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

timothy posted 1 year,20 days | from the just-washing-the-dishes-honey dept.

Government 569

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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Happy President (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553277)

And most of you voted for him. I hope you are proud of yourselves.

Re:Happy President (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553311)

Oh, screw you. How were we supposed to know he was going to pull this crap, and how would voting for the other asshole have been any better?

Re:Happy President (5, Insightful)

evendiagram (2789803) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553325)

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

There are more than two options.

Re:Happy President (4, Insightful)

ciderbrew (1860166) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553365)

There are many puppets. Do you still think you have options?

how to get by (3, Interesting)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553547)

the best way to get by is to assume that the internet is a military installation, and you have temporary guest access.

Re:Happy President (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553479)

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

There are more than two options.

Only in theory, not in practice. Without ranked voting, a vote for a 3rd party candidate is effectively a vote against whoever your second choice is, so voters are often faced with voting for the lesser of 2 evils. In the past 4 presidential elections, the only time a 3rd party candidate managed to get more than 1% of the popular vote (yet still 0% of the electoral votes) was in 2000 when Nader had 2.78% of the popular vote and if a fraction of his votes had gone to Gore, George W Bush wouldn't have made it to the white house.

Re:Happy President (5, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553535)

Only in theory, not in practice. Without ranked voting, a vote for a 3rd party candidate is effectively a vote against whoever your second choice is, so voters are often faced with voting for the lesser of 2 evils.

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

This excuse of yours only convinces other people that are also looking for an excuse for why they willingly voted to increase evil. Excuses only help the conscience of people willing to swallow them.

Re:Happy President (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#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.

Re:Happy President (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553781)

I agree with you, but ranked choice voting would get a lot more people to vote for a non dem/repub.

In California, Gov Schwarzenegger put a "citizens" petition on the ballot to remove the ability to vote for non major candidates in state-wide elections. That isn't how it was phrased, but it only allows the 2 top primary vote getters to even appear on the ballot. So, folks like me (and apparently you) who don't vote for bought and paid for dem/repub clowns have been completely disenfranchised.

Re:Happy President (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553803)

There is no "good" in politics, only degrees of evil. Your implying that no one should vote?

"SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him, out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others."--Thomas Paine Common Sense [ushistory.org]

Re:Happy President (5, Insightful)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553597)

You could go back just a bit further to see an even greater impact that a 3rd party had on the election. GWB's father lost his 2nd term due to Ross Perot taking almost 20% of the vote, which arguably would have gone to GHWB & led to his reelection.

Re:Happy President (5, Funny)

evendiagram (2789803) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553599)

From Douglas Adams's So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish:

"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 so 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."

Re:Happy President (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553683)

You sir, are a despots' wet dream and a citizenries worst nightmare.

Re: Happy President (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553745)

Are there only two options in the primaries?

Re:Happy President (4, Funny)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553519)

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

There are more than two options.

Vote Libertarian, and get the best of no world.

Re:Happy President (-1)

mi (197448) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553751)

Vote Libertarian, and get the best of no world.

Until there is a Libertarian candidate, who is remotely viable, picking Republicans is what Libertarians ought to be doing. Because Republicans are far less wrong on economy. And economic freedom is required for prosperity, which is the foundation of all others: as long as you have money to afford your own pleasure, you don't need the government to subsidize it... Even if Obama legalized marijuana (something he is yet to achieve, BTW), what good is it, if you can't pay for it?

On contrast, if an ultra-Conservative "RethugliKKKan" wins elections and, horrors, manages to outlaw abortions... Guess what? I'll still be able to afford my daughter's trip to Canada, should she ever want the procedure. On contrast, if obamas and rangels are allowed to keep running the country into ground for much longer, we will all be so poor, having a free (just bring your own blanket) abortion clinic open 24x7 next door will be of very little consolation.

