NSA is A-OK or, Top 4 Apologias for Obama the Cyber-Stalker in Chief!


So the president—avatar of most audacity, hope, and the transparentist administration since the introduction of Windex!—likes to watch. All of us. Or maybe just keep tabs on what we're up to.

Take a hike Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, David Hemmings in Blow-up, and Craig Wasson (yes, that Craig Wasson) in Body Double!

There's a new voyeur in town and his name is Barack Obama.

Given that Candidate Obama was, er, a bit ticked off at the Bush administration's Gladys Kravitz nosy-neighbor routine, what are supporters of the president supposed to do? One of a few things.

First, deny that there's really anything new or important here. Don't you know, this has been going on for years now, like since at least the George W. Bush years, and nobody cared then (coff, coff), so it's no real big thing, right?

"Stop freaking out about the NSA," counsels Slate's William Saletan. In quick order, Saletan notes, that "It isn't wiretapping" (who said it was?); "It's judicially supervised" (True, by a rubber-stamp FISA court); "It's congressionally supervised" (eh, that's a stretch, with the admin kinda-sorta telling Congress what it's up to); "It expires quickly unless it's reauthorized" (which is exactly what seems to have been happening over the past several years, enough to suggest constant vacuuming up on phone records is the new normal). Oh yeah, and "Wiretaps would require further court orders" (see first point and understand now that we are defining troubling surveillance now only as wiretaps apparently). While Congress authorized and expanded the FISA rules (they are a cowardly herd, after all), anyone who thinks that national intelligence apparatuses actually disclose what they're up to Congress should read Timothy Weiner's essential history of the FBI or check out some Church Committee hearings for something other than mid-1970s sideburns.

Second, blur the distinction between voluntary disclosures of your information and government surveillance. Also at Slate (hmm…the same outfit whose staff voted overwhelmingly for Obama), Amy Webb says chill because "You're sharing your private data with corporations and governments all the time." What's the fuss, she argues, "By definition, you're surrendering your privacy by using your phone." Really? There's no meaningful distinction to be drawn between, I don't know, checking in on Four Square (if anyone still does that) or making a phone call and the government routinely collecting millions of phone records? Especially under the pretense that this is done to keep tabs on foreign agents and non-citizens who may be looking to blow us up? The F in FISA stands for foreign, not domestic. Facebook, Twitter, the NSA—it's all the same, isn't it? They all have equal power to declare you an enemy combatant and throw you in prison, after all. (For a primer on some very basic distinctions between data gathering between public and private sources, read Reason's classic 2004 cover story, "Database Nation: The upside of 'zero privacy,'" by Declan McCullagh.)

Third, blame the subjects of investigation and surveillance. The purest instance of this ploy comes courtesy of The New Republic during the early days of the IRS scandal. Recall briefly that even President Obama has acknowledged that groups of a conservative bent were subjected to politicized scrutiny that Obama called "unacceptable" and "intolerable." But come on, said Noam Scheiber, these right-wing nutjobs wanted to be scrutinized—they have a political persecution complex that's a "neurosis" (his word). Noting that 501(c)4 groups don't technically have to file for tax-exempt status with the IRS—they can simply assert it and hope to pass muster if there's an audit—Noam Scheiber argued, "The targeting was effectively done by the conservative groups themselves, when they filed their gratuitous applications." What bold, fresh thinking from a magazine now owned by a Facebook founder.

Fourth, minimize even your righteous outrage after you first blow your stack. Yesterday, The New York Times channeled its inner Popeye, muttered "that's all I can takes, I can't takes no more," and editorialized flatly:

…the administration has now lost all credibility. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.

Not long after that sharply worded rebuke saw the light of the Web, it was amended thus:

The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue.

As Reason's J.D. Tuccille noted when first spying the revision (emphasis added), "No mention of the change has been added to the editorial."

But then, that's what the Interweb is for, right? Check out newsdiff for a track-changes record of the fixes. Hey, New York Times, you're sharing your private information simply by living and breathing in this world, aren't you?

NEXT: A.M. Links: More NSA Surveillance Revelations, Backlash, Support for Obamacare at New Low, Mitt Romney Talks 2016 Presidential Candidates

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  1. One funny thing to me is that the NSA is a multi-billion dollar agency with vast IT resources – maybe greater IT resources than anyone in the world – and they have the most incredible database technology anyone has ever devised anywhere ever –

    – and the PowerPoint they produced about it looks like my fucking 6 year old made it.

    Seriously, your PowerPoint guy? Fire him.

    1. the powerpoint guy; and the rest of them.

