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The key issue with the Obama administration's new proposal to strengthen warrantless spying initiatives is multifold. First, the proposal could damage U.S. telecommunications businesses.   (Source: Associated Press)

Further, on top of the questionable nature on violating privacy rights of U.S. citizens talking to foreign citizens (currently legal under the Patriot Act), it's virtually impossible to tell a foreign citizen using a foreign service from a U.S. one. Thus communications between two U.S. citizens could be intercepted and the citizens' privacy rights illegally violated.
Plan would fine companies that don't pay to assist government in warranted and warrantless spying on U.S. citizens

Few would argue the need for the U.S. government to protect itself and critical domestic infrastructure from foreign attacks.  And fewer still would debate whether our country should use high-tech surveillance to monitor countries like China and Russia that have shown a propensity to attack unprotected U.S. systems when they have the chance.

More controversial, however, is the domestic spying efforts closely tied to the terrorism.  Namely the National Security Agency (NSA), under the Patriot Act of 2001, was given the right warrantless wiretaps of calls between U.S. and foreign citizens.  That alone was controversial enough, but an expose in The New York Times showed that domestic calls between two
U.S. citizens were also being intercepted, in what the NSA dubbed an "accident".

A special Obama administration task force consisting of U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Commerce, NSA, Federal Bureau of Investigations, local law enforcement, and more is looking to reinforce warrantless wiretap.  The move is perhaps unsurprising, considering that the council shares many of the same experts that mastermind President George W. Bush's original Patriot Act.

The group is proposing new legislation designed at reinforcing the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act, a 1994 law published during the Clinton administration that demanded that telecommunications prepare to begin surveillance of suspects as soon as a court order is issued. 

Under the proposed changes, telecoms would be mandated to not only prepare for such instances, but also for warrantless wiretapping as spelled out under the Patriot Act.  Those telecoms who complied fully would be rewarded with undisclosed incentives, while those who resist or were slow to comply would face fines or other penalties.

Albert Gidari Jr., a lawyer who represents telecommunications firms, tells The New York Times that such legislation would be devastating to the civilian telecommunications industry.  He states, "The government’s answer is 'don't deploy the new services — wait until the government catches up.  But that’s not how it works. Too many services develop too quickly, and there are just too many players in this now."

Previously detailed nuances of the plan call for the government also to gain new warrantless surveillance powers over other communications resources such as email (e.g. Gmail), text messages (including encrypted services, like RIM's), social networks (e.g. Facebook), and internet forums.

Multiple issues surround the overarching proposal.  One is in the potential economic damage it could cause the free market at a time when it is already struggling to recover.

A second issue is perhaps the most critical one.  Under current legal precedent, U.S. citizens can only have their Constitutional rights annulled if they are communicating with suspicious foreign citizens.  However, to determine what users of foreign services are actually foreign citizens is almost impossible as foreign telecoms and internet firms have no real necessity to comply with U.S. requests for information.  Thus U.S. citizens use foreign cell phones, operating on foreign web sites, or using foreign-based email services, may have their Constitutional rights violated
even while communicating with other U.S. citizens.

There is no clear solution to this problem.



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What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/21/2010 10:39:02 AM , Rating: 5
Is that the people who complain about Obama's economic regulatory changes frequently refer to them as tyranny, (absurdly) but many of these same people enthusiastically endorse policies like this, which are steps towards ACTUAL tyranny.




RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/21/2010 11:04:36 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Obama's economic regulatory changes
quote:
policies like this

They are both steps to tyranny. You can't pick and choose with a strong central gov't.


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/21/2010 1:04:42 PM , Rating: 2
You really can, and each and every society on earth does so on a daily basis.


RE: What blows my mind
By 91TTZ on 10/21/2010 1:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
Are you saying that North Korean, Cuban, and Chinese citizens gets to choose on a daily basis?


RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/21/2010 2:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
Really? You chose to bail out private companies? You chose to go to Iraq? Let me just stop there...

You are a really smart cookie then!


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/21/2010 4:44:24 PM , Rating: 3
What are you talking about? I said 'society' not 'person'. We as a society chose to bail out private companies and go into Iraq. We as a society have also chosen to have a strong central government. Attempting to equate the recent bailouts with tyranny just shows me that the person making that comparison has never been to a country where there is actual tyranny. It's silliness.

Broad, large scale, unaccountable police powers on the other hand are the hallmark of almost every tyrannical government throughout history. Virtually every time these were justified as they are now, as a measure to protect the country from some nebulous enemy.

