"they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`
Remind me, what did Obama get it for?
Former US President Jimmy Carter has applauded the whistle-blowing of Edward Snowden and says the current surveillance state means the US is in dire political straits. "America has no functioning democracy," Carter told a meeting of The Atlantic Bridge in Atlanta on Tuesday, Der Speigel reports. Carter said that Snowden's …
Yeah. He got a black guy elected President.
For a short while afterwards, it looked like the Republican counterplan was to get a conspicuously incompetent and unqualified black guy elected President, which in my opinion would be a more significant event, but he peaked too early scandalwise. I forget his name...
Remind me, what did Obama get it for?
As far as I can tell, merely for not being George Bush, which actually said a lot more about the lack of esteem Bush was held in than about a then as yet unproven Obama.
However, if you have any hopes of Obama having to give back that prize in the light of recent revelations I have bad news (and I am quoting this literally from a reply I had from the Norwegian Nobel Institute):
The statutes of the Nobel Committee do not open for the withdrawal of a prize, once awarded.
Obama got it for at least trying to change the statuesque, and I think he honestly believed he could.
The problem was, with the lack of support, and the amount of $ involved, He never actually stood a bats chance in hell of succeeding.
Considering the Republican party is controlled by the ultra radical right wing tea party which was formed and funded by the Koch brothers and big tobacco with the sole purpose in enriching big business. Koch industries said that if Obama was elected president, they would fire 50,000 of their employees!
With that kind of mentality representing the US, do you think that any Republican cares even a little bit about what happens to this country?
Let us compensate for the invasion of our privacy by demanding fully open government. All expense accounts, donor, list, speaking engagements, part or full-time jobs, gifts, and meetings attended for every elected representative, their families out to three degrees of closeness would be a good start.
An who guards the guardians. A separate ethics oversight operation with an elected head, a large budget, and the power to arrest would be a start, and they would have the right and obligation to investigate all regulation, government acts and law enforcement activity for proper behaviour.
I am sick of police overstepping the line, corrupt politicians, and lobby-driven voting. I am afraid that giving the power we have already ceded might allow the NSA to throw me in Guantanamo "to protect the state", assuming that the Director or the President wished to act with malice. Just ask Nixon, or all the people we renditioned!
But then, who oversees the overseer? As for the budget, by Constitutional Law, only the House can set the budget, and what do you think they would do to any potential overseer? Nothing short of an Amendment could make this possible, plus even if you give this overseer the budget, who's going to pay for all this ON TOP of everything else Joe American has to pay now?
"The electorate, in an elected position?"
Don't seem to be doing much for the current situation in American government, are they? The trouble with the electorate is that you can't assume they will act rationally, and once a majority of the electorate are acting IRrationally, you can game the system by playing to their emotions. That's what's happening now.
That has been the cycle of US american politics for the past decades, hasn't it? With a generally republican majority in the Houses over the past decades, the republican presidents get away with whatever they want to do, and basically make a right royal mess of things, while any democratic president is actively cock-blocked "just because". And shouted down for Not Accomplishing Anything by the very people that actively sabotage any attempt at efficiency and, you know, sensible government.
The few voices of reason are drowned out by the puppets from the "interest groups" aka. large sponsors, and the net effect is that the US is rapidly going bankrupt morally and financially.
Ah well... Within the next decade or two that perticular card-house will come down, and then the US will be left nothing but banging its' wardum in senile reminiscene and impotency.
Because if any significant number of Senators or Congressmen had read THE PATRIOT act they would have thrown it out.
And the surveillance system set up by the NSA under it and other FISA, plus the data sharing arrangements with other agencies mean that and serious effort to set up debate, protest or resistance to this system is already under surveillance.
So that's both a "representative" democracy and a grass roots democracy fail.
This only stops when Congress and Senators start losing elections because of their stance on privacy (or rather their grovelling on their knees before President Bush which got the US here) that this will start to change.
Might I also suggest that unlimited terms for both Con-gressmen and Senators is a truly bad idea.
Yes. It takes quite a bit of experience to forge the lasting relationships with constituents and peers that allow them to gorge themselves on pork kickbacks and donations for decades. That's why newbie Congressmen have the shittiest cars and have their 'DC' homes in Maryland, thy can't afford to live in DC. It takes a few terms to unlock those achievements.
