Help! I am not partisan enough

I have never been good at partisan attack. I am a better defender. During the Bush time, I defended my president and my country against what I felt were misguided attacks and lack of patriotism and I could be passionate. In all fairness, while I don’t support Obama politically I believe that some of the attacks made on him are also misguided. I don’t believe, for example, that the NSA and Libya are truly things we can legitimately lay at the president’s feet, so I cannot write about them as you might want. The IRS scandal is horrible, but we need to wait for more information to make a judgement. I need somebody else to write on the Red Column.

The other problem I have now is that Barack Obama is my president. My instinct is to cut my president some slack, and I cannot bring myself to a full throated attack as I did in defense of my president George W Bush.

Re the collapse of the Obama presidency - that would bring me no joy if OUR president collapses. It would not be good for the country and would usher in only a period of even more bitter partisan warfare. My preference is that Obama moves toward the center. Failing that, I would prefer that he hobble to the end of his term, but a collapse is not something I would advocate or even hope for.

I believe that my duty as an American is to mitigate the damage not extenuate the pain. IMO many liberals failed in their duty during the Bush presidency, but that doesn't mean that I can fail in mine now. Political opposition does not extend, IMO, to wanting to destroy an elected president's effectiveness.

In the case of the NSA, I happen to support the current president, as I did president Bush.

I apologize that I cannot give you the partisan fire you want. I am not a RINO because I am not Republican. I am a moderate conservative, mostly because I believe in free markets and not the social stuff. And I believe in markets the way I believe in gravity. I don't get passionate when people oppose markets; I just assume they are ignorant and try to explain. I suppose it gets a little dry.

Christine is a little more partisan but doesn't write much anymore. I wish someone else would write a few articles for the column and I could be a supporting player. Please help if you can. We need more voices.

All I can do for you all for now is to make a post giving the opportunity for others to post and I invite others who want to explore the more partisan issues to volunteer to write posts.

Posted by Christine & John at June 10, 2013 5:51 PM
Comment #367188

“It’s easier to fool the people; than to convince them they have been fooled”, Mark Twain

Oh crap, Obama’s invading our privacy too:

“Amid the revelations that the National Security Agency has been secretly monitoring the records of millions of phone calls across the country via telephone service provider Verizon, Congress is concerned that the NSA’s actions may have also captured phone calls of lawmakers and their staffers. It should be noted that Verizon is one of the main service providers to government issued Blackberries members and their staff use to communicate with one another.

A senior hill staffer on the House side told Breitbart News on Sunday, “I have grave concerns over the privacy of communications between staff and their member of Congress. All of our communications go through Verizon or ATT to reach our Blackberries.” The staffer added, “Through a blanket seizing of these communications, the NSA is permanently intercepting and storing privileged material. This rasies further constitutional issues regarding separation of powers.”

Posted by: DSP2195 at June 10, 2013 6:27 PM
Comment #367189

The Utah NSA data center stores 5 trillion gigabytes of information; this is Americans contacting Americans, in America. Doesn’t this bother anyone?

I don’t believe Obama had personal knowledge of any of the scandals; simply for the purpose of protecting Obama, he would not be told. But I find it amazing that question after question asked of Holder, Lerner, etc. were answered by “I don’t know”. Obama don’t know and none of his cabinet know and none of the leaders of the IRS, NAS, DOJ know either. Who’s running this country.

Obama is a liberal and he has a liberal agenda; when Obama hires people to lead in these departments, he don’t have to tell them his agenda. They already believe the liberal agenda and they do exactly what he wants them to do. When Obama says he is outraged at the IRS’s agenda on conservatives, he is lying; these people are doing what liberals do best…to pursue a liberal agenda. How do I know Obama is lying; when these people abuse the power of their departments, instead of firing them, they are promoted to other departments.

Posted by: CasperWY at June 10, 2013 6:45 PM
Comment #367193

Help me out here, C&J. You are in Brazil, again. But, does not Brazil have CNN, a Rio paper and Brasilia paper, etc? How about access to the internet?
An aside - I watched the Boudain show on CNN recently and near had a culinary heart failure. So many good things to eat in the Andean region. I recall the size of the potatoes, carrots and corn kernels grown on the west coast. I envy you bigtime.

I do enjoy your articles, informative, interesting, often non-political. And, I do find it strange that no hard line right winger writes articles for the column. Hard too, to understand why so few write articles for the middle column.

