FISA Foreign Policy Glenn Greenwald NSA Security

Stop Watching Us, Obama! And Other Nonsensical Tantrums

Demonstarators carry signs at “Stop Watching Us: A Rally Against Mass Surveillance” march near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 26, 2013. (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

Oh, because we should never forget what is most important in this life, they showed up to remind us with their too-cool-for-you signs about being spied on by President Obama, hailed Edward Snowden as the anti-Obama movement’s Max Headroom catalyst(even reading a statement to the crowd from President Richard Starkey himself!), and proceeded to shit all over whatever it was they thought they were protesting in the first place.

Now we’re supposed to be pissed off at Obama because German Chancellor Angela Merkel was spied on during the Bush administration going back to 2002? I thought foreign surveillance was exactly what the NSA is supposed to be doing?


Demonstrators wearing cardboard surveillance camera hats carry a sign depicting U.S. President Barack Obama at the “Stop Watching Us: A Rally Against Mass Surveillance” march in Washington, October 26, 2013. (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

“Yes We Scan!” Get it? Because Edward Snowden gets it. He understands what we’re all up against over there in Russia.


It went on and on like this, with Right wing libertarians co-mingling with their useful tools in the so-called liberal movement.

I thought foreign surveillance involved listening to us? Watching/listening– it’s all the same when you have no idea what you’re talking about anymore.

One of these pyramids is the driving force behind this movement:


Global Wealth 2

Can you guess which one?

  • Mark

    Why, precisely, is Ringo Starr being besmirched by association with Edward Snowden?

    • feloniousgrammar

      In the post-apocalyptic (libertarian paradise) film The Postman, a drifter finds a mail truck with a dead mailman and a bag full of pre-apocalyptic mail. In an effort to get fed and lodged in a gated community, he pretends to be the mailman, tells people that a new federal government has been formed in Detroit, establishing postal service is a priority, and the new president is named Richard Starkey.

  • villemar

    This picture kind of says it all for me.

    • feloniousgrammar

      I love to see cottage industries thriving, but I hope this one has plans to diversify, since it’s merely a fashion statement drawn from a movie that was based on a comic book story about rebellion and sabotage against a government that was— unlike the U.S.A. at this time— thoroughly repressive and corrupt.

      • JWheels

        But the far left, and the far right both think that it is thoroughly repressive and corrupt. But I share your opinion of the idiot mask.

    • Churchlady320

      Could someone PLEASE tell me why a group of supposed very anti-establishment anarchists are using a mask of a reactionary Catholic restorationist as their symbol? WHY??? Is it possible – oh please say no – that they are being, hmmm, USED?

  • muselet

    If Angela Merkel had no idea the NSA would be monitoring her communications, then she’s a simpleton. I believe I said something similar about Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff when she cancelled her state visit a while back.

    I don’t think those two worthies are stupid. What I do think is that they have had to put on a great public show of outrage! about being spied on in order to save face.

    I also note with interest—and some amusement—that the loudly-proclaimed fear of Glenn Greenwald and whichever of the Pauls—père ou fils, I can’t be bothered to remember—that Edward Snowden would meet his end with drones! Hellfire missiles!! CRUISE MISSILES!!! hasn’t come to pass. Odd, that.


    • Churchlady320

      I am old enough to remember when this was a back and forth routine – you’re spying on us! Well – you’re spying on US. Why Merkel is routing Obama over what Bush did – and isn’t it totally convenient that no one pays a whit of attention to DATES – is somewhat mysterious since she never had it so good. But yeah – let’s all go dance around the campfire with people who wish us dead. There’s a great idea. That’ll change things.

      • muselet

        The German public is in a bit of an uproar about this, probably because the German political class is in an uproar about it. Angela Merkel has no choice but to be outraged by the US spying on its allies (as if that’s never happened before), because if she weren’t her political career would be toast.

        Merkel will be able to stop putting on a show of displeasure in a couple of months and Dilma Rousseff will reschedule her state visit for a few months from now, assuming Glenn Greenwald doesn’t decide to undermine international relations again (not a safe assumption).


