Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Traditional liberal groups are pulling away from President Obama. Update!

This whole NSA surveillance revelation has had the result of making groups that are traditionally liberal to become disenchanted with the President.

Courtesy of the Examiner: 

Under President Obama, the United States is “a nation governed by fear,” the American Civil Liberties Union says in an open letter that echoes the criticisms Obama has made of George W. Bush’s national security policies. 

“[W]e say as Americans that we are tired of seeing liberty sacrificed on the altar of security and having a handful of lawmakers decide what we should and should not know,” the ACLU writes in a statement circulated to grassroots supporters and addressed to Obama. “We are tired of living in a nation governed by fear instead of the principles of freedom and liberty that made this nation great.” 

It’s strange to read in light of Obama’s disavowal of Bush. “[T]oo often — our government made decisions based upon fear rather than foresight, and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions,” Obama said in 2009. “Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, we too often set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And in this season of fear, too many of us — Democrats and Republicans; politicians, journalists and citizens — fell silent.” 

The ACLU is circulating that statement in response to the Justice Department’s efforts to prosecute Edward Snowden, who leaked information about the National Security Agency’s data collection programs before fleeing to Hong Kong (and now, Russia).

And they are not alone.

Courtesy of Amnesty International:

The US authorities must not prosecute anyone for disclosing information about the government’s human rights violations, Amnesty International said after Edward Snowden was charged under the Espionage Act. 

 The organization also believes that the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower could be at risk of ill-treatment if extradited to the USA. 

"No one should be charged under any law for disclosing information of human rights violations by the US government. Such disclosures are protected under the rights to information and freedom of expression," said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International. 

"It appears he is being charged by the US government primarily for revealing its and other governments’ unlawful actions that violate human rights.”

The problem with the information  that Snowden revealed is that it hit us in the face with information that most liberals either did not think about or actively hoped was not true. And that was that the apparatus put into place by the Bush administration, the same apparatus that infuriated liberals all over the country, was now being used by an administration that we desperately wanted to trust and support.

Now we can agree that Snowden is no angel, and in fact might even be considered a traitor. But the information that he revealed, well that is another matter altogether.

But here's the thing. We also learned through Snowden's documents, that Britain has a similar program. As does Israel. And I think it goes without saying that China, Russia, most Middle Eastern countries, and possibly the majority of European countries have programs that are quite similar.

So, and I am just playing devil's advocate here, how could America NOT have the NSA program?

AND, if you will indulge me a little further, wouldn't have advertising the fact that we are still doing this placed our allies at risk, and tipped off our potential enemies?


Update: Well it looks like Germany is not one of the countries doing it too:

Overzealous data collectors in the US and Great Britain have no right to investigate German citizens. The German government must protect people from unauthorized access by foreign intelligence agencies, and it must act now. This is a matter of national security.

So it appears that liberal groups are not the only ones pulling away.


  1. Anonymous12:39 PM

    This has gone on longer than Dubya in some form or another, I kid you not.

    1. Since the early 50s, if not before. Does no one remember HUAC? John Birch Society? Joe McCarthy? We've traveled this road before. As a nation, we need to get a grip on fear. Obama is not the problem, he's just the temporary manager of a honking mess.

  2. Anonymous12:59 PM

    Wireless carriers are asked to keep records of what numbers connected to what number. Just that. If and when a terrorist or such comes to the attention of law enforcement, a court can then allow law enforcement access to what number connected to what number. Just that.

    I would imagine that is what was used once they identified the bombers in Boston. The police were quickly at the homes of their friends house in New Bedford, the college one on them attended, their home in Cambridge, the gym, the mosque, etc.

    If their had been others involved, we would have been close on their trail. Can we afford to give this up??

    1. Anonymous1:56 PM

      Right! So, have we so soon forgotten all the loud cries, from all quarters, of "Why didn't they know?! Why didn't they 'connect the dots'?! Who was asleep at the wheel?! " following the various bombings or attempts in the past few decades or so?

  3. I'm not a bit surprised. Once government expands you can't put the genie back into the bottle National Security greatly expanded after 9/11. While I don't necessarily like it, I don't get the security briefings they do. I just try to live my life.

    1. Read more SF, you'll be briefed. Or google “Awfulday," per David Brin.

  4. Anonymous1:17 PM

    That's what the plan was all alone. Follow Snowden's money.

    1. Anonymous5:10 PM

      Swear to uphold the Constitution, not keep everyone "safe" like they are in a prison.

      I think the WDC people are being spied on and manipulated with our esteemed the military-industrial-congressional complex.

