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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Maureen Dowd, "Peeping Barry": Dead-on-Balls Accurate

About a month ago, I watched as "someone" downloaded every blog entry that I had ever written. I didn't have a problem with this. However, I did have a problem when Obama declared on Friday:

"Trust me. We're doing the right thing. We know who the bad guys are."

Sorry, Mr. President, but I don't trust you. Why should I? Listen to what you told us in 2007 regarding your plans to fight global terrorism.

Moreover, Mr. President, I am personally of the belief that when you engage in surveillance of ordinary American citizens without reason or cause, you yourself become one of the "bad guys."

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Peeping Barry" (, Maureen Dowd has joined Gail Collins (see: in lambasting the Obama administration's assault upon freedom from government eavesdropping. God bless Maureen, she even elicited a giggle from me when she wrote:

"The president insists that his trellis of surveillance programs is 'under very strict supervision by all three branches of government.' That is not particularly comforting given that the federal government so rarely does anything properly."

"Under very strict supervision by all three branches of government"? Yeah, right. And just a few weeks ago, we were told how Obama's chief counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler, had sought to insulate the president from knowledge of IRS wrongdoing. Excuse me, but how can there be strict supervision from the executive branch of the government if the president learns of executive branch foul play from the newspapers in the same way as other Americans?

Supervision from the legislative branch? As reported by Breitbart (see:

"[Senator Jeff] Merkely [(D-OR)] summed up: 'when the president says all members of Congress were briefed … well, I think a very small number of Senators in Congress had full details on these programs.'

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he only knew about the program after asking for a briefing under 'classified circumstances.' The 'average member,' he said, had no access to this information. 'They don’t receive this kind of briefing.'

Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said they had not been briefed on the phone surveillance program, either. 'Not quite!' Rep. Billy Long (R-LA) tweeted after hearing about Obama’s claim."

What is the value of all of this information being collected by the government? As poignantly observed by Dowd in her opinion piece:

"So much technological overreach, yet counterterrorism officials still couldn’t do basic police work and catch the Boston bombers before the marathon by following up on warnings from the Russians."

As I have often observed in the past in an entirely different context, the collection of immense quantities of raw data without the knowledge of how to sift through it is of no value whatsoever.

Maureen tells us:

"Americans want to be protected, but not at the cost of vitiating the values that make us Americans."

This time, Dowd is dead-on-balls accurate.

1 comment:

  1. Good for MoDowd, who most likely had already read Jane Mayer on metadata at The New Yorker blog, and also read this hat trick post for added indignation/inspiration:

    "All the Infrastructure a Tyrant Would Need, Courtesy of Bush and Obama: More and more, we're counting on having angels in office and making ourselves vulnerable to devils. "
    Conor Friedersdorf
    Jun 7 2013, 9:45 AM ET 1

    The key point, for me, that so many Americans fail to remember, if they ever knew:

    "...Stop acting like the president takes an oath to keep us safe, when his job is to protect and defend the Constitution. ..."

    When I read that, the Boston Bombers were on my mind too, because, how hard is it to keep track of 2 of about 300 Chechen immigrants in the USA?

    The Stasi was more effective with pencils and paper. And the Stasi was a real jobs program too!