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Obama's Privacy Reform Panel Will Report To ... the NSA 569

Posted by timothy
from the just-washing-the-dishes-honey dept.
FuzzNugget writes "No, you didn't just stumble upon The Onion by mistake. Ars Technica reports that Obama's 'reform' panel will report directly to James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence who arguably lied to Congress about whether the NSA conducted dragnet surveillance of Americans' communications. But is anyone really surprised?"
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Obama's Privacy Reform Panel Will Report To ... the NSA

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  • Democracy has failed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ckwop (707653) <> on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:35AM (#44553319) Homepage

    I've slowly started to come to the view that representative democracy has basically failed. It's time to try a new system.

    What that system should be up for discussion but the idea of voting for representatives who then decide the policy has been tried and failed. It's too easy for corruption to take root and it's too easy for those people to grab power for power's sake.

    I refuse to accept that there is no better solution than the status-quo. There must be a way to capture the will of the people, protect minorities, and protect the people from government overreach. There must be a way to have our cake and eat it.

  • by Taantric (2587965) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:37AM (#44553339)

    Sarah Palin is an anti-intellectual spawn of Satan, but it is rather funny how that obnoxious line from one of her red meat rallies - "How's that hopey changey stuff working out for ya?" turned out to be oddly prophetic.

  • Re:Arguably lied? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:49AM (#44553501) Homepage Journal

    Yet he was never charged with a crime.

    I suppose this sets the precedent that all you have to do after committing a capital felony is give a half-assed apology, and you're off scot-free.

  • by intermodal (534361) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:50AM (#44553515) Homepage Journal

    More than anything else, I've been arguing for years that the biggest problem we have in our representative republic is our single-vote system. What we need is an instant runoff voting system to replace our single-vote ballot. I'm tired of the debates over Perot's role in 1992 every time a party needs to drum up support for an unpopular candidate, the debates over how to dethrone current party establishments without splitting the vote and thus forefitting to the other major party among Democrats and Republicans (well, mostly spoken of by Republicans actually), Libertarians and Greens voting for R and D candidates because their own party "can't win", and so on.

    The only two ways to dethrone our two same-result-different-rhetoric parties are either to challenge the establishment in primaries (which occasionally works, but more often seems not to work) or to effectively end the monopoly they have on the ballot box by eliminating this idiotic idea that a third-party vote is thrown away. Instant runoff means no vote is wasted, no matter how unlikely a voter's highest-ranked candidate's victory seems.

    Example: I know a lot of people who hated Romney and Obama as candidates, and would have liked to have selected someone else, but were so terrified of one or the other that they voted for the one who was most likely to defeat the one who scared them most. That's no way to elect a leader. Similarly, we could have used this process during the primaries to avoid similar problems in candidate selection. Especially states with early primaries, where it could be used to correct for candidates dropping out before the conventions. Though to be fair, most people are unaware that they elect delegates, not candidates.

    The whole issue of picking candidates based not on merit but on "electability" is poison to a healthy democratic election.

  • Re:Arguably lied? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:53AM (#44553543) Journal

    Of course there is inbetween.

    There is the truth, nothing but the truth, and the whole truth.

    IMHO, he gave us the truth, but not the whole truth.

    Like if I were to ask you if LInux was open source, what would you say? Yes or no?

    If you say yes, you have lied, as it contains binary blob firmware. or because most people think of Linux as an operating system, and Ubuntu has many components ( Binary drivers and what not) that are not open source.
    If you say no, you have lied, as its released under an open source licence.

    The right thing to say is that it depends on what you consider linux to be and what you consider open source to be. The NSA thing was like that, they aren't trying to collect information on US citiziens in most cases. So In that case, he wasn't lying. But he did know that in some cases they do accidentally, and occasionally puposefully.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:53AM (#44553545)

    I've always been partial to the idea of having government officials selected from a lottery drawing of any citizen, similar to a draft.

    At the minimum, I wouldn't mind seeing term limits in Congress.

  • how to get by (Score:3, Interesting)

    by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:53AM (#44553547)
    the best way to get by is to assume that the internet is a military installation, and you have temporary guest access.
  • by Ambassador Kosh (18352) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:02PM (#44553647)

    After citizen's united there is no real chance of campaign finance reform.