  • Craig Moffitt

    Any day now I expect to see an article proclaiming outrage that the family and known associates of al Qaeda leaders are having their privacy violated by NSA spying.

  • js hooper

    I just love it when “the left” shows up to rallies sponsored by the Koch Brothers, Glenn Beck, Freedom Works etc.

    Walking side by side with the Oath Keepers, Larouche freaks holding an Obama is Hitler sign demanding impeachment.Oh look, it’s longtime Obama hater / GOP Ratfucker Dan Choi representing the gay community with a rainbow flag…I’m sure that is totally not an attempt to make it seem like this right wing Libertarian freakshow is actually progressive.I’m sure this will get him an appearance on MSNBC with Chris Hayes.

    I wonder if any of these people protested Stop & Frisk…or Stand Your Ground….lmao

    Liberty indeed.

  • Ray DeForge

    So THIS is how the “other side” looks at it (?) :/

  • Nick2000

    So basically, you are saying that we should decide everything based on political party and not based on policy? Technology progress makes it very easy for any government to transform their respective country into a surveillance state. Of course most of them only do that with the purpose of actually defending the country against external and internal enemies. It is still very important for so-called democracies (unless we only call ourselves this’d when useful?) to discuss these issues when they appear so that we, the people, can decide if the country is going in the direction we want. This debate needs to happen in every country because of changes brought about by technology. Sure, there are questionable ways to bring the subject but ignoring it is not acceptable. This discussion would never take place without public pressure. So, the question comes back to “what country do you want?”

    • mrbrink

      Your adversaries are organizing in corporate board rooms, court houses, Super PACs, precincts, city councils, school boards, municipalities… you know? Democratic action? Movement politics?

      You’re organizing in the street and yelling at the sky. This is why they win.

      • Mrbrink, you simply rule. Do you know that?

        • mrbrink

          No. But I do hold your views in the highest regard.

          • Us liberals can’t do movement politics so well these days but we can do “mutual admiration societies” decently! That’s something… 😉

    • beulahmo

      The discussion has been happening — for decades, as a matter of fact — though not with the star-studded hipster events with cool signs and banners and slogans. I think a lot of liberals (myself included) are extremely wary of joining forces with libertarians backed by Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity, Cato, etc., because those groups are funded and heavily influenced by people who want the U.S. government to give their interests top priority, at the expense of everything else that only benefits the rabble (that’s us, by the way), and we just can’t get ourselves too excited about the fact that these “libertarian allies” only happen to be affiliated with the right-wing. And we can’t set aside our “partisan” suspicions about them and just listen to all the “right things” they’re saying because we know that it’s really easy to agree about something we all hate, but not so easy to agree on how to fix that stuff. And frankly, I don’t believe Freedom Works libertarians’ goal is to look for popular consensus and push for practical policy reforms; I think their goal is to disrupt and cause political chaos. Nope, I don’t trust them and I resent their presence in this “movement.” They don’t have a reputation for successfully advocating policies that benefit the rabble and one doesn’t have to be a partisan shill for the Democratic Party to see that — one only has to be committed to avoid being a fucking chump and getting suckered into a ridiculous “movement” that doesn’t appear to have a clear, constructive goal.

      But even the most independent and non-partisan person should be able to see that this “movement” looks like an ineffectual hipster dog-and-pony show, due to the fact that we Americans only have agency (i.e., the right to vote and put pressure on policymakers) to fix problems in the United States. Why should we be eager to vote for things that put our country at a disadvantage against other sovereign nations that we have absolutely NO agency to influence? That’s butt-stupid.

      The only significant effect a movement like this can have on policy-making is that it very possibly could weaken the left’s coalition by siphoning off a group of its voters. Gee, now that I think about it, I bet that could actually be beneficial to someone….wonder who that could be?

    • Pink No More

      If you can’t see nuance like an adult then remove yourself from the conversation.

    • feloniousgrammar

      You “we the people” should do some homework before deciding that making a scene is your only recourse.