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    2. I’m not surprised. Based on every account I’ve read or heard about counter-terrorism efforts, we catch terrorists mainly because they’re slightly more inept than the national security agencies are. Think about how incompetent you have to be to leak documents that are only seen by a secret court full of judges who are friendly to the state.

      I take it as some comfort that our idealogical enemies are vaguely retarded.

      1. Of course they are retarded! They believe they will get to sleep with 67 virgins in heaven.

        Any guy with an ounce of sense would prefer those 67 women to have some experience and actually know what they’re doing. Plus, it’s heaven and you’re already dead, so it’s not like you’d have to worry about any STDs.

        Personally, I would want it be more like the Castle of the Grail scene in “Monty Python’s Holy Grail.”

        1. It was Castle Anthrax. Where lived but eightscore young blondes, all between sixteen and nineteen-and-a-half, cut off in this castle, with no one to protect us. Oooh. It is a lonely life … bathing … dressing … undressing … making exciting underwear….

          1. Naughty Zoot!

            1. Oh, wicked, bad, naughty, evil Zoot! Oh, she is a naughty person, and she must pay the penalty — and here in Castle Anthrax, we have but one punishment for setting alight the grail-shaped beacon. You must tie her down on a bed and spank her!

  2. I seriously believe the NYT got an Act Right call last night. And I bet puppies were threatened. And first?…

    1. What struck me about that editorial is that it claimed that the Times editorial board had always stood against the Patriot Act. Which is a lie.

      So their polemic about Obama’s lack of credibility itself had no credibility.

      1. Sure they were. Certainly, someone can come up with their editorial from 2009 when they urged the Demo controlled House and Senate to repeal it? Surely the “paper of record” has a record of it.

        1. But curiously this will not be able to be found in anyone else’s archival collections of NYT.

          Hey, Sug, do university libraries still keep NYT on microfilm?

          1. They’ll just edit an editorial from 2002 to proove that they were always again’ it.

            The precedence has been set.

        2. There was no need to “repeal” the PATRIOT Act. It expired in 2011, Congress re-passed it, and Obama signed it into law.

          This is the Obama PATRIOT Act, not the Bush Patriot Act.

          1. Bingo!

      2. Yeah. Interesting how the NYT never pushed for a repeal of the Patriot Act in 2009, when the Dems might have been able to do it. And they spent months talking about the need for Obama to be couragous and ignore the polls and the Republicans and do what was right. But somehow spending some capital on repealing or reforming the Patriot Act never came up.

        Now that Obama can’t run again and the country is really angry about an abuse, the NYT decides that Obama really needs to do something about it.

        All this is is the Times realize that these scandals are starting to hurt Democrats such that there might be a Republican President in 2016. And the Times wants to be able to say “we went after Obama too” if that happens.

        1. Well, it’s not like the President could have stopped the renewal of the Patriot Act.

          1. The Patriot Act only authorizes the executive to do things, it doesn’t compel it. Obama could simply not have taken advantage of the authorizations. He could have gone before Congress and said “I don’t need or want this”.

            1. Poe’s law

          2. Maybe the President should be given veto power.

            1. Make it nice and compact and he he could carry it in his pocket.

          3. He could have by not signing, or by vetoing, the reauthorizations in 2010 and 2011. The buck stops there, I’m afraid.

        2. “the NYT decides that Obama really needs to do something about it. “

          And then, if he makes so much as a mousefart about it, they’ll hold that up for all eternity as irrefutable proof that he did all he could to overturn that evil REPUBLIBUSH Act, but was tragically thwarted at all turns by obstructionists and detractors.

          Kinda like how Obama was championed for the last two weeks as being the hero who would finally shut down Guantanamo because he made a few purely cosmetic speeches in which he lied his ass off about his involvement and expansion.

          Try to mention to a Regressive that while he was delivering those speeches, he was simultaneously attempting to do the exact opposite and keep Gitmo open, you’ll be barraged with, “DIDN’T YOU LISTEN TO ANY OF HIS SPEECHES, IDIOT?”.
          Because these shitheads don’t a give a fuck about action or consequence, they just empty, meaningless words that allow them to slip back into the deluded calm of their solipsistic “Liberal Reality”, where God FDR’s in his Heaven and all is right with the world.

      3. Editorials (from anyplace) should be accompanied by the name(s) of the person(s) writing it. They are really no different than a columnist. This way we can know exactly who to blame for saying something stupid.

    2. http://gawker.com/the-new-york…..-511791553

      Journalistic ethics take a back seat to partisanship.

      1. Although, as Tuccille pointed out, the NYTs could have at least acknowledged the edit, but without the acknowledgment, it seems incredibly dishonest.

        1. …’it IS incredibly dishonest.’

