Quotes of the day

posted at 8:11 pm on January 17, 2014 by Allahpundit

In overhauling the nation’s spy programs, President Obama vowed on Friday that he “will end” the bulk telephone data program that has caused so much consternation — “as it currently exists.”

The caveat is important. Although Mr. Obama imposed some new conditions on the program, the National Security Agency, for the time being at least, will continue to maintain and tap into its vast catalog of telephone data of tens of millions of Americans until someone can think of another way to do the same thing…

[F]or a president who came to office promising to end what he considered the excesses of the new security state, Mr. Obama’s speech on Friday was as much about the larger question of faith. Rather than throw out the programs at issue, he hoped to convince the public that they are being run appropriately.

***

After Friday, keep in mind how the status quo has, or has not, been altered:

1) The phone metadata still exists.

2) It will be kept, at least in the short-term, by the government until Congress figures out what to do with it. (And don’t think the telecom lobby won’t play a role in that.)

3) It will be searched.

4) Searches will be approved by a court with a record of being friendly to the government, one without a new privacy advocate.

5) National security letters can still be issued by the FBI without a court order.

6) Much of this activity will remain secret.

***

As a 2008 candidate, Barack Obama regularly castigated then-President George W. Bush for what he called excessive surveillance programs. Joe Biden, now Obama’s vice president, criticized former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s GOP presidential platform at the time as little more than “a noun, a verb and 9/11.”

Yet Sept. 11 played a starring role in Obama’s justification of the signals intelligence program during his Friday speech about National Security Agency reforms. The president invoked Sept. 11 eight times Friday, saying the attacks on New York and the Pentagon justify and demand maintaining a robust surveillance apparatus to keep the nation and its allies safe.

It’s the latest in Obama’s evolution from a critic of those who used Sept. 11 to justify national security procedures to a leader who uses the attacks to defend his administration’s surveillance policies.

***

“We heard a lot of lies in this speech by Obama,” Assange said. “I think it’s embarrassing for a head of state to go on like that for 45 minutes and say almost nothing.”…

Assange said the speech wouldn’t have happened without the leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who disclosed the details of these programs. Obama was “dragged, kicking and screaming” to the address, Assange said.

“Although those national whistle blowers have forced this debate, this president has been dragged, kicking and screaming to today’s address. He is being very reluctant to make any concrete reforms,” he said. “Unfortunately today we also see very few concrete reforms.”

Obama is just pushing the debate further down the road, Assange said, by delegating some of these decisions to a divided Congress and panels of lawyers.

***

“What I think I heard is that if you like your privacy, you can keep it,” Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky, said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “But in the meantime, we’re going to keep collecting your phone records, your email, your text messages and, likely, your credit card information.”…

“He mentioned Paul Revere. But Paul Revere was warning us about the British coming,” Paul said. “He wasn’t warning us that the Americans are coming.”

Later in the interview, Paul said he’s opposed to all massive data collection, by both the federal government and the private sector. Beyond civil liberty concerns, Paul said such massive surveillance just isn’t practical.

“Who are we going to hire, [Edward] Snowden’s contractor to hold all the information?” Paul said, laughing at his own joke.

***

If I understand Obama’s new policy on Section 215, he is going to have the Executive Branch ask the judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to begin to limit when the Executive can query the Section 215 database. That is, he will ask the judiciary to take on a new power to limit the Executive, so that the Executive can only query the database when the executive gets a court order signed by the FISC. In his words, “I have directed the Attorney General to work with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court so that during this transition period, the database can be queried only after a judicial finding, or in a true emergency.”

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but doesn’t Congress need to be involved in this little enterprise? The FISC is a creation of Congress. It has no power to do anything that Congress doesn’t grant it. The Executive and the Judiciary can’t just meet and agree on a new set of rules to govern surveillance programs; those rules are supposed to be generated by Congress. I suppose it shows how far from Congress’s text the FISC has taken the law that the Executive sees the FISC as the primary negotiating partner in creating new rules. The FISC’s interpretation of Section 215 is based on an implausible reading of Congress’s law, so it’s almost like it’s the FISC’s authority at issue, not Congress’s. But I hope we could recognize that FISA is a statute and statutes are enacted by the legislature. If the President and the FISC are having trouble locating this sometimes-elusive branch of government, they’re in the fancy building with the dome near the Supreme Court. Big building, can’t miss it.