The most recent elections pitted Romney — a seasoned and self-made business executive — against Obama. "Asshole" or not (and he did come off as a nice, if boring, man), Romney's leadership would've been far more certain to stop the deterioration of our economy by now... And he could not possible have made the individual liberties any worse, than they are under Obama anyway.

Kangaroo Star Chamber (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553693)

Welcome to your paradise.

If you want a Microsoft vision of the future, imagine a Nike boot stamping on a Maybeline human facebook - forever.

Re:Happy President (5, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553353)

Yeah, it must be a big surprise that such a lying politician came from Chicago. No one saw that coming, nosirree.

Re:Happy President (4, Funny)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553555)

Yeah, it must be a big surprise that such a lying politician came from Chicago. No one saw that coming, nosirree.

Excuse me, but he's from Kenya, not Chicago!

Re:Happy President (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553669)

Saying "lying politician" is like saying "silent mime". Lying isn't illegal, so they openly do it, and think less of the people for believing them anyway.

Eventually I hope people will no longer support our current model of social structure (here in America), and see these elected officials as the useless liars that they are. Until then, however, we'll all have to deal with their wishes.

Change yourself from inside, and the whole world will follow.

Re:Happy President (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553361)

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

History, precedent, whatever you want to call it. Only those with their eyes closed would be surprised by any of this.

Re:Happy President (4, Insightful)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553443)

I think the surprise is how well the President and Republicans are united on this issue....

Re:Happy President (2)

JeanCroix (99825) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553719)

The two main parties are so at each others' throats most of the time, that they've convinced the populace that anything labelled bipartisan is wonderful.

Re: Happy President (4, Insightful)

jd2112 (1535857) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553763)

You seem to be under the misconception that there are two major political parties. In reality there is only one party that has managed to convince most people that (1) that there are two major parties, (2) there is a substantial difference between the two, and (3) that one or the other represents thier interests (and/or one or the other is out to destroy everything near and dear to you. )

Re:Happy President (3, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553449)

Eyes pinched closed, fingers in their ears, going 'nah nah nah nah'.

They could have found a libertarian/green buddy (whichever they don't choose) and both vote for 3rd parties, feeling safe they wouldn't change the outcome of the 'lessor of two evils' election while still boosting the party they actually support.

Re:Happy President (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553579)

Eyes pinched closed, fingers in their ears, going 'nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye' .

there you go!

Re:Happy President (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553397)

at least the "other asshole" didn't promise transparency.

Re:Happy President (3, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553459)

There had been enough hints in his previous mandate to know that the trend was just growing. And while voting for the other was been no change of direction, expressely voting no option, or choosing a third party, just to show that you don't approve what the main 2 are, would be a way. If a big enough percent of people didn't like (and expressed to be that way) any of the options, they would had at least a hint.

If you think this is already bad, there are still a few years for things getting even worse, and enough people that think just like you (that if is not one is the other), so the next election won't change trends at all, no matter if is elected the other party. Things will get so bad that 1984 will look like utopia, not distopia.

Re:Happy President (4, Informative)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553651)

Things will get so bad that 1984 will look like utopia, not distopia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia_(book) [wikipedia.org]

Utopia isn't really what people think it is. Of course, the irony is that in modern usage, it does mean "perfect society" despite the satirical bent of More's original work.

And I believe 1984 was actually intended to look like Utopia in the first place, IIRC.

Re:Happy President (2)

Xicor (2738029) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553563)

there are more than two candidates. it is only idiots like you that keep the election running as though there are only two parties. also, you should have known this would happen... democrats and republicans are really the exact same party. they both answer directly to the same people, and both wish to expand the powers of government. if you want a real president, your only real choice is libertarian

Re:Happy President (2)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553593)

If Mitt Romney had won, maybe the Democrats would be fighting against this garbage.

And believe me, you have no idea how disgusted I feel suggesting that a Romney presidency might have had a better outcome.

Re:Happy President (-1, Flamebait)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553351)

Yeah because Bush didn't start wire tapping BEFORE 9/11.....oh wait he did.....

