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Photocopying Michelle Obama's Diary, Just In Case

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the potus-doesn't-actually-do-dishes-anyway dept.

Government 218

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Conor Friedersdorf has a good (and humorous) read in the Atlantic about the analogy that President Obama has settled on to explain his theory of the NSA surveillance controversy to reporters. 'The question is how do we make the American people more comfortable?' Obama said. 'If I tell Michelle that I did the dishes ... and she's a little skeptical, well, I'd like her to trust me, but maybe I need to bring her back and show her the dishes and not just have her take my word for it.' The analogy has been widely panned, and for good reason. Friedersdorf writes that he has come up with a much better analogy. What if 'Barack snuck into Michelle's closet one day, dug through her belongings until he found her diary, and photocopied it. Then he replaced the original, locked the copy in his desk, and didn't think about it much until she found out months later and furiously confronted him.' Admittedly, it isn't a perfect analogy either says Friedersdorf, 'but it comes a lot closer than Obama did to capturing the actual stakes in this debate, and the reason so many Americans are angry at him.'" In related news, Snowden's father disagrees that his son isn't a patriot: "My son has spoken the truth, and he has sacrificed more than either the president of the United States or Peter King have ever in their political careers or their American lives. So how they choose to characterize him really doesn't carry that much weight with me."

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218 comments

Analogy needs one fix (4, Interesting)

Sepodati (746220) | about a year ago | (#44551197)

The analogy would be better if the diary was left out in the open, but closed, mind you, for everyone to see. You still shouldn't open it, but it is sitting right there and not locked up.

Or everyday the diary was handed off to a random member of the public to hold on to... and not open, of course.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551225)

This stupid story reminds me of the story on here I read last week where the dude said he read about it on SlashCOCK.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44551251)

The analogy would be better if the diary was left out in the open, but closed, mind you, for everyone to see.

Everyone being everyone who can sniff on a internet backbone. That doesn't strike me as an appropriate analogy, because not everyone can do that, while most people can open a closed book.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1, Funny)

Sepodati (746220) | about a year ago | (#44551289)

Is this where the expectation of privacy comes from? Because only a subset of people have the capability to open the book, you expect it to be private?

Re:Analogy needs one fix (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44551377)

this where the expectation of privacy comes from? Because only a subset of people have the capability to open the book, you expect it to be private?

You could keep it in a locked safe, and there would still be a subset of people who would have the right combination of equipment, skills, and/or political power to get in and read that book. No, that's not the source of the expectation of privacy or nothing would ever be private.

The expectation of privacy comes from how email is used. You write it up, it gets sent only to the addresses you specify, and there's no third party that gets a copy of the email (it's not like speaking in a room with a third party presence). You aren't CCing the NSA. No one can overhear the message in normal usage unless they happen to have an email address that gets the message (say because you sent the email to a huge list) or one of your recipients forwards the email on in some way.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551577)

I really want to start CCing the NSA into all my banal email conversations now.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (0)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44551663)

postmaster@nsa.gov

BCC them on the replies to the banal stuff.

Email is like sending a postcard (2)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44551881)

You write it up, it gets sent only to the addresses you specify, and there's no third party that gets a copy of the email (it's not like speaking in a room with a third party presence).

The closest physical analogy to sending an (unencrypted) email is sending a post card. Sure, it's intended for only one recipient but a bunch of people and/or organizations have to handle it along the way to get it there. Only someone who is quite naive would believe that none of the people in the delivery chain would ever read the post card. Most won't care but there is no reason to presume that the "privacy" of the message will be respected. Email in general has rather little in the way of privacy rights and until it does have such legal backing you should behave accordingly.

Don't get me wrong, I think the actions of the NSA are clearly illegal and a violation of our fourth amendment rights but I think people are pretty naive about just how private emails really are in practice. If you wouldn't send the information on a post card you probably shouldn't send it on an email either.

Re:Email is like sending a postcard (1)

mjm1231 (751545) | about a year ago | (#44552159)

No, postcard is a an equally poor (and in some ways much worse) analogy. Letter in an unsealed envelope is closer. Neither of these non-virtual objects would routinely have copies made while being transmitted.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about a year ago | (#44551911)

But you send it via a changing, unknown, public-industry network run by people you don't know.