    Do you know how many decades people worked for in various states to get campaign finance reform at the state level and to have it wiped out in a single instant by the supreme court.

    Do you have any idea how difficult it will be to get this fixed at the federal level since it would require a constitutional amendment. Corporations will spend hundreds of billions of dollars to defeat it and that much money will win. They will have studies that play everywhere constantly about how great it is that money is the same as speech etc.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:03PM (#44553663)

    As long as the Fed. government can raise taxes with no upper limit, the country will inexorably become a feudal state with the serf-citizens who literally work their entire lives to feed the Fed.

    And then the Feds, debase the value of any savings you manage to hide away from them.

  • by Captain Hook (923766) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:05PM (#44553689)

    I refuse to accept that there is no better solution than the status-quo. There must be a way to capture the will of the people, protect minorities, and protect the people from government overreach. There must be a way to have our cake and eat it.

    Rather than having professional career politicians drafting bills for consideration by house representatives, have a committee drawn from the General Population in a similar way to jury selection.

    A single professional lawmaker is used in a similar way to a judge to oversee the committee, they ensure the process is legal, give instructions but can't make a decision about the outcome.

    A committee is formed to consider a specific issue put forwards from 'somewhere' which would be phrased in a high level term which the committee can agree to or ammend,e.g. Committe recommends that National Speed Limits should be increased in light of improvements in vehicle handling but maximum Blood Alcohol of drivers level should be reduced.

    Professional lawmakers then turn those high level recommendations into a proper draft bill but must meet all the high level recommendations and only the high level recommendations (no tacking on a Internet monitoing clause into the bill for transport) before the bill is passed on to the House and Senate in the normal way.

    The randomess of the committee should (if the sample is large enough) represent some sort of democratic consensus and the short period and limited powers of the committee members makes bribery and corporate influence harder / less effective.

    In essence, it's a 3rd layer of the Legislature acting as a filter to the ideas which are allowed to be discussed by the other 2 legislative entities.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:09PM (#44553725)

    I'm leaning toward a system where citizens are called upon to serve in government as they are in jury duty. This would produce a government of the people, somewhat randomized as far as gender, race, age, religion, etc. There would be no highly financed charisma contests, no ballot fixing, etc. People might have to leave their work for a time but, as with jury duty, laws could be passed to require their employers to take them back after their term is done.

    The only other option might be to break up the whole into smaller parts that can work under a system of direct democracy and let them all work with each other in a system of treaties. Given the NSA manipulation of the internet, one cannot fall back to the idea that one could use the internet to implement a direct democracy across the whole of the current expanse of the country. Many jurisdictions are already realizing the faults in the electronic voting machines and going back to pen and paper already.

  • Re:Happy President (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:11PM (#44553737)

    "One vote" is a pretty ridiculous system. The will of the people is much better represented when one person can simultaneously vote for both his favorites. Or all three. One vote per person per candidate, not one vote per person, makes much more sense. It would also get more people voting, since they can actually pick the one they want to win, AND the lesser evil.

    Of course, such a system would give independent candidates a chance. That will not be tolerated.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:20PM (#44553849)
    Right now a lot of Dems probably feel the same way most republicans felt during Bush's final year or two. Voting face palm in both cases.

    > How were we supposed to know he was going to pull this crap

    For me, Obama's own radio ads were what convinced me he'd be very bad for the country. Until he started running ads were I lived, I was hopeful he'd be inspiring ala JFK.

    I pay attention to people who have managed to get something I want, who have succeeded in something I want to do. I ask them "how did you do that"?
    So for me, Obama's message of attacking success was alarming. I see that people who show up ten minutes early, so I TRY to follow their example. Obama's message indicated if he punctual people who dress nice get ahead, he'd put an 80% tax on watches to knock down those selfish punctual people. He SHOULD look at the presidential portraits and ask "what would Kennedy do?". In the campaign, he seemed more likely to look at the Kennedy portrait and flip Kennedy off for doing better than him. So that's how I knew he'd pull a bunch of crap.

