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View Diary: Breaking: Chief Justice John Roberts, Not the Obama admin is the Power Over NSA Surveillance (562 comments)

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  •  Right, he has the power to change what the NSA (17+ / 0-)

    does outright - that's the simplistic argument we hear time and again from black/white position-takers.

    It's ridiculous on the face of it, considering that the FISA court structure is based on a decades-old configuration and has more dependencies than his decision point.

    We could easily say that he should have changed a whole host of shite that still exists in this corrupted and corruptable government structure, which are also unlikely to happen without the agreement of others beyond his pen-stroke, e.g., Gitmo.  But, of course, if it's not changed, he's absolutely derelict in duty.

    Obama is a robot when it comes to process - that is what he sought to change, that he would consider things from what he felt would be objective positions.  Not that he would actually effect huge change in the results.  Using that Republican argument on this board is truly telling and dumbs down your response greatly, IMHO.

    I have significant gripes with how slow Obama's office has been to update their thinking and get beyond the moderate and drip-drip-drip gradualism approach when his larger plays have been tamped down by the extremists around them that have setup things are they are.  He's helped appoint better Supremes and puts out good messages, is winding wars down, etc. but still takes his time in doing all of the more positive things, while allowing the areas which we consider shite to go forward because he has too many people to piss off who won't agree in D.C. or other agencies - this is how he has shown he works with established processes, time and again (e.g., using NCLB as a basis of education policy, rather than scrapping it and starting fresh).  He hates pissing off his political and agency counterparts unless he knows that he can get a win, I feel.  The genpop has to suffer along while he takes his time figuring things out, if he ever gets there.

    But, to leap out and take that personality and manner of work into not meeting what you feel should have been his top priority - which he never saw, considering he likely bought in to how things worked from his own limitations mentioned above - assumes that he's working against you.  That's an irrational position and means nothing when talking about the policy.  Instead, it's all about the personality and not the issue at that point and I find that little more than noise if you aren't going to look objectively at what got us here and how to best go about influencing the need to rolling back those decades of corruption (none of which was a surprise, btw - we've seen reports pop up of massive data collection and NSA involvement for decades).

    So, when I talk about demonizing, I talk about black/white nonsense the loses the point and turns this into an for/against (though, mostly against in terms of volume) schoolyard match that holds much less substance than the issues at play.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:53:27 AM PDT

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    •  Hate to break it to ya... (8+ / 0-)

      But the NSA and FISA are separate entities.

      NSA falls under the Executive Branch.

      Obama is the Chief Executive.

      Just because FISA is a rubber stamp doesn't prevent Obama from making changes at the NSA.

      The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

      by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:33:28 AM PDT

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      •  Perhaps you didn't read my prior two posts, (4+ / 0-)

        which seems common from the simplistic-solution folks in these putrid arguments, unfortunately.

        I'm not sure Obama actually sees a significant problem, considering that he habitually came out defending an agency position in which he was presumably informed.

        That is, he's heard of what they do and came out defending the status quo - he does that in almost every case I've seen in his political history that I checked into during his first Presidential run, i.e., even since his time in Chicago.  He has also shown a historical willingness to change alignment, but only after very deliberate analysis, over a long period of time, from significant counter-information - we've all seen this during his Presidency, no need to look back too far on that aspect of his process.

        Plus, let's add in that the NSA is a black box organization and telling them to do some things differently will inherently have them throwing out examples of how their information has helped X number of other agencies, and those same agencies will push back on the Executive with the same arguments: CIA, FBI, law enforcement, even the DoD - all those areas will complain that they want and already rely upon this "crucial" data from the NSA.  As if that matters, but we're talking a out people working out of context of the Constitution and not caring, by this point.

        Until people push back significantly and force Obama to sloooooowly take a more critical view of how far FISA has fallen and given the Constitution away to the government through NSA as its gateway, he will figure that the noise doesn't matter as much as what internal agencies are telling him about national security and so forth.  This is one of his most severe deficiencies as an Executive, IMHO.

        I'll bet that he's not going to see a simple solution to offer the NSA, such as "stop collecting Z data" at this time.  Therefore, he's not going to have a solution which you prescribe.  It's not how he works, from any view of his processes that I've seen - if the larger picture can't be simply resolved, he takes forever.  He always wants people on all sides to like him and feel satisfied with the final result.  It's stupid.