In order to be proactive on anything, you need historical data, othewise you're just reactionary.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552225)

You obviously don't understand how email works. Several third party servers between your mail server and your recipient's mail server will get copies of any email you send over the internet.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551627)

Is this where the expectation of privacy comes from? Because only a subset of people have the capability to open the book, you expect it to be private?

If this was only between private individuals, you might have a point. But this is the government doing the snooping, and there is an expectation of privacy from the government

Expectation of privacy from government is that unless the government has demonstrated specific proof they need specific access to specific information (you know, like a warrant*), you are in control of what government can access to. If there's no consent (or warrant) then the government should respect your privacy and leave you alone.

*and there's also the expectation that there is due process in obtaining that warrant, not just a court that rubber-stamps everything

Really, even if there is a subset of private people with access to your information, you can still expect privacy if there is an agreement (contract) that those people would not share that info without your consent. Privacy doesn't mean no subset of people has access. It means you the owner has control over who belongs in this subset - people cannot increase the subset without your consent, you can remove people from this subset at will on your terms, etc

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551897)

I don't think most people can open Michelle Obama's diary that she left on her night table. It might have been Malia, but Barack is a prime suspect. Of course it's easy for him to show that by the current interpretation of the Patriot Act, he had a right to read it and was legally obliged to lie to her about it.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year ago | (#44551263)

WTF kind of email system are you using? Do you transmit your email through Slashdot comments? Sorry if I just eavesdropped on a conversation you were having with your mom.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (5, Insightful)

howardd21 (1001567) | about a year ago | (#44551281)

Or even a bit more. Barak photocopies the diary as described and sets it out for all to see, and it has a lock and key, but not a very good one. And nobody except for Barak and a select few have a key. There is little accountability into when the key will be used, it could be a curious person who likes to feel power; or if they want to make it official, they go and see a FISA judge who is quick to agree, since he is part of the overall system fighting the enemy. A few months later Barak notes that a terrorist has popped up on the radar, and in the interest of national security he reads Michelle's diary from cover to cover. There is nothing in there about the terrorist, but he does note that she has a very close relationship with the gardner.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (2)

jez9999 (618189) | about a year ago | (#44551331)

The analogy would be better if the diary was left out in the open, but closed, mind you, for everyone to see

What about HTTPS or other encrypted communication? Do you think the NSA aren't working on decrypting that too? That IS the equivalent of a locked diary.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551813)

You must have been asleep for a few news stories. The NSA are FISA-ing their way into having as many SSL keys as possible.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (2)

Sepodati (746220) | about a year ago | (#44551935)

Yes, I agree that encryption is equivilent to locking something up. A warrant should be required to decrypt.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552121)

Assuming they haven't cracked it, which is probably true, it's more like, the diary was fed-exed to random members of the public, but then the NSA made Fed-Ex send them a copy of every diary they send. Having ALL the email makes the email data far more useful than it would be to random members of the public.

And HOW is copying not reading? In order to copy something you need to read each bit and make a copy. 4th amendment ought to forbid copying and i believe it does. It would be like if you sent mail and the NSA opened each envelope, made a copy but didn't look at it unless they felt like it. Dude, they opened your mail!

I believe OCR is used in sorting snail-mail. NSA could make a note of the meta-data, the whom is sending to whom, from the addressee and the return to sections of the envelope. Sure the from section can be omitted, but still, people don't. I bet they already get a feed from UPS. FedEx, and USPS.

Google et al provide an easy to use service at the price of your privacy. A replacement has to be just as good, and not cost you your privacy. Perhaps aome form of anonymous micropayments to send email would work to keep spam to a minimum ( maybe enabling widespread peer to peer exit relay - you'd collect fees per message which could be spent to send messages of your own, or sellable for a profit to spammers ) A little junk mail might be a way to fund a decent service that is preferrable to loss of privacy. Of course filtering might make junk mail sending just not worth it at all. Then the price of a stamp would rise, but I can't imagine it would rise to anything like the price of a snail mail stamp.

Of course it should be possible to send/recieve conventional email, but also send email within the network with better privacy guarantees than conventional email can offer.

