I honestly don't see how contracting out your domestic spying to a foreign country makes it legal in the face of a law restricting such surveillance. For example, if the local police want to search your house, they need to go to court first for a warrant. They can't just hire a 3rd party to break into your house and then try to use that evidence against you. (the 'government agent' doctrine)
Then again, if judges continue to refuse plaintiffs who challenge these practices, then it really doesn't matter what the law is.
You're right from a 'getting a case in court' stand point, but I don't think most of the spying/tracking is about getting a case to court, and as the SilkRoad trial MIGHT have shown, the gov't just needs a way to show that they were able to track you down. They can probably make up a way that they did it after the fact if their initial search was in fact illegal.
Please don't turn this into a debate about SilkRoad, I'm using that as an example of something that might have happened, I'm not saying it did or didn't. That is for other threads.
Well, there's that whole FISA secret court thing. There's basically a body of law that's above the law in the U.S.. As a Canadian, I expect there's something similar here too. These courts ostensibly aren't interested in prosecuting people for the usual crimes like murder, drug dealing, etc.. Just the nasty terrorist-type stuff that will get just about any bill, no matter how abusable, passed by the powers that be. Of course, there's always mission creep.
Even if this is a Democratic-only concern (which I don't think it is), this would be an easy one for a Senator in the minority to sell to the Chairman as a personal favor. It would just be a subpoena to answer some questions; the Chairman wouldn't be signing up to actually do anything like sponsoring legislation.
I still get mail from Bank Of America -- where I no longer have an account because their fraud department decided to stop paying my mortgage -- about someone trying to log into my account. About once a week. I could spam filter it but it reminds me not to go back.
I can understand why he gets a pass: He probably was only publicly against it in 2008 in order to win an election, and when it was politically convenient he had a "change of heart" and has repented.
What I can't understand is why anyone who espouses the view that opposition to gay marriage is akin to the most heinous racial bigotry could possibly have voted for Barack Obama in 2008. I'm a pretty reliable GOP voter, but I wouldn't think twice about voting for a Democrat for president if the Republican candidate expressed support for segregation! I'd vote for a third party if they both did.
My point is that it's basically free to express outrage at Eich. Six years ago (when Eich actually made his donation), a lot of folks here and at Mozilla who are so worked up about this issue now were not so unforgiving about it when it came to getting "their guy" in the White House.
Opposing something right because it's politically convenient isn't any more ethically defensible than opposing something you truly disagree with. You, as liberals tend to do, are giving Obama a pass -- he can't not do the right thing, by your logic.
I suspect that many Republicans nominally against gay marriage are privately for it, but the political ramifications for saying so would be much graver for an older, whiter and more religious constituency. Do we give them a pass, too?
Politicians say one thing while believing something else all the time. It's almost a qualification for the job.
I don't care about that (much). 'Twas always thus...
I'm pointing out that there are surely things 2008 Candidate Obama could have said and positions he could have taken that would have disqualified him in the eyes of many of the folks here, even if they suspected he didn't really mean them. I'd like to hope some of those would include expressing support for racial segregation or opposing interracial marriage. But many in this discussion are claiming that BE's 2008 opposition to gay marriage is morally indistinguishable from support for racial segregation or opposition to interracial marriage, and that he should be judged accordingly. Then how can they square that with a vote for Senator Obama in 2008?
The analogy with the Civil Rights Movement to end racial discrimination absolutely has some force behind it, but I don't think making that analogy ends the debate over how to treat folks on the other side.
So, being against gay marriage is so despicable that you can't even use software that is associated with organization that is run by such a vile man. But if this vile act is performed in service of being elected president of the USA, that's completely OK. Not sure I get how that works out. To me it sounds like "Did you murder this guy? - Surely, yes. - You're going to jail! - But I'm a politician, I did it to get elected! - Oh! Why didn't you tell it from the start! It's completely different then, you're free to go."
Or maybe he didn't support gay marriage then and doesn't support it now, but is scared of a ravenously malicious committee of self-appointed witch hunters who are out to destroy anyone who dares to disagree with them on their pet cause. Or maybe he just did it because certain organizations or people would give him more money for his presidential library, and he still privately disagrees with it.
I'm not sure why we assume that he's not just doing this for political expediency now if we accept that he may have held the previous position for political expediency as well.
That depends entirely on the expressed views of the person they're running against. I accept anyone I vote for is going to do things I don't like. Maybe most things. Avoiding the vote because there's no candidate that's "perfect" leads to people getting in that will do EVEN MORE things I don't like, so while winning isn't everything, it's a lot.
Winning isn't everything, no. A "loyal opposition" is an important thing - I'd love to see Eisenhower/Goldwater Republicans balancing out the Democrats.
Handing over the reins to the crazies, though, is significantly dangerous, and all candidates are going to have downsides. Obama's been wrong on gay marriage in the past, but it's quite clear that his administration has been far better for gay rights than a Republican one would have been.
So were a majority of voters in California in 2008. I think anyone hiring in California would be an ~evil homophobe~ if they didn't screen their applicants on their prop 8 vote these days.
People need to quit equating this to being a Nazi or a 60s era segregationist or all kinds of things which are so incredibly different.