Re: Happy President (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553415)

"...but, but, but, *BUSH*!"

Seriously, in your mind, at which point does Obama become responsible for his own actions?

It's not like the 2012 election was GWB vs. Obama.

Re: Happy President (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553487)

This is the conversation you are having right now.

1) PARTY A is evil, we should have voted for PARTY B.
2) PARTY B was evil first.
3) Why are you blaming party B for A's actions?

Re: Happy President (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553561)

This is the conversation you are having right now.

1) PARTY A is evil, we should have voted for PARTY B.
2) PARTY B was evil first.
3) Why are you blaming party B for A's actions?

Actually, the conversation we are having now is a subset of your archetype:

4) Metadiscussion of the trope.
5) Metametadiscussion.

Re: Happy President (4, Insightful)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553585)

Perhaps Americans don't yet believe you have a One Party system. You know the one. It's called the Business Party (run by the rich and powerful for their own benefit) with two factions: Democrat and Republican.

Looking back, it seems like the USA was sold a raw deal. First, soften you up with Baby Bush (and his occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq after the event of 911 and the institution of the NSA spying program before the attacks), then turn around and hit you between the eyes with "Hope". Obama strengthened Baby Bush policies (including several additional rounds of giving money to the already rich bankers thru QE2 and QE3, as well as the currently discussed spying on American soil on Americans), and expanded Presidential power to "legally" execute whomever he chooses without the executed ever standing trial for their deeds.

Apparently habeas corpus and rights granted by the 4th amendment are too difficult and "heavy" concepts for simpleton-Americans to realize their value. Perhaps liberty and freedom are concepts just too remotely difficult to grasp and apply in any meaningful way to your daily lives.

Re:Happy President (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553485)

Just to be accurate FDR started wire tapping BEFORE 9/11. They've gotten better at it, but the moral line was crossed long ago.

To be fair FDR had us wire tapping the English and Australians. The English and Australian spooks were wiretapping our parents and grandparents.

Re:Happy President (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553775)

Just to be accurate Lincoln conducted the first practice of this back in 1862.

Re:Happy President (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553577)

Don't you dare defame the Glorious Leader! Obummer is the messiah. He is the alpha and the omega!

Re:Happy President (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553657)

>implying that voting for Romney would have been any better
>implying that the U.S. wouldn't have ended up being renamed "MormonLand"
>implying that in the new MormonLand, if you don't convert to Mormonism, you'd be sent to a FEMA "re-education" camp, pumped full of drugs, and psychologically tortured by be subjected to Donny and Marie re-runs until your eyes and ears bled
>implying that any Republican candidate wouldn't have just been a continuation of the same bullshit we had to put up with from the Bush family of traitors-to-their-country
>implying that there is ANYONE in politics who is even REMOTELY qualified to run this country
>implying that the President isn't just a goddamned motherfucking figurehead anymore anyway
>implying your mom doesn't 100% agree with me, she said so last night when I was in HER ASS
>implying implications

Arguably lied? (5, Informative)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553297)

Either he did or he didn't, there's no in-between. In actuality he lied, and did it intentionally.

Re:Arguably lied? (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553359)

Either he did or he didn't, there's no in-between. In actuality he lied, and did it intentionally.

Technically, I don't think one can lie unintentionally.

Re:Arguably lied? (1)

paradigm82 (959074) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553417)

He himself later apologized for lying to congress:
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/02/james-clapper-apologizes-for-lying-to-congress-about-nsa-surveillance-clearly-erroneous/ [theblaze.com]
So he definitely lied.

Re:Arguably lied? (5, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553501)

He himself later apologized for lying to congress:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/02/james-clapper-apologizes-for-lying-to-congress-about-nsa-surveillance-clearly-erroneous/ [theblaze.com]

So he definitely lied.

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.

Re: Arguably lied? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553531)

It workered for Eric Holder ... several times.