Encryption should be the default for in-network communication, and should be done on the client only.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551339)

The analogy would be better if the diary was left out in the open, but closed, mind you, for everyone to see. You still shouldn't open it, but it is sitting right there and not locked up.

Or everyday the diary was handed off to a random member of the public to hold on to... and not open, of course.

No, the diary was locked. The NSA simply strong armed the diary manufacturer to hand over a copy of the diary's master key.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551837)

The diary is locked with a key that is known by almost everyone everywhere to be unbreakable. (Without using a $5 wrench on the manufacturer.)

We don't need an analogy at all. (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year ago | (#44551349)

Analogies are valuable teaching tool to visual complex mechanisms by relating them to a hopefully familiar form. This situation needs none. It's not very complex and everyone who reads up on it should know what's going one. In this case, the analogy ceases to be a teaching tool in this instance but a propaganda weapon in how it is cast. And worse than that, it's a propaganda weapon on the 4th grade level. If that is the average level of the electorate, forget about having a democracy or a democratic republic.

Re:We don't need an analogy at all. (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#44551395)

And worse than that, it's a propaganda weapon on the 4th grade level. If that is the average level of the electorate, forget about having a democracy or a democratic republic.

That is the average level of the electorate.

Democracy is still better than dictatorship, even when the population is composed of uneducated monkeys.

If you have a suggestion of a better system to govern masses of retards, please do present it. For an educated minority, pushing to reach it will be easier than educating the masses.

Re:We don't need an analogy at all. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551875)

This is one of the biggest problems with current democratic process:
"... then elect a 3rd party."
"Well you voted for A."
"No I voted for B."
"But then why didn't you vote for F?"
"Not enough other people were going to vote for F, and my vote would have been lost."
"But if we keep voting for A and B we'll keep getting more of the same."
"True but if I as an individual vote for F and A gets in instead of B, the world will explode on its axis."
"But we just agreed that A and B are the same...." .........

Re:We don't need an analogy at all. (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44552147)

... or to put it another way:

[An extraterrestrial robot and spaceship has just landed on earth. The robot steps out of the spaceship...]

"I come in peace," it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, "take me to your Lizard."

Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said ford. "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"

"What?"

"I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"

"I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."

Ford shrugged again.

"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."

Re:We don't need an analogy at all. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551953)

Democracy is still better than dictatorship

No, democracy is just another form of dictatorship. The Founding Fathers didn't create a democracy, but a Republic (at the very least they tried to).

Democracies are better at governing uneducated monkeys, but that doesn't say anything about freedom (for either the masses of monkeys, or individuals, or you). If the majority wants it, democracies can vote away freedoms

If you have a suggestion of a better system to govern masses of retards, please do present it.

It was presented long ago, again by the Founding Fathers.

Re:We don't need an analogy at all. (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about a year ago | (#44551559)

Very well-worded and insightful comment. No mod points, just letting you know.

cheers,

Re:We don't need an analogy at all. (3, Insightful)

gsslay (807818) | about a year ago | (#44551601)

An analogy isn't needed because this isn't similar to taking a copy of someone's private documents. Someone who should be able to trust you. This is exactly the same thing.

If someone has a hard time understanding why NSA might anger people, then they're not going to understand the "diary" analogy explaining it either. It's hard to imagine anyone that stupid, but I think it's easier to picture it not as a case of ignorance, but of vastly inflated sense of self-importance and disregard for others.

Re:We don't need an analogy at all. (2)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about a year ago | (#44551907)

I disagree with this thought. NSA, emails, PRISM...these can be esoteric ideas to people who do not live in or around a digital world. For those who don't use these systems all the time, who can't grasp what an email is, a text message, or how "open" a broadband call can be there is a need to put the issue into a context they can connect with at first.

The use of Michelle's diary is more inflammatory, I agree, but an analogy that makes it personal would do much to put into context how important this topic is to all American citizens. So what I might say is

Every American citizen has a right to privacy as guaranteed by the 4th amendment of the Constitution. The NSA, a government agency sworn to uphold the constitution, is spying on all Americans whether they have committed a crime or not. It is like if you have a diary or journal and you keep it locked. It does not matter what is inside, it is your private writing. Some stranger figures a way to open that book and can read what you wrote without your permission. The NSA has read your diary and what ever you wrote in there can now be made public and everyone can read it. Do you still want the NSA to be allowed to do this even if you have not committed any crime? That is why it is very important for them to not only get permission, but do so in a way that is accountable to the law, the 4th amendment.

