Belmont Club

The Last Time I Called Paris

The Australian reports that President Obama has called Paris to apologize for sweeping up “70 million French telephone records and text messages in its global surveillance net”.

The fallout prompted a phone call yesterday from US President Barack Obama to French President Francois Hollande, and, the White House said, an acknowledgement by the US leader that the episode raised “legitimate questions for our friends and allies” about how surveillance capabilities are employed.

The President may have made a similar statement to Angela Merkel, who called Obama to give him a piece of her mind. “German Chancellor Angela Merkel complained to President Barack Obama on Wednesday after learning that U.S. intelligence may have targeted her mobile phone, saying that would be ‘a serious breach of trust’ if confirmed.” Obama has denied it.

“The president assured the chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “The United States greatly values our close cooperation with Germany on a broad range of shared security challenges.”

However, Carney did not specifically say that that U.S. had never monitored or obtained Merkel’s communications. …Up until now, Merkel had worked hard to contain the damage to U.S.-German relations and refrained from saying anything bad about the Americans.

There may be similar problems with other countries, including Italy and Mexico.

The Chicago Tribune says Italy is pressing John Kerry to explain “whether [US] intelligence services may have illegally intercepted Italian telecoms data”. “Kerry met Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta during a visit to Rome, where he faced fresh questions about mass spying on European allies based on revelations by Edward Snowden, the fugitive ex-U.S. intelligence operative granted asylum in Russia.”

Just now the Guardian reports that Mexican diplomats told them that Obama has promised to investigate reports that the NSA tapped the Mexican president’s email.

From the looks of it he president will probably going to have to make a lot of calls and initiate a lot of investigations.

We cannot determine that at this time

We cannot  specifically say if we did

While it is too early to tell what the sleuths will find — other than to say it is impossible to specifically say whether the US had ever monitored this or that — it is probable that whoever was responsible for tapping France, Italy, Mexico, Germany and the rest of the world were not in any way involved in the development of the Obamacare website, which has come to epitomize expensive vaporware. According to an interview conducted by Ezra Klein, the Obamacare website is in “de facto shutdown” though the administration won’t call it that.

Perhaps the press will eventually conclude that the eavesdropping program was a holdover from the evil Bush years, whose existence Obama never suspected. If only Obama knew then he would have shut it down. But there are a lot of things the President doesn’t know including whether his own flagship website works or not After all Kathleen Sebelius told the press that President Barack Obama didn’t know about problems with the Affordable Care Act’s web site until “the first couple of days” after its abysmal launch.

The administration has an iron-clad argument for why they are not responsible for the NSA scandal. They would be incapable of building the NSA, though not incapable of trashing it, as will probably be the case once they’ve scapegoated everyone they can and filled the space the under the bus with unwilling victims.

To protect the President, of course. That’s the prime directive.

Had Obama and his men initiated PRISM or similar programs, it would have finished up like the Green Energy program, cash for clunkers, Benghazi, the Arab Spring, the Muslim brotherhood alliance, the Red Line against chemical weapons,  the War of Necessity in Afghanistan, the program to stop the Iranian nuclear weapon or the Obamacare website.

Perhaps the president should deliver this speech.

“I could not have done it,” he should say, and thrusting his finger into the air for emphasis deliver the punchline. “And you know why. I am only capable of incompetence or putting competent systems to incompetent uses. For I can ruin a screwdriver by using it is a chisel, but I am incapable of contriving a screwdriver in the first place.

But it is not my fault. When I ran for President I never actually believed anybody would vote for me. But to my everlasting amazement they did.  Isn’t this a great country?

Therefore the blame for the resulting random uses of American power should be laid at the doorstep of those who endorsed me; who entrusted me with the great instruments which I am now running down or discrediting or ruining; on those who put me in charge of this marvelous vehicle now hurtling through the air at great speed as it had done for many years. The truth is that I never knew how to fly a plane. I just dressed the part. And those who put me at the controls of this machine knew that.

But the plane had been flying so long that those who endorsed me thought it would fly forever, no matter who was in the left hand seat, no matter what buttons he pushed, what levers he pulled, what switches he flipped.

Ladies and gentlemen, donors and supporters, if you look out the port window you will see a single parachute descending to safety. That is me heading for my well earned retirement. This flight is due over Paris airport in 30 minutes and will probably crash about 20 minutes later when it runs out of gas.

This is a recording.”

The last time I called Paris
The cause was NSA.
They eavesdropped on the diplomats.
I knew not what to say.
The last time I called Paris I said s’il vous plaît.
And it was all Dick Cheney’s fault.
Please remember it that way.


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