Maybe if WB ‘paid’ some folks to write - - - just thinking outloud.

Re the intelligence scandal, it should not be a hard call, IMO. We, and the gov’t, should not want to protect us to the point when we have to trash much of the 4th amendment. Nobody should want to go there.

But, we have created, or allowed to be created, a system of communications that almost demands monitoring for security purposes. Almost.

There are other ways to provide for adequate security. We can’t just stop FISA and Patriot actions. But, there could be trade offs to accomplish much the same level of security. We could use domestic target resources and put a frontal assault on getting the information we need from foreign sources.

Also, we need to do something to get the domestic muslim population to come forth with information. I broached a suggestion on WB recently whereby when we have a serious terrorist incident then follow that with a 1% reduction in visas for muslims wanting to come/visit the US, etc. That should start them talking, IMO. IS it un-PC to take a position that if an ethnic group at large comes to the US to attack us we should rightly reduce their ability to enter the US in large numbers. Is it PC for a gov’t to put the risk of terrorist attacks on the native population with little risk deferring to foreign muslim populations?

All the folks working in the intel community are doing excellent work and we commend them for their hard work and patriotism. But, we need a security system that doesn’t trash our rights under the constitution. We should protect those rights under the gravest circumstances, IMO

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 10, 2013 8:15 PM
Comment #367194

“IS it un-PC to take a position that if an ethnic group at large comes to the US to attack us we should rightly reduce their ability to enter the US in large numbers. Is it PC for a gov’t to put the risk of terrorist attacks on the native population with little risk deferring to foreign muslim populations?”

Roy, have you seen the riots in England. The complaint of the British people is that they (Muslims) refuse to integrate, they double in population every ten years, and their politicians are so PC and so in fear of offending the Muslims, that nothing is done. Stick a fork in them, they’re done.

Stick a fork in us, we’re done.

Posted by: CasperWY at June 10, 2013 8:27 PM
Comment #367195


We have CNN International. Ordinary CNN sucks; CNN International sucks double. I cannot stand to watch it. We used to have Fox, but that stopped. You are not even allowed to download Fox on computers located in Brazil, some kind of copyright.

Anyway, mostly I am interested in environment, energy and education. These issues can be partisan, but we broadly agree on the basics. I try to be science based and there is actually less disagreement there than we might assume from the partisan debate.

Re intelligence gathering - I don’t find data mining a danger. It doesn’t target individuals. As I said, it is like a cop sitting on the road watching traffic patterns.

Re Muslim populations and PC in general - I am generally in favor of immigration, but I think we have the right to demand loyalty from people who come to our country. After all EVERY immigrant to the U.S. thinks that the U.S. is better than whatever place he left behind. We should not pretend otherwise or let them do so. I liked the assimilation idea of the early 20th Century. It worked for my ancestors and it can work for others.

Good manners implies that we should respect their customs, but they have no right to demand that we do so and I would hope that they want to change their habits to better conform to life in America. After all, if life was better in whatever benighted shit-hole they came from, presumably they would stay there. In any case, we want America to be more like America, not like the Middle East. I have been to the Middle East. America is much better in every important way.

I also take the “intolerant” line that everybody who lives in the U.S. should learn English or else adapt himself. I learn the languages of the places I live and learn the customs. It is the right thing to do.

Posted by: CJ at June 10, 2013 9:01 PM
Comment #367196

CasperWY, Haven’t followed the Brit problem but have heard France is against the ‘rock of Abraham’ so to speak.

And, I agree with you in that we’ve been ‘forked’ over. Seems our corpocratic pols have thrown in the towel on controlling immigration. Was just a matter of time until the immigrant population overwhelmed the ballot box.

Corpocracy, 455 - citizens, 0, etc.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 10, 2013 9:28 PM
Comment #367208

Personally, I am very happy that Obama is our president, but not for the reasons liberals would like.

Obama has spent his entire political career trying to build trust in more big government.

His legacy will be to increase DISTRUST in big government.

For that, I will be grateful he was our president. Now that the American people distrust the government, we can move to repair the damage and reduce the size of government in 2014, 2016 and beyond. Even if Democrats win, their hands will be tied behind their backs and must run on a limited government platform.

Obama is not only the greatest gun salesman of all time, he advocates small government better than Reagan.

