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Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...

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But you can't make a fully informed vote that is representative of your constituents if you don't have all of the information.  That sort of strips away any illusion of a representative government.
-wraith808 (June 25, 2013, 12:55 PM)
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  Which brings up a whole nuther set of problems.  Since everyone and their mother can attach their own bills (Pork Barrel) onto the bill being voted on, by the time it's all done and over with the legislation being voted on can be upwards of 5000 pages.  Now figure in how many bills are being voted on in one day with all their attachments.  There's no way one congressman can read just one of those 5000 page packages in a day, so he/she just reads the original bill and not even attempt to read all the riders attached.  This is, of course, how bridges to nowhere get built.  Just not too long ago one of the Republican congressmen refused to even vote on some legislation because of all the attachments, and made it public.  Of course that story lasted about a week before the next "big" thing came up.  As long as everyone is allowed to attach riders to a bill, Pork Barrel spending will NEVER END, and screwed up legislation will get passed.

And now for an enlightening non-US perspective from Jakob Augstein over at Germany's Der Speigel titled:  Obama's Soft Totalitarianism: Europe Must Protect Itself from America.

Read this excellent well reasoned article in its entity here.

A Monitored Human Being Is Not a Free One

What, exactly, is the purpose of the National Security Agency? Security, as its name might suggest? No matter in what system or to what purpose: A monitored human being is not a free human being. And every state that systematically contravenes human rights, even in the alleged service of security, is acting criminally.

Those who believed that drone attacks in Pakistan or the camp at Guantanamo were merely regrettable events at the end of the world should stop to reflect. Those who still believed that the torture at Abu Ghraib or that the waterboarding in CIA prisons had nothing to do with them, are now changing their views. Those who thought that we are on the good side and that it is others who are stomping all over human rights are now opening their eyes. A regime is ruling in the United States today that acts in totalitarian ways when it comes to its claim to total control. Soft totalitarianism is still totalitarianism.

We're currently in the midst of a European crisis. But this unexpected flare-up of American imperialism serves as a reminder of the necessity for Europe. Does anyone seriously believe that Obama will ensure the chancellor and her interior minister that the American authorities will respect the rights of German citizens in the future? Only Europe can break the American fantasy of omnipotence...
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All the foregoing conversation about Pres. Obama's changing tune, and attributing that to (implicitly) hidden powers from the military-industrial complex doesn't explain *all* of the changes of tune. Sure, you can get mileage on the secrecy/warring/detention front, but what of the others.

We were promised an end to the federal govt's prosecution of marijuana growers, where allowed by state law. But in fact, Pres. Obama has stepped up enforcement operations.

We were promised better transparency. For example, all bills would be posted to the Internet for 72 hours before the Pres. would sign anything. That got thrown out on day #1, literally. For another example, the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than *any* administration *ever* in history.

Lobbyists weren't going to have any place near the White House, yet the Obama administration contains more than we'd ever seen in the past.

These are not issues that powerful elites in the area of our defense and security apparatus should have more than a peripheral opinion about. I don't buy that the President's hand was forced in these cases (particularly the ones where the promises were broken *immediately*). Therefore, I can't buy your explanation for the cause of the changing tune.

These are not issues that powerful elites in the area of our defense and security apparatus should have more than a peripheral opinion about. I don't buy that the President's hand was forced in these cases (particularly the ones where the promises were broken *immediately*).
-CWuestefeld (June 26, 2013, 01:08 PM)
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We don't have (and never will) the full story on anything that happens behind the curtains, so we don't know how peripheral the interests actually are.  When people get power, they tend to want more, not let people off the chain.  The only other explanation is that he is a complete sociopath, because the indications in body language and speech were that he really did believe and want this.  And I don't think it's that simple either.  And we have to consider- Day One for us as it relates to him was not Day One for him.  There's a lot of preparation and briefing that goes into the transfer before inaugural day.  So what is considered campaign promise broken on Day One isn't really so.


Anti-marijuana enforcement efforts justify surveillance systems, "enhanced" border security, additional police powers and expenditures, create industries to support the same, and instill a sense of anxiety in the public that can be exploited when the time is right. (Danger Will Robinson!!!!)

Transparency? Our security services are diametrically opposed to transparency in any way shape or form. They have a great deal of influence over the actions of politicians. And our military hates (with some justification on the field - less so on appropriations) to be second guessed by politicians. And anything said that touches on the operations of the military or law enforcement community is actively resented by them. They're known to drag  their feet and publicly blame our politicians when they don't get their way.

Lobbyists? The ones representing the defense industry easily make up more than half their number.

So no...I think once in office, any prez gets a come to Jesu session with some of the big boys (possibly in his own party - not that there's any real difference between them) who carefully explain what's at stake and how the game in Washington works.

They wouldn't need  to threaten or do anything so obvious. They just need to let it be known that he's there for only four years unless he plays ball. And if he hopes to accomplish anything he'll be remembered for in that relatively brief time frame (and not be made to look like a complete incompetent fool) there are a few unwritten rules and caveats he'll need to be aware of - and respect.

The entrenched power structure in the United States government is bigger than any individual. Even the President.

That's the real problem with allowing a huge bureaucracy to work hand in glove with powerful business and military/security interests. That alliance of convenience becomes a second very real government in its own right.


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