Editor’s Pick
APRIL 27, 2012 4:14AM

Obama Threatens to Veto CISPA: Will He Veto?

Rate: 12 Flag

invasion of privacy

The bill has now passed the House vote and will proceed to the Senate; will it pass?  Will Obama veto The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) if it passes through Congress and lands on his desk to be signed?  Obama has threatened to veto it, but history of his support for such Orwellian-Big-Brother-esque, despite his rhetoric against them, suggests he will not veto it, but will sign it into law.  If he somehow does find the courage to veto it, the act will mark a definitive change of course for him. 

As reported by truthout.com: 

According to the White House, CISPA does not offer enough protection of the nation's core cyber infrastructure and threatens civil liberties by failing to establish accountability measures and "sufficient limitations" on the sharing of personal information to ensure information is shared by the government and private companies for the right purposes. 

The bill does not provide adequate “protection of the nation’s core cyber infrastructure” but it provides plenty of invasion of privacy while “failing to establish accountability measures and ‘sufficient limitations’” on such invasions.  Coming on the heels of the FISA – and NDAA which deals with detention of citizens the government suspects of terrorism – passages, one has to wonder how much more invasion the government needs, and how much this CISPA provides that would cause Obama to threaten veto, since he has shown far more tendency to lean in favor of such invasions in the past. 

Could it possibly be that Obama might actually veto this bill?  I thoroughly doubt that Obama would veto this bill.  Of course, he could veto it, or Democrats in Congress could put it on hold until after November’s election with the intent that it could more safely be either vetoed, or signed, after the election should Obama gain a second term. 

This is my own view on this; delay any final decision until the November election’s outcome is known; once the election is in the bag, do whatever you want.  It will be interesting to watch how this fiasco plays out. 

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Obama's record on such matters has been troubling, to say the least, up to this point. Will he change course?
I certainly agree that politics allows for lots of shifts on matters like this which politicians blame off as shifts in circumstance or having reconsidered or saying that some amendment fixed a concern. So it's not implausible on mere tactical grounds that he could do it.

And I also agree that his policy on matters like these has been way to the right of what people have tended to expect.

But he went out of his way to threaten a veto, and he does place considerable stake in keeping his promises, so he may have some new strategy or even some shift in the identity of his politics. The former is an acknowledgment that your analysis could be right—he might be just posturing. The latter, however is a note that sometimes factors like cognitive dissonance can play in.

I actually do think that while he's more naturally centrist than people had expected, and while he's been more willing to do that annoying “pre-compromise” thing (trying to offer all his concessions up front and then hope to be greeted in a negotiating session as a liberator, so to speak), he's been bitten by the Republicans and has started to re-evaluate whether he wants Obama 2.0 to look like his first term. It's not that I trust he's definitely aligned with me/you/us all of a sudden, but I do think it's likely that he's shifting his understanding of himself and how to get things done.

It seems possible he's actually reading the criticisms of these things and is swayed by them, and it seems possible as well that he is indulging the notion that in order to carve out an identity for himself, he must actually learn to not bend to the right and in fact to finally learn what it is to be a Democrat.