(or words to that effect).
I don't like the view that most American's are stupid, 4th grade level zombies without the ability to understand issues. That's insulting to people. I have come to accept that people (myself included) do sometimes need an abstract idea put into concrete terms first so it is relatable to experience. Once they "get it" then the extension into other more esoteric thoughts can occur.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44551407)

It's more like if a football playbook (obligatory sports analogy) were to be copied, then left on the seat of an unlocked car (obligatory automobile analogy).

Re:Analogy needs one fix (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44551479)

Why bother with analogies in the first place when you are talking about copying some of the worst traits of oppressive regimes? We have seen time and time again how well the chilling effect works, after all it turned out when the wall fell and access to the actual records came out the STASI were "only" watching 10% of the population but that was enough to keep them in line,why? Because everybody thought they were the 1 in 10 and thus thought everything they did was being recorded and this constant scrutiny kept them in line.

I would STRONGLY suggest everyone here watch The End Of America [youtube.com] by Naomi Wolf and please note this was made in 2007, BEFORE all this extra bullshit came out, and also note how many examples of what she calls "the playbook" of oppressive and non-free regimes is being played here even as we speak, the same kind of shit used by Uncle Joe and the crazy Austrian is happening right here in the USA folks. Now I personally believe it is because the ruling class knows we are gonna have a worldwide collapse [youtube.com] that will make the great depression look like a flash crash and want the system of oppression in place in the hopes of being able to scare the peasants in line. Now personally I don't think it will work, once the checks that keep the peasants from starving disappear and it takes a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread the peasants won't fear because honestly they won't have anything to lose, but in any case you watch Wolf's video and look at the other warning signs and its pretty obvious that somebody at the top is pushing REAL hard to bring fascist police state tactics here and whomever is pushing this? Is obviously winning.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551635)

It is more akin to Obama placing a piece of software on Michelle's and her kid's smartphones to track what they say and where they go at all times, and then made it searchable. Actually, it is more like he did to the entire population of the WORLD!

But, let's be honest, most of the republicans are all for this themselves and haven't been outspoken about it, anything to stop the terrorists in their minds. I think it's because all of these systems of eavesdropping were put in place by Bush. If you watch Fox it is the only thing they haven't attacked Obama on. They'll tear him up for obamacare or Benghazi but they aren't touching him at all on the wiretap scandal. If they wanted to they could push hard on this NSA spying issue and get him impeached for it because the public is simply that angry, but they won't because they agree entirely with it.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44551871)

Considering that the NSA is not just passive snooping, but that intrudes into private networks/computers, the analogy is incomplete. In this case, is more like the diary was put in a locked box, and Obama asked the manufacturer to make him another key to access that box whenever he wants, and from time to time go there and checks whats new in the diary. And the same with their children's diary, the maid's diary, and every single (or married, or whatever) person a mile away from the white house. mm ok, is too much people, so ask that friendly person that meet the other day, that in no way could had been accused of child molesting or rape ever, to recolect most that information, and only report to him when found something interesting.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a year ago | (#44552009)

Why. Do you think nobody is looking at all that ilegally obtained data?

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44552063)

The better analogy would be if Barak sneaks a photocopy of Michelle's diary every day, and keeps them in a three ring binder that he cleverly hides in the open in a bookcase at eye height in one of the publicly accessible rooms of the White House.

Whether or not I have a personal concern about what the USA government might do with the information it has gathered about me, I have a very strong concern about its demonstrable inability to keep that information from getting into the hands of other persons. I do not want my potential employers, insurance companies, or funeral homes to know the contents of my email correspondence with Acme Cancer Cures Incorporated; I do not even want them to know that there is such correspondence. Yet Snowden has proven that the USA government cannot keep all this information secure forever and ever after. Nobody can.

How likely is it that Snowden was the one and only person who ever got his mitts on this data? How much more likely is it that others have done so as well but have preferred to sell it under the table (like good little capitalists) than to publicize their activities (at the tremendous personal cost Snowden is paying)?