Posted by: Joseph at June 11, 2013 12:29 AM
Comment #367210

Re: the NSA, I just laughed this morning at the fact that I know about Snowden’s high school performance (or lack thereof).

I don’t think it is cutting a political rival slack C&J; national defense and the Commander in Chief role has got to be the most difficult part of any President’s job. It’s probably the source of many of President Obama’s new gray hairs. I’ve given all Presidents great deference with regards to their defense related decisions since I have only an ounce of the information that they had to base their decision. History has proven some to be right and history has proven some to be wrong, but the President has to decide which history to judge. I’m certainly not up to that task.

Posted by: George in SC at June 11, 2013 8:02 AM
Comment #367214

Another day, another scandal. One of Hillary Clinton’s SD employees has now become a whistleblower, telling about State Department employees involved in prostitution and pedophilia. Will the scandals never stop?

I am seeing complete silence from the left. There comes a point when you can’t defend the indefensible.

I presented a theory in the green column, that Obama is a Chicago politician, defended by the Chicago political machine. The supporters of Chicago politicians will go to prison to protect their own. DC politics on the other hand are backstabbing politics; every man for himself. While the Chicago thugs surrounding Obama are doing their best to protect him; the non-Chicago employees will blow the whistle rather than take the fall for Obama. What we are seeing, is a whole lot of people beginning to blow the whistle. Hence, new scandals every day.

I think we are reaching the point where Obama’s campaign speeches will not fix the problems. In an interview this morning, Bill O’Reily (whom I consider a moderate), called for Obama to come clean with the American people. He said apologizing is not enough. He has to come clean on Benghazi, on the DOJ, on the IRS, and now on the NAS. He also said Holder should be fired.

In my opinion, Holder should have been fired 2 years ago. Obama, as I write, is in front of the press calling for an immigration bill. Obama will get nothing. He is more than a lame duck president; he’s a damaged president. Who is going to trust anything he says?

At this point, everything Obama says or does, will be considered a lame attempt to take the heat off the other scandals. I.E., todays DOJ decision to drop any complaints against the morning after pill and now to be available to 10 years old; or the State Departments investigation into prostitution and pedophilia.

And so it goes..

Posted by: CasperWY at June 11, 2013 10:56 AM
Comment #367216
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of TYRANNY.” — James Madison, Federalist Paper 47
Posted by: Rhinehold at June 11, 2013 1:52 PM
Comment #367219

Nobody’s a Republican anymore, but these Conservatives I see all around me declare on a regular basis that they will never vote for Democrats, repeat all the relevant Republican talking points, and pretty much back the Republicans in every debate.

On the subject of ethnic profiling, let me first point something out: The relative political correctness or incorrectness has no bearing on its usefulness. And it’s only valuable to risk offending people if there’s truth value to it.

So, really, the question is, does racial and ethnic profiling work? No. It expands your list of suspects, your list of people you have to bother with. Investigators have found that behavioral profiling, that is, going for suspects because they’ve done things that associate them with terrorists or terrorist groups, like take trips to certain places, etc, is more dependable.

I think some people just want a license for their prejudice. They’ll fearmonger about Sharia law, they’ll make racially charged welfare-oriented comments, complete with good old fashion “darkie” talk, and they’ll make broad claims about women and birth control, and when people get offended, they’ll get offended back about people getting offended, charging them with being freedom-hating word-Nazis.

I think people should be made to step carefully when it comes to stereotyping other people. And of course, there will be much humor that comes of that, unavoidably. But what people should realize is, folks can tolerate the humor if they know that there isn’t malice behind it. We say and share offensive and risky things with friends and family all the time, because we all know where we stand with each other.

But we’ll hold back with others, because we don’t want the social situations we’re involved with getting out of hand. Now some people want to take the privilege we afford friends and family, and invoke that with everybody. It doesn’t make it any better that Republicans and Conservatives tend to do this in situations where they’re being at least a little bit hostile to people.

Just face it, guys. If you’re not careful with what you say to people in general, you’ll look like boorish idiot. You can’t change that, can’t force people not to be offended, and even if you can intimidate people into silence, they’ll still resent you.

Yes, society has changed. Too bad. It changes for everybody. That’s life. America’s changing. It’s always been changing. When I was a boy it was alright to discriminate against gays, women in film were often damsels in distress. On the other hand, the politics were more liberal, much saner in my opinion. Now a national right for Gays to marry seems inevitable, women are often the ones kicking but, and the politics in Washington is both more conservative and more disconnected from reality.