          Jes keepin’ it real…

      2. editorial doubleplusungood refs crimethink revise fullwise upsub antefiling

      3. Holy shit, Gawker has people actually arguing that the New York Times isn’t a liberal bastion:

        LO-freakin’-L at the quaint thought of the NYTimes as a ‘liberal media stronghold.’ We’re talking about the same rag that swallowed Bush’s ‘Let’s Go Get Saddam!!11!’ pro-Iraq war propaganda hook, line & sinker, right? The same rag that now treats print journalism as if it is cable TeeVee news: by soliciting opposing opinions, Point/Counterpoint style, instead of gathering & analyzing facts.

        Liberal my ass…

        See? Those assholes at the Times actually pretend that people who oppose progressives should be allowed to argue their opinions, instead of being rounded up into camps. NOT LIBERAL!

        1. This is standard leftist dogma: There’s no such thing as “left-wing media bias” because the NYT/WaPo/ABC/NBC/CBS/NPR aren’t full-on Trotskyite.

  3. “Stop freaking out about the NSA,”

    Looking forward to the television commercials a la BP in which the NSA polishes its image:

    “We’re not a witch. We’re your friends and neighbors. We have pets, just like *you*.”

    1. “We know this, because we’ve kept our eye on *you*”

      1. “And we’ll continue to protect you from threats, known and unknown. You have our promise on that.”

    2. “We have pets, just like you, Bill REDACTED. In fact, funny story, remember when you thought your dog Jack pooped on the rug while you were at work? Yeah, heh, it was your other dog, Carmen! Just thought you’d like to know.”

      1. I like the analogy about secret surveillance being no different than VOLUNTARILY revealing info on places such as FourSquare. I’m waiting for that kind of reasoning to be offered as a defense in a Peeping Tom case. “Well, this guy’s wife apparently had no qualms being naked in front of her husband, so since she was obviously willing to expose herself sometimes, what’s the big deal if I get to see her naked sometimes as well?”

        1. Are you suggesting you did not sign the social contract or something?!?

    3. A few months ago I was at a computer trade show where there was an NSA booth. They had a genuine Enigma machine that they let me play with. So they’re not all bad.

      1. They now have your DNA and fingerprints; jokes on you.

        Answer your phone, it’s ringing.

  4. These scandals hurt Obama. You have to remember a good part of the reason why liberals are liberals is because it allows them to be smug. It is an article of faith among liberals, especially boomer and early Gen X liberals, that Watergate showed how Republicans were uniquely evil. Every liberal believes in the heart that Republicans have no respect for civil liberties and we would live in the worst sort of surveillance state if it wasn’t for noble liberals fighting the good fight. All of these scandals puncture that sense of smugness and self worth. Forget what we say. They don’t listen to right wingers anyway. But gradually as Obama gets the reputation in society and culture at large as a creepy surveillance state guy and (gasp) another Nixon, this kills liberals. It will force them to turn on him and pretend he was never a liberal in the first place.

    1. Thus far though there seems to be a significant part of teh population that is still rationalizing. Obama by definition didn’t do something that nasty Republicans would do. He tried to do what’s right, but was thwarted. And the government is so vast, you can’t expect him to control it. I think you are right in the long historical term, but short term, don’t underestimate people’s ability to rationalize and backfill justifications.

      1. There is a lot of that for sure. But as things go on and Obama becomes more of a punch line in the popular culture that gets harder and harder. It makes liberals feel out of touch and dare we say it “uncool” for defending Obama. They are in a real bind. My guess is that they turn on Obama and rewrite history. The story will be Obama was never a real liberal. He was always a Chicago machine candidate who stole the nomination from the real liberal Hillary in 08 and they only supported him because he was the only alternative to the evil Republicans. All of the hope and change stuff will go down the memory hole.

        1. It was perceived as a big turning point in Reagan’s popularity when Johnny Carson started mocking him. Literally overnight as I recall. There’s no one person today like Johnny, but the jokes are starting. When enough of the cool kids are mocking Obama, the tide will probably turn pretty quickly.

          1. Leno is no Carson. But Leno has been killing him. Look for SNL to kill him on these things too at some point. And I am pretty sure Stewart is starting to as well, although I don’t watch Stewart so don’t know for sure.

            1. Leno is no Carson

              I still miss Johnny. Check out the PBS American Masters documentary. He was driven by his need to please his mother, which he could never do. One memorable comment came from Carl Reiner, who said his (Reiner’s) mother always praised him. Imagine, Reiner said, how much more successful I could have been if I’d had a mother like Ruth Carson.

              1. I watched that. It was great. I miss Carson too. He was the best at doing what he did.

                1. I’m so jealous. From what I’ve read here, there was a period of time when late night television was funny. I never got to experience it.

