Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Government Surveillance

Back in 2008, candidate Barack Obama said he was troubled by and opposed to the extent of government surveillance under then-President Bush. Now in his second term, President Obama has kept and perhaps expanded that surveillance, as well as programs such as overseas targeted drone assassination. I am completely appalled by the extent of the spying, on Americans and others.

Here's some of what has emerged in the last week.
My suggestion: start with Schneier.

UPDATED with letter from Drummond to US officials.


Henry Holland said...

8 years of the Cheney mal-adminstration, after 8 years of The Clenis and his DADT/DOMA/triangulation crap, has completely drained me of outrage stemming from government shenanigans.

I'm sorry, anyone who's shocked by all this either a) doesn't pay attention to the news or b) is one of those "OMG! Not in the United States!!! We're the land of the free, I've been told that since I was 6!!!! Oh, and the Fourth Amendment!!!!" types. This stuff has been going on since the dawn of recorded history, it's just in the last 10 years or so that technology has caught up with the government's wishes.

I don't have a cellphone, I don't go to Facebook or any other social media places (not out of security concerns but because I'm not interested) but I've taken it as a given for at least a decade that all my clicks on socialist blogs, spending hours on Wikipedia reading about Marxism and anarchy and proselytizing for Schreker and Korngold and Birtwistle and whatnot have been noted somewhere. And that's just the stuff I do that I'd be comfortable telling my parents about! :-)

It's unfortunate that Glenn Greenwald, whom I admire in general, seems to have bungled this one. Well, that and the Bradley Manning case, but still.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I....doubt the government cares about your love of Korngold and Birtwistle. :)

I am not shocked, just appalled. Also, that Obama guy? He was once a Constitutional scholar.

Henry Holland said...

Oh, but they do care about Schreker? :-)

Sure, I just love the idea of some minimum wage grunt going "Why does this "Henry Holland" keep writing about these guys Scrheker, Korngold and Birtwistle? They sound foreign, let's put him on alert".

Sorry, can't be appalled either. It's NOT a surprise in the slightest, there's nothing I've read that I haven't taken as a given years ago. I was born on an Air Force base, lived on military bases until I was 15. Some of my friends had Dads working in Intel, what they did was common knowledge. Luckily, human beings are absolutely horrible about keeping secrets! :-)

As for Obama, it's simply a "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" thing. No one that's insane enough to want to be President is going to say on the first day of their first term "I totally renounce the security state that's been in place since the founding of this country".

After I sent the first reply, I thought about who I've had as a (D) choice for President, since I'd rather be strapped in a chair and forced to listen to Telemann, Haydn and Brahms for a week than vote (R). I wanted to start drinking heavily:

*shudder* Dukakis *shudder*
Slick Willy x 2 (thanks for DOMA and DADT!)
Obama x 2

The only one of them that didn't make me roll my eyes after first encountering them is Gore and he'll forever be on my shit list for not fighting to the death for what was rightfully his, instead caving "for the good of the country". Yeah, how'd *that* work out for us all?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Righteous rant, that.

Am debating whether I have the nerve to start voting Socialist. Probably not, on a do-the-least-harm basis.

CK Dexter Haven said...

First of all, call the guy in the White House (and/or his predecessors) whatever you want, but I for one prefer to call him "President Obama" because I am a huge proponent of showing POTUS the respect deserved of the office whether or not you like him or agree with him. Anyways . . .

When someone like PRESIDENT Obama comes into office having made all of the statements he made before his election only to do the things he's done after his election, I think it's reasonable to conclude that one or some of the following occurred:

1) He was lying and he didn't mean it
2) Power corrupts and once he got into office, he decided to take advantage of the situation
3) He's not a great manager/leader and isn't aware of what's going on underneath him by those who work for him
4) Some of this stuff, while disturbing, may actually be necessary to maintain a free republic in the 21st century. (or to paraphrase Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, "You want me digging into that personal information -- you NEED me digging into that personal information.")

I think it is some combination of #'s 2, 3, 4 -- and mostly 3 and 4.

I don't want my constitutional rights infringed upon, but I'd also like to be alive to be able to exercise them. Figuring out the right balance going forward is only gonna get harder. First Amendment, Second Amendment, Fourth Amendment, you name them -- each has a slope which we needs to be traversed, and rather than argue about how slippery the slope is, we need to figure out what the right pair of shoes are so we can both avoid slipping down the slope AND find a way to climb up it.

CK Dexter Haven said...

Oh, and if I weren't in a contrary enough mood, let me poke and prod a little more . . .

If the 2000 election were rightfully Mr. Gore's, then he would have been President -- but he wasn't. Because the system worked. We have an electoral college, one of the states had irregularities which were managed by that state's executive branch, we have courts which oversee the executive, and they made the call that they made. The system may not have worked the way some wanted it to, but it worked.

Bitching about the 2000 election and Bush v. Gore being unfair and wrong 13 years after the fact is just as ludicrous as people bitching about Roe v. Wade being unfair and wrong. It's decided law. It's history. Get over it already, and move on.

I mean, I think USC football program got royally screwed by the NCAA, but I stopped talking about it long ago. Really. . . .

Lisa Hirsch said...

Re Roe v. Wade, there are continuing efforts to effectively overturn it, by narrowing abortion access on a state-by-state basis. Political activism, in other words, no matter how one feels about abortion, continues, on both sides of the issue.

Re Bush V. Gore, well, the Florida election was problematic in a number of ways, from the easily-misinterpreted ballots to the inconsistent recount owing to inconsistent county-by-county standards, to things like demonstrations against the recount. After it was all over, a media coalition examined the ballots, applied a consistent standard, and concluded that Gore won.

One need only consider the actions Gore might or might not have taken on issues such as 9/11, national security, wars, and climate change to see how important that election was.