> So Barack Obama, the President of the US, was against gay marriage in 2008; I'm confused as to why he gets a pass here
(1) Barack Obama didn't contribute money to Prop. 8, and in fact specifically spoke out against it and similar measures in 2008, e.g., "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America's about." 
(2) Barack Obama's wasn't appointed CEO of Mozilla Corporation, so the people that think that Eich made a bad head of Mozilla because of that don't have that basis to object, and
(3) Barack Obama's position on gay marriage has changed since 2008, and he has spoken on that evolution at length.
Barack Obama was appointed the President of the United States, which is a bit higher position that CEO of Mozilla, with all due respect to Firefox and all. Still nobody of the people who waged war on Eich did not say anything remotely like that about Obama the whole time while he was publicly opposing it. And if you think that President's position is worth less than $1000 in cash, you don't really understand what President in the US means. The whole point is that Obama was "our guy" and Eich was not. That's why Obama got the pass and was patiently allowed to "evolve", but Eich got the "enemy of the nation" treatment.
He didn't get a pass. A lot of people made a huge issue out of it from the day he announced to the day he changed his views. He also didn't stand in the way of the advancing equality movement while he mulled it over. Brendan Eich did, to the tune of $1000.
Actually, with respect to civil rights, acts of omission matter >= acts of commission.
Therefore the POTUS withholding support is a far, far greater impact than some dude contributing $1000.
Yet I imagine a super-majority of the people pitchforking Eich also voted for Obama. Whatever justifications they had -- "lesser of two evils", "he's right about most other things" -- should apply to both people.
But of course they don't, because some people apparently need a monthly Paula Deen or Kony or #CancelColbert controversy to serve as their moral compass.
By the way, I fully support marriage equality. But it feels wrong that I even need to state that like it's some sort of Pledge of Allegiance litmus test.
Furthermore, this man supported a controversial cause to the tune of peanuts worth of money, and his job is to run a tech non-profit.
There are probably thousands of of other companies and people HN'ers interact with every day that have done worse things than this man. It's a point about which to rally; it's not that important in the grand scheme.
> Actually, with respect to civil rights, acts of omission matter >= acts of commission.
No, I think actually using (or advocating using) power of government to discriminate is a bigger problem than merely failing to oppose such abuses, though both are bad. But, in any case, this is irrelevant because:
> Therefore the POTUS withholding support
On Prop. 8, the President didn't withhold support from the side that Eich spent money opposing -- Obama opposed Prop. 8 specifically and measures to entrench prohibition of same-sex marriage in Constitutions generally in 2008.
Even if he also said Prop 8 is bad (?), I think overall he has withheld far more than $1000 worth of support for marriage equality.
I don't understand people who are willing to overlook that in Obama's case, but not Eich's. Not only is that inconsistent, it's even more confusing when you consider that Obama was elected to represent people's views on political matters, but Eich was not.
I voted for Obama. I deeply support marriage equality. I don't know Eich well at all, but if the Mozilla board thought he was qualified to lead the organization I think he should get more than 2 weeks to demonstrate that. (Also at this point some board members ought to resign, because they've demonstrated they can't handle one of their few non-trivial responsibilities.)
Context partly. Think about it: Mozilla vs Population of the US, certainly there are massive differences of opinion between these groups. Mozilla is clearly a group that holds the rights of LGBT people in high regard. The population of the US as a whole -- less so.
And politics partly. I don't think anyone without their heads in the sand actually believed that Obama was against gay marriage. He was clearly playing the game and paying due lip service in order to get the votes he needed, like any politician. Eich refused to play that game.
Our election system is deliberately designed and maintained so that only two parties--only two candidates--matter. That sucks, and I'd change it if I could, but in the meantime my options are to either stay home, which accomplishes nothing; vote for a third-party candidate, which shows admirable idealism but is also unlikely to accomplish anything; or vote for the lesser of two evils, which at least has a chance of producing some of the results I want.
This is the fallacy that maintains the system you complain about. Voting for a 3rd party supports that party and gains them publicity. Just because they don't win (this time) doesn't mean it's wasted. By your reasoning, any vote for a losing party is wasted, so you should only vote according to the latest poll figures. However all options are guaranteed to produce many of the results you want. The greater of two evils still outlaws murder and theft and still enforces contracts, and all sorts of useful laws, just like the lesser of two evils does.
Nader did well following Perot. Eventually one of these might make it and if they also act to weaken the two-party system, the floodgates could open like they have in other countries. But none of that can happen if people who don't like the two-party system keep voting for it anyway just because of petty bipartisan tribalism.
No. Perot did around 15% in his first run (with 10s of millions of his own money), followed up by 5%. Nader did in the low single digits. There is no momentum to be had. They do exactly as well as their money will allow. Third party candidates have no shot.
Look up first-past-the-post voting. It is impossible for a viable third party to do well in such a voting system.
What is the 'max out of pocket' on your mother's insurance plan? With many plans I've seen, once you've paid out of pocket X thousands of dollars for the year, the insurance picks up 100% of the cost, as long as you are seeking treatment at an in-network provider.