The existence of these databases guarantees crimes will be committed. There are other ways to prevent terrorism. There is no need for the USA government to be an enabler of those who would commit crimes against citizens.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (1)

fuzzybunny (112938) | about a year ago | (#44552127)

And also, if you were to use a secret code to make sure nobody could read it, it would mean you're probably a traitor and we should read it anyway.

Re:Analogy needs one fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552185)

The information wasn't left out in the open. It was delivered to a specific recipient (Google, Facebook) with the expectation of privacy. The government then sized the information unconventionally.
If we are to develop this silly analogy, Michelle entrusted the diary to her daughter in an unsealed envelope. At which point, Obama demanded the diary from his daughter with a threat of detention and the instruction not to tell Michelle. He the proceeded to make the copy, and then to reseal the envelope and return it to his daughter.
After a while, his daughter came clean and the mother was furious...

Peter King (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551217)

Peter King's new found love of all things counter-terrorism is refreshing news, considering his well known support of the IRA.

Re:Peter King (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44551415)

His defense for that seems to be that the IRA never attacked America. I guess that's true, but they did attack one of our allies. I wonder if King would apply that argument to mean that any other terrorist group is fine as long as they don't launch attacks in the USA (or against American embassies, maybe). For example, the Kurdish PKK has only attacked Turkey, not the USA.

Re:Peter King (3, Insightful)

Pi1grim (1956208) | about a year ago | (#44551551)

Well, you can recall the USA used to finance some of those organizations to fight USSR in Afganistan. After the USSR dissapeared the organization turned on it's former master and went from freedom fighters to terrorist in a blink of an eye. So yes, it's pretty much the definition.

The reason that Michelle found out (2)

TheP4st (1164315) | about a year ago | (#44551231)

He used a Xerox

Patriotism (4, Interesting)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44551257)

PATRIOTISM, n.
Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

Be wary when the word "patriotism" is being used. Whatever precedes or follows usually clocks in very high on the bullshit scale. It feels like it's being used to trigger a killswitch in the human mind.

Re:Patriotism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551303)

Obviously. Patriotism, as anyone knows, only applies to folks APPROVED of by the NSA sock puppets.

Re:Patriotism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551345)

Patriotism as in Patriot Act?

It does seem that the better sounding the name of the bill, the worse it is.

Re:Patriotism (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44551677)

U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act. Never forget that they added insult to injury by giving that awful act a horribly contrived acronym as a name.

No, the U.S.A. doesn't stand for United States of America.

Re:Patriotism (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#44551849)

I'm convinced that you could pass any legislation if you were good at coming up with the right acronym. "Well, sure the C.U.T.E. P.U.P.P.I.E.S. act would mean anyone who criticized the government would get locked up for 10 years, but do you really want to be seen as being anti-Cute Puppies?!!!!!"

Re:Patriotism (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44552141)

Conversely I'm sure any protection-of-privacy act would be called P.U.L.S.I.N.G. B.A.L.L.B.A.G.

Re:Patriotism (2)

Tr3vin (1220548) | about a year ago | (#44551365)

One country's patriotism is every other country's nationalism.

Re:Patriotism (1)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#44551433)

"And remember sports fans, patriotism is a form of racism!" - Mephisto

Re:Patriotism (2)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#44551555)

he has sacrificed more

A bank robber who gets killed during the robbery sacrifices a lot, he lost his life and his future. Does that automatically make the bank robber a Patriot? Of course not.

Re:Patriotism (4, Insightful)

smillie (30605) | about a year ago | (#44551869)

he has sacrificed more A bank robber who gets killed during the robbery sacrifices a lot, he lost his life and his future. Does that automatically make the bank robber a Patriot? Of course not.

The difference is that the bank robber is doing his thing for his own benefite whereas Snowden gets no benefit, all the benefit goes to his countrymen.

Re:Patriotism (0)

stabiesoft (733417) | about a year ago | (#44551961)

I actually think the guy got exactly what he wanted, he is famous, so no I don't think he sacrificed anything. People do strange things to get famous.