The Congressmen hire their own personal staff (Representatives have 14 full time personal staff each and Senators have 34). It is a common for political hopefuls to work as Congressional staff but almost none of them ever become Congressmen, they can actually do something so they don't really fit in with Congress.
"That's why newbie Congressmen have the shittiest cars and have their 'DC' homes in Maryland, thy can't afford to live in DC. It takes a few terms to unlock those achievements."
It takes a few terms to get the gravy train in gear and up to speed.
How terrible to have to give it up so soon.
It is not clear that the 22nd amendment is especially useful or necessary. It was a reaction to FDR's run of four, which was highly situational, arguably appropriate given the circumstances between 1929 and 1945, and quite unlikely to have been repeated soon. By adding it we have established a requirement for change under circumstances when it might be undesirable or could be meaningless (as, for instance, if the current Vice President moves up because the current President is ineligible). In any case, we have term limits as long as elections are relatively free.
There is by now, as a result of various initiatives, a fair amount of experience with term limits in state and local government. It would be interesting to see how they have worked out. My impression, from Ohio, is that they have not led to improved governance or reduced graft. The least damaging effect there probably has been that Representatives, who reach their limit may run for the Senate, and Senators, in the same bind, may take a temporary vacation in the House if they cannot obtain make a run for promotion to a statewide office or the US Congress or Senate, or obtain a political appointment. The default probably is to join a lobbying firm, reinforcing the ability of the lobbyists to provide much of the institutional memory required for government to operate.
This pretty clearly is less than optimal.
"It is not clear that the 22nd amendment is especially useful or necessary. It was a reaction to FDR's run of four, which was highly situational, arguably appropriate given the circumstances between 1929 and 1945, and quite unlikely to have been repeated soon. By adding it we have established a requirement for change under circumstances when it might be undesirable or could be meaningless (as, for instance, if the current Vice President moves up because the current President is ineligible). In any case, we have term limits as long as elections are relatively free."
The problem was that FDR was gaining increasing support throughout his terms, not the least because of his political clout (boosted by experience), causing something of a feedback loop. Your experience makes you a better choice over the challenger, winning you another term and MORE experience, etc. And it resulted in a president-for-life that lasted longer than probably even the Founding Fathers would've been comfortable with. If FDR had been in better health, there was a fair chance he'd have the leverage to continue being President even after World War II.
You see that these days with some of the most veteran congresspeople. It takes something quite extraordinary on either side to unseat one of them unwillingly.
Because the Presidency was the only office that needed to be stipulated in the Constitution. Well, and also that federal court judges are appointed for life. The election of representatives and senators are completely up to the individual states, as is proper since it is the state that they are supposed to represent, eh? Each state may set their own term limits if they so choose. None have done so, but it is not a constitutional issue. Naturally, it will never be done at the fed level by Congress. I doubt that the fox will limit how long he may watch the hen house. Most likely a state legislature is unsure if it is a good idea to term limit their representatives if other states do not limit theirs. They fear the other state's representatives always getting the juicy committee appointments, meaning their representative would bring home as much pork.
The election of Congressmen may be up to the States, to some degree, but nearly everything other than that is a Federal rule or law that governs/empowers them. They certainly are quick to act as a Federal body when the time comes for voting themselves a pay raise, additional staff, etc... They only play the 'representative of the State' card when to get out of doing something they don't want to do.
"Because if any significant number of Senators or Congressmen had read THE PATRIOT act they would have thrown it out."
I think you'll find that that's why they had the interception stuff in place already so that they could target senators and congressmen to blackmail them...
Funny also how the people who were in a position to lead the others into throwing out the PATRIOT act were the recipients of the weaponised Anthrax letters...
Just Google Anthrax Congress and you'll get plenty of links
"Two more anthrax letters, bearing the same Trenton postmark, were dated October 9, three weeks after the first mailing. The letters were addressed to two Democratic Senators, Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont. At the time, Daschle was the Senate Majority leader and Leahy was head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. " From the Wikipedia link
"Because if any significant number of Senators or Congressmen had read THE PATRIOT act they would have thrown it out."
The beauty of the PATRIOT act was the way it ammended existing legislation, in some cases negating the original intent, rather than explicitly making new law. This made it much harder to work out its full scope, especially in a climate of fear where something had to be seen to be done.