Of course, now the politics is changing again. Freaky, ain’t it?

What really amuses me is how outraged the people who bashed me and others over our objections to all these spying programs and whatnot are now getting outraged about it themselves.

I mean, some Libertarians here get points for being consistent, but I think people should take notice that while we’re chagrined that this anger is falling on Obama, merely for continuing Bush policy, most liberals you see will oppose those programs. And we oppose such invasive programs whoever was in charge.

I personally think that there always has to be a balance between law enforcement, counterintelligence and counterterrorism officials gathering data, and people’s right to privacy. Now, if I ditched Obama over this, though, would I necessarily get a better deal from Republicans, the same people who objected when I objected to the NSA program before?

That’s the conflict among Democrats. Republicans took the President’s position, and then some, but now they’re completely forgetting things.

We need to stop seeing things through a party prism first. I’m not going to defend the NSA’s program, but if you want me to choose you as an alternative, you can’t be saying “Oh, we should watch all those Sharia-bringing Muslims!”, because then you’re just saying, “surveillance state for them, but not for me.”

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 11, 2013 5:33 PM
Comment #367220

Nobody’s a Democrat anymore, but these liberals I see all around me declare on a regular basis that they will never vote for a republican repeat all the relevant democrat talking points, and pretty much back democrats in every debate.
Isn’t that exactly what you do Stephen??????????????

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at June 11, 2013 5:59 PM
Comment #367222

Rich KAPitan-
I have always been honest about the fact that I am a Democrat. I have my disagreements with people in my party, my share of headaches and heartaches, but I do not pretend that I am not allied with the people I vote for, the people whose platform I promote, or the folks whose arguments I tend to borrow more than others.

I am a Democrat, not merely an independent liberal who nearly always votes Democratic, nearly always agrees with the Democratic Party platform, and very often offers the Democratic Party responses and debate positions.

I don’t kid myself that I am, politically, what I support. I take responsibility for where I am politically, and who exactly it is I tend to support the election of. I don’t call myself an independent and act like a Democrat, the way you call yourself an independent and act like a Republican. I call myself a Democrat, and act like a Democrat.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 11, 2013 6:55 PM
Comment #367223

“Nobody’s a Republican anymore, but these Conservatives I see all around me declare on a regular basis that they will never vote for Democrats, repeat all the relevant Republican talking points, and pretty much back the Republicans in every debate.”

Once again, Stephen Daugherty shows his complete ignorance. First of all, some Republicans are conservatives and many conservatives are independents. All Republican politicians want to sound like conservatives, but many are RINO’s. But, I’ll tell you what dumbass; you show me a Democrat who votes conservative, and I’ll vote for him.

“So, really, the question is, does racial and ethnic profiling work? No. It expands your list of suspects, your list of people you have to bother with. Investigators have found that behavioral profiling, that is, going for suspects because they’ve done things that associate them with terrorists or terrorist groups, like take trips to certain places, etc, is more dependable.”

Stephen Daugherty means the “DHS Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment :

Pg. 2:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

Pg. 3:
(U//LES) Rightwing extremists are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment tool. Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. From the 2008 election timeframe to the present, rightwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential sympathizers.

(U) Exploiting Economic Downturn

(U//FOUO) Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish “financial elites.” These “accusatory” tactics are employed to draw new recruits into rightwing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs. DHS/I&A assesses this trend is likely to accelerate if the economy is perceived to worsen.

Pg. 5:

(U//FOUO) Over the past five years, various rightwing extremists, including militias and white supremacists, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point,
and recruiting tool. Debates over appropriate immigration levels and enforcement policy generally fall within the realm of protected political speech under the First Amendment, but in some cases, anti-immigration or strident pro-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent.

p. 7: (U) Disgruntled Military Veterans

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.”

According to Stephen’s dumbass comment, we have no right to profile Muslim Terrorists as terrorist because that wouldn’t be fair; But Stephen has no problem with the DHS, in 2009, writing a report declaring conservative groups and ex-military as terrorists. By the way, this is also what the IRS and DOJ has done.

“charging them with being freedom-hating word-Nazis.”

