Democrats & Liberals Archives

Dumb, or Just Playing Dumb?

OK, boys and girls, see if you can find the subtle flaw in this argument made by Heather McDonald in the Weekly Standard:

Only a paranoid solipsist could feel threatened by the recently revealed calling analysis program. Since late 2001, Verizon, BellSouth, and ATT have connected nearly two trillion calls, according to the Washington Post. The companies gave NSA the incoming and outgoing numbers of those calls, stripped of all identifying information such as name or address.

Ms. McDonald must have a pretty dim view of the National Security Agency. Apparently they aren't smart enough to enter someone's phone number in Google and identify them. If they are really that incompetent, we should be very afraid. Barney is about to be arrested as an Al Qaeda agent.

This obtuseness (which I hope for her sake is deliberate) points to a question that has nagged me more and more over the past five years: What happened to all of those conservatives who used to be afraid of government power? I know George Bush's smirk gladdens their hearts, but is he that loveable? Is there no line their beloved prez should not cross?

For Heather McDonald, there apparently is no such line. The government churning through everyone's phone records is a "specious privacy scandal'. It makes you wonder what would constitute a real privacy scandal in her mind. Can the government jot down all the sexual acts she performs with her significant other, just in case this is a subtle way of communicating with terrorists?

Bush supporters take comfort from the fact that it is only a faceless computer churning through trillions of calls. This takes on faith that the Bush administration is telling the whole story. So far, they have a lousy track record of telling the whole story. In fact, Bush was outright lying when he said they don't listen to calls without a search warrant.

Some people would argue that such lies are justified by national security. Fine then, but you can't have it both ways: if you let the president lie, then you can't turn around and argue that what he said must be true. You just gave him permission to lie, remember?

It would be fun to have a President Hillary Clinton, if only to see these folks develop new notions of privacy and executive power. I don't think they would be very cool with the phone companies handing everyone's call logs to President Hillary.


Posted by Woody Mena at May 16, 2006 10:28 AM
Comments
Comment #148604

I can’t wait until President Hillary inherits all the unchecked executive power that Bush has amassed!

You Republicans thought that penny-ante “Filegate” thing was bad, but just wait until you see what she can do with the power to eavesdrop on anybody, anytime, anywhere, without a warrant. And don’t forget her PATRIOT Act “sneak and peek” powers for warrantless searches of your homes while you’re out.

I can already see President Hillary rubbing her hands and cackling with glee! Heh. This is gonna be good. Thank you, Bush-fans, for giving the next Democratic President all this unchecked executive power. Um… I promise we’ll use it wisely — just as wisely as President Bush is. Hahahaha!

Posted by: American Pundit at May 16, 2006 11:31 AM
Comment #148605

Woody,

Excellent points.
Fear and apathy are killing our spirit.
Save me from terrorists, to hell with my rights.
It doesn’t directly effect me so who cares.
Why are we saving America from terrorists, when we allow America to be gutted of all that is America in the process?
It’s sad.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at May 16, 2006 11:33 AM
Comment #148615

What happened to all of those conservatives who used to be afraid of government power?


Were still out here, just not in the Republican Party.

AP
Any President having that much unchecked power is scary. I don’t care if it’s Hilliary or me.

Posted by: Ron Brown at May 16, 2006 11:50 AM
Comment #148616

To me this topic is analogous to gun control. Those that argue banning assault weapons is unacceptable because it will lead to a ban on weapons for hunting and self defense should not be arguing that this data mining will not lead to significant violations of constitutional rights.

That is ‘Having it Both Ways’.

Posted by: Schwamp at May 16, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #148633

Similar to Schwamps point; what gets me is the rightwing talking about “It’s only looking for patterns” when they can’t see Bushes pattern of lies, wars, and violaitons of the Constitution.

Posted by: Dave at May 16, 2006 12:28 PM
Comment #148639

wondering where are those R’s that don’t like Big Government? I am no longer a Republican. I am not a Democrat, but am not a Rpublican.

Posted by: SantaFe Eric at May 16, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #148640

I can’t understand why the whole US is startled about the devious/illegal snooping by big brother. Bush recruited directly from the Nixon brotherhood of which Chain-ey and rummy were chief protagonists. Even Sr. was head of the CIA under Nixon when this whole mantra was developed. Let’s face it: Bush is just too stupid to dream this up on his own. Chain-ey is the real puppeteer.