        However, I would not be surprised if he has some of his own people working with those same agencies to figure out what's meaningful and what's overreach to determine where some things can be pared back.  I'd give that reasonable odds of existing, but would give much lower odds of seeing the data collection activities and associated, interdependent arms already working with that data flow actually being curtailed in this Administration.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:29:14 AM PDT

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        •  Bottom line: (4+ / 0-)

          Obama is the Chief Executive.

          And, as for "forcing" Obama - or any Dem Leader for that matter - how do you propose to do that?

          1 - Obama isn't up for re-election.  Good luck "forcing him".

          2 - Obama's re-election demonstrated conclusively that Dem officials will not be held accountable for their pro-1%, pro-Empire, pro-Security State policies.

          And - notwithstanding all of the points you raised, there is one key fact that stands on its own:

          Obama is the Chief Executive.

          It doesn't matter how much bitching and moaning departments under Obama engage in - He is their boss.  

          And the accountability rests with Obama, not underlings, not agency heads - Obama.

          The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

          by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:49:56 AM PDT

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          •  We do not have a system of government in which (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wader, sunbro, freakofsociety

            one person or any group of people holds unchecked power, including the president.

            Obama is not a king. Both the Supreme court and the Congress have checking powers over him.

            "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

            by zenox on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:43:03 AM PDT

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            •  Question: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dallasdoc

              So Obama has no control over Executive department agencies?

              Just a passive observer, blown this way & that by the whims of Congress & the Courts?

              Isn't it amazing how powerless Obama is?  Why, I'm shocked the man can even give a speech without Congressional approval.

              Of course - Powerlessness You Can Believe In - yet another BS meme / excuse to try and absolve Obama of any blame.  

              The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

              by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:56:26 PM PDT

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          •  Sorry, I just don't think you care about (4+ / 0-)

            reality of how government works (or, doesn't) in this particular case and want a simple solution.

            That would be great if possible, but arguing for something that's unlikely doesn't help to discuss the issue.  Find ways to influence the groups involved that I mentioned - the President and his office, Congressional representative and our peers - and we may eventually begin to see the roots of movement, here.

            There's too much embedding of processes, careers and money for a single act or person to turn the ship around, by this point in time.

            We got the President on our side for marriage equality, I don't see why a Constitutional issue that can cross into even Teabagger concerns is beyond our ability to have an impact on via speaking out and PR.

            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

            by wader on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:53:52 AM PDT

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    •  No (6+ / 0-)

      The FISC cannot act on its own. Read the rules of procedure for it. It only takes up applications that the government makes. It can't, for example, take an application from the government that requests surveillance on one person and order the government to spy on millions. It simply can't.

      If the Obama Administration didn't want certain types of surveillance going on - including drag net collections on nearly all Americans - the President could tell the head of the DNI to tell the rest of the agencies to stop doing whatever the President doesn't want done. Stop renewing specific orders. Stop requesting certain types of orders. And so on.

      Further, the Patriot Act does not compel the President or any Executive agencies to collect any specific intelligence on anyone let alone everyone. It only authorizes collection of intelligence - the Executive branch can do so if it wants to, but it doesn't have to if it doesn't want to.

      The President has choices. We know he has chosen to continue along with the Bush Administration activities of sweeping up everything if not even more expansive domestic spying. He could have chosen differently but didn't. So he owns this.

      •  Offer a recommendation on how to put a stop (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sunbro, freakofsociety

        to the wheels that's realistic in the current political climate - between the involved agencies, that is.

        Not so easy, especially given Obama's penchant for being a middleman, a moderate, everyone has to be satisfied with the resulting decision to change anything.

        He owns this as a legacy process - there's no indication that his hand is on the wheel so much as he kept the auto-pilot on.

        I see President Obama as a habitual stooge on this issue at the moment, not so much a leader.  He could help to lead some of it backwards after going through internal studies on the costs/benefits of this data collection activity, but that would surprise me.  That is, when was the last time he ever made significant changes across agencies that weren't relatively painless and had anything more than minor pushback?  Maybe I'm ill-informed, but I will say that was never.

        So, we should petition him and make loud noises to Congress and peer members of the electorate, but he won't see a need to change within the bubble that the agencies and he exist, where the information already can't be cut off without curtailing significant advances in countering terrorism and other blatantly phony arguments that are bought within D.C. offices as gospel without a wider view of how this impacts real people.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:41:07 AM PDT

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      •  He doesn't own it solely. (0+ / 0-)

        The point is that it's not just Obama. The problem would exist even if he weren't president.

        "Disappointment is anger for wimps," -Dr. Gregory House

        by freakofsociety on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:38:36 PM PDT

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