Re: Arguably lied? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553557)

Yeah, but he decided not to investigate himself, so it's cool, right?

Re:Arguably lied? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553605)

It's much more important to prosecute for lying about taking steroids to play baseball than it is to prosecute for lying about fucking your country.

Re:Arguably lied? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553539)

"Either he did or he didn't, there's no in-between"

You obviously aren't a politician! He only lied if the masses rise up against him. Otherwise, since no one cares, he technically did, but not in such a way that matters.

Re:Arguably lied? (2, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553543)

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.

Re:Arguably lied? (4, Informative)

OffTheLip (636691) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553631)

Considering a career in politics? Language parsing and nuance abound reaching stellar heights with politicians led by super stars like Bill Clinton with his explanation of the meaning of "is" wrt to his intern. Clapper did not misspeak, he lied.

They aren't taking the issue seriously (5, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553307)

It's up to us to contact our representatives and let them know that they can't just sweep this under the rug like usual. There has to be consequences.

Re:They aren't taking the issue seriously (2)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553333)

While I agree with you, I hate to point out that Americans have a very difficult time doing anything like remotely holding political representatives accountable for anything they do that is clearly, willfully wrong.

It's up to us to contact our representatives and let them know that they can't just sweep this under the rug like usual. There has to be consequences.

Re:They aren't taking the issue seriously (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553637)

"There has to be consequences." You mean like Chicago consequences? Vote early vote often?

Re:They aren't taking the issue seriously (5, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553769)

What consequences exactly?
The same consequences Congress faced when they were found to be engaged in RAMPANT insider-trading?
The same consequences the Bankers faced when they purposefully bankrupted Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac?
The same consequences we see any member of government facing for the NSA spying debacle?

Look guy, I hate to break it to you but the "America" you believed in never really existed and it's never going to exist.
In generations past, we had the facade of that America and everyone tried their best to preserve that ideal.
But the cat's been out of the bag for quite awhile now.

Fact is, Congress and the President are jointly focused on obtaining as much power and control over you as possible.
It's no longer about liberty, it's about Federal might and majesty.

It's just a matter of time before the entirely of the Constitution is circumvented by Congress.

End this (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553313)

Let's put Obama in Gitmo

Re:End this (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553643)

A just comment considering his undetermined citizenship and his unrelenting campaign of terror against American citizens.

One can only temper his actions by thinking that the only reason the American government is engaged in such a program of unwarranted surveillance against the U.S. citizen is that it considers the typical US citizen as an enemy of the state. In other words, yes, the government is afraid of the United States citizenry as the only force available in the world today that can overthrow it.

Democracy has failed (4, Interesting)

Ckwop (707653) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553319)

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.

Re:Democracy has failed (5, Insightful)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553375)

Campaign finance reform would go along way to changing the system.

Re:Democracy has failed (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553499)

The problem is two corrupt parties. I don't see how guaranteeing only those parties public finance will change things. It will make it worse.

Re:Democracy has failed (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553507)

No it won't. It will do nothing. The voter has to learn to resist propaganda, and think critically. Check the records, not the campaign speeches. Campaign 'reform' is a bullshit shell game, just like term limits. They will find another way to launder the money.

Re:Democracy has failed (5, Interesting)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | 1 year,20 days | (#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.

Re:Democracy has failed (3, Interesting)

BoRegardless (721219) | 1 year,20 days | (#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.

Re:Democracy has failed (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553753)

> Campaign finance reform would go along way to changing the system

I assume you're being sarcastic, which is the only possible rational interpretation of this post. Bravo +1 Funny

Re:Democracy has failed (4, Insightful)

myowntrueself (607117) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553395)

Representative democracy is subverted from the very beginning and its so easy to subvert. Most of the voting population make their voting decisions in the same way they make purchasing decisions. By the way, the majority of people don't evaluate the relative benefits etc of the various products they get to choose from. They make their decisions based on advertising. Advertising works, its worth big money, theres no argument there.. It works for products and services and it 'works' for democracy too.