Re:Patriotism (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44552027)

Baloney, a sacrifice is volunary, and a bank robber certainly doesn't go in hoping to get shot. Snowden DID come forth volunarily, and never stood to gain much personally in the first place. Completely different.

Re:Patriotism (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551699)

We in The Netherlands at least of my age (41) associate the word "patriotism", hanging of a flag (outside of king's palace, military bases and on public holidays), and pledges of allegiance with Nazi Germany. We can't help it, patriotism and everything associated with it is scary.

Another analogy? (3, Insightful)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#44551259)

Obama requests a sworn person to have a look at Michelle's diary + contacts etc..., then make a copy kept in a private and secure place for sometime, and only report to him if there is something suspicious. Looks closer to reality...

Re:Another analogy? (1, Troll)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year ago | (#44551279)

Of course Obama doesn't do anything himself, he doesn't even hold his own umbrella, but I doubt she'd find it better if his assistant was prying, unless he deputized Oprah.

Re:Another analogy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551297)

I think that both the President and I would benefit greatly if the analogy was reformulated using cars.

Re:Another analogy? (3, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year ago | (#44551317)

Obama requests a sworn person to have a look at Michelle's diary + contacts etc

Except that the sworn person is likely to say to his (sworn) buddies .. "hey man, check this out".

Re:Another analogy? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44551697)

Except they're also reading the diaries of everyone who visits the White House, too. Especially the ones who are just tourists.

Re:Another analogy? (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44551833)

More like a 30,000+ sworn persons at the NSA alone, not counting the 4 million+ currently holding Top Secret clearance. Not that any of these good people would ever dare abuse these privileges [go.com] of course.

Hey, that reminds me. We should probably install surveillance cameras in the President's bedroom, bathrooms, daughters' bedrooms, etc. just in case he should break the law there. I mean, he probably won't break the law or do anything terrorist-related, but just to be safe I think we need to monitor, record, and save every aspect of his personal life (again, just in case). I'm sure he'll be perfectly cool with it, as long as it's entrusted to the noble men and women of the NSA.

Snowden is a Patriot--his Dad (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551299)

George Washington was declared a "traitor" by the British Crown and Government.
George Washington is considered the "Father of his country" by properly educated USA citizens.

See any correlation?

As a USA citizen (at least until this is posted), the younger Mr. Snowden did us a favor. The display of the Federal Government's illegalities and corruption is always a good thing. Without Mr. Snowden's release of this evidence of illegal activity, we would suspect the Federal Government's unconstitutional and illegal activities. With this evidence, we now know of the corruption, illegalities and immorality of the USA Federal Government and its Directors.

Thank God for Pvt. Manning and Mr. Snowden.
Regrettably, whistleblowing always (and everywhere) carries a heavy price for the whistleblower.

Re:Snowden is a Patriot--his Dad (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551343)

Comparing either of those despicable human beings to George Washington is an affront to this country, and anyone with an IQ above room temperature. Not every traitor is a hero in disguise -- most of them are just traitors.

Snowden may have been able to recover his reputation /and/ mount a credible defense on moral grounds, had his first course of action after his theft and betray /not/ been to renounce his American citizenship and seek asylum primarily amongst American's best/worst frenemies. Those are not the actions of a brave man standing up for the rest of us; those are the actions of a disloyal coward.

Re:Snowden is a Patriot--his Dad (-1, Redundant)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#44551393)

George Washington believed in slavery and thought there should be a poll tax because poor people are too stupid to vote. The only people in this country qualified to self-govern are the rich and the politicians; all the poor white trash and city blacks should go collect their food stamps and stay out of it.

George Washington is one of the worst human beings to ever live. He conceptualized the ideal of the Party, the Inner Party, and the Proles long before Orwell.

Re:Snowden is a Patriot--his Dad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551467)

Yet he was a great man ,.much more than you will ever be.
And he wasnt as far off...most people are too stupid to be voting.

I give you the U.S. Government as the proof that most Americans are just too stupid to be given that kinda power.

A good example of this is all the people walking around with smart phones that dont have any savings.
if you can manage your own resources why should you be able to vote. People like you are the problem....oh we let everyone vote even those so stupid that they will vote for things that are unsustainable.

People like you are why. cant have nice things. Race to the lowest common denominator.

