predecessors.

    But no partisanship to be seen, right? Wink, wink!

    I don't know if any president or Congress will be able to put the data-mining toothpaste back in the tube, so it's possible that the only thing citizens can do is vote for people in whose judgment they trust.


    The people's record of voting for increasingly worse political whores does not give you any indication of a trend in your puny little Earthling mind. Or does it, Tony dear?

  • Tony||

    The people corrected their mistake of 2004 by electing better leaders in 2008. (I won't blame the people for the outcome in 2000.) The point is yes, who we elect matters. Unless there is a major push to undo the surveillance state (and I'm all for that), then our only real option is to keep not electing neocons over and over until they die out.

    I'm not exactly sure what alternative you're proposing, but if it's to attempt to get libertarians into positions of power, then be my guest. They'll split the vote and make sure the neocons stay out.

  • Calidissident||

    The neocons were voted out and replaced by progressives and things continued to get worse. How you can possibly think the solution to civil liberties erosion is replacing TEAM RED with TEAM BLUE is astounding

  • Tony||

    Even if this or that program did get worse under Obama, things in general did not get worse by any reasonable assessment. The truly bad/illegal ones (torture, lying to start costly wars, warrantless wiretapping, among others) went away. And drones are frankly better than land invasions or even manned air attacks. Fewer people die by drones than the prior means. By any unbiased assessment Obama is indeed more judicious in the execution of national security policy than Bush. Not that the bar was set that high.

  • Jordan||

    You are full of shit: New Justice Department Documents Show Huge Increase in Warrantless Electronic Surveillance

    And Obama enshrined indefinite imprisonment and assassination of American citizens into law.

  • ||

    And torture has ended only in the sense that Obama et al deny it and have outsourced it.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Even if this or that program did get worse under Obama, things in general did not get worse by any reasonable assessment.


    Only if the baseline for your "reasonable assessment" includes a shitty economy, a debt-to-GDP of 100% and 13% in real unemployment. Anybody can frame the reference in any point in space as he sees fit.

    The truly bad/illegal ones (torture, lying to start costly wars, warrantless wiretapping, among others) went away.


    Wiretapping didn't go away; the Obama regime simply increased the scope to levels only imagined in paranoid conspiracy theory movies. As for lying to start wars, let e tell you about a big whopper I heard about some Middle Eastern country, that Israel finds irritating, using chemical weapons on its own people... Sounds familiar???

    And drones are frankly better than land invasions or even manned air attacks.


    I am sure that all those killed and maimed truly appreciate the difference. Those ingrates should kiss the feet of the Fearless Leader; that is, if they still have lips to kiss with.

  • Tony||

    Yeah the Bush economic disaster was epic. Congress makes economic policy though, so what's the deal since 2010?

    You're wrong about wiretapping. This is not about wiretapping. This is about collecting phone records. Like your phone company does, and in the olden days they would send you a list of all your calls made. That's all the government is doing in this scandal. Debate the fact that government can look at your phone records, but it's not wiretapping.

    So you're claiming the US and other governments are lying about chemical weapons use? Okay, back it up.

    I'm glad you're on top of the US foreign policy. I never said it was perfect, only that it was better.

  • Kevin47||

    "Congress makes economic policy though, so what's the deal since 2010?"

    Do you know that the Democrats control not only the Senate, but also the White House? Are you aware of the process by which a bill becomes law?

  • GetABrainMorans||

    Tony, repeating yourself won't make you sound less stupid. You are still saying "well we have a surveillance state and at least the guy I like us in charge" fuck that. What do we want? Swift justice for those in power when they abuse that power, not bootlicking because we're grateful that we believe the guy in power is better than the previous one. What will happen if a neocon gets elected and abuses this power? Will you say that the people have spoken and inherently trust this new president with powers he should never have in the first place? The constitution was written for a reason turd

  • Tony||

    I'm just not sure what you're advocating. Are you just yelling into the Internet? That's helpful.

  • Contrarian P||

    His advocacy is quite plain: obey the constitution, which means respecting the plain intent with which it was written.

  • Tony||

    I do obey the constitution.

  • Redmanfms||

    he people corrected their mistake of 2004 by electing better leaders in 2008.

    How the fuck did "the people" correct their mistake by electing a guy who has done all of the same shit, plus a bunch of shit the other guy didn't do but was accused of doing?

    Are you fucking high, or just terminally stupid?