                  1. It’s not just nostalgia. And it was more than just being funny. There was a sense that the kids were in bed and the adults were talking. In my house it was kind of a right of passage when you were old enough to stay up later and watch the Tonight Show. You were becoming mature enough to be exposed to, and understand, adult topics and humor.

            2. “And I am pretty sure Stewart is starting to as well”

              Stewart makes the occasional half-assed jibe, but they’re always neutered and done in such a manner as to keep Obama distanced from his actions and policies (IE; “Obama is out of the loop” jokes that can be twisted into obfuscatory rants on perceived Republican obstructionism, mum on killdrones and war crimes ET AL) and only exist so that Stewart can point to them somewhere down the line and claim bipartisanship.

          2. The difference is, Reagan was neither black nor Blue.

        2. Oh, and your re write of history is spot on because “Hillary 2016”

        3. There will also be a lot of, “Obama didn’t know what was going on and/or couldn’t do anything about it, but after it all came to light he did something about it,” and they’ll proceed to give Obama credit for whatever Rand Paul manages to accomplish in the next few years. I realize that makes almost no sense, but still.

          1. I doubt that. His “I heard it about on the news just like the public did,” seems to have backfired. Now Leno is starting to make jokes about that. He recently joked: “Presidents used to hold press conferences to let reporters know what’s going on in their administration. This President holds press conferences so he can find out what’s going on in his administration.”

            1. But that ties directly into what James said.

              The Lefty response isn’t, “Damn, Obama’s either really dishonest or really lazy and incompetent”, it’s, “SEE! He didn’t know what was going on, so he can’t be held accountable! It’s all because the racist Rethuglicans have been obstructing him!”

          2. I’m actually reading posts from low-information voters who are criticizing Rand Paul for being an “opportunist” for not criticizing the Patriot Act before. I’ve also read that Sen. Paul voted in favour of it when it was first passed. You know, way back 9 years before he was even elected. So you’re right, we shouldn’t count on Rand getting credit for anything from some of these people.

        4. I’ve already seen some of the “I really wanted Hilary Clinton as president!” bullshit already, and that was before all these scandals started breaking.

          Cognitive dissonance is an amazing skill.

          1. “I’ve already seen some of the “I really wanted Hilary Clinton as president!” bullshit already”

            Throw it up in those fuckwads’ faces that she campaigned for the ’08 primaries on a PLATFORM of censorship.

      2. Yeah, it’s a little disturbing that his approval has barely moved an inch, in spite of the fact that the media finally started scrutinizing him weeks ago.

        It looks like there’s about 47%-48% of the public that is going to worship him under any and all circumstances, regardless of whatever new vile reports come out.

        1. As I explained yesterday those of us that voted for Obama in 2008 knew that as a Senator he bucked the Dems and voted with the GOP and Bush on the Telecomm Retroactive Immunity Act.

          We are not surprised by any of this.

          1. And the resident sock puppet shows up and gives the daily talking points. Sure enough, the rewrite of history has begun.

          2. Palin’s Buttplug| 6.7.13 @ 9:53AM |#
            ‘As I LIED yesterday…’

            Go away, dipshit.

          3. As I explained yesterday

            “… Obama’s balls and my tonsils are indistinguishable from one another, for all intents and purposes.”

          4. I loose IQ each time I read PB’s posts. It’s like brain cells killed when you hit your head, only more painful.

        2. The Shrikes of the world will always be more afraid of BOOOOSH than the TEAM BLUE guy, no matter how much worse the TEAM BLUE guy is.

          1. The Shreeks of the world will lie no matter what. But the lies will change. They will go from BOOSH to “the next guy is different and Obama was never a liberal anyway”. Just like now that it is a complete disaster they claim Obamacare was a Republican bill. Remember these people have no shame and limited reasoning skills. But they are clever in a feral sort of way.

            1. I’ve worked with people like that. Not that bright, but shameless with a saurian instinct to react. Very dangerous.

            2. The Shreeks of the world will lie no matter what. But the lies will change. They will go from BOOSH to “the next guy is different and Obama was never a liberal anyway”.

              Surely there must be some way to get it through their thick skulls that the next guy won’t be any different at all. Making the same bad choice over and over again is just pathetic.

              1. Making the same bad choice over and over again is just pathetic.

                and yet……

        3. Hmm, makes you wonder if it’s the same 47% percent whom Romney called out, basically torpedoing his campaign.

          While I disagree with him, as there are more ways people are taxed than just income (even most of the poor are over-burdended with various fees, gas taxes, sin taxes, and sales taxes), he did have a point about dependency and people not biting the hand that feeds them.

