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He's Not That in to You

12:54 PM, Aug 12, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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In his Friday press conference, President Obama grappled with the tangled issues surrounding the collection of metadata by the NSA and the general topic of government surveillance of the citizenry.  He arrived at an interesting and somewhat disturbing formulation, as Dan Friedman reports in the New York Daily News:

"Let's just put the whole elephant out there so people know what they are looking at," said Obama who argued the government "is not interested in spying on ordinary people."

One could be forgiven for reading that remark as another way of saying, "You are not worth our time and worthy of our interest." To which one then thinks, "Maybe not now."

The issue, of course, isn't whether or not the government is "interested" in you (and if NSA isn't, there are certainly other departments, bureaus, divisions, offices, agencies, etc. etc. that are) but what it is constitutionally permitted and not permitted to do even if it should become interested.

The president's remarks were typically imperious and condescending.  And, furthermore, just who gets to decide who is "ordinary"?   

Would that the citizenry could say to the government, on any number of occasions and issues, "Sorry but we're just not that interested in you. Buzz off."

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