But the master stroke was the convoluted bacronym "PATRIOT". What politician could risk going into the next election facing accusations of not being a patriot because they opposed the PATRIOT act? Dubya could have introduced conscription and it still would have passed.
Lest we forget: one of the major criticisms of US intelligence agencies in about September - October 2001 was that they didn't share enough, the somewhat doubtful claim being that if they had done they could have prevented the 9/11 attack.
Well, they collected more and shared more, and it got us Prism and other possibly undesirable things.
Because Carter has pissed off every political personage in DC over the years by speaking too much truth. No matter what the press would like you to think they are too scared to piss off their current pet Congressmen and staffers by talking him up. It's a shame really.
Too much of the fourth estate is tied to commercial interests in the US. However I was there last year during election run-up and Rachel Maddow (from MSNBC) used to get really irate when other networks misrepresented the facts, and would sometimes throw her notes at the camera in frustration. It was very refreshing to watch, I tuned in most nights to hear what she had to say.
J.E. Hoover used the power of the FBI against all enemies, personal and political. He held dossiers on presidents, et. al. No one dared oppose him, lest closets open and skeletons be exposed. His agency attacks on Dr. Martin Luther King are legendary.
Now that the NSA/CIA/FBI have TIA (total invasive authority) I suspect there is no one in Washington DC or any state capitol who dares oppose the power of the Alphabet Agencies.
"I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial." President Carter said.
He is wrong, of course. It is too late for "beneficial" effect. Bradley Manning is as good as dead; Julian Assuange is rotting in limbo; and Edward Snowden is a man without a country. America's politicians have only one care: permanent incumbency. The American people are divided against themselves, and Congress -- like pigs in a muckpit -- wallows in gridlock.
Democracy no longer.
Two things I find extraordinary about this Snowden whistle-blowing episode.
1) How little Americans seem to care that their government has turned into Big Brother, listening to their every word, blatantly ignoring legal restrictions and privacy concerns. "If keeping us under 24x7 surveillance means that we will be safe, it must be OK?"
2) How blatantly the USA has been showing disregard for democracy and foreign sovereignty, by publicly pressuring numerous countries against providing asylum. Even those like Russia that we would expect to stand up against USA bullying are seen to flinch.
All gloves are off - the USA is dropping any pretence of being the democratic land of the free and a champion of human rights.
How can we return to the kindler, gentler world that we would like?
No matter how much I hated Bush and his inability to control spending (he was one of the biggest Liberal spenders in American history), at least when he attempted to take our privacy away he did it in the open. Obama is a hypocrite! "Open government" my ass. This is the most closed government I can remember.
Would you rather be captured by Bush's government and detained (regardless of their questionable means), or would you rather be killed from the air along with your family and friends that may or may not be involved in your questionable activities?
Bush was wrong in what he did. Obama is a hypocrite! Extending what Bush did and going much, much further. Take off your Socialist blinders and see him for the Fascist he is!
"How can we return to the kindler, gentler world that we would like?"
Two words: WE CAN'T.
We're entering a world where one bad man can ruin the rest of us. Knowledge is power, but now knowledge is cheap, too, because we're in an AGE of information. Meanwhile, humans come in all types of personalities: including the homicidal maniac and the paranoid lunatic. Put one of the latter together with the vast sum of human knowledge, and imagine the possibilities. They probably won't be pretty.
Not that the NSA actions are correct, but is there any actual evidence that the NSA, the CIA, or, for that matter, the FBI are blackmailing government officials? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. So far I have seen claims with little or no support beyond "Hoover did it." Hoover has been gone for over 40 years, and most of his enemies likewise are no longer with us.
Former President Carter is mistaken, of course. Snowden's spying has stimulated some reexamination, and the US is not a police state. Bradley Manning, no matter how badly treated during pretrial confinement, will not be sentenced to more than life in prison. Julian Assange is free to leave the Ecuadorean embassy any time he is willing answer police questions in Sweden. Edward Snowden could return to the US to face charges; given the publicity and the publicity of Manning's pretrial confinement, it is unlikely he would be tortured or even treated badly, as there is no reason and plenty of people would be watching.
As for the Congress, we get what we elect, fairly freely. If, as a group, they barely exceed mediocrity, perhaps that is because they represent their constituents rather well.
Responding to my own post. Less down voted than I expected, try this to calm you down.