    The point is yes, who we elect matters. Unless there is a major push to undo the surveillance state (and I'm all for that), then our only real option is to keep not electing neocons over and over until they die out.

    By electing guys who claim to be ideologically different, but in practice, are the same only amplified.

    Damn Spaces, you really are a partisan pole-smoking hack.

  • Tony||

    I'm consciously partisan. I picked a party for specific and rational reasons.

    Your partisanship is far more hackish because you're pretending to be nonpartisan. No way Obama is worse than Bush on these matters, and that's even talking about the stuff we know about.

  • Redmanfms||

    I'm consciously partisan. I picked a party for specific and rational reasons.

    Yet you continue to play for Team BLUE despite their horrible position wrt civil liberties, something you claim to support.

    And you are so irrational in your support you mount a concerted illogical defense based entirely on a tu quoque fallacy.

    Your partisanship is far more hackish because you're pretending to be nonpartisan.

    I'm doing nothing of the sort. You're like shriek, being slightly more critical of Obama for being a hypocrite = defending Bush.

    No way Obama is worse than Bush on these matters, and that's even talking about the stuff we know about.

    Really? How so?

  • Redmanfms||

    You know Spaces, I notice you were still coming back and responding as of 6 hours after this post and you ignored it.

    Notably this question:

    Really? How so?

    I guess that says it all.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "I'm consciously partisan. I picked a party for specific and rational reasons.

    Your partisanship is far more hackish because you're pretending to be nonpartisan."

    This needs to be bookmarked and thrown into fuckface's totalitarian face like a Moe Howard eyepoke at all opportunities.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Demonicrat Nancy Pelosi thinks Obama is Jesus. So do a lot of others.

    Tonee is a religious kook in denial.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Well, there is no way to know who is worse on "these matters" since it's all a "secret".

    We do know that the pair of them together are the epitome of evil when it comes to "these matters".

    Just look who each one surrounds himself with. We can take this back to Clinton also.....

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    You say this about a man who keeps a kill list AND an enemies list!

  • Zeb||

    Name 3 things that Obama does not have in common with neocons.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Uh, well, uh, oh yeah that and uh.....oh fuck, just launch another drone and add another name to his enemies list.....

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The people corrected their mistake of 2004 by electing better [sic] leaders in 2008.


    Tiny, tiny Earthling mind.

    then our only real option is to keep not electing neocons over and over until they die out.


    One has to contend with the neo-cons on the left as well as those on the right. War is still fun for many, especially if someone else does the fighting.

    I'm not exactly sure what alternative you're proposing


    Not voting. For anybody.

  • Tony||

    So the only change you care to believe in is the increase in smug self-satisfaction you get by pretending to be above it all, then still bitching about the outcome?

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "blame the people for the outcome in 2000.)"

    DERP, DERP, DERPITY-DERP

    A-HERP BLERP DERP, DERPITY DERP

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    *"The people corrected their mistake of 2004 by electing better leaders in 2008. (I won't blame the people for the outcome in 2000.) "

  • DarrenM||

    The people corrected their mistake of 2004 by electing better leaders in 2008.

    Which they again corrected in 2010. It would be nice if they could get it right to begin with, but it's difficult given the options.

  • Tony||

    False interpretation of events. Congressional elections are local and rigged in favor of Republicans. The only election that assesses the mood of the entire country is the presidential, unfortunately.

  • Kevin47||

    "Congressional elections are local and rigged in favor of Republicans."

    How?

    "The only election that assesses the mood of the entire country is the presidential, unfortunately."

    On what basis do you assert this?

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 6.14.13 @ 10:24PM |#
    ..."Congressional elections are local and rigged in favor of Republicans"...
    And shithead tells the truth!
    There; matching lie for lie!

  • GetABrainMorans||

    If you still don't understand let me put it to you this way. We can't (or at least shouldn't be able to) elect a dictator even if he is dreamy

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    ....don't care if they drone or bomb ya, long as I got my plastic Obama......

  • Sevo||

    Hey, Remy can use that!

  • Sevo||

    So shithead's current talking points are:
    1) Obozo's better than Bush.
    2) Any Prez is elected and therefore Obozo is as good as anyone else.
    This from someone who claims to be educated.

  • BMFPitt||

    What I really want to know is how blatantly terrible those 11 requests that got turned down were.

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  • nikki_burges||

    my classmate's half-sister makes $89 hourly on the laptop. She has been without work for eight months but last month her pay was $17560 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more www.zen45.com

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