United States Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon and United States Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky run for election with the endorsement of different political parties, and have plenty of other differences on issues of public policy, but they are agreed that NSA surveillance programs need to be reviewed for legality. That's a demonstration that there is a reasonably broad base of support among the American public for taking a second look at how government intelligence programs have been operating recently, and perhaps revising the legal framework for regulating those programs. The large volume of lawsuits connected to NSA surveillance pretty much guarantees that the Supreme Court will consider the issue after the various trial court and intermediate appellate court decisions in different cases have shed light on the issues.
I don't think that's accurate. This just happens to be one of those issues where the traditional left/right spectrum breaks down. Paul comes from the libertarian wing of the GOP, and Wyden is perhaps best described as a small government liberal. Together they represent not insignificant minorities within their own parties, but nothing like a broad bipartisan base. You wouldn't say Paul Ryan's Medicare plan had a broad base of support just because Wyden was associated with it (more or less, depending on whose talking points you're reading).
Yes, Obama could do something about the NSA, but so could Congress and so could have Bush. This is everyone's NSA.
Flagged for being simple political posturing instead of a legitimate push for change.
Flagging is meant to be used very selectively for spam and other submissions that blatantly flout the site's guidelines.
GP, please don't misuse flagging like this again.
"Flagging is meant to be used very selectively for ..."
...then there should be a pop up when someone goes to flag that says "Note: Are you aware that flagging is meant for .... do you still want to flag??".
Many people don't know the "rules?" on HN even if they have been around for some time. For that matter upvotes and downvotes aren't clearly defined. And that whole "in short anything that satisfies ones curiousity" can reach far and wide.
And doing the right thing isn't solely a RTFM either. The "FM" is not really something that people familiarize themselves with or keep on top of. (Commenting and reading HN isn't a job obviously.) If certain behavior needs to be enforced (not saying it does or doesn't) then something has to be in place ad hoc to make it more likely to happen.
The upside to having a Republican in the White House, is that vast majority of liberals will finally stop being hypocrites about 'speaking truth to power' and pretending to care about human rights, and they'll instantly get upset about the NSA story (while claiming of course that it was solely the fault of Republicans all along). The Republican President would act as as lightning rod, the perfect excuse to rediscover their fair-weather beliefs. The liberal wing would then apply pressure to the rest of the party to restrict the spying.
There would finally be broad based opposition to the NSA's program from one of the parties.
Unfortunately, Hillary is going to win the next election by a wide margin. And absolutely nothing will change; rather, most of the programs will be permanently codified into accepted US Government practices.
Don't make this a left-right thing. For what it's worth, the people I know most in support happen to be weakly right-of-center and those most opposed are radical leftists but really there are other things dominating (the leftists are nearly tied by some Libertarians). Individuals with fair-weather beliefs are an issue on both sides (and it's somewhat human, unfortunately, which isn't to say desirable). And of course amongst mainstream politicians of both parties, we certainly are seeing a huge amount of fair-weather behavior - with strong supporters of this crap under W. now rallying against it while previously critical Democrats forget what the problem was...
To my mind, there's a few strong points worth making here to those rallying around "their guy"... 1) "you might not trust the next guy/gal" (which gets made pretty often), 2) pointing out that a lot of people involved here aren't even NSA agents but contractors with big defense firms, and 3) there's a documented history of abuses (most of which were found because they were self-reported, so there's tremendously more abuse going on we don't see).
"The upside to having a Republican in the White House, is that vast majority of liberals will finally stop being hypocrites about 'speaking truth to power' and pretending to care about human rights, and they'll instantly get upset about the NSA story (while claiming of course that it was solely the fault of Republicans all along)."
You'll have to explain why it would be different than every other time we've switched parties here. Some of this stuff was talked about under Clinton (e.g. Carnivore, though that was FBI), and some Republicans fretted. Much more was introduced under W. after 9/11, and some Democrats complained. Now Obama has extended it, and Republicans are rediscovering their opposition to this stuff, but they're sure to forget just as quickly if we give them power again. Probably the best chance is to have both houses of congress with an overwhelming majority of the party that does not control the presidency (and it probably doesn't matter much which is which).