Someone brought up Godwin’s Law a few days ago; so we see that Stephen was suckered in to use the Nazism analogy.

“What really amuses me is how outraged the people who bashed me and others over our objections to all these spying programs and whatnot are now getting outraged about it themselves.”

Then Daugherty goes on to blame Bush and support Obama for the things he has done; which leads to the Daugherty dumbass comment of the day:

“We need to stop seeing things through a party prism first.”

Thank you Stephen, for telling us we should not look through a party prism; but we are conservatives, supporting conservatives and not Republicans, and you Stephen are still a dumbass liberal.

Posted by: DSP2195 at June 11, 2013 7:05 PM
Comment #367224

Stephen, Yes you are a democrat. That we know. I may talk like a republican but that doesn’t mean I always vote for a republican. I don’t pull the party lever and I don’t defend either party for their screw ups much like you do the democrats. Your party is in a major crisis now, are you going to defend the indefensible like you usually do? Or are you going to man up and admit they screwed up big time?

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at June 11, 2013 7:15 PM
Comment #367225


Conservatives tend not to vote Democratic as liberals tend not to vote Republican. I voted for Democrat Gerry Connolly in the last election because of his local record. But I don’t like what Democrats do generally. When last did you vote Republican?

Re profiling - We should profile based on behaviors and background information. That would mean that we are not targeting particular ethnic groups but also that some ethnic groups would tend to more frequently be behaving in particular ways. Perhaps you recall that terrorism used to be centered in Germany. If we profiled based on characteristics of Bader gang, we would end up with more Germans.

RE Sharia law - Sharia law is incompatible with Western Democracy. We can NEVER allow any coercive force to be legally used outside our own laws. Anybody who advocates allowing Sharia law is either a Muslim radical or ignorant. If that offends anybody, I don’t care. It is truth.

Re surveillance state - that is your guy Obama doing it. Let’s repeat this OBAMA is the one in charge of this surveillance.

DSP2195 & Stephen

DSP2195 really kicked Stephen’s ass on profiling. Stephen profiles all the time. He just reserves his wrath for his fellow Americans.

And Stephen - this youtube is for you -

Posted by: CJ at June 11, 2013 7:23 PM
Comment #367230

I had to ask myself, “Where was the outrage when the NSA wiretapping/data-mining program was leaked the first time?”.

No one questioned where the leak came from when this behavior was exposed during the Bush Administration. But now there is talk of treason and perhaps the murder of the “whistle-blower”.

I was under the assumption that the Bush administration had a lead and worked off of that lead when it came to wiretapping. Currently, the procedure seems to be the opposite. A blanket seizing of all records in an effort to, perhaps, find some incriminating information. That’s wrong and hasn’t been allowed at all in the history of this country. It goes against the 4th amendment.

I defended the Bush administration during it’s dealings with the wiretapping issue because I believed there was probable cause to track phone calls from certain numbers. I was outraged when I read of the program being exposed because I felt it was reducing the effectiveness of a weapon at our disposal.

The current program exposed is not the same as the Bush administration program. The leaking of this program is not the same as the leaking of the Bush program. The Bush program was done in the right way and conformed with the intent of the law. This program does not. There is a right way and a wrong way of doing this and the current program is the wrong way.

I find it very hypocritical that the exposure of a legitimate program goes unchallenged and used for political advantage while the exposure of an illegal and over-reaching program is met with threats of prosecution and death.

There is something very wrong with our government, folks. I don’t know what my country has become and I don’t understand how people can defend it or how people can just stand there and let it happen! Don’t they realize what this could lead to?

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 12, 2013 4:16 AM
Comment #367234

WW, liberals will always tell you what they are doing; it is part of their arrogant, elitist makeup. They have a need to brag about what they are going to do to people. Obama told us he was going to “fundamentally transform America”, but no one ever asked him what he meant by the comment. Listen to the words of Maxine Waters from earlier this year:

“Published on Feb 11, 2013

“The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” Representative Maxine Waters told Roland Martin on Monday. “That’s going to be very, very powerful,” Waters said. “That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it’s never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that. They’re going to go down with that database and the concerns of those people because they can’t get around it. And he’s [President Obama] been very smart. It’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.”

Here is the full interview with Waters:

“( – Earlier this year, in an interview with TV One, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) praised President Barack Obama for putting together a campaign database that “will have information about everything on every individual.”

