back to article Ex-prez Carter: 'America has no functioning democracy' with PRISM

Former US President Jimmy Carter has applauded the whistle-blowing of Edward Snowden and says the current surveillance state means the US is in dire political straits. "America has no functioning democracy," Carter told a meeting of The Atlantic Bridge in Atlanta on Tuesday, Der Speigel reports. Carter said that Snowden's …

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"they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

Remind me, what did Obama get it for?

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Trollface

Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

Ahh but that was pre-PRISM, y'know.

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Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

>Remind me, what did Obama get it for?

He reminded them of Kissenger

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Def
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Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

"Remind me, what did Obama get it for?"

As far as I can tell he got it for turning up and not being Bush.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

Remind me, what did Obama get it for?

As far as I can tell, merely for not being George Bush, which actually said a lot more about the lack of esteem Bush was held in than about a then as yet unproven Obama.

However, if you have any hopes of Obama having to give back that prize in the light of recent revelations I have bad news (and I am quoting this literally from a reply I had from the Norwegian Nobel Institute):

The statutes of the Nobel Committee do not open for the withdrawal of a prize, once awarded.

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Unhappy

Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

Obama got it for at least trying to change the statuesque, and I think he honestly believed he could.

The problem was, with the lack of support, and the amount of $ involved, He never actually stood a bats chance in hell of succeeding.

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Unhappy

Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

Especially when the GOP states publicly that their main goal is to stop him from doing anything. They've even gone so far as to lock up the entire country to satisfy their little egos.

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Coat

Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

"Obama got it for at least trying to change the statuesque..."

Not an easy task- have you seen the size of some of the 'Statuesque'? They're bloody enormous!

O the huge manatees!

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Anonymous Coward

"he got it for turning up and not being Bush"

...Or for turning up and not being YET ANOTHER Bush....

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Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

Considering the Republican party is controlled by the ultra radical right wing tea party which was formed and funded by the Koch brothers and big tobacco with the sole purpose in enriching big business. Koch industries said that if Obama was elected president, they would fire 50,000 of their employees!

With that kind of mentality representing the US, do you think that any Republican cares even a little bit about what happens to this country?

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Unhappy

Re: "he got it for turning up and not being Bush"

"Or for turning up and not being YET ANOTHER Bush"

Looks like he might be worse.

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Re: "he got it for turning up and not being Bush"

Not worse, but almost as bad as.

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Statuesque

iPhone autocorrect, I suspect.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

He got it coz he's black innit.

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Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

Yeah. He got a black guy elected President.

For a short while afterwards, it looked like the Republican counterplan was to get a conspicuously incompetent and unqualified black guy elected President, which in my opinion would be a more significant event, but he peaked too early scandalwise. I forget his name...

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Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

You're painting with a brush broader than... um what's the official Reg unit of length again? Pretty damned broad, anyway. So I confess to being a little bit curious as to what your opinion of US Democrats is.

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Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

I believe he got it because he's black, even though he's half white. Either that or, looking at the rest of the World leaders, they figured a random lottery drawing would do just as well and his number came up.

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Happy

Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

Remind me, what did Obama get it for?

These days I think you can get it for $25Million. The officials are easier to bribe.

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WTF?

Re: "they don't give you the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing"`

Although Obama got most US troops out of Iraq

No Bush's plan got the US troops out of Iraq. Obama just followed Bush's timetable.

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Anonymous Coward

Spy on the Spies

Let us compensate for the invasion of our privacy by demanding fully open government. All expense accounts, donor, list, speaking engagements, part or full-time jobs, gifts, and meetings attended for every elected representative, their families out to three degrees of closeness would be a good start.

An who guards the guardians. A separate ethics oversight operation with an elected head, a large budget, and the power to arrest would be a start, and they would have the right and obligation to investigate all regulation, government acts and law enforcement activity for proper behaviour.

I am sick of police overstepping the line, corrupt politicians, and lobby-driven voting. I am afraid that giving the power we have already ceded might allow the NSA to throw me in Guantanamo "to protect the state", assuming that the Director or the President wished to act with malice. Just ask Nixon, or all the people we renditioned!

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Re: Spy on the Spies

But then, who oversees the overseer? As for the budget, by Constitutional Law, only the House can set the budget, and what do you think they would do to any potential overseer? Nothing short of an Amendment could make this possible, plus even if you give this overseer the budget, who's going to pay for all this ON TOP of everything else Joe American has to pay now?

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Re: Spy on the Spies

- "Who polices the police?"

- "Er....Coast Guard??"

-HJS

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Re: Spy on the Spies

But then, who oversees the overseer?

The electorate, in an elected position?

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Re: Spy on the Spies

"The electorate, in an elected position?"

Don't seem to be doing much for the current situation in American government, are they? The trouble with the electorate is that you can't assume they will act rationally, and once a majority of the electorate are acting IRrationally, you can game the system by playing to their emotions. That's what's happening now.

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Anonymous Coward

Carter was an obnoxious incompetent, but

Obama is a hypocrite and morally bad person.

