Why Obama Cannot Undo the Surveillance Society—But We Can - WhoWhatWhy

Why Obama Cannot Undo the Surveillance Society—But We Can

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protect-freedomPresident Obama, taking a smart political tack in the uproar following several explosive disclosures on NSA domestic spying practices, said he was all in favor of a vigorous public debate—that it would be a “healthy” thing. But calling for a public debate is one thing; actually doing anything to facilitate a truly open discussion, much less acting on what such a discussion might reveal, is quite another.

Today, the New York Times, in a news/analysis article, essentially declared that there was no hope for any kind of restraint of growing government spying on the public. Not if it is up to the people’s representatives.

The Times noted that secrecy rules will prevent robust and open discussion in Congress. It also pointed out that Republicans will mostly stay in line with their traditional allies in the intelligence services—and that Democrats will too, both because they will want to show they did the right thing in voting to authorize the Patriot Act and other relevant legislation, and because during this round, the leader is Obama, a Democrat.

But that’s just the beginning of the difficulties in the way of achieving reform of our incipient surveillance state. The Times goes on to say:

Nor is it clear that political pressure from either Congress or the public will be sufficient to prompt the administration to open the door wider on government surveillance.

When even an establishment-serving entity like the New York Times virtually concedes that there’s no hope for reform even when the vast majority might want it, this is a signal that something is deeply amiss in this society.

Congress Can’t, President Won’t, Which Means….

Of course, there is more to the story.

What the Times and other media will not and perhaps cannot say, is this: not only is Congress impotent in these matters, but it wouldn’t even matter if the president himself chose to act. Here’s why.

As history shows us, when it comes to the overall direction of American governance, absent generally minor tweaks of foreign policy and somewhat more robust swings on certain domestic issues that rouse voting bases (notably things like gay and reproductive rights and, lately, immigration) presidents of both parties rarely deviate from a kind of “consensus” cobbled together by people in academia, media and government, a consensus that almost always serves the interests of a fairly small number of wealthy people and interests. (If you’ve never heard this notion, a visit to one of our remaining public libraries might be in order.)

This is not a partisan issue. It doesn’t matter who is president. No “ordinary American who can dream of one day becoming president” is in a position to alter the basic equation, which would involve bucking the vast military-financial-industrial-academic complex that drives the American economy, funds our political elections and keeps people in line through any means necessary. That’s as true of Obama as it was of Kennedy or Nixon or…fill in the blank. For more on this, see our 2010 piece “What Obama is Up Against.”

“A Bullet For Your Thoughts?”

President Obama, who presumably believed in and hoped to achieve some of the promises he made as a candidate, has no choice but to try and keep people complacent, for he is essentially helpless. This is in part because of the power-brokers to whom he owes his political success—figures from the liberal end of the same status-quo-benefiting money spectrum—bankers, investors, corporate attorneys—who always run things. He has almost no wiggle room.

As we previously reported (see this and this), his efforts to assert himself have not gone well. Notably, when he tried to reduce troops substantially in Afghanistan, a campaign of leaks from high-placed military sources, accommodated by their friends in the media, immediately neutered him. Once it became clear that virtually no one would actually tell the public what had happened in this instance (or bring to the spotlight the tremendous financial stakes in Afghanistan for corporate interests), Obama must have understood what history has in store for him: the legacy of a Carter or a Clinton or perhaps a Ford, followed by the rewards heaped upon a Bill Clinton in the long years remaining in his life.

Steven Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy told the Times, “If President Obama really welcomed a debate, there are all kinds of things he could do in terms of declassification and disclosure to foster it. But he’s not doing any of them.”

And indeed, he could do them in principle, but he cannot do them in reality. One of the many things he supposedly could do, but inexplicably has failed to do, is to declassify the remaining files on the JFK assassination.

If he were to release records on the national security apparatus during this, the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of another president, what a powerful statement that would be. And it would perhaps open doors to greater understanding of exactly how and when a military-intelligence clique answering to moneyed interests seized de facto power in this country.


But of course he can’t. Study the JFK assassination, the RFK assassination, the MLK assassination. Those bullets were pretty effective messages. Take a look at this video of John F. Kennedy’s Secret Service protection melting away just before he is assassinated. (For a comedian/social commentator’s take on the implicit message, watch this.)

From his first moments in office, as we have reported in the past, Obama has been sent plenty of unsubtle messages himself about the need to tread carefully. (See this and this.)