***

Obama cannot have it both ways. Either the government’s mass collection of every American’s telephone records is essential to national security, or it isn’t. Either the surveillance activities that ignited public outrage when they were revealed last June amount to nothing more than a “modest encroachment” that “the American people should feel comfortable about,” as Obama claimed at the time, or they pose substantial threats to privacy that need to be mitigated, as he indicated today. Either the reforms he announced will protect Americans from indiscriminate snooping, or they are mere window dressing aimed at “giv[ing] the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected” (as he put it today) without actually protecting those rights.

Obama did manage to utter at least one important truth:

“Given the unique power of the state, it is not enough for leaders to say: trust us, we won’t abuse the data we collect. For history has seen too many examples when that trust has been breached. Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power; it depends upon the law to constrain those in power.”

I believe this, but I do not believe that Obama does.

***

While Snowden initially represented his priorities as being those of American civil liberties and the exposure of spying on American citizens, the leaks quickly turned into tales exposing the legitimate spying activities external to the United States…

Today was a victory for Snowden and his allies, but not the kind of victory civil libertarians should hope for. The restrictions on spying on American citizens announced by the president seem mostly like window dressing, adding a few hoops and a mess of paperwork to slow down the process without achieving fundamental change. But if the restrictions on spying overseas are real, and not just lip service, they represent a marked degradation of the ability of America’s intelligence community to do the job they’ve been tasked with from the beginning.

This should please Snowden and his allies. Their aim, rather than ensuring the protection of civil liberties, has turned into a broader push to restrict the footprint of the intelligence gathering efforts of the United States. It’s now a reality only made possible because of their appeal to a power structure that essentially shares their view of the proper role of America in the world.

***

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Not until they get me, the NSA, not HA :)

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 12:45 AM

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

DasObamaReich on January 18, 2014 at 12:56 AM

Bucket. Exit stage right.

Come back for scene 3 part two where pambi gets out the router.

SparkPlug on January 18, 2014 at 12:56 AM

going2mars on January 18, 2014 at 12:54 AM

Let the morons go under. Aside from the weather they made their own beds.

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 12:56 AM

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 12:45 AM

I’d miss you if you went. If the NSA gets us, we’ll go together and create a nuisance on the train and at the camp. ;)

thatsafactjack on January 18, 2014 at 12:52 AM

Speaking of the NSA…do you think Putin will invite their favorite son to sit beside him at Sochi?

kcewa on January 18, 2014 at 12:56 AM

Axe on January 18, 2014 at 12:52 AM

Goodnight, Axefellow. Sleep well. :)

thatsafactjack on January 18, 2014 at 12:57 AM

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

DasObamaReich on January 18, 2014 at 12:56 AM

Neither Adolf nor obama can assimilate those who’d rather die than be them/theirs.

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 12:58 AM

Speaking of the NSA…do you think Putin will invite their favorite son to sit beside him at Sochi?

kcewa on January 18, 2014 at 12:56 AM

That w/b way cool, but Putin is a very cunning guy. He’ll hide him well. The spies want him dead and many c/b there during the Olympics…not that they aren’t there other times. Putin is smarter than the current lot, I assure you.

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 1:00 AM

kcewa on January 18, 2014 at 12:56 AM

I think it’s a fluid situation. If it serves Putin to trot him out and show him off to spite Obama, or as a means to score more political capital at home or in the middle east or China, sure. If not he’ll remain under wraps. Putin is a calculating man.

thatsafactjack on January 18, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 12:58 AM

What we will not surrender, they cannot take from us.

thatsafactjack on January 18, 2014 at 1:01 AM

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 12:55 AM

lol! Suits me down to the ground.

thatsafactjack on January 18, 2014 at 1:02 AM

Nite Axe

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 1:04 AM

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 12:53 AM

FLOTUS is a nasty and bitter old racist…

OmahaConservative on January 18, 2014 at 1:05 AM

Still Got The Blues – Moore

I bid you all a fond goodnight. It’s been a pleasure, as always.

Live in the moment.

“Keep yourselves where the light is.”