There might not be a broad opposition coming from the left but there is an opposition. If it were up to Democrats the bipartisan Amash amendment to defund the NSA would have passed. The problem isn't a Democrat in the White House, it's a non-functioning GOP in Congress.
I still support Obama and I have no problem talking about it.
The very fact that this issue would have to be ping-ponged around between both parties (like so many other issues) shows that we need more political parties in the U.S. to represent different views.
Maybe. The dems are not quite as shameless about their hypocrisy as the republicans are. I have a hard time seeing e.g. Diane Feinstein flip-flopping on this even with a republican in the white house. I'd love to be proven wrong about that, but I won't bet my life savings on it.
And your point is a very good one: smashing enough trust in the government that a lot of conservatives have, e.g. ones like me who grew up watching The F.B.I. starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., is a critical step in fixing things. I'd say it won't take much, based on the one House vote so far, which didn't break along any conventional lines (party, region, etc.)
Labeling it as "Barack Obama's NSA" incorrectly boxes the issue into the typical left/right categories we use in American politics. It will turn off those on the left, and not get the point across to those on the right why this is an issue. Since he used that kind of partisan language in the press release it really makes me question his motivations on this. Is he against it because it is wrong, or because it is an opportunity to ding the president and get his name in the press again.
So this is mere political opportunism. Because it's not Obama's NSA, he just happened to touch down in part of the NSA's timeline. The NSA has been, would be and will be doing this regardless of administration or party.
He won't (and I don't think he should) because he thinks it would be a bad idea from both a national security and a political standpoint.
This is about Rand Paul, using any available brick to throw at Obama, the idea being that as Obama's fortunes fall Paul's rise.
In short a version of grandstanding. Schumer of NY uses any opportunity he can in the same way for certain issues.
While all politicians do this some are more likely than others to seize the moment.
In other words something is in the news and then all the sudden Senator "x" is writing a letter or demanding some action which gets him publicity.
It would be interesting to see how many times a press release is issued by these types that is not about some issue that has bubbled up first in the media. (My point being that I'd like to see if I am correct...or not.)
I do know that politicians are quick to write letters about anything and everything. But certain issues that have more PR potential seem to be more equal than others. My observation.
Rand Paul's party is by far the biggest supporter of NSA, TSA, and other TLAs. If he really wanted to change things, he could start by convincing his own party to stop fellating the NSA.
While I'm not that well versed in American politics, I find that hard to believe. The President doesn't seem to be some sort of all-controlling, micromanaging dictator, I'd find it more believable that he doesn't directly control the majority of US institutions, especially since most of them operate regardless of the political party in charge.
I mean, the NSA has been operating for 60 years, so obviously there is some continuity, and their activities go beyond the whims of each individual president...
They do what he commands. If that's not the case, then the United States is under siege, and the government has suffered a coup.
Not every instance of dereliction of duty is a coup... but at the extreme, yeah.
"the buck stops here"
The NSA is under the DoD. So he needs to start by firing Chuck Hagel, then his Deputy, then General Alexander, et al.
That is going to do more damage than it helps. The NSA isn't black and white no matter how much people on HN have recently decided it to be so.
Law changes and reforms within the NSA are the only sane way to fix issues you don't like without doing more harm than good, and the President just doesn't unilaterally get to pass new laws on his whim.
I'm not arguing that Obama is good or shouldn't be blamed for NSA, I'm just saying that I believe had he not become president, it wouldn't have changed the NSA situation. Maybe I'm wrong. Who knows, maybe a republican president right now would abolish the NSA, or maybe they would drop nukes all over Europe, I (and you) can't know exactly what would have happened. But if you disagree with my assumption that Obama losing wouldn't have lead to any different reaction to the NSA, then feel free to make that point. But apart from that, whether Obama is murdering kids with his bare hands or making the world an incredible place with his love, is irrelevant.