      There will always be spying and there will always be technology. If you want to “have a discussion”, then how about going into it with more than fee-fees, spectacle, and faux bravado.

      • beulahmo

        I don’t want to dispute your comment; I just want to clarify something I think is important. Passion (or, if you prefer, “fee-fees” 😀 ) can be a great tool for political movements for getting folks to support specific, well-defined objectives, and I don’t want to discount the value of that. What unnerves me here is the alliance with groups that have so many goals that are antithetical to liberals’ goals, along with the vagueness of this movement’s goals. Since the backers of these groups stand to benefit from fracturing the left’s coalition, I suspect they would be happy to fund an effort like this one, or to fund some ineffectual third party (say, a party founded on civil liberties and “free information”?) that would siphon off enough voters to give the flailing right wing a few more years’ worth of electoral life to allow them to continue privatizing public assets and wreaking havoc.

        All I’m saying is passion is good but It’s not enough. I want to see substantive and specific goals. And I implore people like Nick2000 to be very wary of getting suckered by people who, rather than articulate specific goals and realistic plans for achieving them, offer only platitudes about changing paradigms and vague feel-good mission statements about “fighting for freedom.” Beware, beware, beware!

        • feloniousgrammar

          Passion is important when it’s informed and sincere passion.

          Without valid information and an in-depth understanding of the situation you’re protesting, then fee-fees is all it is. “Stop watching me”? Puh-leese. Most of Snowden and Greenwald’s rousing (yawn) revelations debunked themselves.

          And once again, they’ve made it about them.

        • feloniousgrammar

          And— a lot of people have strong feelings about Obama taking their guns away and have been busy demonstrating those feelings with their guns. But Obama isn’t taking their guns away and has no plans to.

        • Churchlady320

          During the 1930s Spanish Civil War, republican fighters called them Fifth Columnists – the pretend liberal/Left who rose AGAINST the republican forces on behalf of Franco. That’s who are making these alliances now. For faux progs to ally with Libertarians – the very people funded by the Kochs et al – is SO FREAKING DANGEROUS I will tender NO support whatsoever.
          beulahmo – than you for this solid and important analysis. This is seriously needing your “beware beware beware” repetition!

    • Churchlady320

      Changes that were secured – demanding and getting warrants – were done via the courts and Congress in 2006. I seriously do not remember a single peep from the streets over spying on Muslims and liberals who supported Muslim rights – my organization being ONE of them. Nobody gave a damn on the Left – they had no interest since it wasn’t, you know, YOU.
      Not six months into this administration the hair on fire Left was getting its whitey tighties in a twist because the president – who legally cannot move to arrest anyone – had not brought Bush and Cheney out on a perp walk. From that point on, never MIND the lack of work to get Congress to do the requisite investigations, Dems and PBO were sell outs.
      Sorry – you were MIA when warrantless spying was routine. Do NOT come in my face now. We needed support then. We got nothing out of y’all. F.U.

  • drspittle

    If this had happened under a Rethuglican president, I believe the media reaction to Snowald would have been the opposite of what it has been under Obama’s presidency. I recall very clearly the post 9/11/Iraq war run-up and the clear message from the cabal – I mean administration – and the media was you are a terrorist sympathizer if you question anything Bush or anyone in his adminstration says. Now stealing government property and giving it to foreign governments is heroic, good for the country,blah blah blah. And since the debate has done a 180 since the Bush years, I’d have to assume the shift is due to, oh, I don’t know, a blah Democrat in the White House because Snowden certainly didn’t do any of this while Bush was preisdent. At the risk of sounding all 11th dimensional Tin Foily, I have to wonder if there aren’t some powerful interests that are not only behind Snowald’s theft but actively funding media/reporters to push the “Abolish the NSA and spying” theme. I’ve never in my 64 years on the planet ever seen this dynamic in the national conversation, Even when the Church Committee was investigating activities and abuses of the CIA there was pushback from conservatives (Repub and Dem) that the investigations jeopardized US interests. I don’t hear much pushback today, but then I try to ignore the mainslime media as much as possible. But there’s a level of acceptance for this today I’ve not heard before in my 64 yearas on this planet.