Once you read those, please think about why the establishment invests so much effort in persuading us that anyone who dares speculate on these matters, or inquire, is a nut to be shunned, ridiculed, penalized.

Why do you think rich people own media outlets, or befriend or seek to influence the owners? Because they are in a perfect position to tell the masses what to worry about, what not to worry about, what they might aspire to change, and what must or will be left as it is.

The preferred and most comfortable roles of the media, Hollywood, publishing, and academia are to get us to focus on individuals and personalities, and to exaggerate their significance—not to focus us on recurring patterns that render those individuals largely irrelevant.

Guess Who “Has the Power”? Surprise!

We all like to believe we are free, and that we determine the direction of this country, but it has seldom been true in the past and it is even less true now.

Many of us find this too upsetting to contemplate, or, given the comforts that financial security affords, confuse economic with political freedom. Either way, blinders are the preferred apparel.

And yet there is real reason to wake up, and pay attention.

The truth is that the “powerful” individuals in whom we invest our hope have little power. But, paradoxically, the individuals who actually have power—or rather could have power—are….ourselves.

Most of us feel better believing we cannot do anything, because then we do not have to do anything. But if each of us did something, even a little, and got a few others to do something, before you knew it, we might actually have democracy.

I remember covering the fall of communism in East Germany. I personally witnessed individuals take action to make sure that the window of opportunity got wider—holding covert meetings, getting onto buses with ski masks to hand out leaflets, signaling resistance to the authorities in small ways so that the establishment workers would themselves begin letting go of the status quo.

If it can happen in one “surveillance society,” it can happen in our “surveillance-society-in-the-making.” Spread the word: freedom is not so bad, once you get used to it.

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41 responses to “Why Obama Cannot Undo the Surveillance Society—But We Can”

  1. Lee Cahalan says:

    Russ, my friends over at the “Oswald Innocence Campaign” would surely enjoy your words. here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/212070865635250/217912575051079/?comment_id=217918065050530&notif_t=like

    I believe that during Obama’s 2008 campaign trip to Dallas, TX that Secret Service stopped checking the audience with metal detectors. A not so subtle “hint” for the then likely 2008 Presidential winner to tread lightly.

    Also, had the Salahi couple’s hands (crashing the White House dinner party) been dusted with weapons grade anthrax spores? Obama, Biden would have been killed. Leaving Speaker of the House John Boehner in charge. Nightmare x a hundred…

  2. Karen M. Roderick says:

    I am the woman you heard cry out through the tv on September 11, 2001 also known as 911. The Char Bar War Group are four men who are a navy, army, air force and marine. They have ties to Singapore the prostitute capitol. They get paid by Bar Davis Interloo. They strive for prlo.

  3. edwardrynearson says:

    Obama is a puppet and has no real power.

  4. Joseph Zernik, PhD says:

    Elementary! Nothing short of a regime change will do!

  5. Tempster says:

    Since they like to collect everything, we should help them out and give them more. If you subscribe to everything on the net and as it comes in label it Junk, they will soon have to put a superdupercomputer into outer space to keep up with it all.

  6. SS2X39 says:

    I get the impression that a lot of liberals seem to think Obama is a simulacrum they impress their ideologies onto. He does not have any problem with the surveillance state, he’s an unabashed authoritarian statist.

  7. badlimey says:

    Step 1. Limit all political office to a single term.

    • Frank von Winkhorst says:

      Are you serious? Obama’s presidency is limited to two terms and he is in his second term Just exactly what has that done to improve his behavior? Nothing. Zero. Zilch.

    • badlimey says:

      All politicians, it was only a single sentence which part don’t you understand? Stop thinking that one party is better than the next, they are following the same agenda.

    • Frank von Winkhorst says:

      Obama is in his last legal term, which is precisely equivalent to being limited to a single term, which you imply would have some salutary effect on the behaviour of politicians. Clearly, it has none. He is behaving no better than he would if he had not been limited to two terms. What about that do YOU not understand?

    • badlimey says:

      No 1 + 1 does not equal 1 it = 2. I would say things have gotten progressively worse in his 2nd term. Go back to school.

  8. Michael Calder says:

    It’s not that he has no wiggle room but that he has no guts. The only other explanation for his administration is that he was never the person he pretended to be. Which in turn means he was selected to push someone else’s agenda from the beginning. It was all an act and I fell for it the first time around.

    • Frank von Winkhorst says:


      And I am getting sick and tired of hearing what Obama “can’t do.” Do you mean to tell me that there are not enough regular army troops with loyal commanders to roll their tanks up to the gates of NSA headquarters and say, “Come out with your hands up!”?

    • onedavide says:


      love the work u did in finishing u’r cal degree michael, wish i’d have thought of it, as we were there at the same time.

  9. canismajoris says:

    The implied key to freedom and democracy here is civil disobedience, sounds like. So look what happened to OWS?? There’s no first amendment protection anymore for the right to peacefully assemble, etc., just jail time and a police record.

  10. ShirlB says:

    I disagree with this statement: “Many of us find this too upsetting to contemplate, or, given the comforts that financial security affords, confuse economic with political freedom.” Great Depression II is still affecting all but the 1%. Most people who’d speak up fear losing their jobs.

    “If it can happen in one “surveillance society,” it can happen in our “surveillance-society-in-the-making.” Those who favor that kind of society have been building it since 1945. Google Top Secret America, an interactive 2011 project by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin at the Washington Post, to view the sheer size of the infrastructure.


    Cenk Uygur uses Obama’s brief, ringing denunciation of Bush era surveillance during the 2008 campaign as an example of his current perfidy. Whoever loaded the teleprompter knew what voters wanted to hear. Thanks for this, Westcoastliberal.


    Fast forward to 2013 for the president’s response to the Snowden leak. How things change! For those with slow connections, here’s what he said:

    “I came in with a healthy skepticism about these programs. My team evaluated them. We scrubbed them thoroughly. We actually expanded some of the oversight. But my assessment and my team’s assessment was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks. You can’t have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and then 0% inconvenience. [stutters] Ah, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society and what I can say is that in evaluating these programs, they make a difference in our capacity to anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity. In the abstract, you can complain about “Big Brother” and how this is uh a potential eh, uh program run amok but when you actually look at the details, when I think we’ve struck the right balance.”

    That he can say that with a straight face might lead one to think that Obama has amnesia for the bombings in Boston and is overwhelmingly ignorant about the many anomalies that Russ and others have ferreted out.

    In the third 2008 campaign debate, John McCain referred to 11/22/63 as the “intervention of the tragedy” in Dallas. Obama sat silent. He’s unlikely to release more JFK records. Why not FOIA the tax records of Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, Ruth Paine, Michael Paine, and George de Mohrenschildt, the most direct route to seeing who they really worked for?

    I agree with Russ that the responsibility for change falls to us citizens but not because the president is hemmed in by forces beyond his control. He is actively complaisant with the status quo as evidenced by his appointment of Chicago crony Cass Sunstein to supervise the administration’s transparency initiative. Russ has reported on the paper authored by Sunstein and a colleague that suggested infiltrating groups that disagree with official interpretations and sowing confusion with disinformation. Dazzled by a man who cut an imposing figure and spoke grammatically, we’ve been transported back to the 1960s, before the Church Committee forbade the NSA to engage in warrantless or domestic spying.

    Effective tactics must diverge from those of the 1960s. Despite all of the energy expended on demonstrations, legislation and investigative committees, we are even worse off today. No one has ever attempted to repeal or amend the unconstitutional National Security Act of 1947, which concentrated government power in an executive branch surrounded by a posse of unelected appointees. It’s past time for the ACLU to earn its keep

  11. GeoH says:

    I’m sorry my response of yesterday was profane and rambling and not completely sourced: three strikes!

    So allow me to recap with my main points:

    1. Americans are being herded into airport confessionals where they are made to raise their hands in the air (surrender) and be millimetered.

    2. Former Homeland Security secretary Chertoff has been criticized for heavily promoting full-body scanners while not
    always fully disclosing that he is a lobbyist for one of the companies that makes the machines.

    3. Michael Hayden (sorry I confused him with Robert Gates before), on January 23, 2006, participated in a news conference where, as NSA Director, he erroneously said “probable cause” is not in the 4th Amendment. He is now part of the Chertoff Group
    Hayden has called for prosecution of Snowden.

    Again, my apologies for sloppy posting…glad it was pruned.

