The best thing that could have happened to our nation is the whistleblowing and leaking of information about the VAST warrantless spying operations of the NSA. It's really great to see Barack Obama, America's leading crypto-fascist, backpedalling and in full CYA mode. Maybe there is justice in this universe.
Unsurprisingly, Obama's responses to the situation have been the typical paternalistic authoritarian claptrap. Trust us. This is only a moderate incursion. It's the price of security. We know what's good for you. If I had the celebrity standing to address open letters to our president, here's what I'd say in response:
"Sorry, Barack, we had enough of that with the Iraq war. And with your own lying campaign promises. And with your own unaccountable drone strikes and surveillance of the Occupy movement--even before the NSA stuff. If you're not simply a Bush II corporate fascist in blackface, it's time to put up or shut up. The democracy lovers among us, who believe in informed consent of the governed, do NOT trust you for a heartbeat. You've never given us reason to.
"Now, there's a really simple way you could show you care about transparency--and the planet's future. See, a lot of good citizens--many of them highly credentialed scientists--are serious opponents of your energy policies. Leading climate-change blogger Joe Romm, for example, gave your "all of the above" energy program an F grade. Top climatologist James Hansen is willing to commit civil disobedience to impede the Keystone XL pipeline, which all the "smart money" says you're about to approve. And many good citizens, deeply suspicious of the fossil fuel lobbyists you seem to be trusting (and rightly suspicious of corporate lobbyists generally: Didn't lobbyist-heavy Wall Street nearly tank the global economy?), find it far more rational to place their faith in independent scientists.
"So if reason and the common good ARE on your side, let's see what you've got. If your policies really serve the public interest, what harm would it do to have some nationally televised debate? Mano a mano. The people you're listening to against the people leading environmentalists are listening to. The best folks on our side against the best folks on yours.
"Surely you can't fear--with the bully pulpits of government and the rich-as-Croesus fossil fuel industry on your side--that the enviros will have an unfair propaganda advantage? And consider: assuming your advisers are right, this is the best way imaginable to discredit the enviros and shut them up. Far better than spying on conscientious citizens who are only following their consciences--mistaken consciences from your standpoint--on gravely important questions. Why not try to duly inform those consciences with the same expert opinion that convinced you, rather than treating these morally heroic, concerned citizens as if they were al-Qaeda terrorists? I believe any political image consultant would tell you how much using your bully pulpit to sponsor the fracking and tar sands debates I'm proposing would do to wipe away the large chunks of dodo egg currently disfiguring your face.
"Unless you really are a bought-off tool of the corporate and military-industrial complexes who must really minimize public information and threaten dissenters to shove policies that serve only the 1% and destroy democracy--and the planet in the process--down the public's throats. Sadly, this is what I believe about you, and I work hard to spread my ill opinion daily. At this point, only your public sponsorship of the nationally televised debates I mention could even begin to change it."
If you agree getting Obama to endorse such debates would be a great way for him to put up or shut up, you'll probably LOVE the True Blue Democrats' grassroots progressive revolt. Check us out at www.facebook.com/TrueBlueDemocratsAProgressiveRevolt.