It is not about being a Jew, it is not about religion, it is about a government. It is about land. It is very much about domestic policy, like every where, sadly. Peace talks (if ever sincere) have stopped because of domestic policy. Peace would define borders, and right now there is nobody strong enough to do it. And I am damned nice to put it this nicely.
Carter can speak about it now. And I hope, and think, Obama feels the same, but again domestic policy prevents him from being outspoken. What makes me happy, however, is that there is a growing number of people in Israel who understand and seriously want to end a "conflict of no reason". (less so in the USA)
There was somebody here who told us he thought Carter was a week president. I did so too then. But we compared Carter to previous presidents. The situation now is different, sadly.
To my mind comes a sentence "If your opinion when 50 is the same as when 20, you have lost 30 years of your life". I think Muhammed Ali is quoted for this. As far as I am concerned it could as well have been Plato.
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..............."Detroit becomes largest US city to file for bankruptcy"
..............."Ex-CIA Milan chief held in Panama over cleric abduction" (Extraordinary Rendition)
Americans, or us Europeans, were never politically wired for this opaqueness... Bring us an enemy and the hords will unite..
Aliens, we need you! Just a teeny plasma shot at Buenos Aires will do, as in the film. Nothing really bad you understand. Please.
"Oh, what a f##king disaster this is turning out to be"
"Cheer me up Smith, tell me you have the next election results ready"
"Here they are sir"
"Who the f##k is this?"
"He's our man sir, totally respects the law, hasn't even got a parking ticket to his name"
"Yeah, so what have we got on him? Juicy videos? Illicit encounters?"
"Well nothing sir, he has total respect for the law"
"Smith you f##king idiot, when I said respect for the law around here, what dim light went on in your turgid little mind? Need I have to remind you WE are the law around here"
"Sorry sir. Yes you're right, we are the law around here"
"So, go and find me the next president who would rather see the world turned to irradiated dust, than have his wife see our video of him shagging goats.
"Err sir, could we go with a foreigner?"
"I mean, we have loads of nasty videos of British politicians already on file, sir"
"Mmm, pass me the constitution and our special privileges redaction marker pen"
"Straight away sir!"
Whereas bush is a chimp known to be a mindless sockpuppet.
and the carter centre has always been critical of the electoral system used in the states. The article seems to present it as if it's a recent development. I recall when bush stole the first election the cater centre stated that it would never get involved in overseeing an american election [anyway], as the process was fundamentally flawed and open to widespread abuse. This was in 2000 and clearly reflects a position that was long established then.
correct you are sir ! .. and also the Democrats held a super majority ( over 60% ) in both houses in 1978
IIRC .. shortly after these secret courts were established .. Carter revealed the existence of the Top Secret SR-71 Spy plane .. Air Force intel and the CIA were not happy ..
In that context .. can understand Carter having empathy with Snowden
FISA's role was greatly expanded and made dramatically more covert with the PATRIOT Act. The original FISA was brought in as a a result of the Church Committee's report on the criminal activities of the CIA & NSA, and was an honest attempt to oversee them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_committee
Carter was dealt a shitty hand, post-Watergate, oil crisis, stagflation and Iran. Few people could have been re-elected in those circumstances. Still, in terms of standards of living and income inequality, we've not had it so good since his time. See for example:
You read it here first - he still has a term to serve!!!
Seriously, my uncle, a US Army Colonel from Georgia (WWII to Vietnam) knew him personally. And of James Carter, he said "he is the smartest man I have ever met, and certainly the smartest President we have ever had". Considering how well travelled my uncle was in his career, that SAYS something (particularly as so many Republican chicken hawks hated Carter - a REAL military man thought the world of him).
Carter is old, out of favour, and will never be elected. But RIGHT NOW - the US could use a brilliant, moralistic leader that is beyond reproach....what would have happened if he had won a second term?
"Seriously, my uncle, a US Army Colonel from Georgia (WWII to Vietnam) knew him personally. And of James Carter, he said "he is the smartest man I have ever met, and certainly the smartest President we have ever had"."
Well, your uncle migjt like to know that Hunter S Thompson felt the same. HSTs account of hearing Carter speak before his nomination at a ceremony to honour Dean Acheson is hilarious. BUT HST thought it was the best speech he had heard.
Seriously, 'three hops' means n^4 where n is the number of contacts in your phone. A quick survey around the office suggests that is 160000 third hop contacts per person...