      Please note that for a long time, the areas around WDC, NYC and Silicon Valley were doing well financially during Depression 2.0. Most likely because your tax dollars were at work, shoveling money to Si Valley companies and defense contractors and our ZombieBanks which we bailed out with Taxpayer money for GS, JPM, WFC and MLBofA. But it's ok if Congress and the Congressional aides do some insider trading, just not Martha Stewart.

      If you want to follow the money, follow some of that.

    2. Anonymous5:12 PM


      And think back on the Occupy Wall Street people getting pepper-sprayed in the face. Our Tax Dollars At Work, also, too.

  5. Anonymous1:35 PM

    The private sector tracks a lot more data than the NSA. Facebook, Google, retailers. The only difference is that they use this data for profit.

  6. Well, I'm not a "liberal group" but I am a liberal woman and I still support Obama fully.

    1. Me too. I get very tired of the professional whiners who don't really offer any solutions...just complaints.

    2. DetroitSam8:18 PM

      phoebes in santa fe @1:38 pm: I also support the President.

      Can't wait for all of the people whining because the NSA collects phone numbers and who are calling Snowden a hero to react when we find out that our assets in foreign countries have been murdered. Because of Snowden and his commrad in crime, Greenwald.

      For the five thousandth and fifty times, the NSA is not listening to your phone calls or reading your e-mails.

  7. Anonymous1:42 PM

    Under O's Insider Threat program federal employees are encouraged to inform on their fellow employees if they are seen to be visiting Salon.com or the The Onion.


    What if they're on The Immoral Minority?

  8. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Joe Klein attacking Greenwald for being disingenuous? Bwahahaha!


  9. Anonymous1:48 PM

    While my preference would have been for President Obama to renounce early in his first term the surveillance state and the war powers legislated by the US Congress in President GW Bush's first term, I see no reason to distance myself from him because he didn't. I don't think the ACLU or Amnesty International have ever been President Obama fans, so I question whether they are distancing themselves now, as stated in this blog post. My view is that you look at the whole man and make your decision, knowing that you can't just vote for the parts of him of which you personally approve.

    1. Anonymous7:39 PM

      Although I have been critical of the Patriot Act since its inception, I also understand that President Obama is searching for a very delicate balance between individual privacy and national security.

      If he had dismantled these programs and another major terrorist attack had taken place, he would be blamed for aiding the terrorists.

      We live in a very dangerous world and there is a lot of information that the POTUS has that we do not.

  10. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Not me. I'm sticking with him even though he has appointed Monsanto execs to the USDA. He's better than Congress and I believe him to be a sincere family man. We don't have much choice do we?

  11. angela2:02 PM

    I believe Americans are some of the most naive people on the face of this earth. Are we so devoid of brain cells that we didn't know that this was going on? I swear, cameras on streets, cell phones that can be traced, televisions that can be controled from unseen computers. Americans have been spied upon since George Washington.

    I support the ACLU and the Human Rights campaign but fuck them on this 'cause they are just doing what they do. What world are people living in? If I hear one more person going shit fucking crazy over systems that have been in place forever, I 'll fucking spin. Does anyone think you'd be able to get on an airplane in this country without trends in phone data looked at? Are they kidding me that they think Snowden is some kind of victim? He's a fucking spy. Call him what he is. He took a job to spy and expose information. And people are naive if they don't think big bucks are behind this. Then he took it to the Russians and Chinese. The Russians who are killing gays and putting pop stars in prison over disrespecting religion. And the Chinese---need we go there on their human rights violations?

    So you think it sucks that our government mines data and phone numbers---sit next to me---but then stay seated beside me on the reality based bus.

    Whistle blower, spy, hero, stupid pawn or well paid dupe--who cares what Snowden is? Barack Obama has done nothing ALL the rest of our presidents haven't done. And I'm really sick of the liberals getting their panties in a twist 'cause they want to think he's Ghandhi. He isn't---he kills people with drones-which sucks. And republicans getting breathless because they act like he's the first president to do this. And Libertarians just thinking we should just let shit happen and tell everyone everyhing--cause whats the harm in that?

    And lets face it---this country has so many domestic crazies wanting to arm themselves if they didn't data mine, my black ass probably couldn't walk safely anywhere in the midwest. And after the voting rights debacle I probably will have to pay a poll tax to vote in my state now.

    The ACLU and human rights activists should be busy as hell trying to bring lawsuits against all the republicans destroying womens reproductive rights and the voting rights in this country. I hope Snowden lives a long, long life. I have a feeling he doesn't really know what he's in for.