I simply find it odd that the true hallmarks of tyrannical regimes that the US government has taken on in recent years are frequently glossed over or, even worse, enthusiastically endorsed by people who shriek about tyranny all day.


RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/21/2010 5:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
"We as a society" includes you. And I (and many others) disagree with your idea of us as a society choosing to do those things. If the gov't is the one who controls the information, they are de facto decision makers. They were very secretive about the bailouts and they gave us faulty information about Iraq. (Of course these are still up for debate I suppose, but let's assume that it is true for the sake of discussion.) It was not a democratic process to do those things, and I and many others believe that our elected representatives misrepresented us.

I think the problem here is that the word "strong" is relative. I should've said "a centralized gov't that is TOO strong". But the problem with that is who knows what TOO strong is. I believe that we should have a strong central gov't but I think that it should be equally as powerful (if not less) as the state gov'ts. Of course this issue was a big issue during the formitive years of the country. But I don't know why people can't see that the federal gov't is entirely too big now.

Tyranny is "oppressive power exerted by government". How is the gov't making decisions with our money not opressive? Am I chained up to a wall or something? No. But there is a degree of tyranny. And the reason why is because we have given the gov't the power to do so.

I'm not saying that the president is a tyrant, but that this is the way to tyranny. Giving the gov't excessive power. How do you think the gov'ts you mentioned get to be tyrannical? They do it with money. It is not a chicken or egg question. The money comes first.


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/21/2010 6:03:22 PM , Rating: 1
We as a society choose our actions by selecting representatives to act in our place as they see fit for a set period of time. Those who we elected to do this acted within the scope of their duties as we have laid them out, therefore we as a society chose to take those actions. It was a democratic process, because that's how things work in a representative democracy.

I think there is room for reasonable debate as to what 'too strong' is, but that was my point. Most people will likely agree that you can have a strong government that isn't too strong, and thus have strength without tyranny.

I for one have no problem with the level of federal vs. state authority, but again I can certainly see how reasonable people can disagree on that. But yes, people can certainly not see the fed is too big now. And really, the federal vs. state power question was decided a long time ago, right around 1865 or so.

My complaints about government power don't really touch on the federal/state issue. (I would be just as unhappy if the state of New York were tapping my phones without warrants as opposed to the feds)

Tyranny though? I think your idea of the feds spending your money as tyranny defines the word out of existence. Not all exercise of taxation/spending is tyranny, at least not how we understand the word today. So no, the government making decisions with your money isn't tyranny, it's really one of the primary functions of government. This is also sort of my point. Elected officials enacting policies exercising their legitimate power during accepted terms of office isn't tyranny, it's tyranny when they impose their will on you without recourse, and we all have recourse. (an election)

While I fully support the bailouts (along with most economists), I find the rhetoric of tyranny tiresome. I think you do your very legitimate viewpoint a disservice by surrounding it with rhetoric like that.


RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/22/2010 11:48:43 AM , Rating: 2
First of all, thank you for continuing this reason filled discussion. I hate the flame fests that start up here sometimes. I think that people do not discuss (REALLY discuss) politics enough these days. It is all about LiLo and Paris Hilton and what not.

quote:
We as a society choose our actions by selecting representatives to act in our place as they see fit for a set period of time. Those who we elected to do this acted within the scope of their duties as we have laid them out, therefore we as a society chose to take those actions. It was a democratic process, because that's how things work in a representative democracy.

You are right. But the same thing can be said of a society that elects a monarchy or a tyrant for that matter (as many kings have been tyrants). The big difference is of course the time limit. But with a tyrant he usually eliminates that ;-).

Part of the problem I see is that people vote based on one issue in a 2-party system because they "don't have enough time" to figure out who best represents them. I think that is why we have so many race/religion based organizations that make the decisions for their adherents. And when these people do go to the polls they vote straight ticket, because that is the best way to get one issue backed. I vote single issue too...the only issue I want backed is freedom aka minimal gov't.

The result is dems who want more financial freedom and reps who want more personal freedom are not represented at all.
What kind of representation is that?


RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/22/2010 11:57:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And really, the federal vs. state power question was decided a long time ago, right around 1865 or so.

So are you saying that the gov't is just as small as it was back then? The answer was not answered back then or even in 1776, but has always been on the ballot. The Founding Fathers only came to agree on a starting point. The problem is that as a society we choose only to grow gov't. Both parties in power are for bigger gov't (even if the reps deny it).

