Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Barack Dubya Obama

Same sh*t, different piles.

Okay, so remember how during Obama's campaign he got people like me to vote for him because he criticized George W. Bush's domestic spying surveillance program and said he'd end it?

Well, I do. That's a huge reason I voted for him. I was tired of Bush's trampling over our Constitution and treating us as terrorism suspects.

Remember when Obama's campaign website said that "The Problem" is described in part as the Bush administration having "invoked a legal tool known as the 'state secrets' privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court"?

I do.

In February, President Obama's Justice Department quietly argued in a San Francisco court that it was maintaining the same position as President Bush's Justice Department on a case involving detainees trying to sue a private company for its role in their (allegedly) extraordinary renditions.

This time the issue was the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program, and whether courts would be able to assess its constitutionality in a case called Jewel v. NSA, where the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is challenging the NSA surveillance by suing on behalf of AT&T customers whose records may or may not have been caught up in the NSA "dragnet."
Last Friday, while President Obama traversed throughout Europe, his Justice Department sought to have Jewel v. NSA dismissed because "the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction with respect to plaintiffs’ statutory claims against the United States because Congress has not waived sovereign immunity" and "because information necessary to litigate plaintiffs’ claims is properly subject to and excluded from use in this case by the state secrets privilege and related statutory privileges."

Argued the Justice Department: Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair "has once again demonstrated that the disclosure of the information implicated by this case, which concerns how the United States seeks to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security."

"President Obama promised the American people a new era of transparency, accountability, and respect for civil liberties," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "But with the Obama Justice Department continuing the Bush administration's cover-up of the National Security Agency's dragnet surveillance of millions of Americans, and insisting that the much-publicized warrantless wiretapping program is still a 'secret' that cannot be reviewed by the courts, it feels like deja vu all over again."

Exactly. Deja vu. French for WTF Obama? You are alienating those who voted for you. You know, the ones tired of Bush and his policies. But you are continuing them? Wow.

"beyond even the outrageously broad 'state secrets' privilege invented by the Bush administration and now embraced fully by the Obama administration, the Obama DOJ has now invented a brand new claim of government immunity, one which literally asserts that the U.S. Government is free to intercept all of your communications (calls, emails and the like) and -- even if what they're doing is blatantly illegal and they know it's illegal -- you are barred from suing them unless they 'willfully disclose' to the public what they have learned...

"Everything for which Bush critics excoriated the Bush DOJ -- using an absurdly broad rendition of 'state secrets' to block entire lawsuits from proceeding even where they allege radical lawbreaking by the President and inventing new claims of absolute legal immunity -- are now things the Obama DOJ has left no doubt it intends to embrace itself..."

Obama, you are going to lose your base. People like me. The majority of Americans voted for you because we opposed these policies. Do you think we'll vote for you again if you continue them?

Get it together, man.




Time said...

So we have two diagonally opposed political ideologies seeking to defend and maintain a policy that is disliked by the majority of the American people.

When Bush was in office (and his administration the author of these policies) the lefties claimed he was an evil, Hitler like dictator for instituting such draconian laws.

Now that Obama is in office (and supporting the same laws) is he an evil, Hitler like dictator?

These privacy breaking laws, should be rescinded.

Two such different leaders must see a common interest for the security of the United States, to both support such unpopular laws, or both leaders are just trying to grab as much power as possible irregardless of the people's feelings or the Constitution of the United States.

In our History, ideas that the people disliked, turned out to be good ideas. Ideas that people liked, turned out to be a disaster.
And in the name of war and security, all sorts of Constitutional laws have been broken.

James Wolfer said...

Not always, Time. Sometimes ideas that people liked were good ideas, and visa versa.

And our Constitution shouldn't be revoked because of a "war." Nor for security.

In fact, when our way of life is threatened, we should hold that much harder onto our Constitutional Ideals, not give them up.

Time said...

Just saying that's what has happened, not that I agree with it, I don't. Nor did I agree with people calling Bush Hitler just because he supported an unpopular law. Nor is it unheard of that our Constitution has been neglected during trying times for the country.

Brian Krenz said...

This is really disturbing. I can't make sense of it - Obama was so outspoken in his criticisms of Bush for the exact same things. He doesn't seem like the type to just do a 180 for no reason, but I don't have the slightest clue what that reason might be.

I don't imagine he wants power for the sake of power. Maybe he really believes it's necessary for our protection - a mistake, and odd for a Constitutional scholar.

Patrick M said...

I could say "I could have told you this would happen," but that would just be a little too snarky.

I have two schools of thought (as I often do). First, this is a little comfort that Obama is not being restrained by his political promises and that his foreign policy began shifting the moment he got access to the really classified stuff. It means he might be able to grow as a leader, and something in the Bush policy made sense to him once he was in the big chair.

However, there's also the power that comes with being the POTUS. The ability to wiretap gives the president power. To what end Obama will use it, I don't know. I wasn't particularly worried about the Bush administration as I understood the policy. I don't know about Obama yet.

Pamela D. Hart said...

Maybe Obama is following Bush on this matter because he realizes how dangerous things really are now that he's president and is aware of ALL information. Maybe Bush wasn't the bad, evil, power hungry monster so many accused him of being and truly only had the safety of the American people at heart. That's a really tough job and he did it to the best of his ability and now Obama is trying to do it to the best of his ability.

James Wolfer said...

Maybe. But good intentions don't excuse criminal actions or the overturning of our constitution.

Warrantless searches and seizures are illegal. Doesn't matter who does it.

As Ben Franklin said, "those who give up essential freedom for safety deserve neither..."