We'll see. Where I do completely agree with you is that it's far from certain what will happen, in spite of his remark, and it's a good sign to be watching ...
And I should say really clearly that I think CISPA is a bad idea and Obama should in no uncertain terms veto it. This whole notion of justifying invasions of privacy by talking about security is bogus. As I put it in a tweet recently (I'm
Drat, sorry that comment got chopped in half. Here's the quote I was alluding to: “Security is not binary (on/off). It's a scale. Would anyone say it's worth sacrificing privacy to be 85% safe instead of 83% safe?” (The percentage I'm just making up, but the point is we're often trading a tiny sliver of safety that may not even be a true benefit for a really tangible loss of something else, like privacy.)
Yes, sooner or later, thanks to irrational reaction to rational fears about terrorism, all of us will have our private lives wiki-leaked on. Hell, those who know anything at all about SEO know that the supposed right to privacy went out with the google.
Rick, I heard about this on WBAI this morning. Hope he vetoes it. Big Brother is here to stay, I'm afraid.
You point out a strange and accurate irony …actually a couple of ironies.
I think you have nailed it with this:
“Security is not binary (on/off). It's a scale.” But that requires a level of thinking and understanding that simply eludes so many.
Your reference to the “irrational reaction to rational fears about terrorism” is an important point and it dovetails perfectly with what Kent points out. Also, I’m not sure about the “rational fears” aspect; it seems that the irrational reactions have perhaps been the result of hidden agendas, but the actual fears don’t seem to me to have been all that rational in many cases.
I’m not optimistic that he will veto this bill; he has been consistent about saying he is against one of these types of bills and then supporting them, even before he was president.
"Could it possibly be that Obama might actually veto this bill?"

Uh- no.
tr ig,
Yep, I share your skepticism. We'll see. Even if he does, it doesn't mean that he and the Dems won't get it through later in some other form.
Thank you, Rick. Rated.
Rated. I think he should veto it.
I'd be surprised if he vetoed it. As you point out, his record in that regard is dismal, and actions speak louder than words. We need to get used to the idea that our government, whether run by the GOP or the Dems, is committed to destroying our civil rights.
Rick, it is frightening how fast the government with the aid of global information companies has moved to limit or eliminate free speech. I think there has been an acceleration because of what happened in Egypt. The ability for people to organize using twitter, facebook, and other social media caught the Egyptian dictator totally off guard.

It was so much easier to control information when there were a handful of networks and national magazines. Now regular people can see, report and distribute information in real time. That must scare the hell out of those are dependent on keeping people in the dark.
"I think CISPA is a bad idea and Obama should in no uncertain terms veto it. "
Kent Pitman

Yes CISPA is a bad idea.

"This is my own view on this; delay any final decision until the November election’s outcome is known; once the election is in the bag, do whatever you want."
Rick Lucke

I'm think that this is his plan.

But there is some hope, Obama cannot be reelected anu more after the second term, so he could even veto it after the election?

I think that CISPA is in the interests of big money and Republicans and... they probably want the bill be signed before November’s election.

I think that if Obama would sign it before November’s election, he wouldn't be reelected; he wouldn't gain enough votes of his own party.
Wolfman, Sheila, glad you found it of interest.

Nana, it will surprise me, too, if Obama vetoes this. If he does, I think it might mark a change in his approach of using fear to allow the insidious implementation of things like this bad legislation. But, again, I doubt he will veto.

MTodd, I noticed the same acceleration following the uprisings elsewhere. There has been a push to gain control over these newer modes of communication that allow quicker organizing of “the masses” and, as Tom points out, it is “the irrational reaction to rational fear.”

Hannu, we can’t be sure signing this bill would cost Obama many votes from his base, but it might from those other detached voters like me. Of course, there’s no reason to think this legislation won’t be passed and signed later even if he does veto it, whether Obama or another candidate is elected.
Rick, I don't know if it will cost him votes because all the news networks report is trivial BS to distract us. The majority of people don't even know the issues anymore. The traditional networks for information have long been bought and controlled by the very corporations that benefit from the laws like CISPA. I would guess 90% of the population does not even know about it or even care.
M Todd, I agree completely and this is evidenced by the vigorous support Obama still has despite the horrendous job he's done of supporting not only his own campaign rhetoric, but also the views of voters who elected him.

Here is my test of is this, or any other bill, a good bill or not. Will those who are facing election pass, or sign, it anyway? If it's that good and necessary then pass it and tell us why the world will end if we don't do this. If you are just full of crap the American voter will dump you because you can fool some of us, but not all of us.