      3. don’t underestimate people’s ability to rationalize and backfill justifications

        Definitely. At least it’s hard to be surprised if one takes this position.

    2. But gradually as Obama gets the reputation in society and culture at large as a creepy surveillance state guy and (gasp) another Nixon, this kills liberals. It will force them to turn on him and pretend he was never a liberal in the first place.

      First off, he was never a liberal. He’s always been a progressive or fascist

      Secondly, that theory depends on a steady media drum beat about how evil and creepy he is; which just won’t happen.

      1. It seems to be happening. They do their best to minimize these things. But there have been so many and they have dominated the news for so long and will continue to do so in the coming months. Sometimes the meme writes itself despite the best efforts to stop it.

      2. Note the Huffpo yesterday. For liberals, comparing another liberal to Bush is like calling them Hitler.

        1. Wasn’t there some Olbermann rant where he went on about how Bush was a fascist for like 5 minutes? Was that in response to Patriot Act surveillance stuff? I’m sure we’ll get a similar rant about Obama any day now…

          1. Who?

          2. Sure, if Olberdouche was actually working somewhere….heh heh.

    3. That’s nice in the sense of destroying the career and administration of a total asshole, but you’re naive if you think PRISM comes from Team Chicago.

      Harassment of the partisan opposition, petty graft, handouts and spoils, sure. But the Total Surveillance State is the goal of the state itself, not the mere parties that aim to use or restrain it. Letting Obama and Team Chicago take the fall for this is fine for them if it convinces people the battle is won.

      This is one reason not to be very hopeful about Rand Paul. Nearly any president can beat the opposition candidate, and most of the recent ones legitimately did at least once. Beating the civil service is another matter.

    4. While as a libertarian, I consider myself neither right- or left-wing, I will concede that liberals tend to perceive their own party as the party of civil liberties. That said, I think Obama’s liberal credentials are completely unimpeachable on every other point: Keynsian interventions, income redistribution, the “you didn’t build that” speech, and so on. They’ve also painted themselves into a corner with the philosophy that any and criticism of him is motivated by racism. No matter what happens, they can’t brand him as a phony, or even much of a snoop, because that will mean they two are racist.

      1. any and *all* critism… they *too* are racist.

        Sorry. I’ve been spoiled by the ability to edit posts,so my pre-submit proofreading is bad.

        1. “the ability to edit posts”


          /H&R Squirrelz

    5. What did they expect? They elected a gang of Chicago machine politicians to run the country. They’re doing what Chicago machine politicians do.

      1. But wouldn’t anyone want the country to be run as well as Chicago?

  5. The problem with the Bush Did It Too strategy is that it’s purely political. It’s aimed at the opposition party and its loyalists. It’s not a defense of the act itself and shouldn’t work as such to the American people. The policy must be defended legally, ethically and morally on its own merits, not based on apparent bipartisan Washington support.

    1. It’s not a defense of the act itself and shouldn’t work as such to the American people.

      But it will.

      “Well, if *both* parties did it, it *must* be OK.”

    2. Agreed. But Nick’s whole article is about Barack Obama.

      Glenn Greenwald may be the only person who actually gives a shit about the issue. Everyone else seems to care most about Obama’s poll numbers.

      1. I swear to God I wrote this comment before reading any of John’s posts.

      2. It is true Tony. All the Times editorial means is that they have concluded this is not popular and continued association with it might hurt Democrats. That is it. This is nothing new. If they really cared about it, they would have been objecting all along like Greenwald, to his credit has.

    3. 100%. I always try to challenge people on defending the act itself, not the person who does the act, or by extension the other person who also did the act. I find when I do, people have no retort. I wish the media would also do this instead of turning it into, “yeah but Republicans would have done this too.” It totally sqashes the debate of the act.

      1. Nah, they’re covered there, too. The act itself is defensible. The constant threat of terrorism will always be brought out and dusted off as the justification for any surveillance. Especially now that the definition of threat has been expanded well beyond radical Islamists from the Middle East bent on violence to include all right-wingers, returning Vets, and even obnoxiously vocal Christians.

        It’s already happening with the IRS scandal (at least the tea party part of it). The narrative is, “The IRS did the right thing trying to stymie those groups because those evil groups deserve it. They are a threat!”

        The problem is encapsulated in that famous quote from the clergyman in Nazi Germany who wrote, “First they came after the communists, and I said nothing because I was not a communist. Then they came after the Jews and I said nothing because I’m not a Jew…” ETC. I’m sure we’re all familiar with that quote.