As there is no Wild Turkey icon, I'll use the beer one.
Not only the only post WW2 US president to never attack another country, but apparently still virtually the only US politician with even the slightest vestige of human decency and honesty.
Though somewhat deluded if he believes the US has ever had any "moral authority".
Where did I put this , wait a second... damn, I was sure I left it here.... Oh, here it is, just under the "rational religious extremist", must have used it more recently.. .
Seriously, if people run away from your country and ask for asylum in China and Russia, something went horribly wrong.
"Seriously, if people run away from your country and ask for asylum in China and Russia, something went horribly wrong"
I recently read a comment somewhere about American 'justice' in response to someone saying that in civilised countries you are considered innocent until proven guilty:
"In America you are considered guilty until proven rich"
Snowden get a fair trial in America? I certainly wouldn't put my money on it. I don't know much about Carter but "America has no functioning democracy" certainly gels with my reading of the news in recent years. The people running that country exhibit the mentality of street-corner gangsters.
And when they do, they will objectively tear you a new one. You are going down as the hinging point that turned the USA from a democratic state to a police state.
Your conscience is clear ? A Muppet doesn't have a conscience !
He meant, It's going to take a while for the propaganda 'historians' that usually rewrite history to suit the rich & powerful make me look good. And he's right but it will happen. Look at some of the things they teach kids today about not questioning the official version of events.
Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects.
—Herodotus, The History of Herodotus
Isn't it amazing the way the future succeeds in creating an appropriate past?
History. Just a big damn pot, and sometimes it needs stirring. Me? I'm a spoon.
"Carter was booted from office because he is a highly educated individual who is an idealist and out of touch with reality. He lives in a 1950's world, not the modern world."
The big thing was the almighty clusterf**k that was the Iranian embassy siege when 33 Americans got held hostage and the rescue attempt when sideways.
Rumours that Bush Snr paid off the Ayatollahs to hang onto the them until after the election are of course no doubt just a conspiracy theory from his long service with the CIA.
And we can't have educated idealists running things, can we? Who knows what might happen!
The world needs some idealistic statesmen who have a view of the world that doesn't revolve around cynicism and selfishness. People with the strange (to you) notion that things can be better. The USA had the moral authority and the resources to make the world a better place, but it spaffed it up the wall with the first Iraq, and consolidated it with the second excursion.
Only if it suits those that control 'history'. If it doesn't suit them to make it appear like he was an aberration rather than a useful tool he'll be made to look like he did the right thing under difficult circumstances.
@Lost all faith...
"Yes, you are now history and the vast majorty of the world think you are a war-monogering, self centred, ignorant prick."
Very true yet he is still better than obama. Bush did wrong because he is an idiot. Obama does wrong and knows exactly what he is doing.
If 2 people do something very wrong, one because he doesnt understand and one because he is that malicious which is the most wrong?
"Bush did wrong because he is an idiot."
Are you seriously claiming that the fuckwit bush accidentally transferred a trillion dollars from the treasury into cheney's back pocket?
Fuckwit by all accounts(well blair thought he was a genius.. but blair is pathologically incapable of telling the truth about anything ), and installed as the fall guy just in case the coup went shit shaped. But nothing in cheneys presidency happened by accident.
Like G.W. Bush would know what damaging the country entailed.
I've heard it said by political critics who have skin in the game that Carter is, perhaps, the only moral man we've had in the oval office in decades. He's certainly the only one putting his money and person where his mouth is when it comes to using his political name to good purpose.
And you have to respect anyone who willingly and voluntarily lets go of their Secret Service escort so they can get on with useful work. I'll start to respect Team Bush/Cheney (another loudmouth who won't fade into the scenery like a good boy) a little when they do the same.
President Carter stands out amongst presidents as he didn't go around starting wars, he pursued a very 'quiet' US policy. Carter fought the economic woes of inflation and unemployment. By the end of his administration, he could claim an increase of almost 8,000,000 jobs and a decrease in the budget deficit, measured in percentage of the GNP.
He reformed the civil service, he expanded the national park system including 103 million acres of Alaska territory. He created the Department of Education, strengthened the pension system, and imported record numbers of women, blacks, and Hispanics into Government. He also deregulated the trucking and airline industries.
BUT he made no wars.
He has used his retirement for the betterment of others - no subsequent president can claim THAT!
And what he said about Snowden is so right.
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