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Unhappy

Re: Obama is a hypocrite and morally bad person.

Obama is a 21st century politician. That goes without saying?

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Re: Carter was an obnoxious incompetent, but

Carter made great progress on improving a royal mess that was handed to him. But just like today, the Republican's took a statement of "he didn't get rid of 100% of our mess" and translated it into a battlecry of "look what a bad job he's done".

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Meh

Re: republican v/s democratic presidents.

That has been the cycle of US american politics for the past decades, hasn't it? With a generally republican majority in the Houses over the past decades, the republican presidents get away with whatever they want to do, and basically make a right royal mess of things, while any democratic president is actively cock-blocked "just because". And shouted down for Not Accomplishing Anything by the very people that actively sabotage any attempt at efficiency and, you know, sensible government.

The few voices of reason are drowned out by the puppets from the "interest groups" aka. large sponsors, and the net effect is that the US is rapidly going bankrupt morally and financially.

Ah well... Within the next decade or two that perticular card-house will come down, and then the US will be left nothing but banging its' wardum in senile reminiscene and impotency.

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Unhappy

He's right

Because if any significant number of Senators or Congressmen had read THE PATRIOT act they would have thrown it out.

And the surveillance system set up by the NSA under it and other FISA, plus the data sharing arrangements with other agencies mean that and serious effort to set up debate, protest or resistance to this system is already under surveillance.

So that's both a "representative" democracy and a grass roots democracy fail.

This only stops when Congress and Senators start losing elections because of their stance on privacy (or rather their grovelling on their knees before President Bush which got the US here) that this will start to change.

Might I also suggest that unlimited terms for both Con-gressmen and Senators is a truly bad idea.

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Re: He's right

The no term limit thing really is the core of the issue. Both parties hold the internal rules of both houses in higher regard than the Constitution or the country. They do that because they know they can live above the law forever as long as they hide in their offices.

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Re: He's right

Term limits wouldn't do a thing.

1. Experience counts, and if it's not the Congressmen themselves, then it'll be the congressional staff that sticks around after the congressman leaves.

2. People aware of term limits can plan for them by grooming proteges.

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Re: Achievement Unlocked: New Cadillac

Yes. It takes quite a bit of experience to forge the lasting relationships with constituents and peers that allow them to gorge themselves on pork kickbacks and donations for decades. That's why newbie Congressmen have the shittiest cars and have their 'DC' homes in Maryland, thy can't afford to live in DC. It takes a few terms to unlock those achievements.

The Congressmen hire their own personal staff (Representatives have 14 full time personal staff each and Senators have 34). It is a common for political hopefuls to work as Congressional staff but almost none of them ever become Congressmen, they can actually do something so they don't really fit in with Congress.

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Re: He's right

How do you support term limits in a democracy?

" I demand that I not be allowed to vote for this candidate next time !"

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Re: He's right

The US supports term limits right in the Constitution. The 22nd amendment imposes limits on the Presidency, just add Representative and Senator and that's sorted.

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Black Helicopters

Re: He's right

"Because if any significant number of Senators or Congressmen had read THE PATRIOT act they would have thrown it out."

I think you'll find that that's why they had the interception stuff in place already so that they could target senators and congressmen to blackmail them...

Funny also how the people who were in a position to lead the others into throwing out the PATRIOT act were the recipients of the weaponised Anthrax letters...

Just Google Anthrax Congress and you'll get plenty of links

"Two more anthrax letters, bearing the same Trenton postmark, were dated October 9, three weeks after the first mailing. The letters were addressed to two Democratic Senators, Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont. At the time, Daschle was the Senate Majority leader and Leahy was head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. " From the Wikipedia link

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Unhappy

Re: He's right

"Because if any significant number of Senators or Congressmen had read THE PATRIOT act they would have thrown it out."

The beauty of the PATRIOT act was the way it ammended existing legislation, in some cases negating the original intent, rather than explicitly making new law. This made it much harder to work out its full scope, especially in a climate of fear where something had to be seen to be done.

But the master stroke was the convoluted bacronym "PATRIOT". What politician could risk going into the next election facing accusations of not being a patriot because they opposed the PATRIOT act? Dubya could have introduced conscription and it still would have passed.

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Re: He's right

Almost like the "Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of the People and the State" who could oppose protection of the people and the state?

Sometimes you have to read beyond the title

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Meh

Re: Achievement Unlocked: New Cadillac

"That's why newbie Congressmen have the shittiest cars and have their 'DC' homes in Maryland, thy can't afford to live in DC. It takes a few terms to unlock those achievements."

It takes a few terms to get the gravy train in gear and up to speed.

How terrible to have to give it up so soon.

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Stop

Re: He's right

It is not clear that the 22nd amendment is especially useful or necessary. It was a reaction to FDR's run of four, which was highly situational, arguably appropriate given the circumstances between 1929 and 1945, and quite unlikely to have been repeated soon. By adding it we have established a requirement for change under circumstances when it might be undesirable or could be meaningless (as, for instance, if the current Vice President moves up because the current President is ineligible). In any case, we have term limits as long as elections are relatively free.