    1. Anonymous3:54 PM

      I support the Southern Poverty Law Center rather than the ACLU. It's focused on hate groups and actually does a lot of good. Here in Michigan, the state ACLU lost my support about two years ago when they came to the aid of the crazy (can't recall his name) Florida preacher who arrived in Dearborn on Good Friday afternoon to sow his hatred in front of the large mosque as members were arriving for services. He had notified the media, came armed and determined to cause mayhem. Fortunately the good people of Dearborn thought differently and the preacher was removed from the area. The mosque is located on a main street with lots of churches, all of which were busy on Good Friday. This preacher was there to deprive American citizens of their right to worship without fear, a right that trumps his right to travel around the country, armed, to cause riots. I suspect that, among other things, he committed quite a few RICO violations.

    2. Anonymous7:44 PM


      It's an ugly world out there and I don't envy anyone at the highest levels of government who must choose the best among a list of bad options.

      We've learned nothing new that we shouldn't have already known years ago.

    3. DetroitSam8:20 PM

      "I believe Americans are some of the most naive people on the face of this earth".

      Also, too, some of the most poorly informed people in the whole world. People i third world countries are better informed that many Americans. They make it a point to be.

  12. Anonymous2:14 PM

    This is not to say, that the administration should not go after Snowy
    thretoning China and Russia might get you published in the funny pages
    'whatever should not happen to me (spying) should not happen to others (administrations of other countries)'
    everybody spies on everybody and everybody knows or suspects it
    what's the big deal in US vs, Snowy?

  13. Anonymous2:31 PM

    I get tired of the media saying that liberals are not supporting Obama anymore for this or for that. They've been saying that since he was elected and I don't believe it's true.

    1. Anonymous3:55 PM

      This old liberal Democrat fully supports President Obama.

    2. Anonymous5:17 PM

      Me too!

    3. Anonymous6:53 AM

      lol. obama supporters are the most hypcritical people on this planet. tell us again why you hate bush, it's very entertaining. morons. all of you

  14. Well, you know what I say: Audit 'Em!

  15. Maple3:24 PM

    It's not surprising about Germany. Remember that before the wall came down, East Germans had to deal with the Staasi --couldn't trust anyone, even members of their own family. And before that, Germany had all the Nazi spies and their sympathizers. They are truly fearful of any of that ever happening again.

    1. Anonymous9:46 PM

      People are misreading the quote from the German publication. It just says (like all countries) that foreign governments shouldn't get data on its resident. It doesn't say that Germany doesn't have a secretive intelligence agency. And it doesn't say that the German government isn't monitor some (or all) of its residents.

  16. Anonymous3:45 PM

    Glad the liberals are finally catching on to Obama
    Worst president in American history.

    1. DetroitSam8:21 PM

      Someone has a comprehension problem. Home schooled?

    2. Anonymous8:41 PM

      STFU, you right winger. He still has plenty of supporters. I for one.

  17. Anonymous3:51 PM

    What concerns me are two points:

    Life in the USA is always a balance between privacy/freedom and security. It is a balance that should be open to public discussion. Right now, we don't know what is actually being done and its illegal to find out. How can we, the people, have any meaningful discussion?

    Human nature being as it is, you can't tell me that nobody is going to use that mountain of data for "illegal" purposes. We are being told that the government is gathering all this data just in case they need it in a terrorist attack. We are not to worry because it can only be used with special court permission. I don't believe it!

    Elizabeth 44

    1. Anonymous7:49 PM

      There is a point where we need to elect the best, most honest and moral leaders we can and then trust them to make the right decisions.

      The President, the military, and Congress know more about the state of the world than we will ever know (and frankly, I'd rather sleep at night than know that information!). If we can't trust them to a great extent to protest that balance, we need to choose our leaders more carefully.

  18. Anonymous6:34 PM

    When I voted( 2 times) for President Obama I understood one basic thing, he is not a progressive. He is a moderate , middle of the road candidate. Was he the best pick each tie, yes he was. But anyone thinking he was anything else didn't have their eyes open. Pres Bill Clinton was more left leaning than Pres Obama. Unfortunately we all had the choice of rightwing extremist, or those controlled by the RW extremists or a moderate at heart.

  19. DetroitSam8:11 PM

    Perhaps the German government has forgotten Curve Ball.

  20. Anonymous9:13 PM


  21. Anonymous10:00 PM

    For the life of me, I wish Martin Luther King were still alive. President Obama could sure use his council now.

  22. Anonymous10:17 PM

    My head is going to explode, so help me.

    Barack Obama is the Jackie Robinson of Presidents. The s__t he has to take every single day would be too much for any one of us to take in a year. I don't know how he can manage to remain so cool under the constant fire of hatred and mockery from the right. His steady aplomb, however, will one day win out.

  23. Anonymous9:56 AM

    The curtain has been pulled away and The Great W..oops I mean O has been revealed...Obama duped all you dumbass liberals


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