So what’s new with today’s revelations that we weren’t already aware of through the behavior patterns of the 1970s?

What’s really scary is the presidenial line of succession even if we could lop off the head snake’s head. Chain-ey at #2, rummy at #6, and condi snuggled in at #4.

And AP is chilled at the thought of Hillary. The way to check all of the Nixon-Bush-Chainey-rummy-bush and future illegal arrogance is severe jail time. But please, not just yet. Even the thought of any of these criminals-elect now in the White House succeding to the throne is too terrifying to even contemplate.

Posted by: texex at May 16, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #148675

And the President said last night “we are a nation of laws”, but since aliens don’t abide by them, why should the President, eh? What good is a law that stands in your way? That’s our President. He got elected and someone informed him of Signing Statements. GW was like a kid in a candy store. He just wrote 500 signing statements reinterpreting all the laws passed by Congress that might get in his way. Voila! Problem solved.

I didn’t vote for him! And I warned everyone I came into contact with not to. But, you all gotta act like a bunch of cowboys, fawning over a John Wayne soundalike! Now look at the fine mess you got us all into. Yeah, I am talking to you Democrats who voted for this local Texas Yokel. Ride your sickly donkey home and bury your heads in shame…along with your independent voter elephant riders.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 16, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #148678

As for Gore, Gore got gored by an elephant tusk. End of story. Has been, smart guy, but, no longer respected. He is a loser, by historical fact. Find someone who can bridge left and right, govern for the great middle class, make their arguments plainly and succinctly, and whose past isn’t full of corruption, ethics violations, and lack of personal self restraint in the Oval Office.

Find someone like that, and I might even vote for Democrat.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 16, 2006 3:34 PM
Comment #148681

Sorry, the Gore comment was for another column. My apology.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 16, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #148683

Please God, send us a decent Libertarian canditate. When did the President’s job description go from “protect and defend the United States to the best of my ability” to Hey ! I just got a great idea for a reality show…Phone calls!

Posted by: jblym at May 16, 2006 3:39 PM
Comment #148688

jblym:

Actually, the president’s job description has never been to protect and defend the United States to the best of his ability. It is, as it ever has been, exactly what the Oath of Office states: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Constitution, not the people, is what the President must protect according to the very oath he swears when he takes office. We forget that at our peril for we then give our President leave to disregard the Constitution itself in the name of defending us; and such an act makes of him an enemy of the Constitution which we should both, as citizens if nothing else, be sworn to uphold in the face of all enemies foreign and domestic.

Posted by: Jarandhel at May 16, 2006 4:17 PM
Comment #148699

Jarandhel, I have never heard such a preposterous interpretation in my life. So according to you, the President is sworn to protect this piece of parchment in the Library of Congress, not the words in it, not their meaning, not their intent, nor the nation for which the document is written and without which the document has no meaning.

Damn, take a law course.! Do you good!

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 16, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #148730

David,

Great posts today… I know this isn’t a Gore story, no pun intended. However, after the election of 2000 America didn’t look at Gore as a loser. In fact people felt for him. He had just gotten the most votes in American history (at that time)and was about to become the first person in modern history to win the popular vote but lose the electorial vote.

What cost Gore was the way he went about business after the election. His unwillingness to admit defeat and let the country move forward. The law suite and the way he has acted since the 2000 election is what gives people the ellusion of Gore being a looser.

We will never know, but my guess is had Gore stood up and admitted defeat in 2000. Gave a good consession speech and then moved back out of the spot light for awhile, Gore would have been running against Bush Jr again in 2004.

I still don’t think anyone would have beaten Bush in 04, but Gore stuck himself in the back with his antics after 2000…

Dems need to put up a good middle of the road candidate. Middle of the road Rep’s can’t when the Rep nomination. Middle of the road Dem’s can win a national election…

Posted by: Rusty at May 16, 2006 6:27 PM
Comment #148737

Rusty,

Have you ever read anything by Greg Palast?