    • feloniousgrammar

      Yep. How did Snowden know that Booz Allen Hamilton didn’t have the security to stop him from stealing all those documents? If I were investigating, I’d start with the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee— Saxby Chambliss, Richard Burr, James E. Risch, Daniel Coats, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Tom Coburn. And would definitely start with Rubio then ask who he could have been working for. Florida sounds like a good place to start.

      • drspittle

        FG: I found this article about both House and Senate Intelligence Committees’ investigations related to Snowden. This is one of the most bizarre, WTF “reports” I’ve ever read. Looks like Snowden is “willing to talk to the House”. “Willing”? This whole article is like a Bizarro Senfield episode:

        Someone is protecting him.

        • feloniousgrammar

          It could be someone from the House committee, huh? Snowden is not a whistleblower, and to refer to him as such is to deny the importance of intelligence gathering for national security. The assumption that every phone number or e-mail account used in the U.S. belongs to a U.S. citizen with no connection to terrorists and terrorist activity is beyond specious. It’s in what color is the sky on their planet territory? What are these people doing on an intelligence committee? Being stupid, but what else?

          Also, the FBI is entitled to spy on American citizens with a warrant when those citizens are members of terrorist groups and hate groups that threaten other U.S. citizens. The notion that all Americans are above suspicion, at all times, is a strange one, and is strangely convenient in campaigns to make Obama look tyrannical and corrupt.

          • drspittle

            “The notion that all Americans are above suspicion, at all times, is a strange one, and is strangely convenient in campaigns to make Obama look tyrannical and corrupt”
            Bing bing bing bing bing! You win! That’s another very interesting perspective I had not thought of. That, too is a 180 from oh, I don’t know,,the McCarthy era. (as far as more contemporary history is concerned).

    • villemar

      Like the Teabaggers, this current batch of poutaged Useful Idiots use the exact same historical timeline for the past 20 years:

      1993 – Bill Clinton begins 1st term as POTUS
      1996 – Clinton reelected to 2nd term
      2001 – Clinton leaves office on January 21st
      January 22, 2001 to January 20, 2009 – ????
      January 21, 2009 to Present – Bloodthirsty War Criminal Zer0Bomba seizes the White House. Worse than Hitler.

      No one really knows what happened between Jan. 2001 and Jan. 2009. Obama must have gotten hold of that machine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and personally went and erased all of the memories from 300 million citizens. Thanks, Obama!

      • drspittle

        Great timelime I suggest you add (1993 to 1-21-2001 Clintons murder Vince Foster, Clintons commit Travelgate, Clintons dupe investors in Whitewater deal, Bill Clinton treads the primrose path of dalliance with intern and is impeached by fellow treaders.

        • villemar

          That’s absolutely true for the Proto-Baggers & Freepers but the Naderites of the time had their own Anti-Clinton narrative. What’s odd though is I don’t remember them throwing hysterical shit fits about Clinton’s drone strikes in the Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. I guess maybe that was one of the side effects of the Spotless Mind machine. Damn you ZeroBomba!

          • drspittle

            I am confident that Obama will continue to ninja bomb us when he leaves office and settles in Kenya, the land of his birth.

          • feloniousgrammar

            I remember that. Since I was living in a media blackout, I really didn’t understand what they were talking about, but by the time I started to learn a few things about Bosnia and Kosovo, I had already figured out that they were emotarians, even though I hadn’t learned the term yet.

        • nathkatun7


          • drspittle

            Absolutely true. Because Clinton, for all his faults and imagined crimes, was at least white.

  • Brutlyhonest

    Fun fact: We all spy on each other and we all know it. The “outrage” is political theater.

    Also, too: While I enjoy the writing here (especially the extra-special snark of Mr. Brink) I’m finding it harder and harder to give a shit about people to stupid to give a shit about themselves. Hence, my less frequent smart-ass and/or dumb-ass comments.

  • Ooh! Ooh! I know which one! (nice analogy)