“And that database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before,” Waters told “Washington Watch” host Roland, referring to Obama’s “Organizing for America,” which was changed from a campaign organization to a 501(c)(4) called Organizing for Action.

Martin had asked her about Obama’s agenda in his last term.

“The inauguration represented the beginning of his second term, but it also represented the countdown to the end of his presidency. And the reality is, like anything else, you better get what you can while he’s there because, look, come 2016, that’s it,” Martin said.

“I don’t know, and I think some people are missing something here,” Waters said.

“The president has put in place an organization that contains a kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” she added. “That’s going to be very, very powerful.”

Martin asked if Waters if she was referring to “Organizing for America.”

“That’s right, that’s right,” Waters said. “And that database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before.”

Waters said the database would also serve future Democratic candidates seeking the presidency.

“He’s been very smart,” Waters said of Obama. “I mean it’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.”

My question is, how did Maxine Waters know all this information, months before it came out in the press? Secondly, Obama said he was outraged at the gathering of information and of the IRS and DOJ targeting, he said he knew nothing of these scandals, and yet Waters placed Obama smack dab in the middle months before it came out to the public.

Posted by: CasperWY at June 12, 2013 9:40 AM
Comment #367235

What must be going on in the world of the liberals? We are hearing nothing from the left. They spent weeks trying to convince us that Benghazi and the first reports f the scandals were simply attacks from the right, trying to take down Obama. But, as usual, the truth always comes out and now that we have reams of Obama’s fingerprints all over the scandals, we hear nothing.

It was conspiracy theories, until the left found out they too were included in the information gathering. The democrats politicians were fine with the status quo until they found out their own blackberries were being tapped.

Senator Joe Biden in 2006:

“Back in 2006, in an appearance on CBS’s “The Early Show,” then-Democratic Delaware Sen. Joe Biden railed against the controversial National Security Administration program to monitor domestic phone calls.

Biden likened the program to blind faith in giving up personal financial information.

“I don’t think it passes the test, but it clearly doesn’t pass the test of two existing statutes that say you can’t do these kinds of things, forgetting the fourth amendment,” Biden said on CBS’s May 12, 2006 “The Early Show.”

“And, Harry [Smith], the bottom line here is: Here you have the president of the United States making a judgment that’s not reviewable by the courts and not reviewable by the Congress, and we’re supposed to say OK, and they tell us — it’s a little bit like what would happen if the banks turned over all your checking records, without your name, but gave the checking account number and every single purchase you made and pattern of your behavior — and then you were told, ‘Don’t worry, they — that’s not invasion of your privacy.’”

Biden, who as vice president has been quiet on the recent revelations about NSA seizure of phone records from major providers, then made the same argument many are making today — that seizing records of calls made, even without listening to the specific calls, can be an invasion of privacy.

“Harry, I don’t have to listen to your phone calls to know what you’re doing,” Biden said. “If I know every single phone call you made, I’m able to determine every single person you talk to, I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here is: What do they do with this information that they collect that does not have anything to do with al Qaeda? There’s a whole deal when you talk about this kind of stuff, where the — under the law they’re supposed to demonstrate that they’re getting rid of and not keeping any extraneous information that they pick up on wiretaps and/or pick up in sweeps like this. And the president’s saying–I think I wrote down — he said, `this is not mining or trolling.’ If it’s true that 200 million Americans’ phone calls were monitored, in terms of not listening to what they said but to whom they spoke and who spoke to them, I don’t know, the Congress should investigate this.”

Biden told “The Early Show” host Harry Smith that he did not care to put trust in then-President George W. Bush and then-Vice President Dick Cheney.”

Posted by: CasperWY at June 12, 2013 9:56 AM
Comment #367237

Think about every site that you’ve gone to that requires registration to comment, or information for the sake of building a profile that will allow you to purchase something. I don’t think a month goes by where people don’t sign up for something or put out their information for something.

So, when they hear that a government has a database of such information, many shrug, because they’ve experienced a long period, for some their entire lifetimes, where giving somebody personal information about who you are is a matter of course.

But of course, folks when I was born thought little of having their names, numbers, and addresses in the Yellow Pages.

Truth is, the average person in this world is one of the subjects of a huge number of databases, much of it in private hands. The main difference for most people, with the NSA database is that the database is in the government’s hands.