This bill and many more like it need to go.
It would seem your testing method no longer works because we've seen some unabashed lying in recent years -- I mean straight-out-in-your-face-lies -- and those who have engaged the worst of them have not been dumped. This bill is clearly a bad one, but so have been many recent bills that passed into law, federal and otherwise.
It's looking like it will turn out that Chicken Little was prescient not delusional.
Do you know if petitions like the one by Avaaz.org had any effect? I published that petition on my blog.

Which Chicken Little? ;-)

I don't know how much good those petitions do, but I don't think they can hurt. My view is that these politicians will just do whatever they want because they know the voters are mostly clueless and will vote for them anyway, whether Dem or Rep. People are afraid to break the spell of the two-party-lesser-of-two-evils mindset. I think Obama can sign this bill, or veto this bill, and it won't matter much to his supporters, either way.
Catnlion, I don't think you can infer anything about the goodness of the bill from whether someone signs it before election. See my response to Hannu next paragraph for elaboration.

Hannu, I think it's not true he wouldn't be re-elected if he signed it. I think it would be all too easy for him to decide to sign it because the Republicans are offering no better on this point, but there are a zillion other points the GOP is worse on. So he could just say it doesn't matter and that he's at more risk to negative publicity from the pro-CISPA side if he doesn't sign it ("Obama is soft on terrorism.") It won't surprise (though won't please) me if he reasons this way. He's certainly seemed to do that on other matters. For example, gay marriage. He can afford to be what he sees as “cautious” (or presents that way) because Republicans offer no better and because it doesn't win him anyone from the other side if he does the right thing.

So I definitely think he should oppose/veto it. But I totally agree with Rick that it's a far-from-certain outcome. I do think, by the way, that he could decide to get more serious about a progressive position and he could feature a veto as part of a sincere effort to do that. But to do that seriously would require reversing some positions on torture, war, etc. to show a bit of across-the-board sincerity. I don't see that as likely, though I do think it would be quite effective.

Keith Olbermann had a very good monologue a while back where he talked about his transition from a more neutral style of reporting to one where he was really overtly partisan in some of his presentations. He said he realized at some point that the opposition was just going to dislike him and talk him down no matter what he did and that it was very freeing to realize that this meant he just didn't have to try to be middle of the road, since no one was going to give him credit for it anyway. He might even have been suggesting Obama do the same, but it's been a while so I'm not sure. But I think it certainly makes sense. Basically, if the anti-Obama folks are willing to call him socialist even when he's not, why not at least venture into the solid progressive camp and make sure your base knows you're solidly with them rather than trying to be luring GOP folks who are bent on not joining up. CISPA would be one of several ways of him opening that conversation, but it can't be the whole of the conversation.

Ironically, given the fierceness of the GOP opposition and the ridiculous hyperbole of the GOP rhetoric, I think Obama is actually committed to being pretty centrist, almost to the point of being what used to be called “moderate Republican.” It would be weird if, one day, we write the history of this time and note that he failed to get elected because his position was too far right and afraid to move left. I think any neutrally made suggestion that he's too far left is ridiculous.
I know you know this, but I figure your comment deserves at least this reply ...there are different kinds of "privacy". It's a matter of being able to decide who knows what, when and how. Choosing to put something out publicly willingly is different from having the government track everything and with the power to use it against you at any time.

But I get your point. ;-)
Well, German Shepherds have been sort of renamed as Alsatians; perhaps Afghan folks should consider a similar approach???
To President Obama: Thank you for defending Americans' civil liberties and threatening to veto CISPA

To my Congressmember: Please review the White House's thoughtful letter in opposition to CISPA and vote against this legislation when it comes up for a vote.

Hey, Mr. President, you can relax about the election and put your attention on getting JOBS. The Republicans are running a mighty good campaign for YOU to be re-elected.

Looking for cheapest auto insurance in Florida?

You vote against their schemes to take freedom away from America, including your daughters and grandchildren, you stop the betrayals and you're sure to get another 4 years in which to make amends for your mess ups. Everybody makes mistakes but you can redeem yours. Come on over to the 99% who voted you into office,. Use your power for your people.

It's your second chance.