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April 24, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Biden identified the real issue

The latest Obama administration scandal concerning the revelation that the National Security Agency is tapping into private citizens’ phone calls and Internet traffic has set up quite a debate on whether this is an illegal invasion of privacy or necessary for national security. Might I defer to the wisdom of our own Vice President Joe Biden?

To quote then-Sen. Biden, from a June 2006 televised interview on the subject of the then-Bush administration’s intelligence gathering programs:

“If I know every single phone call you made, I’m able to determine every single person you talk to. I can get a pattern about your life that’s very, very intrusive. The real question here is: What do they do with the information they collect that does not have anything to do with al-Qaida? And we’re going to trust the president and vice president of the United States that they’re doing the right thing? Don’t count me in on that.”

For once I think Biden has identified the real issue (trust), and for once I agree with him. Don’t count me in either.

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  1. The right wingers that don't like anything that Pres.Obama says or does, have been this way since before his first inauguration. Some of these same people can't write a comment without attaching Pres.Obama's name to it, and a negative being mentioned. The hate runs deep,along with falsehoods.

  2. "Trustworthy?" That's not a term I'd use for the guy with the Cheshire Cat grin who's so crooked that when he dies they will have to screw into the ground to bury him. How do you know Osama Obama is lying? When his lips are moving as he reads from a tele-prompter. As for those who love what he is doing - they were bitchin' and moanin' over the very same things when Geroge W was at the helm. They are hypocrites and ideologues! Nothing more; nothing less! I approved George W's use of drones and I approve of Osama Obama's use of them. I had no problem with Gitmo then; nor do I now. I was unhappy with the foray into Iraq then and am not happy with the results today. Afghanistan was an absoulte necessity then and remains so today. To talk with the Taliban, as Osama Obama says the US is about to do, is as nuts as it gets. They are not to be trusted in any way, shape or form. Those proposed talks show Osama Obama's true colors and they are Red!

  3. What Mr. Schrader omitted (of course), is that Biden was speaking about the Bush administration wiretapping American citizens without a warrant or Congressional oversight.

    The Bush administration made a unilateral declaration that they had the authority to wiretap any domestic phone at any time, without having to consult the FISA court.

    "Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications. "

    The Bush decision, which Biden took issue with, was expressly outside the oversight of Congress and not authorized by any court.

    The difference, which again Mr. Schrader omitted, is that the current program, which only collects metadata, has been authorized by the FISA court with the knowledge and oversight of Congress.

    "To talk with the Taliban, as Osama Obama says the US is about to do, is as nuts as it gets."

    Funny Fink doesn't mention this:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/reagan-fr...

    Hey, look everybody: there's Saint Reagan and Grover Norquist hosting the Taliban at the White House!

    Funny how Fink and Sarah Palin never mention that Reagan loved to pal around with terrorists...

  4. The comedy written here by both sides(mostly by righties) is funnier than any comedy act in Vegas. The biggest problem we have in this country is the 535 members of Congress. And we can all take blame for that. Afterall we put them there. Lets see, didn't Congress approve of most of the laws that we're railing about currently.

  5. Mr. Schrader,

    You are, of course, right. Those who support you are, of course, right. Those who think you are a right-wing tea-bagger, bigoted homophobic misogynist on your best days are, of course, wrong and moreover, those people are quite frightening.

    Regards,
    Purgatory

  6. Sam Pizzo's observation put me into my "let off steam" mode. Regarding conservatives' beliefs about the President, Sam said, "The hate runs deep, along with falsehoods."

    Put the emphasis on "falsehoods" (exaggerations, generalizations, simplifications, partial/twisted "truths," outright lies, etc.). I don't see that changing while they keep relying on information from Fox News Channel caliber media sources. I've observed that the dishonest sources and seemingly most of their spokesmen can dish it out, but they can't/won't take it. The sarcastic Democratic assaulters screech when they are criticized (e.g., Palin, Limbaugh). If one of them is accused of being untrustworthy, he automatically goes into "offense" and accuses his target of being untrustworthy.

    I do realize that I am preaching to the choir. It seemed appropriate, because yesterday I made a comment about the media being the watchdog of democracy, and then I thought about "the media." My hope springs from sprinkling the word "bipartisan" into MANY of my comments. The members of our two political "teams" still don't trust each other, but together they have been a checks-and-balances force.

  7. Raise your hand if you're surprised Future is wrong again.

    She claims: "The Patroit[sic] Act was re-authorized in 2005 and all the safeguards that the Surpreme Court asked for we're included and implemented."

    Note: no source or facts, just Future's words.

    But hey, what's this?

    http://news.cnet.com/Attorney-general-NS...

    Alberto Gonzales announced in January of 2007 that the Bush administration would return to using the FISA court to request warrants.

    The first FISA request under the change was January 10, 2007... two full years later than 2005, as Future claimed.