As to my own views, had I had US voting rights I would have voted for Obama, and by now would be (and am despite not voting) extremely upset by his actions in office. But I'm not sure my politics are relevant. My point was that I think that were the roles reversed, it would be a democrat wanting to fight the NSA, and a republican president keeping the status quo. And my point was that politicians on both sides consider both moral and political points before deciding to do something like this. I'd make that point whether I loved Rand Paul or hated him, whether I love the NSA or hate them.
It's not about Repulican or Democrat, both parties have many evil people in them. It's about the person. Just one simple example is that Obama voted for renewal of the Patriot Act. This alone should have been enough to not be surprised by this.
And yes, if Ron Paul had been elected, this would not have happened. 30 years of consistency.
If the NSA tried to stop the process and acted against the orders of the Commander-in-chief, Obama should then recall the US Military and destroy the NSA with brute force, treating it as a hostile domestic militia that is attempting a coup. Game over. Sound far fetched? No, it's just a standard issue government revolution, no different than what has gone on throughout history all across the map.
The Obama administration has decided to preserve a controversial arrangement under which a single military official is permitted to direct both the National Security Agency and the military’s cyberwarfare command despite an external review panel’s recommendation against doing so, according to U.S. officials.
How should we be able to trust them ever again?
I mean, it's been shown that people like Obama an Clapper openly lie. Nobody seems to care about that.
I'm still not sure that it's a good idea to accept the weak bone they'll throw us to make us forget about the real issue (Obama hinted at some limitations he might enforce).
Additionally, if the USG falls back on the national security argument yet again, then this will damage the Obama administration's credibility even more, and that will be a useful outcome as well.
As an aside, it's funny how quickly Obama has gone from a novelty (first black president, exciting!) to just a very weak, unprincipled leader, and who weakens himself even more with every backroom deal with wall street, every promotion of Bush-era hawks, every prosecution of reporters under the Espionage Act, and every defense of mass surveillance of Americans. My sense is that he is under the full sway of his advisors and underlings, and he lacks the cajones to think for himself and stand up to them when they argue for practicality over principle. Clearly our political system needs to do a better job of selecting strong, intelligent, moral leaders, rather than just well-spoken ones. (An interesting problem in itself, and one which I think is only partly addressed by campaign finance reform.)
But the other lesson from this is that our system of checks and balances is not working. This suit is an attempt to use the judicial to check the executive. A laudable attempt to work within the system. But as you mention, the executive is not shy about playing their trump card - keeping secrets vital to national security - rendering a judicial check impossible. Meanwhile, Congress is still in very poor shape, with Tea Party morons so fixated on taxation that they ignore everything else. (Although I must admit, that in times like these "starve the beast" does seem mighty appealing. What the hell are we doing giving Obama $1T a year to play with, given his lack of judgement and scruples? Indeed, what man or woman exists that can be trusted with that kind of power, especially given the glaring weaknesses in our system of checks and balances?)
We've seen some egregious, shameless use of structural weaknesses in our system, hacks that previous generations of senators and presidents have been deeply reluctant to use - apparently well aware of the cost of using them. Executive use of "national security" to quash judicial check is one; indiscriminate and constant use of filibuster to intentionally stop congress from functioning at all, even on routine matters.
Fundamentally, political systems are designed to allow people with conflicting views to live in peace together, and to cooperate for mutual benefit. Without these systems, we devolve into tribes, mainly on ethnic and racial grounds, fighting for dominance over each other. We went from democracy at the city-state level, back to absolute monarchy, and now we're trying democracy at the national level.
But remember this is all new ground; the US is only 238 years old. In essence, the US is a startup, and it might fail, and it could fail catastrophically or just kind of fizzle out. (I hope doesn't, though, because I really love the idea of Star Fleet being HQ'd in San Francisco).
Yes... I repeated your comment verbatem to demonstrate that the same could be said of your attitude.
What about my attitude is leading to the same?