Nova, I’m deeply sorry for your loss. Come back when you can.

thatsafactjack on January 18, 2014 at 1:06 AM

12th man flag in space!!!

kcewa on January 18, 2014 at 1:06 AM

______/\ /\ /\________
\ \/ \/ /
\____________/

Resistance is futile

Lanceman on January 18, 2014 at 1:07 AM

FLOTUS is a nasty and bitter old racist…

OmahaConservative on January 18, 2014 at 1:05 AM

….”Mrs. Grievance”…..

williamg on January 18, 2014 at 1:07 AM

Dammit!

Lanceman on January 18, 2014 at 1:07 AM

NoClue – 12th Man

kcewa on January 18, 2014 at 1:09 AM

Let the morons go under. Aside from the weather they made their own beds.

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 12:56 AM

I lived in so cal for more than 25 years of my life…work…
and I couldn’t agree more with you…even up close they are blockheads..

going2mars on January 18, 2014 at 1:09 AM

Good time for the ranges, all you rebels.

Nite nite

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 1:09 AM

_____/\ /\ /\______
**\ \/ \/ /
***\___________/

Lanceman on January 18, 2014 at 1:09 AM

Ah forget it.

Lanceman on January 18, 2014 at 1:10 AM

sleep well mr schad and ms J too…caio

going2mars on January 18, 2014 at 1:10 AM

williamg on January 18, 2014 at 1:07 AM

She’s also got *way* too much junk in the trunk. The ABC photog showed a really big azz. She shouldn’t wear black stretch tights…

OmahaConservative on January 18, 2014 at 1:11 AM

Nite J. – sleep/work well.

Don’t know about Nova’s loss, but I’m sorry too.

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 1:16 AM

Who did Nova lose? Prayers ascending…

OmahaConservative on January 18, 2014 at 1:24 AM

I’m Annoying……..

williamg on January 18, 2014 at 1:27 AM

http://www.space.com/24330-mars-rover-mystery-rock-appears.html

news from mars….mystery rock appears..!!

going2mars on January 18, 2014 at 1:28 AM

A mi libertad amar amigos en México, por favor registre una versión de alta definición de El Jarabe Tapatio para YouTube con los coloridos bailarines y una similar cuerno centrada en la interpretación de la canción completa. Es uno de mis favoritos.

To my liberty loving friends in Mexico, please record a high definition version of El Jarabe Tapatio for YouTube with the colorful dancers and a similar horn centric rendition of the full song. It’s one of my favorites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE6qVVffM1Q

FloatingRock on January 18, 2014 at 1:35 AM

Wouldn’t that be excellent if America elects Edward Snowden for president in ’16 and there is a resurgence of freedom, liberty and prosperity in America, and it spreads like wildfire throughout Central and South America, if not the world, and our entire hemisphere has a cultural renascence?

¿No sería excelente si América elige Edward Snowden Presidente en 16 y hay un resurgimiento de la libertad, la libertad y la prosperidad en América y se extiende como un reguero de pólvora a lo largo de centro y Sudamérica, si no el mundo, y nuestro hemisferio tiene un renacimiento cultural?

FloatingRock on January 18, 2014 at 1:44 AM

Breaking News……. Barry takes another Selfie

http://tinyurl.com/248ukej

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 18, 2014 at 1:48 AM

Renaissance, not renascence.

Renacimiento, no renacimiento.

*I’m loving Ubunto and the Linux version of Firefox but the dictionary isn’t as good as the US version for Windows.

FloatingRock on January 18, 2014 at 1:52 AM

Romney lost by 2%. They could be looking at 20% this time. Also, that was for a presidential election. They think they’ve got the senate and the house sewed up because of ObamaCare. They think they can use it as the stick to drive us to the polls to recreate 2010. Imagine their shock if they pass amnesty and fund ObamaCare and we stay home.

thatsafactjack on January 18, 2014 at 12:55 AM

What good does it do to make them pay after they’ve destroyed the nation? We need to put an end to them before then. If they press the matter patriots are going to have to do what it takes.

FloatingRock on January 18, 2014 at 2:32 AM

Why has there been little discussion of net neutrality the official blog? We hear about Richard Simmons twerking and what Daily Show comics think about Fox News shows, but it seems like there is so much more that could be reported on the blog.