Re:Snowden is a Patriot--his Dad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551731)

Sure it's an affront to the country.

Look how poorly the country was misbehaving! The country is like a child who gets caught kicking cats and then blames it on the kid who pointed it out.

And you're the moron supporting the cat kicking.

Re:Snowden is a Patriot--his Dad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552137)

Says the moron beating a strawman. You know, it is possible to despise what Snowden did and what the US Government is doing, but you go right on fucking that chicken, microdick.

Re:Snowden is a Patriot--his Dad (5, Insightful)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year ago | (#44551617)

The difference between patriotism and treason has always depended on which side wins.

Re:Snowden is a Patriot--his Dad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551777)

"Thank God for Pvt. Manning and Mr. Snowden."

God has nothing to do with it.

Who cares? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551301)

Why does anyone care what the unapologetic father of a traitor has to say on anything? There was a day when we would have ostracized the family of this pitiful excuse for an American. Maybe the conservatives are right that we should turn the clock back a bit: a good tar and feathering would go a long way to helping this loudmouth recognize the error of his ways.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#44551323)

If telling the truth about illegal activities is treason, I wonder what lying to the American public is in your book.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

coinreturn (617535) | about a year ago | (#44551361)

If telling the truth about illegal activities is treason, I wonder what lying to the American public is in your book.

Unfortunately, it's called "The American Way" and is steeped in a very long tradition.

Re:Who cares? (1)

RulerOf (975607) | about a year ago | (#44552175)

Unfortunately, it's called "The American Way" and is steeped in a very long tradition.

I would have gone with "Campaigning for Public Office," but yours works too.

Re:Who cares? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551409)

Like how he told the truth when he swore an oath to protect national secrets? How about when he abused his access rights by accessing protected information without authorization? Do you mean to say that he /knew/ what was in the files he stole before he stole them? He was a fecking tech... he had no business even putting eyes on that material, and having done so suggests ulterior motives. His is not a difficult track to follow.

Heroes do not renounce their citizenship and seek asylum amongst foreign intelligence communities. Cowards and traitors do that.

Re:Who cares? (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#44551529)

Please to provide details as to the oath that he swore.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551713)

If it's really a surprise to you that one must swear an oath and sign a contract to maintain a TS/SCI clearance, then explaining it probably won't help, but, believe it or not, you do have to promise to keep secret data secret before being granted access to that data.

Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#44551615)

Heroes do not renounce their citizenship and seek asylum amongst foreign intelligence communities.

Heroes do. It's called asylum. And it's considered a human right.

Re:Who cares? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551995)

Heroes stand up for what's right, even if it means staring down a tank on an otherwise empty street. Snowden ran away like a child who knew he'd done something wrong. He's a coward. To call him a hero does a disservice to every real hero in the world.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552115)

He gave up everything he had to fight a far more powerful aggressor who operates in the shadows, tortures people [wikipedia.org] , and targets [thenewamerican.com] schoolchildren with killer robots. That's the very definition of hero.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551741)

Breaking the constitutional laws isn't 'national secrets'. Hiding those acts are for cowards and traitors.

Only a moron can't see that.

Re:Who cares? (1)

johanw (1001493) | about a year ago | (#44551419)

Traitor to a repressive regime like the US is hero to most of the free world (and even to most of the not so free world).

Who cares anyway wether you are a "patriot" (whatever ones definition for that is) or not? Is that such a big deal in the US? I couldn't care less wether my government called me "unpatriotic" and most people also wouldn't give a damn.

What they report here in Europe about American petriotism is something I would not want to be anyway.

Re:Who cares? (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44551963)

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

- Thomas Jefferson

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching; corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

- Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21 1864

How did he photocopy it? (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year ago | (#44551307)

Did he use a Xerox photocopier?

And if so, after looking at the copies he made did Barack later confront Michelle over discrepancies between things that she told Barack, vs what he read he read in said copies? Or did he convene a secret panel that just charged, convicted and sentenced her (queue drone strike), without her getting a chance to defend herself?

(man .. I was going for funny, so how the hell did I end up in such a dark place?)

Re:How did he photocopy it? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44551765)

There's really only one path that this leads. And it always ends up in a dark place.