    Combined with that, about a year before he started his campaign he said it would be "irresponsible" for him to run for president because "I believe in knowing what you're doing when you apply for a job." He was correct in stating that he wouldn't know what to do as president, but that might have been okay IF he'd recognized that and followed the examples of successful presidents.Unfortunately, that's his number one flaw - he doesn't learn from successful people, he envies them and attacks whatever is successful.

    > and how would voting for the other asshole have been any better?

    It couldn't have been much worse. You might say 2008 was worse, but even awful Bush, in his first six years, looks better than Obama's first six years by most objective measures. That's comparing Obama to one of the worst presidents in history.

    Romney at least appeared COMPETENT, though kind of slimy. He really reminds me of Bill Clinton in that way. On the economy, for example, everybody wants
    for there to be more jobs. Romney, having something of a clue, would probably create more jobs. He wouldn't be focused on union jobs, if that matters to you, but non-union jobs are better than no jobs.
  • Re:Happy President (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alexgieg (948359) <> on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:37PM (#44554125) Homepage

    There is never an excuse when you willingly vote for evil. Never.

    Absolutely true, in a mathematical sense even:

    There are roughly 300 million people in the United States, of whom only one can be President at any given time.

    With 300 million available candidates, many of whom are not nincompoops, why does America keep electing nincompoops to political office?

    Sending a message to select 1 out of 300 million possibilities requires 29 bits. So if you vote in only the general election for the Presidency, then some mysterious force narrows the election down to 2 out of 300 million possibilities - exerting 28 bits of decision power - and then you, or rather the entire voting population, exert 1 more bit of decision power. If you vote in a primary election, you may send another 2 or 3 bits worth of message.

    Where do the other 25 bits of decision power come from?

    (...) Since around half the population is under the age of 35, at least one bit of the missing decision power is exerted by 55 delegates in Philadelphia in 1787. Though the "natural-born citizen" clause comes from a letter sent by John Jay to George Washington, a suggestion that was adopted without debate by the Philadelphia Convention.

    (...) Likewise, not everyone would want to be President. (But see the hidden box: In principle the option exists of enforcing Presidential service, like jury duty.) How many people would run for President if they had a serious chance at winning? Let's pretend the number is only 150,000. That accounts for another 10 bits.

    Then some combination of the party structure, and the media telling complicit voters who voters are likely to vote for, is exerting on the order of 14-15 bits of power over the Presidency; while the voters only exert 3-4 bits. And actually the situation is worse than this, because the media and party structure get to move first. They can eliminate nearly all the variance along any particular dimension. So that by the time you get to choose one of four "serious" "front-running" candidates, that is, the ones approved by both the party structure and the media, you're choosing between 90.8% nincompoop and 90.6% nincompoop.

    I seriously think the best thing you can do about the situation, as a voter, is stop trying to be clever. Don't try to vote for someone you don't really like, because you think your vote is more likely to make a difference that way. Don't fret about "electability". Don't try to predict and outwit other voters. Don't treat it as a horse race. Don't worry about "wasting your vote" - it always sends a message, you may as well make it a true message.

    (...) Oh - and if you're going to vote at all, vote in the primary. That's where most of your remaining bits and remaining variance have a chance to be exerted."

    Source: Stop Voting For Nincompoops. []

  • Re:how to get by (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:50PM (#44554331)

    You can cower and boot-lick your way through life if you want. Me, I want to live free.

  • by sgtrock (191182) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @02:16PM (#44555733)

    Or Common Sense by Tom Paine. Then remember that both sets of documents were originally published anonymously in order to protect the authors.

    Still think being Anonymous (especially in this political climate) is a bad idea?

  • Re:Happy President (Score:4, Interesting)

    by asylumx (881307) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @02:46PM (#44556175)
    Bullshit. If that were true, the third party candidates would have significant numbers in the polls and only reduced numbers in actual votes.
  • Re:Happy President (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @03:05PM (#44556423)

    His reelection is explained by his opponent being Mitt Romney.

  • Re:Happy President (Score:3, Interesting)

    by operagost (62405) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @04:45PM (#44557705) Homepage Journal
    If you think voting for the Green Party is a way to secure your personal freedoms, you are sadly mistaken. If there was a name for an environmental-socialist "theocracy", their platform would be it.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming