November 15, 2012

"The Real Reason You Should Care About the Petraeus Affair: Privacy."

"If the CIA director couldn't keep his emails secret, neither can you."
"Now everything is kept in the cloud on Google and Yahoo's servers," says Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the ACLU. "That quirk of [The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986] has become hugely important for Americans' privacy." Once you've opened an email or your Facebook account, you've provided your personal information to a third party. The government can then ask that third party—Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Friendster, or whatever—for your information, and they don't necessarily need a warrant. The Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure by the government. It doesn't stop third parties from sharing personal information you willingly give them. Likewise, there's no warrant needed to acquire the IP addresses—unique identifiers that can usually be traced to specific geographical locations—of people accessing those email accounts. According to the Wall Street Journal, that's exactly how the FBI figured out Broadwell was behind the allegedly harassing emails that sparked the investigation that uncovered the Petraeus affair.

That's not all. All your emails that are more than six months old are legally treated as online "storage" and accessible with a court order or a subpoena to the online service provider. The providers can say no, but usually they don't...

114 comments:

McTriumph said...

The FBI data mining private citizens' emails. Embrace the new socialism.

shiloh said...

E-mails aren't private ?!? Shocking!

AllenS said...

Telephone calls aren't private ?!? Shocking!

AllenS said...

Your mail aren't private ?!? Shocking!

sydney said...

This is why we are not suppoed to use regular email for patient communications. We have to subscribe to "secure messaging services" instead. I always wonder, though, what those secure companies do with the data.

AllenS said...

Your on-line purchases aren't private ?!? Shocking!

AllenS said...

Your credit card information aren't private ?!? Shocking!

AprilApple said...

Just my opinion. The only reason the affair has meaning is because of Broadwell's Denver speech.

Otherwise, I think the FBI would have looked the other way.

Look at the timing.

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

Your IRS tax returns aren't private ?!? Shocking!

AReasonableMan said...

Althouseians finding common cause with the ACLU and hippies.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Obama progressives:

You voted for this. You own it.

You're the party of government espionage, violations of the 4th Amendment, kill lists, drone-strike oops killings of civilians. Will we find out the ban on torture was bogus?

It's your legacy. Own it.

And, yeah, Bush did it to. That's right; that's why I couldn't stand Bush. The difference is, some of us were against it in principle, but you only were against it for party reasons. You're fine having fellow progressives assuming these almighty powers.

John said...

If it was a national security investigation, the FBI should have informed the President. If it was a criminal investigation, it should have gotten a warrant.

If you believe the village idiot, and granted few people do, the FBI never informed him because it was a criminal investigation. Okay, so where was the warrant? There wasn't one.

What we have here is the FBI doing political dirty work against a rival agency's head. That is right out of Nixon only with a moron in the Oval Office rather than an evil genius.

John said...

They don't care Father Fox. Progressive love all of that stuff. They were only mad at Bush because he was preventing them from doing it.

shiloh said...

"Obama progressives:

You voted for this. You own it."

Althouse, your inane/hyperbolic Catholic priest aside, and cheney/bush's Homeland Security Dept. notwithstanding, Fox has wayyy to much free time for his own good!

btw, Julian Assange could not be reached for comment!

Fox, it's well established you're a con partisan hack, no need for re-enforcement!

blessings

shiloh said...

too much

AReasonableMan said...

John said...
They don't care Father Fox. Progressive love all of that stuff. They were only mad at Bush because he was preventing them from doing it.


This is such BS. The ACLU is the only effective advocate for privacy in the country. The ALCU is unquestionably a liberal organization. It is supported by progressives both morally and financially.

Roger J. said...

I have always taken it as gospel that anything you put on the internet can be accessed by 4 billion people. I dont have a "social network" like facebook for that reason alone--but without some social network emails are always accessible, and cannot be deleted. Think before you hit the send button.

Tim said...

"That's not all. All your emails that are more than six months old are legally treated as online "storage" and accessible with a court order or a subpoena to the online service provider. The providers can say no, but usually they don't..."

Well yeah, that is a problem.

But see, I'm not fucking anyone not my wife.

And I'm not running, or involved in, any criminal enterprises.

I pay my taxes. In full, and on time.

I'm not conspiring with al Queada or anything like that.

I'm not committing voter fraud, or anything like it.

So yeah, it's a problem, but it doesn't affect anyone like me.

So, in Barack Obama's America, I don't care.

Can I get my free phone now?

John said...

This is such BS. The ACLU is the only effective advocate for privacy in the country. The ALCU is unquestionably a liberal organization. It is supported by progressives both morally and financially.

And who did the ACLU support in the last election? How many liberals supported Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, the two candidates who would have stopped all of that?

Less than 1%. Liberals are now and will for a very long be, the party of the police state. I hope a third rate failure of a President was worth your integrity.

Roger J. said...

I have always taken it as gospel that anything you put on the internet can be accessed by 4 billion people. I dont have a "social network" like facebook for that reason alone--but without some social network emails are always accessible, and cannot be deleted. Think before you hit the send button.

The Drill SGT said...

To be clear here, one needs to separate the two different elements of the story.

The contents of the email have more protection than the header info. This has always been the case. The Police, and various government agencies, depending on local law have regularly been able to access the addresses on letters you send/receive without opening the contents. Phone companies regularly share with police the sorts of info you see on your phone bill. calling number, minutes, called number. that's the basis for thousands of alabi's and murder mysteries.

The IP header of an email msg is no different.

PS: encrypting the email does not encrypt the routing headers.

PPS: that is the underlying basis of an intel speciality called "traffic analysis". w/o knowing the contents, who talks to whom, when and how much?

Calypso Facto said...

The ACLU is the only effective advocate for privacy in the country.

As you'd say, this is BS. Check out the CATO institute, for one other very vocal and effective advocate of privacy. Or virtually any other libertarian-leaning organization.

John said...

AREasonable man,

I know you hate all of that stuff. You just never primaried Obama, never used Congress to investigate Obama and never considered voting against Obama over it because Obama is so dreamy. Voting for a black man is so much important that civil liberties.

Forget it. Liberals have no moral capital left on those issues period. They proved this year that they don't care about them enough to even ask the President to explain himself much less hold him accountable. Sending a check to the ACLU is not like Lourdes for moral cripples. It doesn't excuse you. Sorry.

Roger J. said...

Re the ALCU--I am glad such an organization exists--I only wish there were more of them. Regretablt, IMO, the ALCU does have a progressive streak, but they have joined cases where conservatives were involved. I am not one to throw the baby out with bath water.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I said:

"Obama progressives:

You voted for this. You own it."

Shiloh said:

Althouse, your inane/hyperbolic Catholic priest aside, and cheney/bush's Homeland Security Dept. notwithstanding, Fox has wayyy to much free time for his own good!

btw, Julian Assange could not be reached for comment!

Fox, it's well established you're a con partisan hack, no need for re-enforcement!


When you can't make a cogent argument, there's always ad hominems!

Fox has wayyy to much free time for his own good!

I've heard that argument before; it amounts to, "shut up" and no more.

Roger J. said...

Oops--ACLU--sorry--

rhhardin said...

Petraeus is a shiny object hiding something you should care about.

Belmont Club read to the end for an interesting list.

Saint Croix said...

All your emails that are more than six months old are legally treated as online "storage" and accessible with a court order

You mean, like our houses can be invaded by a court order?

Why would anybody expect our emails to be more secure than our houses? That's an absurd privacy argument.

The Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure by the government. It doesn't stop third parties from sharing personal information you willingly give them.

I think e-mail is exactly analogous to a phone call. That's an easy and obvious call. The government should have to get a court order in order to access your private email accounts and it would shock me if that was not in fact the case.

You are not "providing your information" to google in a g-mail any more than you are providing your information to Verizon in a phone call.

And putting something up on facebook is also an incredibly easy call. It's not invasion of privacy for the government to look you up on facebook. It doesn't have anything to do with privacy. It's holding people accountable for the speech they make in a public forum. Duh!

I think google searches is a tougher call. As long as it's legal for google to keep and store the information, then it should be legal for the government to ask for it. So if we want to protect our internet searches as "private," we have to first outlaw the corporate collection and use of this data. I think that's a tricky issue, while the e-mail and facebook issues are quite easy.

shiloh said...

Fox's expected deflection aside, let the record show Fox did not address Homeland Security "bureaucracy" which was enacted in the Bush43 administration.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Reasonable Man:

Your citation of the ACLU--and what they've done to oppose much of the Obama-Bush assault on the Constitution doesn't absolve the people to whom I specifically addressed my comments: "Obama Progressives."

In other words, I am not indicting all "progressives," only those who gave Obama the power to do these things.

While we're on the subject of the ACLU, however, have they done anything in defense of the "Innocence of Muslims" guy, now languishing in jail.

Oh right--that wasn't about free expression. Same as Putin and "P****y Riot."

John said...

Obama ordered the assasination of an American citizen including his 17 year old son, outside of a combat zone in a country Yeman that we have a bilateral agreement with that would have gone and arrested him had we asked.

That is your record liberals. Bush never assassinated an American citizen. Obama did. And liberals cheered him on and talked about how tough he was. Assassination was a winner with his base.

You own that record Shiloh and the rest of you. Scream Fox news all you want. But when it mattered and your side was doing it, you were on board with it all.

Roger J. said...

Father Fox--here's an easy fix to your issue with the commenter known as shiloh--scroll past and/or ignore.

Saint Croix said...

Re the ALCU

I like this! Abortionists, Leftists, and Civil Unions.

John said...

Fox's expected deflection aside, let the record show Fox did not address Homeland Security "bureaucracy" which was enacted in the Bush43 administration.

Enacted with the votes of nearly every Dem in Congress and expanded under the Democratic President and Congress in 08-10.

Just because you are stupid, doesn't mean we are.

Fr Martin Fox said...

shiloh said...

Fox's expected deflection aside, let the record show Fox did not address Homeland Security "bureaucracy" which was enacted in the Bush43 administration.

11/15/12 9:14 AM


Fr Martin Fox said...

Obama progressives:

You voted for this. You own it.

You're the party of government espionage, violations of the 4th Amendment, kill lists, drone-strike oops killings of civilians. Will we find out the ban on torture was bogus?

It's your legacy. Own it.

And, yeah, Bush did it to. [sic] That's right; that's why I couldn't stand Bush. The difference is, some of us were against it in principle, but you only were against it for party reasons. You're fine having fellow progressives assuming these almighty powers.

11/15/12 8:53 AM

Fr Martin Fox said...

Shiloh:

I bolded the key words, and the time-stamp, to make it easy for you.

I certainly faulted Bush too.

Maybe read comments all the way to the end before you start typing your reaction?

AReasonableMan said...

Calypso Facto said...
Check out the CATO institute, for one other very vocal and effective advocate of privacy. Or virtually any other libertarian-leaning organization.


I will give you vocal, but not effective. It is the ACLU's law suits that bring abuses to light and actually produce changes. The law suits are critical. All the position papers in the world are just so much hot air. The only high profile law suit the CATO institute is engaged in is one with the Koch brothers.

Tim said...

Roger J. said...

"Father Fox--here's an easy fix to your issue with the commenter known as shiloh--scroll past and/or ignore."

Concur.


Conversation with a troll is impossible, and a waste of time.

Normal readers understand no response to trolls is the better way to go.

John said...

When the ACLU cares about second amendment and property rights they might be worthy of respect. But when it comes down to government power versus the little guy, the ACLU loves the government provided it is just taking property or guns.

Roger J. said...

IMO opinion, flawed as it might be, we are now all Winston Smiths irrespective of our political orientations.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Roger, Tim, Re: Trolls:

Roger, Tim; Roger, Roger.

Fr Martin Fox said...

John:

"Sending a check to the ACLU is not like Lourdes for moral cripples."

Surely the Germans have a complicated word that means, "laughing out loud with hearty approval"? If so, I want to use it here.

shiloh said...

"but you only were against it for party reasons. You're fine having fellow progressives assuming these almighty powers."

Fox, you know nothing about what I think re: privacy, so quietly quit while you're behind. But if you want to get in a personal battle of wits, your choice!

Methadras said...

This is nothing new. Most people don't know that two distinct programs were created under the clinton administration for this very purpose: Echelon and Carnivore.

AReasonableMan said...

John said...
when it comes down to government power versus the little guy, the ACLU loves the government


This is really not true. The ACLU is a constant pain in the ass of government, all governments.

Roger J. said...

Father Fox: scroll thru and ignore

There are quite a few commenters on this blog who, IMO, are willing to engage in dialoge. Choose your battles wisely

garage mahal said...

Fox, you know nothing about what I think re: privacy, so quietly quit while you're behind

And Gitmo is still open. Always loved that one.

Roger J. said...

As Reasonable Man noted, the ACLU seems to be willing to get involved so they have my support--I only wish there were more.

Roger J. said...

We are all at risk from the government, Thomas Hobbes notwithstanding. The government does, IMO, not care what your political orientation is--only if your orienation poses a threat the government's power.

shiloh said...

"Choose your battles wisely"

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9.

Indeed!

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

hmm, was Jesus a liberal or conservative? Rhetorical.

AReasonableMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...

Here's an interesting, little known fact. The "black bag" jobs that the FBI carried out were first done against the Liberty Lobby and the Bund organizations and were done at the direction of Roosevelt......I think Big Brother is much more likely to be spied on than John Q. Public. As such, expect Big Brother to rally around the ACLU on this issue......I don't know whether emails are the equivalent of a phone conversation or a conversation in a public place. Is there settled law on this?.....I don't think it's shocking that the CIA director had an affair, but you'd think he would have more craft in its concealment.

Hagar said...

The lawyer for the FBI agent in the case says the "shirtless photo" was a joke the agent sent his friend, Mrs. Kelley, several years ago.
It is thus not purtinent to anything, and it is hardly something either the agent or Mrs. Kelley would volunteer at this time, if they even remembered it without being prodded.

So, how did this photo come to light, and why was its existence disseminated throughout the MSM?

AReasonableMan said...

Roger J. said...
IMO opinion, flawed as it might be, we are now all Winston Smiths irrespective of our political orientations.


Not many people would argue with this. Information technology has proven to have facist tendencies. No government anywhere has made much effort to resist the allure of easy surveillance. I largely support efforts to use this technology against governments, such as wikileaks, but they haven't been very effective in producing better privacy controls for We the people.

machine said...

"The difference is, some of us were against it in principle, but you only were against it for party reasons. You're fine having fellow progressives assuming these almighty powers."

Wrong again...why do you think the President lost voters to his left?

edutcher said...

shilol, who claims to have been an altar boy, should be the first to know you don't get into a battle of wits or reason - especially when all your ammo comes from Ned Silver and Kos - with a priest.

Go get him, padre.

As for privacy, there is none on the electric Internet. Once it goes up on a server, it's there forever.

As many texters, sexters, and Facebookers have learned to their sorrow.

AnUnreasonableTroll said...

Althouseians finding common cause with the ACLU and hippies.

I don't recall hippies being interested in anyone's privacy, they wanted to tell everybody how to live and what to think.

As for the ACLU, anything they do supports the Lefty agenda.

Anybody hear of them taking up the gage for sam Bacile?

machine said...

"That's right; that's why I couldn't stand Bush."

So, you voted for Kerry?

Roger J. said...

Reasonable man--we can agree on this proposition, I think. People on the left are equally at risk as are people on the right. I read your comment as concurrence--so we are into the realm of trying fix things, and unfortunately, I have no easy fixes. I think the ACLU is a good thing but there isnt enough of them. And I really dont know how to rectify the situation.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Sometimes, you aim your harpoon juuuuust right...

Roger J. said...

Reasonable Man--would take issue on one point: "facist tendencies" Facists and left wing dicatorships all thrive on control. Any threat to the prevailing political ideology will be a threat. You have as much to fear from a dicatorship of the left, as you do from a dictatorship of the left.

Calypso Facto said...

I will give you vocal, but not effective.

Whatever. CATO is a frequent, effective (in front of Congress and in amicus briefs to the Supreme Court), and CONSISTENT supporter of individual liberty and privacy. If you prefer the cherry-picked confrontations of the ACLU that's your prerogative, but there are plenty of other (better, IMO) options in the effort to protect privacy.

Roger J. said...

left-right whatever--they are all suspect

AReasonableMan said...

Roger J. said...
Reasonable man--we can agree on this proposition, I think. People on the left are equally at risk as are people on the right


And it is not just government. I am now inundated with 'targeted' ads. If I visit a boating blog or read up about dogs I can guarantee that I will soon have ads popping up flogging boats and PetCo.

AReasonableMan said...

Roger J. said...
Reasonable Man--would take issue on one point: "facist tendencies" Facists and left wing dicatorships all thrive on control.


I knew someone would jump on this, and it is true. I think of a surveillance state as a facist state. You dystopian nightmare may vary.

shiloh said...

My favorite Althouse groupie, please cite where I said I was an altar boy? TIA

Although there were/are several priests and nuns on my mom's side of the family. I digress ...

What's the difference between an Irish wake and Irish wedding?

>
>
>

One less drunk!

>

Speaking of 24/7 childish ad hominems, one wonders what Fox thinks about edutcher? Rhetorical.

garage mahal said...

And it is not just government. I am now inundated with 'targeted' ads. If I visit a boating blog or read up about dogs I can guarantee that I will soon have ads popping up flogging boats and PetCo.

Get "Do Not Track". I've blocked over 175,000 attempts to track me in less than 6 months. You can get it on Chrome anyhow.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

They don't care Father Fox. Progressives love all of that stuff.

That's right. Because they never dream that these things will ever apply to "THEM". They have an enemy list and assume that the all knowing all seeing powerful government will only turn it's searchlight onto the approved enemy group. Never on themselves.

Imagine their surprise.

Roger J. said...

Reasonable Man--again I agree with you--I am always distressed to see how marketing programs programs pop up items about which I am not interested.

Seems to me this is a significant point--and kudos to reasonable man for pointing it out. The internet is a major threat to our individual liberties. Wether it be in providing us vendors or placing us in predetermined boxes.

While I might disagree with reasonable man's political choices, i damn sure agree on the underlying invasion of our privacy.

wyo sis said...

Tim
Are you expressing an opinion?
Can it be construed with or without twisting to be politically incorrect?
Have you signed a petition?
Did you say anything on your face book page that anyone anywhere can use against you?

So yeah, it's a problem, and it affects everyone.

So, in Barack Obama's America, you should care.

Can I get my free phone now? Not if you aren't "in".

edutcher said...

shiloh said...

My favorite Althouse groupie, please cite where I said I was an altar boy? TIA

Although there were/are several priests and nuns on my mom's side of the family. I digress ...

What's the difference between an Irish wake and Irish wedding?

>
>
>

One less drunk!

>

Speaking of 24/7 childish ad hominems, one wonders what Fox thinks about edutcher? Rhetorical.


He snarked about his altar ego a couple times over the (long) years.

Note he's given up on the padre also, so my admonition sunk in (mirabile dictu).

As for ad hominems, all I do is ask, where were you hiding out 10/5 - 11/5 when the Romster was winning?

Spreading shinola on your barackobama altar?

Roger J. said...

Reasonable Man--I trust no governmet of whatever stipe to have access to my personal information. Period. I think you and I can agree on that.

Roger J. said...

And, reasonable man--thank you for engaging me on this topic.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shiloh said...

No, the padre wisely gave up on me.

Diminishing returns ...

btw, "alter" ego.

hmm, is 24/7 childish obsession on a political blog a sin? :-P

wyo sis said...

Jesus was talking about coming to God not to government.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Machine:

Whether in Ohio, where I live now, or in Virginia, where I lived for many years, I've always had more than the two parties as options on the ballot. So it doesn't follow that if I refused to vote for Bush, I therefore must have voted for Kerry.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I never expect privacy on the internet. In my previous business, by law, all of my emails were screened before they were allowed to be sent. It was illegal for me to use a private/non company email for businesses.

If you don't want everyone in the world to know about it, don't send it in an email.

However, if the US Gov wants to access my g mail account, have at it. They will be incredibly bored. I use that one for shopping and it is basically full of exciting emails about yarn, quilting, sewing patterns and deals from Amazon.com.

We just bought some toilets from Amazon for my hubby's biz. Free shipping with Amazon PRIME. Yahooo!. Now Amazon thinks I'm interested in wax toilet rings and toilet seats. I think it is time to look at flower seeds or fabric or something so that the side bar on the internet will be full of pretty flowers instead of toilets :-)

machine said...

Ahhhh....easy to criticize when you don't have to choose a side.

alan markus said...

Didn't some libs get their panties all twisted up when the Koch Brothers gave $20 Million to the ACLU (because of the Patriot Act)?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Machine said...
Ahhhh....easy to criticize when you don't have to choose a side.

Sorry to be blunt, but that's a ridiculous statement.

"Choose a side"? What does that even mean?

The context of my comment was moral responsibility--endorsement.

Actually, had I "chose a side" in your terms, I'd be a hypocrite--because on the issues we're talking about here, both "sides" were wrong.

So I did "choose a side": I chose a candidate who seemed least bad.

SGT Ted said...

As a Government Official, none of his emails sent while at work, using government resources, are "private".

edutcher said...

shiloh said...

No, the padre wisely gave up on me.

Diminishing returns ...


More like diminished capacity - the little weasel's.

I notice the good padre got in the last word.

btw, "alter" ego.

No, altar ego - humor, a difficult concept for the Left.

hmm, is 24/7 childish obsession on a political blog a sin? :-P

Well, he promised he was leaving, but hasn't, so I can ask him once again where were you hiding out 10/5 - 11/5 when the Romster was winning?

Sticking pins in your Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald dolls?

Rusty said...

Roger J. said...
Reasonable man--we can agree on this proposition, I think. People on the left are equally at risk as are people on the right. I read your comment as concurrence--so we are into the realm of trying fix things, and unfortunately, I have no easy fixes. I think the ACLU is a good thing but there isnt enough of them. And I really dont know how to rectify the situation

They pick and choose what cases they will accept. Usually high profile and usually ones that will place their cause in the best light. When the last time nazis asked for a permit to march in Skokie, Illinois and were refused they asked the ACLU to represent them-the nazis. The ACLU refused. One lawyer who worked for the ACLU quit the organization and agreed to represent the nazis. He got them their permit.

MayBee said...

I have a problem with the logic behind this investigation.

First, I hope they got warrants where needed. Nobody seems certain that is the case.
But, there has to be some sense behind the people asking for the warrants.
Supposedly, Kelley asked Shirtless to look into these weird emails. No threat was detected, but there was some indication the emailer knew the travel plans of Gen Petraeus.

Well, once they figured out the emails came from someone who had access to Petraeus, they should have stopped their "investigation". Instead, they continued reading the salacious emails.

I don't think it should be that easy for the FBI to convince themselves they have to read someone's emails.

elkh1 said...

Don't be absurd. He was the CIA director. His mistress was threatening someone else. Of course he has to be investigated, at least to find out if he was involved and was blackmailed.

But to disclose the findings and force a resignation because of the affairs after the fact after the election was purely political.

However, he should be fired and prosecuted for lying to Congress, that miserable institution, about the stupid video causing the Benghazi murders.

MayBee said...

His mistress was threatening someone else. Of course he has to be investigated, at least to find out if he was involved and was blackmailed.

His mistress was not threatening anybody else.

It was not known that she was his mistress until they started reading the emails. They knew she was his biographer. They decided to dig and figure out if there was something more interesting going on.

Now, how does reading his emails tell them if he was being blackmailed? I keep reading that, but how does that work?
How about they talk to the parties in question before reading their emails?

Elaine said...

Obama progressives:

You voted for this. You own it.


I do believe you own it as well, Father Fox.

Because you either didn’t vote at all or voted for a third-party or write-in candidate. At least that’s what you stated prior to the election. Had something to do with Romney not being trustworthy on abortion.

Sin of omission?

Fr Martin Fox said...

I said:

"Obama progressives:

You voted for this. You own it."

Elaine said...

I do believe you own it as well, Father Fox.

Because you either didn’t vote at all or voted for a third-party or write-in candidate. At least that’s what you stated prior to the election. Had something to do with Romney not being trustworthy on abortion.

Sin of omission?


Elaine:

I mean this without any rancor, but that's nonsense.

First, let us assume, as your statement seems to, that Romney represented some significant improvement over Obama on these questions of violations of the Constitution. Does it follow, as you assert, that unless one votes for Romney, one is "responsible" for the election of Mr. Obama?

No, that does not follow.

That would only follow if you could show that my vote for Romney in Ohio would have tipped the election. As the results make manifest, it would not have done so.

Further, insofar as Mr. Romney disqualified himself from getting votes he might have gotten--say, from me and those think like me--then the responsibility is his. He made choices to seek votes where he did--and not seek other votes (such as mine). If that strategy failed him, that's on him, not me.

But let's return to the assumption that Romney represented a significant improvement over Obama on respecting the Constitution. Evidence?

Did Romney say he would end the kill list, or the invasions of privacy? Did he say anything about reining in the TSA? The intelligence services?

I missed it. But I do know he favored one change: a resumption of torture.

Finally--insofar as my original argument had to do with moral responsibility ("you own this"), then let's examine the underlying assumption of your argument, which is often made, that voting for a third-party candidate is always an "irresponsible" choice. Why would this be so?

It seems to me, this presupposes that voters (and I guess non-voters who could have voted) are personally responsible for the outcome. I don't believe that. How can this be true? You and I cast a single vote. Even if the election hinges on a single vote, no one is actually elected with a single vote. Obama didn't win by 1-0, he won on a huge collection of individual votes, and however likely any outcome may be, it's not certain.

Three days before the election, the odds of Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party candidate, or Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, being elected president were vanishingly small. I assume no one actually predicted they'd win. But that's not the same as impossible. I can think of several, extraordinarily unlikely scenarios that could have happened in our universe. What if someone produced evidence, right before the election, of some massive disqualification on the part of both Obama and Romney? Or some catastrophe brings the death of both candidates for president and vice president?

Terribly unlikely? Of course. But not impossible. Therefore no one can say, as one must say to sustain your argument, that a third-party candidate "can't win" or "won't win."

My point is, I am not responsible for determining the "winner." I don't have that power, and it's a fool who thinks he does.

What I am responsible for, is my vote. If the one I voted for wins, then I share a responsibility for the power he exercise, to the extent I endorsed him.

It may seem subtle, but the difference is real. Think about it.

Elaine said...

Thanks for response, Father.

Subtle I can usually get, but your argument seems more sophistic than purely subtle.

Anyway, saying the only thing you’re responsible for is your vote seems incredibly naïve, if not disingenuous.

Aren’t we responsible for the views we express that may influence other voters to not support the candidate who offers to at least limit an evil (I’m thinking of abortion here)?

raf said...

If you are contemplating doing something illegal, immoral, shameful, or otherwise something you wish to keep to yourself, it would seem reasonable that you shouldn't publish it, mail it, phone it, or shout it out in the street.

The idea of someone breaking a law and then depending on the government to protect him by enforcing a law against someone else is kind of amusing.

Tim said...

"So, in Barack Obama's America, you should care."

I do care.

Greatly.

But in Barack Obama's America, that matters not.

Game over.

People are committed to stupid.

Can't fix that.

As I live in California, I live in America's future.

So believe me, I really believe it will only get worse.

The only hope is, it gets so bad so fast some people are able to learn lessons they weren't able to learn in the last four years.

I'm not betting on that.

Tim said...

"The idea of someone breaking a law and then depending on the government to protect him by enforcing a law against someone else is kind of amusing."

Like amnesty for illegal immigrants?

shiloh said...

"I notice the good padre got in the last word."

Whether he did or didn't aside, btw, he didn't, part of being a christian is tolerance.

And inane generalizations re: liberals from Fox, DBQ et al disgruntled cons is what Althouse is all about.

Indeed, an outlet for cons to release all their pent up frustrations!

Damn, did I just foolishly generalize also? Rhetorical.

SukieTawdry said...

Well duh. There is no expectation of privacy on the Internet. Why would anyone think otherwise.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Elaine said:

Thanks for response, Father.

Subtle I can usually get, but your argument seems more sophistic than purely subtle.

Anyway, saying the only thing you’re responsible for is your vote seems incredibly naïve, if not disingenuous.

Aren’t we responsible for the views we express that may influence other voters to not support the candidate who offers to at least limit an evil (I’m thinking of abortion here)?


Well, on the latter point, sure; I wasn't meaning to deny responsibility for those other things, only to make a different point regarding responsibility for ones vote, in relation to the overall victory or defeat.

I'll say it again: no one has a positive moral obligation to vote for anyone. Ever.

If you believe otherwise, would you do me the courtesy of giving me your basis for saying so? Because as I think about the sources of right and wrong that I rely on, I find no basis for such an obligation.

I'm not saying you, but there are those who claimed, during this campaign, that good people were bound to suspend their own consciences, and "hold their noses" and vote, for the greater good. This was the argument for Romney in many cases, and I can imagine some on the left making that argument for Obama as well.

Heck, if some of the "Obama Progressives" I mentioned would respond that way, I could respect that, if they would either point to when they railed against Obama's hostility to the progressive values they claim to hold dear, or else at least admit they should have.

But--as you might have guessed, I don't buy the argument that one should ignore ones conscience "for the greater good." Greater good, according to whom?

One of the reasons I made my point about the "Obama Progressives" is because, overlooked in all this, is the effect ones vote has on oneself--namely, ones soul. Casting votes you don't believe in, for causes you don't support, is caustic to ones self-respect and the things one values above all. Is it really a good thing for us all to become so cynical? Is that the greater good?

Other people reconciled a vote for Obama or Romney with the values they profess. Good for them. If they can explain it, let them do so. I don't accuse them of bad conscience.

But I won't join them in a bad conscience, and I firmly reject the notion that I'm obliged to do so.

To put it another way, if Mr. Romney really wanted my vote (meaning all those who found him wanting for the reasons I did), it's his fault for choosing not to do what it takes to get it. That choice is his responsibility, not mine.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Sukie:

I agree it's foolish to think that emails can't be gotten-to, but the other question--whether our government can do what it likes regarding the Internet--is something else.

Heck, at some point, it's foolish to think you can write something down, anywhere, and not have it come back to haunt you. But the Fourth Amendment exists for a reason and is worth fighting for.

To quote the lead character from "V": governments should be afraid of their people, not people afraid of their governments. Somewhat oversimplified, but I agree.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Elaine:

I think I can simplify my point thusly:

If it's true that I failed in some way, in a moral responsibility, by not voting for Romney, then what, precisely, is that responsibility I failed in? Is it not that I was somehow bound to vote for him?

That's the problem with your argument. I don't see how you can argue for such an obligation.

Especially since, on the question of Constitutional protections, you haven't even shown that Romney was even notionally "better," as opposed to their stances on abortion.

shiloh said...

Re: progressives being upset w/Obama re: liberal issues one must expand their horizons and visit a liberal blog, like kos, where many libs rail against Obama re: privacy issues, Gitmo, rendition, poverty, etc.

I was against the Afghan escalation and being in Afghanistan period and have said so at this blog.

But therein lies the rub since this blog is 90/10 conservative blog posters and Althouse posts over 90% anti-Obama, liberal threads and over 90% pro Willard, con threads the past (2) years, no need for liberals to pile on w/more Obama/liberal negativity as Althouse has that covered every which way but loose.

And now that Obama has easily been re-elected, expect 100% negative articles/threads re: Obama.

The yin/yang of liberal/conservative blogs.

>

On a related point, Atheists have it easy as they don't have religion interfering w/their political thought process. No, they just have to use logic! :)

And re: electing saints er perfect candidates for president, there was a presidential study, and don't we all like studies, done in the mid-70s that determined only (2) American president hadn't cheated on their wives or had lady companions a la James Buchanan. Truman and Ford.

Indeed, forgiveness is a virtue, or so I hear constantly from self-righteous cons.

Again, being a lib at a 90/10 con blog is very entertaining, especially after Willard's crushing defeat that many cons, including Althouse, were about 99.9% certain would not happen.

Yea, not a lot of con rational thinking occurred at this blog the past year.

Rusty said...

Shiloh.
You don't say much.
But when you do, you don't say much.

shiloh said...

Also the yin/yang of winners and losing ie ad nauseam, conservative whining!

btw, part of the antithesis of logical thinking er facing the truth/reality is wishin'/hopin'/prayin'.

shiloh said...

Let the record show Rusty didn't disagree w/anything I said. Indeed. all he had to offer was a disgruntled, con fly-by. As per usual.

AReasonableMan said...

garage mahal said...
Get "Do Not Track". I've blocked over 175,000 attempts to track me in less than 6 months. You can get it on Chrome anyhow.


Works on IE also. Good suggestion.

Elaine said...

Father Fox,

I don’t think I said anything about aiming for the “greater good.”

What I believe is that we have a moral duty to limit evil, in the event we cannot eradicate it.

But of course Romney was better on the issue of abortion. Have you forgotten that Obama is the guy who voted against a bill to keep alive infants born after an unsuccessful abortion?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Elaine:

Well, let's come to the abortion question second.

First, this thread is about attacks on "privacy" and my comments, which you cited, were about assaults on the Constitution.

I said twice now that Romney was no better than Obama--and if Obama did end torture as he said, then Romney was worse, because he favored returning to torture.

Do you have any basis for contesting what I just said? Can you show that Romney was any better on these questions? Because that was what my comments were about that you keyed on.

Now, back to abortion. "Of course" Romney was better? I suppose in the sense that a murderer of one person is "better" than a serial killer, but that's a strange notion of better.

Romney's record on abortion is terrible. He endorsed it on demand when he ran against Kennedy and then--totally coincidental to his shifting to a different electorate, that is, GOP primaries--he had a "conversion"! Just as he had a conversion on gun rights, gay rights (he tried to out gay-rights Kennedy), being Reaganite, etc.

But even with his supposed conversion, he still endorsed abortion--just some abortions, not all.

That's not my idea of "pro-life."

When I vote, I prefer not to vote for anyone who endorses intrinsic evil; and if I can't find that person, I choose the one who endorses less.

Now, I ask you again: do you claim that pro-lifers had a positive obligation to vote for Romney? If so, other than your own belief in that, can you cite some larger justification for that assertion?

Because your argument sure seems premised on precisely such a claim of a positive obligation I described. Do you actually make that claim, or not?

Elaine said...

Father Fox,

If , as you seem to believe, Romney is no better on pro-life issues than Obama, then one would be a fool to have voted for him.

But I do think he’s better. As governor of Massachusetts, he vetoed expanded access to the "morning after" abortion pill and vetoed a bill allowing embryonic stem cell research. For me, those two things alone put him in diametric opposition to Obama.

Elaine said...

And a mea culpa for having deviated from the topic of the thread. Just couldn’t resist the temptation to point that “you own it” in your direction.

McTriumph said...

Clinton's White House Counsel, Lanny Davis says the FBI should be investigated over the Petraeus email probe. Oh my! per Instapundit

Fr Martin Fox said...

Elaine:

OK, but I fundamentally disagree with your apparent assertion (I've asked twice and you don't dispute it) that pro-lifers had a positive obligation to vote for Romney.

I think that's just nonsense. There is--and there can be--no such obligation.

Where does it come from? Who imposes such an obligation? It makes no sense.

Elaine said...

To me, it seems self-evident that, if by my vote for one of the candidates, there is the likelihood that the number of abortions will decrease, or even just not increase, it would be incumbent upon me to vote for that candidate.

If I don’t cast that vote, I am doing nothing to try to limit the evil, and therefore not doing my part in fulfilling Divine Providence. Does that work as the source of the obligation?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Elaine:

So, you're saying God (Divine Providence) wanted me to vote for an advocate of moral evil, for the precise reason that his opponent is worse?

God not only wants me to vote for someone who advocates evil, but insists--I'm "obligated" to do so.

Meaning it would be a sin if I told God I wouldn't vote for someone who advocated what he condemned.

That's your argument.

leslyn said...

Ignoring the thread highjack.... (Why don't you two get a room?)

....Hard to believe so many people upthread are now against the Patriot Act.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Leslyn:

Still waiting for you to provide the source citation for your claim: that the President was unable to protect the ambassador et al. in Benghazi because of budget cuts.

Still waiting.

McTriumph said...

The House science committee is demanding the White House explain why top administration officials are using secret e-mail accounts and other techniques to conceal their taxpayer-paid activities from public oversight.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/16/house-committee-probes-administrations-secret-emails/#ixzz2CQfnaGQO

Seems everyone in this administration doesn't

1. know the meaning of transparency

2. give a fuck about the rule of law