This president is stuffing the Snowden affair like a Christmas goose. Have to hand it to Edward Lightfingers, whatever else you can say, he has enabled one hell of a conversation. He has also exposed the insufferable goulash of doubletalk that appears to be about the only thing there is to this president. Doing it in passing. Eh, Conor?
Conor makes very good points, although I have a few disagreements with him. Of course. From Conor:
Another misleading locution. America may not be “interested” in spying on ordinary people, but it is doing so daily. It is spying on millions of ordinary people. What those people worry about is that they’re being spied on, not whether the spying party is interested in them particularly or only incidentally.
Having some pretty clear understanding of how this works, just collecting terabytes of data is not spying on anybody. Spying is when you use that collected data and interpret it. You may think that’s a distinction without a difference – but it ain’t. If recording terabytes of email and phone data is spying on all those people, then all I have to do to study for a class is buy the book and put it on the shelf. No need to read it. All I have to do is get someone to record the lectures. But I don’t have to listen to them.
The other bone I pick with Conor is:
the whole concept of a secret court is misguided, and it is astonishing that Obama, or anyone aside from partisan Republicans, would trust a court composed entirely of one man’s appointees.
I take it that Conor has never been to family court? Conor has never been to juvenile court? Conor has never tried to get access to a court ordered psychiatric report? Courts seal records and engage in secret proceedings all the time. to violate those orders is to be in contempt of court. So the secret FISA court is not much different. The question is whether due process can occur there. (Yes, I have made this point before.)
And then there is the other side of this coin. Conor is implying that a FISA court could function if it wasn’t secret. And yet he does acknowledge, later in the article that there are legitimate reasons for secrecy sometimes. (I am damn sure Conor practices secrecy in his own life.) Make up your mind Conor. You can’t have it both ways.
Aside from that? I’m with him. With Al Qaeda and everyone else now informed, what is the purpose of lying to and misleading the public? That campaign is aimed at American citizens. And that horseshit from Obama about being the first president to implement whistleblower protections is outrageous. Conor is right. Mr. Obama hasn’t done jack shit except nail the hides of whistleblowers to a wall and be “constructively disengaged”. What that means is that when he doesn’t nail hides to the wall, he leaves the drowning to save themselves. What a #@%&! @$$#@!#.
At the end, Conor takes the president to task for evolving his position to a complete reversal. My man, based on what I have seen (and a certain lobbyist who warned me before the first election – in no uncertain terms) he hasn’t changed since he was in the senate. That guy never gave a damn about those positions – he was grandstanding when it was safe to do it. It was safe to take those causes up because he knew fucking well they would never become law. Yes, Virginia, politicians do that. They have all kinds of ways to lie.
So we have some common ground, Conor me lad. You mostly nailed it. But where you didn’t nail it, there’s some pretty big gaps.