What are your views on Net Neutrality? Harmful preemptive government regulation?

bluegill on January 18, 2014 at 3:11 AM

Don’t get me wrong, I think the posts on Richard Simmons and the other things are fun.

bluegill on January 18, 2014 at 3:39 AM

What are your views on Net Neutrality? Harmful preemptive government regulation?

bluegill on January 18, 2014 at 3:11 AM

Personally, I don’t think net neutrality is needed. For one, regulation of the internet is not an enumerated federal power. That alone should be enough to put the question to rest. Secondly, there is not a place in America that I am aware of where one does not have a choice of internet providers. Last, but certainly not least, whenever someone cries “fairness” and proceeds to beg for government intervention, you can bet your bottom dollar that there is some kind of ulterior motive at play. Government doesn’t level the playing field because they can’t; they can only give the disadvantaged an advantage.

gryphon202 on January 18, 2014 at 3:49 AM

What good does it do to make them pay after they’ve destroyed the nation? We need to put an end to them before then. If they press the matter patriots are going to have to do what it takes.

FloatingRock on January 18, 2014 at 2:32 AM

Nullification. If the government is illegitimate and their exercise of power unconstitutional, why recognize them at all?

gryphon202 on January 18, 2014 at 3:50 AM

This is all a hoax. No data collection is being ended.

TX-96 on January 18, 2014 at 6:27 AM

Lie after lie after lie…

albill on January 18, 2014 at 6:46 AM

The only change you get from Obama is chump change.

Sherman1864 on January 18, 2014 at 6:54 AM

Hey Bluegill, I could use a writer at my site. Since you would like to see other topics posted, I’ll give you free rein.

zoyclem on January 18, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Daily-mail has the Enquirer story

gh on January 18, 2014 at 7:16 AM

You do not pre-collect data on the innocent.

There is a reason and rationale behind having each and every criminal case start de novo, from scratch, with only what is at hand. If you hold everyone’s data, then everyone is a suspect and the presumption is of guilt, not of innocence. That is a massive power shift in our legal system that is so complex that everyone is violating it every day just to get work done. Because of this everyone is now presumed guilty.

Who should ‘hold’ this data?

No one.

Anywhere.

The burden of proving beyond a shadow of a doubt must be on the State. Otherwise you are trying to prove your innocence, because you are presumed guilty and the prosecutors have the tools to ‘plea bargain’ you into admitting guilt even when you are innocent because the cost of defending yourself will bankrupt you.

That is not the State in the future.

That is the State TODAY.

ajacksonian on January 18, 2014 at 7:53 AM

Happy Saturday, Patriots! And, Trolls.

It is strangely appropriate that this is my 1,400th Blog.

My take: In Celebration of Michelle Obama’s 50th Birthday: “50 Ways to Get Your ‘Mooch’ On”

kingsjester on January 18, 2014 at 7:56 AM

kingsjester on January 18, 2014 at 7:56 AM

Congratulations KJ!!!!!

yoda on January 18, 2014 at 8:22 AM

yoda on January 18, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Thank you, ma’am!

kingsjester on January 18, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Our dear leader says he’s going to stop listening and collecting our phone data just like he said he’s going to close Gitmo. BTW, don’t you think those really big flags make him look small?

Kissmygrits on January 18, 2014 at 9:55 AM

yoda on January 18, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Hey darlin’
Haven’t seen you in ages…

OmahaConservative on January 18, 2014 at 10:14 AM

KJ, always good but on this one you’ve outdone even yourself!!!

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2014 at 1:16 PM

OmahaConservative on January 18, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Hey OC!!!!! Long time no see!!!!! I am in the Land of Oz now and happy to still be living in a Red state. Been busy, but plan to start posting here again.

yoda on January 18, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Hey Bluegill, I could use a writer at my site. Since you would like to see other topics posted, I’ll give you free rein.

zoyclem on January 18, 2014 at 7:00 AM

(:->)

KOOLAID2 on January 18, 2014 at 4:48 PM

My take: In Celebration of Michelle Obama’s 50th Birthday: “50 Ways to Get Your ‘Mooch’ On”

kingsjester on January 18, 2014 at 7:56 AM

…if you’re skimming through the threads…because you didn’t have time to be here!…don’t miss this one!…I’m glad I went back!

KOOLAID2 on January 18, 2014 at 4:54 PM

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