Posted by: gergle at May 16, 2006 7:13 PM
Comment #148740

David:

Regardless of what you may think, my “interpretation” stems from a simple fact: the Constitution itself lays forth an oath of office which swears not that the President will defend the nation, or the citizens, but that he will defend the Constitution. Similarly, the passages which speak of his powers and duties say nothing of protection or defense of the nation, excepting only being Commander in Chief when the armed forces are called into the service of the United States by the Congress. They do, however, say the following: “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”. These are the duties of the president, the things he is sworn to protect: the Constitution and the Law. Without which, though the people survive, they would not actually be “American” any longer.

You see, without that “piece of parchment” and the words written on it, there is no nation to protect. The ideas enshrined within it are all that define the United States of America as an independent nation, distinct from any other. Their meaning and intent is to set boundaries on the actions our government may rightfully undertake; and to simply ignore the words written on that “piece of parchment”, or the laws we have enacted which take their authority from it, in the name of defending our citizens IS an attack on our nation. Are we willing to countenance such an attack?

Have we become such cowards that we are willing to give up our national heritage, our unique conception of liberty, our very character as Americans all in the name of safety? Where then are the rightful heirs of the men who once pledged their honor, their fortunes, and their very lives to establishing in our nation the ideals enshrined by our Constitution? Surely we cannot be them, their forefathers were made of sterner stuff. Their nation is known far and wide as the land of the free and the home of the brave. But what bravery is this that demands our dearest principles be sacrificed in the name of safety? No, surely such words cannot come from the lips of true Americans, whose fathers fought and died so we could live free.

You tell me the document, our Constitution, has no meaning without the nation for which it was written? My friend you have it backwards; our nation has no meaning without the Constitution. It is the soul which gave life to this nation at its conception, and without it all that is truly American is left stillborn in the grave of history. But the ideals it enshrines will live on long after this nation is dust, much as their essence existed before Thomas Jefferson first evoked them in our Declaration of Independence. They are, as ever, universal and inalienable and the common heritage of all mankind. We forget this fundamental idea at our peril; it is what gave us the nation we have today. It, and the idea that no man, neither King nor President, is above the law.

Posted by: Jarandhel at May 16, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #148843
And AP is chilled at the thought of Hillary.

Actually, I’m looking forward to it.

What cost Gore was the way he went about business after the election. His unwillingness to admit defeat and let the country move forward.

This may come as a surprise to you, Rusty, but Gore actually won Florida. Had the Supreme Court not violated Florida’s rights and allowed the full state-wide recount to proceed, Gore had the votes to win.

The law suite and the way he has acted since the 2000 election is what gives people the ellusion of Gore being a looser.

Another surprise for you, I think: Bush was the first to file a lawsuit. Gore was content to let Florida sort things out, but Bush wanted to stop the process while it still appeared that he had a few more votes than Gore.

From a cut-throat political standpoint, Bush did the rigt thing, because if Florida election law hadn’t been suspended by Bush’s lawsuit, Gore would have won.

But this is all well-documented and common knowledge. If you don’t know it by now, it’s because you choose to ignore it. Carry on.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 17, 2006 2:25 AM
Comment #148875

Rusty,

If Gore simply rolled over without even putting up a fight, there is no way in hell he would have been nominated again. Democrats would have felt betrayed, and rightfully so. When you nominate someone, you are trusting them to do what they need to do (within the law and basic ethics) to win.

Consider what we learned from Mike Barnicle before the election: the Bushies were afraid that Bush would win the popular vote and Gore would win the electoral college. They were planning on taking to the streets and trying to convince people that Bush was the legitimate winner. So Gore did not actually go as far as the Bushies were planning to go.

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 17, 2006 7:26 AM
Comment #148887

Well, to answer the Question posed by this topic:


Bush is Dumb.

Cheney is Playing-Dumb.


Sorted.

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 17, 2006 8:08 AM
Comment #148931

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Posted by: YOU at May 17, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #149112

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Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 17, 2006 11:07 PM
Comment #149767

I agree with Jarandhel. Bush should be protecting and defending the constitution - doing that would protect the American people - but Bush’s idea of doing that seems to be what David R. Remer said, which is that Bush is only protecting the parchment document but completely shredding its meaning.

Posted by: Ray Guest at May 20, 2006 4:45 PM
Comment #369952

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Posted by: barney at August 28, 2013 6:14 AM
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