  12. Suze O says:

    Good article Russ. I heard about the “secret government” long ago and I have no doubt it exists. So many times we are told by candidates that they will “change” Washington, only to have things continue as they are. Because corporations and powerful entities and people have gotten even more in-your-face lately, we are more aware of their existence. When Obama, in one of the early days of his presidency, ordered a drone strike, I figured it was not his idea, but the prodding of the CIA who had already planned it. They just wanted the perception that HE was responsible. JFK, early in his term, found himself in the midst of the Bay of Pigs, a preconceived operation in which he was supposed to act as the CIA wanted him to. The fact that he resisted probably did much to seal his fate. The covert services could not, would not work with an independently-minded chief executive that would derail their plans. Undoubtedly, Obama knows that.

  13. disqus_c1mBD6Pc4C says:

    keep debating and forget why we are debating remember the peace talks during viet-nam??? how long did we argue the design and shape of the table??? ; a distraction while the killing continued and we lost track of the issue

  14. disqus_c1mBD6Pc4C says:

    calling for public debate is saying “keep talking while i keep doing as i want” a distraction ..,,.. there’s no reason to have a debate because it’s not legal ; STOP IT

  15. GeoH says:

    Little tale of airport security for you. In getting on a plane today, my wife and I had to go through security, which means the skeletor (chertoff) scanner machine and all the disrobing and long lines of bins filled with whatnot from everyone’s pockets, etc. In line, our immediate neighbor agreed with my under-the-breath grumbling, but like everyone else, complied. My wife went before me – she’s about 100 pounds of school teacher with 25 years of experience as a fourth grade teacher. While I was raising my arms as they have you do (and my middle fingers) I noticed that my wife was being detained…as time went on, they had me trapped in this skeletor machine, so I begged to exit back out the front and complained the the TSA guy there that my wife was being assaulted by one of his colleagues. I had some time to sit stand around so I mentioned how I kind of remembered growing up in a free country (in retrospect…maybe not so much so) and they guy was sympathetic but said, “that was before they started flying planes into buildings.” I countered with, “look to the CIA and the Pentagon for the roots of that.” No response. Finally I got a treble dose of the Skeletor and got to join my wife in the private chambers where the lady said things like, “I’m going to feel your breasts now.” uh huh. She ended up advising my wife that she shouldn’t where a dress with bunched fabric. This is the mind fuck they’re putting on us…and have been doing so long that younger people now don’t even have a reference for what it was like before. Occupy the Skeletor machine with a bony finger for Obama and the other minions of Lord Brennan and King Kissinger.

    The point of this is just to give a snapshot of where we’re at: people being forced to submit to the police state as a matter of course.
    While I’m rambling, I noted Robert Gates on TV at the airport (this is the Gates who, as head of NSA, refuted the fact that the words “probable cause” are in the 4th amendment) saying how Snowden is a criminal and should be prosecuted and jailed. The credential attributed to Gates now are something along the lines of chief of fuckshit for Chertoff (Skeletor) Inc.

  16. Rob says:

    If we can learn anything from the stories of people who lived under oppressive regimes in the past, such as East Germany or the Soviet Union, its that where there is a will, there is a way. Today, in the west ( generally speaking ) there is no will, so there is no way. We will see what tomorrow brings…

  17. kmansfield says:

    No. He can declassify Sec 215 of the patriot act, and not classify the opinions of the FISA court. there are a lot of strings that can be pulled. This is apologia.
    Judiciary and the Intel committees along with the Executive have pulled off a coup.
    This narrative, that Obama is the most powerful persona in the world is transformed into a helpless naif is credulous. wow.

    • G Trieste says:

      I got the impression this piece was a bit of apologia also.
      But it is premised upon the self-interests of the POTUS, using that as an excuse, Baker here kinda says “Well what else could he do?”.
      But that is not good grounds for apology, what he could do is put the american machine and people before himself and implement the policies and actions needed to correct the problems.
      That is what Obama said he would do in campaign mode, but now that it is his ass on the line, he demurs.

  18. colleen says:

    Obama has admitted his hands are tied — telling progressives at a dinner party: look what happened to MLK http://mondoweiss.net/2013/06/reneged-progressive-promises.html

    Thank you Russ especially for indicating how release of the Kennedy records would shed light on the NSA surveillance state. I’ve been waiting for anyone in the left media to make that connection. I should have predicted that you’d be the one shouting that deep message.

  19. Nony Mouse says:

    Whatever O’s motivations, you are quite right that it is up to each of us to turn this around. Many are outraged, but who has written their congressmen and senators – sure they are the ones who okay’d this, but they can also change it. Plus, I am going to sell my Apple stock. I am no longer on Google and soon I will use secure mail. I quit Facebook long ago because the “Look at Me” culture made me sick. It truly is up to us.