  6. Yesterday, The New York Times channeled its inner Popeye, muttered “that’s all I can takes, I can’t takes no more,” and editorialized flatly:

    …the administration has now lost all credibility. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.” How very, very true. And yet, how familiar…

    Not long after that sharply worded rebuke saw the light of the Web, it was amended thus:

    The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue.

    John, I hate to say you told me so, but you told me so.

    1. I think this is bad news for Obama. It represents the first step in liberals sending him off the boat. Obama’s scandals, failures and growing unpopularity are starting to reflect poorly on Democrats and worse liberalism in general. Remember, to the people at the NYT the ideology is never wrong. It only fails because of people stopping it from working or in Obama’s case not having the right people in charge.

        1. Yeah, as you start lying above and pretending that liberals always knew Obama was bad on civil rights and a sell out to Republicans.

          Tell your handlers to get your talking points straight.

          1. Obama is great on civil rights – particularly those for gays and women.

            You meant civil liberties where he has been disappointing.

            1. Yeah that is why he won’t make the abortion pill over the counter and it took him an entire term to repeal DADT. And he never even tried to repeal DOMA when the Dems held Congress.

              Keep lying shreek. It is what sock puppets do.

            2. Palin’s Buttplug| 6.7.13 @ 9:59AM |#
              “Obama is great on civil rights…”

              There are white lies, there are mis-statements, and then there are really big and stupid lies.
              Go away, dipshit.

              1. How is he great on civil rights for gays and women? He was AGAINST gay marriage up until 2012, when he apparently had a conversation with Biden that opened his eyes. (For his part, Biden probably thought they were discussing “GRAY” marriage, where one of those gray aliens wanted to marry Scully in some X-Files episode he once saw and who wouldn’t want to marry Scully?).

                As for women’s rights, all I heard was that he was strongly in favor of 30-year-old law school students being able to get their birth control on the taxpayer’s dime. That’s hardly makes someone strongly pro-women’s rights. I figure it’s better not to insult and patronize grownup professional women that way, but what do I know?

                1. “As for women’s rights,…”
                  He’s just gone ‘way out of his way to make sure the Plan B meds are available, hasn’t he?

                2. As for women’s rights, all I heard was that he was strongly in favor of 30-year-old law school students being able to get their birth control on the taxpayer’s dime.

                  That, and allowing women to sue businesses for a higher salary because they weren’t competent enough to negotiate for one when they were hired.

            3. Keep slurping that Obama cock, Demfag.

            4. Barack Obama the Reptile Brained Emperor really attracts the narrow minded cultist-type mentality — the fucking Nazi-Stalinists.

      1. It only fails because of people stopping it from working or in Obama’s case not having the right people in charge.

        I’ve thought this for a while now. Obama is a politician and can’t be expected to know everything. But he can be expected to surround himself with the right people AND know when to cut those people loose. The Big O’s failures will come because he is too loyal to shlubs like EHole, JNap and the like. Even Hillary was smart enough to get out of the administration well ahead of it tainting her.

        I don’t see anything major coming from this, as low-info libs will follow whatever shiny object they see, unless the MSM follows the lead of the NYT and calls the president on his bullshit. The AP deal could very well be the start of the ball rolling to turn the press tide away from blanket approval and to something a resembling rational reporting.

        1. I think what comes of it is the liberals feel very dispirited in 2014 and Dems do very poorly as a result. When that happens, Obama and or the people around him will become tar babies of liberal disappointment and discontent. Then in 2016, there will be a new champion and liberals will deny they ever really like Obama.

          1. They’ll say Obama wasn’t *really* black, too.

        2. Hillary hasn’t been tainted?

    2. What the fuck does that even mean? Are they suggesting that if you lie your ass off about one issue, that has no bearing on your credibility on other subjects? Well, I can understand why the NYT would want that to be true.

  7. Poor Obama. It must be hell taking orders from Cheney all day.

    1. I laughed.

  8. Even Hillary was smart enough to get out of the administration well ahead of it tainting her.

    Wait, whut?

    1. In 4 years no one will remember where Benghazi is (“I think it’s somewhere over in dirka dirka land, I can’t really recall, it was such a minor scandal… remember how she dismissed it at that hearing? She is such a class act.”)

  9. Do you ever get the feeling that this whole system is fake? For example, why would Lindsey Graham decide to open his trap with the unpopular opinion that all this spying is good? His adversary is being pummeled yet he decides to defend him? I fully expect Graham to love the surveillance state, but wouldn’t this have been a great time for him to just keep quiet? Is it possible that the Senate must have someone playing the “Lindsey Graham” character at all times just like SNL must always have a fat guy? Or is he just a complete and total sociopath that can’t take the mood of the people? Or maybe he’s a Democrat mole in the Republican Party; being so outlandish as to make the party in to a caricature? Either way, I can’t wait to donate to his opposition in his upcoming reelection bid.