And yes, maybe the feds should be powerful enough to protect constitutional rights a la the Civil War, but "how big is too big?" agian is the question. Everyone who thinks that the feds should have more power always bring up the Civil War. The fact of the matter is that war was not the only way to fix that problem. And if you take a trip to any slave state today, I think you can still see the problem with the Civil War as a 'solution'?

And as usual when someone replies to my questioning the size of the federal gov't (and gov't in general) you might say, "I don't think it should be bigger!! I didn't say that. I like it just how it is."

Well people have been saying that since the country was birthed. It is like spending money. You never say, "I need to start spending more!" (well, the feds say that all the time lol) because there is no effort needed to spend. There is only effort needed to save.


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/22/2010 2:12:40 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not saying the government is as small now as it was back then, and frankly I have no problem with a government that is larger than the one we have today. (I'm mostly thinking of health care where I strongly desire a single payer, government run system.) That's true that the founders only agreed on a starting point, but even there they just barely agreed. Many of the founders wanted a federal government much more powerful than what we have even today. (and vice versa of course)

I don't want to debate the origins of the Civil War, but I personally view it as inevitable. And in all fairness, it might not have been an optimal solution, but it definitely solved the issue.

As for both parties being for bigger government, yeap. It just depends on the area. (Republicans for military and security apparatus, Democrats for social programs) That's the curse of a winner-take-all electoral system though, the median voter in America DOES want bigger government, and so both parties work to give him what he wants. I imagine it is frustrating to you that there is no viable party to vote for truly smaller government, much as it is frustrating to me to be unable to vote for a truly liberal party. Such parties are rendered basically impossible by the way the Constitution set up our system though, so we're sort of stuck with what we have.


RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/22/2010 6:41:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the median voter in America DOES want bigger government, and so both parties work to give him what he wants.

I'm not so sure that is true. I have a survey saying they want smaller gov't, and another that questions that.

quote:
with slightly more than half saying they prefer a smaller government with fewer services to a larger government with more services. Independents, however, now split 61 to 35 percent in favor of a smaller government; they were more narrowly divided on this question a year ago (52 to 44 percent), before the financial crisis hit.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic...

And the following scepticism/update:
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20019244-50...

quote:
I imagine it is frustrating to you that there is no viable party to vote for truly smaller government, much as it is frustrating to me to be unable to vote for a truly liberal party.

There is a party that more or less represents my views. It is the libertarian party. The only reason it is not viable at the moment is because of the "jump!...No, YOU jump!" mentality that has our hands tied as a society. If we really all started voting the way we really felt instead of trying to pick a winner, the country would be a lot better.

I urge you to also vote for The Green party or whoever else has a platform that you agree with. Even though it may be on the other end of the non-linear spectrum from what I believe. As long as it is less power to the dems and the reps.


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/23/2010 12:03:18 PM , Rating: 2
People say that they want a smaller government in the abstract, but when they are asked about specifics they can never mention any meaningful way in which they actually want to shrink it. It's one of the biggest problems America has, the public wants low taxes and big government... and sees no disconnect.

What you mention about voting though is a very common collective action problem in political science called Duverger's Law. It basically says that in any winner take all system like ours, it will very likely end up in a 2 party system. So long as 50.1% of the vote gets 100% of the representation, we can't have a viable national third party. Sad, but true.


RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/25/2010 1:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's one of the biggest problems America has, the public wants low taxes and big government... and sees no disconnect.

You're right. They don't se the disconnect. We should focus on low taxes. You are proposing that we just worry about wiretapping.

quote:
People say that they want a smaller government in the abstract, but when they are asked about specifics they can never mention any meaningful way in which they actually want to shrink it.

So you're saying that people KNOW that the gov't is too big. They just have issues giving up their comforts.

quote:
What you mention about voting though is a very common collective action problem in political science called Duverger's Law. It basically says that in any winner take all system like ours, it will very likely end up in a 2 party system. So long as 50.1% of the vote gets 100% of the representation, we can't have a viable national third party. Sad, but true.

I think you are correct here too. There will be a two party system. I just don't believe that there should be THIS 2 party system. I personally think the GOP is about to die and the libertarian party will pick up the pieces (all the reps and disaffected dems; 'tea partiers'). And when the fanatics settle, the democratic party will be a distant second, gaining steam everytime the people forget what this country was made for (unless they change their platform as parties have done in the past).