  20. guest says:

    Russ, your take on Obama seems to be that he personally wants to do the right thing on many issues, but can’t because of the constraints you mention. I’m not so sure about that. I think Obama personally identifies and sides with the national security apparatus/apparatciks. Why? Because there is very solid evidence that he came from a family of CIA operatives and was groomed from a very early age by the CIA. See this book by investigative journalist Wayne Madsen for the details: http://www.amazon.com/The-Manufacturing-President-Insertion-Barack/dp/1478260645. If Madsen is right his findings it would explain Obama’s maddening conservatism far better than alleged feelings of fear/intimidation on his part.
    (Note: Madsen doesn’t claim that Obama was born outside of the U.S. and therefore is ineligible to be President. He is not a “birther.” He uncovers a deeper and much more interesting story, which is that in order to ensure that Presidents from both sides of the political aisle do their bidding, the CIA now makes sure that only men and women who have worked for as CIA assets or operatives make it to the presidency. Just look at Bill Clinton, who made it to the presidency after allowing the CIA to use his state of Arkansas as the logistical base of the Iran-Contra operation (google “Mena” and you’ll find the story.)

    • russbaker says:

      The Internet is home to a lot of material, and we see people frequently coming here and reposting it. Our policy is that careful journalism does not jump to conclusions because of possible (and they are only possible) CIA ties. We do not know for certain of any overt or significant direct CIA connections, although there are some hints possibly worth pursuing, certainly in terms of the work his mother and stepfather did in Indonesia.

      But it is grossly unfair to definitively conclude that possible–and it is only possible–activities of one’s parents or other relatives necessarily shape one’s life. Lewis Lapham, the former editor of Harper’s, published some of the toughest material about the CIA, and his brother was the Agency’s general counsel. Because of how expansive the intelligence community is, hundreds of thousands of non-involved people have family or other connections. That does not prove anything about the individual in question. The one thing we know about Obama himself is that as a young man he worked briefly for a firm that did some contract research for the Agency. But again, to be fair, there may be no more to the story, and thousands have worked for outside firms doing statistical analysis and such, without that turning into something more meaty. Remember, we all have relatives, and we’d be wise to treat others as we wish to be treated, lest we get caught in our own formulations.

    • guest says:

      I agree in general with all you have written, although I do think you’ve mischaracterised Madsen’s research, which uncovers interesting connections/activities not only on the part of the mother and stepfather, but on the part of the (maternal) grandfather and father, too. I heartily endorse his book, not as a definitive treatise on Obama’s CIA past, but as an issue-spotting piece that raises many question’s about Obama’s background and early-adult involvements, which were never credibly investigated by the media when he was running for president. As Madsen himself has said, many of us were so relieved to have a liberal-sounding democrat running for office in 2008 that we didn’t ask any questions about him. Madsen asks questions, and, as you have written, asking questions is not a bad thing. Obama’s rise was meteroic, like JFK’s; someone/somebody was behind that meteroic rise. In JFK’s case, it was no secret; it was his father. In Obama’s case it is a well-kept secret, one that I would suggest needs to be broken open.

    • guest says:

      One point I omitted: I hope you don’t mind that many of your fans ‘re-post’ here information from the internet that we find relevant to the issues you have raised. Those of us who are concerned about defeating the power control group of this country are not going to succeed unless we share resources and insights (in a word, unless we collaborate). I don’t know if you know much of Wayne Madsen’s work, but he is a fellow-traveller of yours, and I commend to you the above-mentioned book on Obama as well as some of his reporting on the Boston Bombing. Investigative reporting, from either the Left or Right (although I believe Wayne is on the Left) should not be a zero-sum game.

    • russbaker says:

      Actually, we’re not comfortable with this becoming a bulletin board for various groups of like-minded people to share with each other, or for the endorsement of other sites. Many different kinds of people read this site, and they adhere to a wide range of views, principles, and so on. I think you can appreciate that there are many bulletin boards out there you can be using. This comments section is intended specifically for direct comments upon the articles posted. No publication is comfortable being regularly diverted elsewhere. We do what we do, and that’s it. We don’t comment on other sites as a practice.Brief occasional references to a variety of well-documented source material is acceptable.

    • guest says:

      Message received and understood.

    • billy evans says:

      Big fan of your writings Russ, love all of the articles I have read of yours.