    1. And yes I know Graham wasn’t mentioned I’m this article, but I’m just trying to understand his Un-human behavior. Really bothers me.

    2. Occam’s razor. Graham is an idiot. And worse, he is a committed idiot. So he actually believes in these things and feels like he is doing the right thing setting politics aside and defending Obama.

      1. He has to at least be getting massive amounts of money from the defense industry though, right? He and McCain are the only ones that continue to beat the war drum.

        1. But the defense industry doesn’t benefit from this. So I am not sure who would be paying him to support this.

          1. Obama’s got some dirt on him.

            1. Well, if there is any dirt, I am sure the NSA knows about it. More likely, Graham really believes this is a good idea and thinks he is being noble by crossing party lines to support it.

              1. You’re probably right. People like Lindsey Graham actually do exist in the real world. Sad.

                1. I’m pretty sure that in republican circles, Graham took over as poster boy for the “RINO” contingent as soon as that perpetual RINO Arlen Specter switched parties — and later died. That Graham has stepped up to defend his opposition is no surprise.

                  1. perpetual RINO Arlen Specter switched parties — and later died

                    I was never clear on which came first.

  10. Just get a Smell-O-Scope, Nick.

  11. “The fact that our data is being transmitted for purposes outside of our personal information clouds isn’t good or bad. It’s our inevitable and present reality.”

    From one of the “apologia” articles. This is true. There is no such thing as digital privacy. The NSA is just one part of this reality. It’s likely that Google has much more on you than the feds, though, like Google, the feds want to collect as much data as it possibly can. It should be seen as an inevitable product of our networked digital lives.

    Even if Obama’s poll numbers go into the single digits, that reality will not change. Though evidently most libertarians would have gotten what they wanted just by that.

    1. That is a very good point. And also I think people do not value privacy the way they once did. People are just much more exhibitionist in this day and age. So the argument that this is wrong regardless of whether you are personally harmed by it doesn’t go as far as it should or once did.

    2. Right, but I choose to share information with Google when I decide to use their services.

      I’m not choosing to share it with the NSA.

      It’s like saying that because my wife sees me naked, I should have no problem with it if the TSA demands that I strip for their amusement.

      1. The NSA, IRS, etc., just want to make corporations extensions of the U.S. government. It would be so much more convenient for them. We seem to be getting closer to that wonderful time every day.

    3. Except as Nick pointed out in the article, there’s a difference between voluntarily sharing information with Google, and information being demanded by the Feds. Also, Google can’t use your information against you to throw you in jail or worse.

      1. Also, Google can’t use your information against you to throw you in jail or worse.

        Like targeted advertisements! I can’t control myself, the ads always get me. I’d be better off in jail.

      2. The difference is minor. Lots of people choose to use Google without understanding the implications. Not unrelatedly most people are willing to tolerate the government’s intrusions because they think the government is effective and skillful in preventing terrorism.

    4. Google or AT&T don’t HAVE to share the information they voluntarily get from me.

      1. “Google or AT&T don’t HAVE to share the information they voluntarily get from me.”

        I’m not sure that has been settled; isn’t Google fighting a request right now?

        1. They can see into our bedrooms with modern technology. I guess we should install 4 inch iron walls to prove we value our privacy. Fuck technology, stop looking.

        2. Sorry Sevo, I didn’t mean to post below your comment.

          1. No sweat; wish I never did that.

    5. Tony| 6.7.13 @ 10:27AM |#
      …”The NSA is just one part of this reality. It’s likely that Google has much more on you than the feds, though, like Google, the feds want to collect as much data as it possibly can”…

      More shithead misdirection.
      A ‘sly’ take off on the debased argument that ‘Companies make bad investments like Obozo did on Solyndra!’
      Yes, which means you’re a knave of a fool; whatever money the company lost was theirs by voluntary actions, not at the point of a gun.
      Fail, shithead, just one more time.

    6. So, Tony’s gonna follow the rest of the collectivist herd, and try to divert discussion and subvert criticism via Corporation and Bush smokescreens

      What a fucking shock.

    7. The difference is that Google can’t declare me an enemy combatant, snatch me off the street, and stick me away indefinitely without hope of a hearing or judicial review.

      1. Uncle Sam would never do such a thing. It’s way easier, cheaper, and on equal legal footing to just drone kill you now.

  12. Tomorrow, we are all Darren Stevens?

    Disappeared, and replaced by an impostor as everyone we know pretends nothing has changed?

  13. Alec Baldwin weighed in. All this spying is bad, says he. But not as bad as Rupert Murdoch doing it, and, besides, Bush.