If you ask me, I don’t think you’ll get that much outrage about such methods until we see substantial abuse of it. People are too used to folks knowing their vital statistics to really be that concerned. Folks get all dark and cynical about it, but I would ask why most of those people don’t get dark and cynical about all the information that Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and other huge companies keep about us. We’ve got this Wild West thing going on regarding the internet, where we’ve let these people pretty far into our lives.

I think the main reason why most people don’t object to this is because it’s transparent, not in the sense that you know about it, but more in the sense that you go about your daily life not merely unconcerned about it, but typically not really bothered by the implications of its existence. It’s not in your face. Nobody’s calling you up, blackmailing you about what you’re searching for on the internet.

I think the principle some conservatives should account for in daily life is that most people do not have the time or the inclination to poke themselves into other people’s business. You don’t tend to audit your bank for where they’re sticking your money, or the risks they’re taking. I would bet very few people try to micromanage their stockbroker. When you take your car into get fixed, how many of you are looking over the repairman’s shoulders, critiquing their work?

It’s Adam Smith’s good-old fashioned division of labor at work. We only have so much attention, so much time, so much education. Even the highly educated among us tend to be well educated along a narrow line of subjects. Elsewhere, we’re ignorant. The Lawyer and his mechanic outmatch each other in their given fields. The programmer and his accountant each could give the other a run for their money on their given subject. So on, and so forth. We all sacrifice knowing and being trained in just about everything else in order to be competent and trained in what we do.

Other times, we trust others to do things for us to save us time and effort. Many of us can cook decently, so why do we go to restaurants, buy TV dinners, get stuff out of vending machines? Sometimes it’s because others can do it better. Who here can make a chocolate candy bar better than that candy company? And who wants to take the time and the effort in the midst of work to do it? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of us would rather buy the Milky Way or Hershey’s Bar, rather than try even an intermediate version of making it from raw ingredients. And when we do, it’s usually a special occasion, and very few of us make what we cook from truly raw ingredients.

And how many of us grind our own flour, process our own sugar, and all that?

So, there’s a lot of hidden work we don’t typically acknowledge, and aren’t really concerned with. We just shell out our money for it.

I think it’s important to set the boundaries right for Government information collection. I think there’s a decent debate to be had for how much information it’s really wise for Government to be collecting. I think the laws concerning what is proper search and seizure need to be updated for our times, to properly reflect both the Framer’s intent in privileging our communications and our property from arbitrary search and seizure, and to acknowledge the change in technology.

That people are not more outraged I think comes from the fact that this was revealed as a largely abstract fact: the government is collecting all this information. It would be like somebody revealing that the IRS is scrutinizing a category of non-profits to which many SuperPACs belong. Most people would shrug it off.

What they didn’t shrug off was when news broke that Conservative and Tea Party groups were specifically targeted. People mainly see power and its abuse in the effect it has on their lives. Somebody simply gathering up a big database that you barely know anything about doesn’t seem like a big deal, unless a) You’re paranoid about such things, or b) You’re personally affected by somebody’s use or abuse of it.

I think it’s useful for some to realize that not all government failures speak to the need to limit government. If you have an E. Coli outbreak with Orange Juice, or Salmonella in your peanut butter, you would rather the government succeed in intervening, in doing inspections to prevent it, and taking action afterwards to stop it.

The IRS and NSA scandals speak to a need to either standardize treatment (all nonprofits of the relevant kind need the same scrutiny) or to constrain the government’s actions, if not to build databases that might be useful in catching and tracking terrorists, then in limiting the means by which they can be constructed or the ways in which the information can be used.

But then, I wouldn’t oppose that. I want the IRS to be neutral, because that benefits me during Republican Administrations, and I’m not all that eager to single out Republicans for intrusive treatment in the first place. I want the NSA to keep its nose out of my business for the most part, so I don’t oppose doing something about that, either.

What does annoy me is both the hypocrisy of some on the right, in terms of their outrage, and the obliviousness Republicans show towards the conservative origins of this massive expansion. There’s political pressure on Democrats not to be soft on defense, or catching terrorists, not to mention the very real wish of many Democrats to fulfill those obligations. Great evil can be done out of good intentions, even by those we like. Only by setting aside partisan differences can American band together to oppose things most of us or many of us dislike.