There is by now, as a result of various initiatives, a fair amount of experience with term limits in state and local government. It would be interesting to see how they have worked out. My impression, from Ohio, is that they have not led to improved governance or reduced graft. The least damaging effect there probably has been that Representatives, who reach their limit may run for the Senate, and Senators, in the same bind, may take a temporary vacation in the House if they cannot obtain make a run for promotion to a statewide office or the US Congress or Senate, or obtain a political appointment. The default probably is to join a lobbying firm, reinforcing the ability of the lobbyists to provide much of the institutional memory required for government to operate.

This pretty clearly is less than optimal.

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Re: He's right

Lest we forget: one of the major criticisms of US intelligence agencies in about September - October 2001 was that they didn't share enough, the somewhat doubtful claim being that if they had done they could have prevented the 9/11 attack.

Well, they collected more and shared more, and it got us Prism and other possibly undesirable things.

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Re: He's right

Because the Presidency was the only office that needed to be stipulated in the Constitution. Well, and also that federal court judges are appointed for life. The election of representatives and senators are completely up to the individual states, as is proper since it is the state that they are supposed to represent, eh? Each state may set their own term limits if they so choose. None have done so, but it is not a constitutional issue. Naturally, it will never be done at the fed level by Congress. I doubt that the fox will limit how long he may watch the hen house. Most likely a state legislature is unsure if it is a good idea to term limit their representatives if other states do not limit theirs. They fear the other state's representatives always getting the juicy committee appointments, meaning their representative would bring home as much pork.

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Re: He's right

The election of Congressmen may be up to the States, to some degree, but nearly everything other than that is a Federal rule or law that governs/empowers them. They certainly are quick to act as a Federal body when the time comes for voting themselves a pay raise, additional staff, etc... They only play the 'representative of the State' card when to get out of doing something they don't want to do.

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Re: He's right

"It is not clear that the 22nd amendment is especially useful or necessary. It was a reaction to FDR's run of four, which was highly situational, arguably appropriate given the circumstances between 1929 and 1945, and quite unlikely to have been repeated soon. By adding it we have established a requirement for change under circumstances when it might be undesirable or could be meaningless (as, for instance, if the current Vice President moves up because the current President is ineligible). In any case, we have term limits as long as elections are relatively free."

The problem was that FDR was gaining increasing support throughout his terms, not the least because of his political clout (boosted by experience), causing something of a feedback loop. Your experience makes you a better choice over the challenger, winning you another term and MORE experience, etc. And it resulted in a president-for-life that lasted longer than probably even the Founding Fathers would've been comfortable with. If FDR had been in better health, there was a fair chance he'd have the leverage to continue being President even after World War II.

You see that these days with some of the most veteran congresspeople. It takes something quite extraordinary on either side to unseat one of them unwillingly.

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Vic
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Re: He's right

> unlimited terms for both Con-gressmen and Senators is a truly bad idea.

I disagree. It's an excellent thing.

Why the hell should they get either parole or early release?

Vic.

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Where is the fourth estate?

Is this true or a mistranslation? Why are no mainstream U.S. media outlet picking up on this story?

Do we all have to go out and buy tin foil hats now?

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Re: Where is the fourth estate?

The media sold out to commercial concern over a decade ago. It took 3 weeks for the Occupy Wall Street demos to make it onto mainstream News Channels in the US.

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Re: Where is the fourth estate?

Because Carter has pissed off every political personage in DC over the years by speaking too much truth. No matter what the press would like you to think they are too scared to piss off their current pet Congressmen and staffers by talking him up. It's a shame really.

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Big Brother

Re: Where is the fourth estate?

Too much of the fourth estate is tied to commercial interests in the US. However I was there last year during election run-up and Rachel Maddow (from MSNBC) used to get really irate when other networks misrepresented the facts, and would sometimes throw her notes at the camera in frustration. It was very refreshing to watch, I tuned in most nights to hear what she had to say.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuBdYVHqn00

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Devil

Re: Where is the fourth estate?

It was killed by Ronnie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_Doctrine

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Boffin

Whoever controls the secrets, controls the government

J.E. Hoover used the power of the FBI against all enemies, personal and political. He held dossiers on presidents, et. al. No one dared oppose him, lest closets open and skeletons be exposed. His agency attacks on Dr. Martin Luther King are legendary.

Now that the NSA/CIA/FBI have TIA (total invasive authority) I suspect there is no one in Washington DC or any state capitol who dares oppose the power of the Alphabet Agencies.

"I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial." President Carter said.

He is wrong, of course. It is too late for "beneficial" effect. Bradley Manning is as good as dead; Julian Assuange is rotting in limbo; and Edward Snowden is a man without a country. America's politicians have only one care: permanent incumbency. The American people are divided against themselves, and Congress -- like pigs in a muckpit -- wallows in gridlock.

Democracy no longer.

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