  14. It’s likely that Google has much more on you than the feds

    Get back to me when Google has the power to lock me in a cage or bomb my home based on some nebulous “pattern of use” they claim to have found, lickspittle.

    1. I’ve been for repealing the Patriot Act since it was signed, for the record.

      1. We should demand that this is done no matter which team is at the helm. It will certainly be at the forefront of my concerns during future elections, (as it was previously, but to no avail.)

      2. You mean when Obama signed it in 2011? Because it expired then. All he had to do was not sign it.

      3. Actually Obama signed PATRIOT Act extensions into law TWICE, once in 2010 and once in 2011.

      4. Good for you cupcake.

      5. Tony| 6.7.13 @ 10:48AM |#
        “I’ve been for repealing the Patriot Act since it was signed, for the record.”{

        Yeah, and you’ve been defending the guy who could could stop it functioning by doing nothing.

      6. Against it, but Tony is an apologist when Obama uses the power beyond even Bush’s wildest dreams. I’m confused, Tony statements seem to conflict.

        1. Tony statements seem to conflict.

          In other news, the sun rose in the east today.

        2. What have I defended?

  15. Stewart Baker at Foreign Policy has his own apologist piece, which has not gone over well at all with the FP commentariat:


    Someone commenting at the AJC yesterday was saying, “it’s just metadata.” Seriously.

    1. Gotta sign up?
      Naah, I’d rather (voluntarily) not.

      1. I got it in email. I’ve never paid for FP.

  16. With regard to Webb’s argument, I can opt out of a relationship with a corporation based on how they use my personal information. I have no such luxury vis-a-vis the government.

    1. And as Donut-san mentioned up-thread, even if you don’t, that corporation can’t throw you in the can.

  17. Here’s a question for the NSA appologists:

    Are they data-tracking all of the GPS’ out there in our cars, our cell-phones, and whatever other electronic device that we may be carrying around that has a GPS?

  18. Anyone interested in a formidable wedge issue, to put this nasty beast to bed?

    The defeat of Liberal Governments today, is found far too easily, in revealing the true ideals of Liberalism, as a weapon to beat them into silence and shame.

    Hypocrites, terrorists and liars, every last one.

    We do, incredible as it may seem; owe The “Tobacco Control” [medicinal hate] “movement” [relying on Hitlers “protection of the children” political ploy.]a great debt, in terms of the survival of freedom and democracy, They have provided the increase of potential, that is slowly but surely sobering up the populace, with the notably degrading powers of the left endpoint of politics. People are starting to awaken to the new reality; with the medical porn pictures on cigarette packages, regressive taxation and smoking bans out doors. The true reality that the left are guilty of all the same self sanctimonious hatred, they prefer to confer on others.

    Emerging as hateful oppressive and arbitrary dictators of how the rest of society should think and act.

    McCarthy didn’t claim an ownership of science [or science that is “settled” IE; climate change et al…] as a lie to stand in place of what was clearly ideology. He promoted a special kind of bigotry. In an Honest presentation of his own ignorance, never once claiming, to have conned himself.

  19. Today a Liberal has to convince themselves, that McCarthy was all about a right to promote communism, under a Liberal banner [oxymoronizm] as the people’s choice. Rather than a more legitimate expression, in the word “enough” that the populace prefers to defend the freedom in personal rights, and thereby themselves, as the only true authority and protection.

  20. “By definition, you’re surrendering your privacy by using your phone.”

    “Did you see the dress she was wearing, officer? She was ASKING to be raped!”

  21. If you really wanted privacy, you’d stop talking and stand very still, preferably hidden behind and under large dense object.

  22. If you think Joan`s story is impossible…, four weeks ago my sister got a cheque for $7610 sitting there fifteen hours a week an their house and their co-worker’s mother`s neighbour was doing this for three months and actually earned more than $7610 part time from there labtop. the advice at this address, Go to site and open Home for details

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  24. Hey Barry, it’s time to bomb the fuck outta some poor fucking Muslim country. Let’s focus our attention on something that really matters. C’mon now, it’s for the security of our children.

  25. Wait a second. Does anyone actually think that Mr HopenChange is really driving the surveillance state bus?

    The dude has real work to do – his basketball skills need major help and his golf game is allegedly tragic.

    Sure there’s outrageous surveillance going on, but play nice now – don’t blame the puppet in chief. He just wants to eat his waffle.

    1. Where does he possibly find the time to “surveille” when he has so many enemies lists, kill lists and golf games to cheat at.

  26. It’s slate.com, what do you expect? They make the Huffington Post look like a paragon of journalistic integrity, independence, and balance.

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