The people who control the advertising control the democracy and so democracy almost automatically transforms into mediacracy.

Re:Democracy has failed (1, Insightful)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553409)

Read Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States. It's always been thus. It's never been a democracy. It's only been a republic.

Re:Democracy has failed (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553427)

There must be a way to have our cake and eat it.

Probably not the best metaphor. Once you eat your cake, you don't have it anymore.

I agree, though, that the situation has room for improvement. Term limits, direct voting, jury duty-like selection for public office? There's got to be something in there that will fix issues like this.

Re:Democracy has failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553477)

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.

Yeah, but it requires educated, informed and interested populace.
Now I have to get back to my "Real Housewives ..."

It works, ours is just broken. (4, Interesting)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553515)

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:Democracy has failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553517)

It is not the system but the amount of representation currently afforded the citizen. You can think of all representative systems as equal; surely they must very in quality by how representative they are. In the US as the population has grown so has the number of people each representative represents. Each citizen thus has less representation than previous generations and less access to influence and hold accountable their representative. This trend consolidates power and allows for corruption to take root. If there were 10 time as many representatives as their are now in the US then corruption would be a lot harder to both conceal and pay for on such a grand scale. Representative government is about deviding power into small chunks so that no man is corrupted by it. When you start getting corruption its time to divide up the power a little more.

Re:Democracy has failed (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553707)

The first US congress in 1790 had 64 members in the House of Representatives (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_United_States_Congress) and a US population (from the census) was at just under 4 million people (http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/uspop.htm). Thats about 62,500 people per representative. Today the average House of Representatives members represent more than 700,000 people (http://www.thegreenpapers.com/Census10/FedRep.phtml?sort=Hous#table), about 10x the amount of the first congress.

Re:Democracy has failed (5, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | 1 year,20 days | (#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.

Re:Democracy has failed (4, Interesting)

Captain Hook (923766) | 1 year,20 days | (#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.

Re:Democracy has failed (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#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:Democracy has failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553749)

We have to find some way of removing corporate funds from government, remove political lobbies. Right now if someone steps out of line of their backers or their party they become a pariah to be replaced with someone who won't question their party lines. This over time leads to what we have today, which is a highly partisan, ineffectual government.

A couple things that might help would be term limits - this would mean the representative would at least for one term not worry about getting reelected and be able to speak for themselves. However a downside here is they might just speak for a lobby that pays them enough and offers a job after their term - which is why political lobbies need to go away.

Another thing would be changing to fund limited campaigns of public money. Limiting the amount of money each campaign has and the sources public would make candidate do less fundraising (aka those $15000 a plate dinners and such) and more actual campaigning. Right now roughly 25% of a candidate's time is fund raising, individuals, unions and corporations that are pretty clear they expect a return on their 'investment'.

The downside here is the PAC/SuperPAC end-around. I'm not for limiting free speech but something would have to be done there.

I'd like to see political parties as they stand now end and individuals elected be able to operate based on how the people who they are supposed to represent want, not how their party wants.

American version of Hanlon's Razor (4, Informative)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553329)

You explain everything with malice in the government, and idiocy in the voters

Even a broken clock is correct twice a day (3, Interesting)

Taantric (2587965) | 1 year,20 days | (#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:Even a broken clock is correct twice a day (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553391)

Because a politician pulled the old switcheroo...yeah real prophetic *eye roll*

Re:Even a broken clock is correct twice a day (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553429)

sorry the people still have hopey. Lots of hopey... I hopey that people that say hopey never get into powery.

Re:Even a broken clock is correct twice a day (1)

TheCarp (96830) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553537)

There are a couple of old adages/jokes:

Q: "How do you know a politician is lieing?" A: "His lips are moving"

and

Q: "When do you know a politician is telling the truth?" A:"When he calls his opponent a liar"

it isn't "oddly prophetic"; it is calling the long standing trend.