    So Future's claim is completely debunked. Biden was completely right to be criticizing the Bush administration's abuse of warrantless wiretapping in 2006... because the Bush administration was still abusing the system.

  8. My first reaction to this letter's ironic quotation about trusting the president and vice president was laughing out loud, especially because I figured that would be Joe Biden's reaction to it, too. Of course, I was already happy, because I believe that we have a president and vice president that we can trust now.

    That leads me to my comment regarding today's guest editorial, "Our security needs secrecy but also accountability." The writer states that if the operating rules of the FISA court are not preventing abuses, members of Congress should correct that. I would add that these members and officials should also evaluate the potential for future abuse by unprincipled "accessors" and correct that.

  9. You are pretty much wrong, Victor_Eismine, in posting (at 4:44 a.m.) "...under Obama the govt has to go to a court for a warrant once in a while because under Bush it was warrantless."

    The FISA Court was established in 1978. At that time requests were presented as "FISA Warrants" similar to the search warrants issued in criminal cases. In its request the Government had to show that the target of the surveillance probably "...is a member of a foreign terrorist organization or foreign power and is engaged in activities that 'may' involve a violation of criminal law."

    The Bush administration had a problem in meeting even THAT low a requirement so it unilaterally decided to by-pass the FISA court altogether - and got caught at it.

    The FISA Court is probably no more than a rubber stamp, however. Since 1978 it has been presented with more than 33,900 requests for a FISA warrant of which it denied a grand total of ELEVEN. Can ANY other agency claim anything remotely resembling that high a success rate (99.997%...) in obtaining warrants???

    More at:

    http://www.seattlepi.com/national/articl...

    http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page...

  10. "Sorry but you are only identifying the public release of the classified program details of the that had been in effect for over a year consistent with the court rules and the Act reauthorization."

    What part of "first FISA authorization took place in 2007" do you not understand, Future? Gonzales announced in January of 2007 that they would NOW (aka, as of January 2007) start requesting warrants from the FISC. The Bush administration continued to wiretap without FISC authorization from 2001 until January of 2007.

    Sorry the facts don't support your argument.

    You declared that the "Patroit Act" was amended in 2005 to include what you claim, "the Supreme Court asked for..." What, specifically, did the "Supreme Court" as for, and when did they as for "it?"

    Of course, your errant recollection of history is truly not "there."

  11. On the issues of trust and invasion of privacy, we are only seeing the breakdown of values that began within families and society over decades and which have gown into a mushroom cloud of destruction.

    Try measuring actions against this list individually, within your family and in our society.

    ACHIEVEMENT
    AMBITION
    APPRECIATION
    BELIEVE
    BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
    CARING
    CHARACTER
    CHARITY
    CIVILITY
    CLASS AND GRACE
    COMMITMENT
    COMMON GROUND
    COMPASSION
    COMPLIMENTS
    COMPROMISE
    CONFIDENCE
    COURAGE
    COURTESY
    DEDICATION
    DETERMINATION
    DEVOTION
    DO YOUR PART
    DRIVE
    EDUCATION
    ENCOURAGEMENT
    EQUALITY
    EXCELLENCE
    FITNESS
    FORESIGHT
    FORGIVENESS
    FRIENDSHIP
    GENEROSITY
    GIVING BACK
    GOOD MANNERS
    GRATITUDE
    GREAT MUSIC
    HARD WORK
    HELPING OTHERS
    HONESTY
    HONOR
    HOPE
    HUMILITY
    INCLUDING OTHERS
    INGENUITY
    INNOVATION
    INSPIRATION
    INTEGRITY
    JUSTICE
    KINDNESS
    LAUGHTER
    LEADERSHIP
    LEARNING
    LISTENING
    LITERACY
    LIVE LIFE
    LIVE YOUR DREAMS
    LOVE
    LOYALTY
    MAKING A DIFFERENCE
    MENTORING
    MOTIVATION
    OPPORTUNITY
    OPTIMISM
    OVERCOMING
    PASSION
    PATIENCE
    PEACE
    PERSEVERANCE
    PERSISTENCE
    PRACTICE
    PREPARATION
    PURPOSE
    REACHING OUT
    RESPECT
    RESPONSIBILITY
    RIGHT CHOICES
    RISING ABOVE
    SACRIFICE
    SHARING
    SMILE
    SOUL
    SPORTSMANSHIP
    SPREAD YOUR WINGS
    STEWARDSHIP
    STRENGTH
    TEACHING BY EXAMPLE
    TEAM WORK
    TRUE BEAUTY
    TRUST
    UNITY
    VISION
    VOLUNTEERING

    List from values.com

    We will not solve so many values bases problems without major value defiencies hiding in all our closets and multiplying in each new generation.

    Politics is a reflection of our society. It is up to us to change what it reflects, regardless of party.