      That being said, I am a bit confused by your response to guest.

      The article you wrote above and particularly the last 4 paragraphs are indeed a call for ‘like-minded people to share with each other’.

      But you don’t want it done here?

      Interestingly enough I discovered your articles at another site that always has a link to this site. So I would not be at this site if ………I had not been…..diverted…..to this site.

      Also, it seems to me that I recently read an article by you here that was a compilation of Kennedy assassination….links………diverting……
      “elsewhere”. It seems like most people that read this compilation….were probably (I am assuming) ‘like-minded’.

    • russbaker says:

      Actually, I’m not sure what to make of your citing the compilation of links, because you clearly did not click on them. They do not “divert elsewhere” — they are links to past work on our site, albeit a few of them are videos from elsewhere. Here’s the point: only a very small percentage of all our readers ever post a comment, and of those who do, they tend to come back again and again. That’s fine, so far. But some of those people regularly link to and urge other readers to consider material on other sites, asserting that it is on a par with what we do. The fact is, some outside work is, and some isnt. We try to link to good work inside of our articles. However, we are not comfortable with sites that make assertions or routinely claim to have inside sources without backing it up. And it is often those sites that a handful of you keep promoting. We think it is our responsibility to our readers to moderately control this situation, and we know from non-posted feedback that most count on us to curate a bit. Anyway, as the saying goes, this is our site, and we dont claim to cater to the preferences of every human being. If you do want to carry on endlessly on something or promote your favorite other website, go ahead. Just dont expect us to be the platform for it.

    • Suze O says:

      After Obama made his speech to the Democratic National Convention, he was an obvious rising star. I noticed that when he first came to the Senate, he was invited to the White House to meet president Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove. I thought that this was unusually welcoming – do all freshmen Senators get this kind of individual treatment? I also thought it was odd that Karl Rove, the mastermind of election tactics, was present. Knowing how invested the Republicans were in keeping Hillary out of the presidency, I had to wonder if he was being offered encouragement, or perhaps help, in being a contender against her. He would, of course, have to please the behind-the-scenes powers, and promise not to rock the boat too much. I have been wondering also (after reading something a critic wrote to the effect that there were numerous whistleblowers just waiting until Bush was gone to speak out) whether all of Obama’s persecution of whistleblowers is at least partially to protect George Bush and cronies, Now, of course, whistleblowers of all kinds have gotten the message that they are not safe to do so after all.

  21. MattS says:

    Hold on! Obama said there’d be no ILLEGAL spying on us.

    Wanna bet it’s legalized this year? End of story

  22. Westcoastdeplorable says:

    Powerful message, Russ. I can’t disagree with your comments, but to put them in perspective, have a look at this:

    • Strawman says:

      So Cenk Uygur calls a spade a spade.

      I’m not being snarky, just curious as to your point vis-à-vis the thrust of the article.

    • Westcoastdeplorable says:

      My point is, either something had to change Obama’s POV on the post-911 rush to crush civil liberties, invade countries that didn’t invade us, etc. etc. Or, he just lied to us all.

      I voted for the man in 2008 and was hopeful he would the the one to “reset” our country and indict the previous admin for their war crimes. When I learned of his plan to “look forward, not backward”, and his plan to continue the neo-con policies of the Bush/Cheney cabal, my thought was either he was lying to us all along, or was coerced post election by the people actually running the country (as opposed to the elected leaders we “think” are running it).
      I hope this answers your question, Strawman.

    • Strawman says:

      “… either he was lying to us all along, or was coerced post election by the people actually running the country …”

      I’m thinking it’s probably more the latter (you gotta dance with them what brung [financed] ya), but he seems also to have been a lifelong pragmatist, so it’s not likely 100% either way.

      Thanks for the clarification. FWIW, I agree.

    • disqus_iNSHgOse0O says:

      Obama always had a moderate, somewhat vague point of view, without a great deat of detailed explanation (but more than many other pols.). For example, Obama said we can have security AND still maintain our freedoms. Today he would say the exact same thing, with the additional explanation that the collection of unread metadata to be placed in a data base for use if needed, does NOT significantly cut into our freedoms. I agree with him.

    • payne100 says:

      I voted for Obama in 2008 for the same reasons. Right after he was elected, a news video showed Obama walking outside the Whitehouse with ex-president George Bush. Obama put his hand on Bush’s shoulder and gave him a warm smile.

      I knew right then we were in big trouble.