Re:Even a broken clock is correct twice a day (1)

Bartles (1198017) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553813)

How's your our current crop of intellectual leaders working out for ya?

Devil's advocate here... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553343)

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but because the NSA has a lot of experience with security/privacy, they might be the best guys for the job, since they know what threats are out there. Yes, they are SIGINT, and maybe their HUMINT needs some shoring up, but expertise is expertise. You may not want the fox guarding the henhouse, but the fox will at least know which chickens are the most tender.

Re:Devil's advocate here... (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553405)

LMOL ok Potsy....

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553357)

nt

Who else would they report to? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553401)

This is a panel to determine if the US "employs its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, such as the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to maintain the public trust."

This isn't supposed to be oversignt. It's entirely for the NSA's benefit.

Its good to be king (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553411)

As political apathy sets in, corruption doesn't even bother hiding anymore.

Getting screwed (5, Funny)

grasshoppa (657393) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553413)

You know, at least politicians of yesteryear would *convincingly* lie to us. I really appreciated the time and effort they went to to construct these elaborate castles of "inaccuracies", all in an effort to appease the masses.

These new politicians...I dunno...they don't even *try* anymore. It's like they're too busy screwing us and just phone in the excuses.

Re:Getting screwed (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553525)

Politicians are like little kids, always pushing at their boundaries.
Fuck up unintentionally and get away with it? ->
Fuck up intentionally, cover it up well and get away with it? ->
Fuck up intentionally, cover it up badly and get away with it? ->
Fuck up intentionally, don't cover it up at all and get away with it? -> ...

Re:Getting screwed (2)

gaspyy (514539) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553565)

And this surprises you?

Last time I was surprised was in 2003, after it became evident there were no WMDs in Iraq. I expected public outcry, heads to roll. Nothing happened.

Re:Getting screwed (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553653)

I was being facetious. The last time a politician managed to surprise me was...multiple decades ago.

I was calling bullshit on WMD before we stepped foot into Iraq the second time. The data was there, it showed the lie for what it was for anyone willing to look for it. But no one cared. The public, who was still enraged by 9/11, was fed a convenient lie that eased their conscious. No one wanted to kick up the truth and anger the public.

Re:Getting screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553587)

And the same genus that thought this was a good idea would jump at the chance to put Bernie Madof the ponzi scheme king in charge of overseeing the banking industry reform.

Who is N$A little lap dog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553433)

Oh yeah, 'bama is...

Panel Will Also Operate in Secret (5, Informative)

EmagGeek (574360) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553435)

The article doesn't state it, but I heard on CBS News Radio this morning that the panel will also operate in secret, and all records will be classified.

Nothing to see here, move along, citizen. Thank you for your cooperation.

Re:Panel Will Also Operate in Secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553583)

And I'm sure we'll be paying them a hefty salary and pension for this great bit of work they will be doing.

I bet plenty of campaign donors are going to be lining up for the cushy assignment.

First draft of panel's report. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553441)

Any bets on what the panel will find? This is so close to 1984 you'd think it was a dream.

title is grossly inaccurate (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44553445)

um.... DNI != NSA

The worrisome thing (5, Insightful)

korbulon (2792438) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553527)

Is that they live in a world so far removed from our own - in which civil rights, due process and conflicts of interest are active concerns - to such an extent that doing something like this "ain't no thang". Disturbing.

Frankly, they could have at least pretended to give a shit.

Putting the fox in charge of the henhouse? (3, Insightful)

neo-mkrey (948389) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553533)

Except even that doesn't fully capture what is going on here. More like putting KFC in charge of the henhouse?

transparent (1)

beefoot (2250164) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553551)

He could have appointed his cat as the head of privacy reform panel on paper and secretly the panel reports to Mr Clapper. If Obama is not transparent, you wouldn't find out about it.

Yay (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | 1 year,20 days | (#44553755)

The people investigating wrong-doing will be supervised by the wrong-doers.

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