We just keep hoping that there's a light afterward. But given the lack of general outrage over all this, I doubt there will be.

A better analogy (4, Informative)

Pollux (102520) | about a year ago | (#44551319)

This is like when the NSA illegally spies on US citizens.

My point: some things don't need an analogy. This is one of them.

If I were to give it an analogy, I believe this would be the most fitting...

The NSA's surveillance program is like Soylent Green. Both are just so, so wrong.

Re:A better analogy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551341)

Why do vile libs love bringing up Soylent Green? It gets old dude.

Re:A better analogy (2)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#44551971)

Why do vile libs love bringing up Soylent Green? It gets old dude.

Because it's delicious.

There will come a day (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551445)

When people like President Obama, Eric Holder, and every member of congress who have allowed gross violations of our civil rights are held accountable for their actions.

Re:There will come a day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551851)

That day is a long way off. I doubt any of those people, or any of us, will be around to see it

Also, don't forget to include all the past presidents too. And heads of the DOJ/DOD/DOE/etc/etc

And future ones. Which is the worst part.

An analogy seems a good idea, maybe a better one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551483)

The President's dishes story seems more a web blanket than something addressing the issue.
    But the basic idea of an analogy to get the idea accross seems good.

The Diary thing seems in a better direction,
      but hopefully is a stretch past what they are actually doing.
          (Well except maybe in spirit.)

Perhaps something with the Exec branch gaining leverage from watching politically incorrect text messages from Congress or Scotus.
      That seems plausible with a bad apple doing a search he's not allowed/supposed to.

Who gives a shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551521)

Fucker lied to you all, and still does.
Hes just a wolf in black sheep clothes, what did you expect?

In the long run... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551527)

I believe Ed Snowden will go down in history as an accessory before the fact to all of the future successful terrorist murders which would or might have failed if he hadn't "outed" the surveillance program. I rate him a scumbag.

Re:In the long run... (3, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44551899)

You can rate him whatever you want. Your opinion is meaningless.

If exposing illegal activities that our country did rates him a scumbag by you, then you're not worth much to the country anyway.

Car Analogy (1)

Quick Reply (688867) | about a year ago | (#44551541)

It would be like Obama completely bugging his wife's car, not because she is under the protection of the Secret Service, but because he wants to watch everything that she is up to without her knowledge. GPS Tracking, Sound, Video, the works - he can watch her every breath.

And then when she realises that he has been spying on her, he would say "Well you wouldn't mind if you have nothing to hide! I'm just cleaning out the dirty dishes!"

Re:Car Analogy (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#44551927)

Well, the NSA seems to "only" collect meta-data (unless I've missed some further revelations). It would be sort of like one spouse secretly having motion detectors secretly set up in their house to tell who is in which rooms and for how long for the purposes of making sure the other spouse isn't having an affair. "Gee, Sally. You're spending an awful lot of time in the bedroom when I'm at work. Is there anything you'd like to confess?!!!"

Re:Car Analogy (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year ago | (#44551973)

There's a good song about this: "Every breathe you take, I'll be watching you."

And by The Police, the irony has no limit.

regarding Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551591)

Obama really just has not lived up to my expectations. He hasn't fucked things up completely like W. Bush and his friends, but Obama is certainly no visionary leader.

An even better analogy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551853)

Obama photocopies Michelle's diary and locks it up in a safe. All of Barack's friends, family, 'well-wishers', 'protectors' and a few random people have access to the safe. And the key is not very good either.

Re:An even better analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551905)

Obama photocopies Michelle's diary and locks it up in a safe. All of Barack's friends, family, 'well-wishers', 'protectors' and a few random people have access to the safe. And the lock is not very good either.

FTFY.

If it were an electronic diary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552007)

Then the copy seems quite plausible.

Analogize this: Obama the tyrant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552039)

Quit beating around the bush. Only the dumb Americans don't know what Obama is: the yes we scanner traitor and tyrant. Bush was bad and Obama's been worse. He's rallied the anti-male anti-white anticapitalist Americans coast to coast behind him who cheer as he takes their liberties and destroys their nation just like Germans did for their Hitler. Obama has thrown men and black especially under the bus to gain American popularity and gain it he has while the rest of the world wakes up to his lies and propaganda.

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