Or, put another way, what is the reason that many of us are skeptical about what congress might do to deal with the issue?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 12, 2013 11:20 AM
Comment #367238

Stephen, There is a difference in you giving your info freely of your own will and having it taken against your will or unknowingly. Besides I don’t think a private concern is going to read your e mails or care how many people you call or where you call them or build a data base on the number of calls and where.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at June 12, 2013 12:14 PM
Comment #367239

Rich KAPitan-
If people had to fill out a survey, under penalty of law, giving all that information, I think more people would feel that way. All I’m saying is that the remove at which it is done, and the fact that few people actually have their lives directly affected by it reduces the public outrage.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 12, 2013 1:09 PM
Comment #367240


“I wish someone else would write a few articles for the column and I could be a supporting player. Please help if you can. We need more voices.”

Have been trying to.
Any tips on how to get responses from those in charge of WatchBlog? Been trying to get password problem worked out for ever now.

Posted by: Tim H. at June 12, 2013 1:14 PM
Comment #367241

Tim H,
Same here. Believe the password issue is problem with Movable Type. If you hear anything, please let me know!

Posted by: phx8 at June 12, 2013 1:24 PM
Comment #367247

Stephen, The government tried that with the census forms requiring your SS#. People rebelled against that. Now the number isn’t required.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at June 12, 2013 4:43 PM
Comment #367248

Will do Phx8.

Posted by: Tim H. at June 12, 2013 4:54 PM
Comment #367258

Problem with mine was that there are no spaces in my username. Am able to get into account for now.

Posted by: Tim H. at June 13, 2013 11:07 AM
Comment #367328

People don’t trust CONGRESS. They trust the government.

I am a liberal. I have great differences with President Obama. He is not a liberal.

“ObamaCare”… a conservative idea… private insurance. I wanted single payer. Hey, you won!

Sequestration… we’re cutting government spending. Effective tax rates are lower than they have been in YEARS. You won!

Still Republicans/Conservatives attack, attack, attack just like they did with Clinton. Trying to destroy the government that the people voted for. The Republican congress has done more harm to our economy and sense of direction as a nation than any of their opponents could have done in five terms in office.

Recall that the Republicans calmly and cooly IMPEACHED Clinton after YEARS of investigations! I recall Sen. Alfonse D’Amato saying something like, “We know there’s something illegal here… we just can’t find it!” A look at Clinton’s record will reveal what can happen when reasonable, well thought out policies are put in place to IMPROVE PEOPLES LIVES by steering the private economy in directions that allow all to participate. Yet Republicans pushed the envelope and MISUSED the Constitution to try and unseat a popular president just because he was effective and did not hold the policy views that the Republicans (losers) held.

Issa, Graham, McCain, McConnell, and all the obstructionists along with their shill “news’ service are willing to destroy this country rather than let the average worker participate in the growth of the economy. Same old story… and the people see it. Hence, the 10% approval rating for the largely Republican Congress.

Poisoning our water supply, ecological catastrophes, catastrophic illness due to chemicals dumped on our land, water, and air by fat cats in corporate board rooms, death, bankruptcy caused by usury and fraud … all go unpunished by both parties. Yet, Benghazi, Fast and Furious (a Bush program), Obamacare (37 times attempted to repeal), IRS, just name it… it is ‘scandalized’ in an attempt to castrate the current administration. AND THEY TOLD US THAT THIS IS WHAT THEY WOULD DO! No surprises.

You Obama haters… yes, haters… show your hypocrisy every time you flail on his administration for doing essentially what Bush did/started. Yet you defended tooth and nail what was the same damn thing done under your banner.

Fie… Fie on you all, partisans. A pox on both your houses. Not partisan enough. Yes. Not partisan enough for this crowd of red-eyed, salivating, knuckle draggers who would fit right in at the Roman Coliseum. You will have blood or you will cry ‘traitor’ till you do.

Small minds rarely change and so we continue the Great Decline.

Posted by: LibRick at June 15, 2013 1:15 PM
Comment #367341


If Obama is not a liberal, it clearly means that NO liberal can ever govern the United States or successfully govern anywhere on a wide scale.

I believe you have indeed found the problem. Liberalism, as defined in today’s USA, is not a governing ideology. It is a kind of protest movement. A community organizer is adept at embarrassing others into doing things they might not otherwise choose to do. They are consumers, not creators of the systems run by others. Their goal is to get a bigger share of what others have created.

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