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/25/2010 6:37:11 PM , Rating: 2
I think the fact that they don't want to give up their comforts is a sign that they don't actually want smaller government.

I sincerely doubt that either of the two parties is likely to substantially change in the near future. They both have the median voter staked out pretty well, and I don't see a realignment of the median voter's preferences in the cards. One of the side effects of the internet is that it tends to surround us with people whom we already agree with, and so we tend to think that our viewpoints have more support than they actually do.

I find some aspects of libertarianism admirable, but I find it highly unlikely that it will be a mainstream political ideology in America any time soon.

I'm saying that we should focus on wiretapping because I don't believe we need to focus on low taxes, I for one believe we need a higher tax, higher service state similar to Scandinavia. (they do have the highest quality of living in the world after all)

The important part here though (and something that I find encouraging) is that while I think we strongly... strongly disagree on the role of government, I feel like I could discuss it with you like an adult, and that's what's important. That's what I meant way back when about the whole tyranny business, the Hitler business, the whatever. It clouds people's ability to address real issues and real problems in a constructive manner.

I guess we can always hope.


RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/29/2010 11:44:29 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry I've been busy and I wanted to take the time to discuss this further and come up with a well written long response and I am finding that I don't have the time as of late. But basically if you can think about the following questions then we might be able to make some progress as it seems we are deadlocked.

1. Can the gov't get too big?
2. How will they fund such growth?
3. How will you know when it is too big?
4. How will you stop it when it is too big?

Where our discussion goes is dependant on how you answer those questions.


RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/22/2010 12:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Milton Friedman argued that the economic freedom of competitive capitalism is a requisite of political freedom.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism#Political_...
According to the citations on Wikipedia, so did Hayek and (the dems sweetheart) Keynes.
If you don't have the political freedom then your point is moot, because you need political freedom to make decisions regarding who to elect. (And keep in mind, if the gov't controls the information, they control the decisions being made by the people.)

From Random House:
quote:
4. oppressive or unjustly severe government on the part of any ruler. 5. undue severity or harshness.

If the gov't takes away your right to smoke cigarettes, would you consider that tyranny?
If the gov't taxes the bejesus out of a pack of cigarettes to the point where you could no longer afford it, is that tyranny?
How about a tax on tanning? A tax on Snickers but not Twix?
How about the gov't choosing what you do with the money you would like to invest or the gov't choosing where you educate your children? Or how about a tax on being white in America? (Full disclosure: I'm a white Mex-Am with a "dark" side of the family. History of oppression on that side. Great Grandad on Grandad's side was 'illegal'. And I mention this because it is the only racial discrimination that is not being talked about. Of course various shades of brown are being oppressed, as I have seen it in my own family.) How about a tax on energy even if you are someone who doesn't believe in a man-made global warming? How about a tax to pay for a military that is NOT used solely for defense?

I know you might not feel oppressed, but whatever color, creed, sexual orientation you might have... but you are being oppressed.

I also should disclose that I don't smoke, tan, eat Twix or Snickers, went to public school, etc., etc., etc.
I don't have problems with these issues because I am not a partaker in most instances. But I do have a problem with the gov't (and their constituency by extension) telling my fellow citizens what they can and cannot do.
It is tyranni cal .
Are we living under a tyrannical dictator? (see definitions 1,2, and/or 3) No, but how do you think we get there?


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/22/2010 2:37:37 PM , Rating: 2
I just don't view any of those things as tyranny, or even the road to it. The definition is relative though, and it's up to each person to decide what is 'undue'. I really do think the word is badly overused, still. To some people a snickers tax might be 'unduly harsh', but I'm guessing to most people it's not. (note to those people who do, buy a gym membership) I mean, the entire purpose of government is to tell people what they can't do, so they are always going to be taking away your right to do something. One man's tyranny is another man's 'getting to go to the bar without coming home stinking like cigarettes'.

Every government is going to enact policies that we disagree with sometimes, there's no way around that. We all implicitly accept the rules of the game when we live in America and take advantage of the things our society offers us though, and one of the consequences of that is that we sometimes get taken along for the ride on things we don't like so much. I don't like my money going to fund foreign wars (even though I was part of one of them, haha), but I pay for that because part of the social contract is that I contribute to things that I disagree with so that everyone else contributes to things that I do agree with, like health care.

I don't feel oppressed, and I don't think it's because I'm simply unaware of my oppression. There are rules to the game we all play, and I'm very aware of them. I think the difference of opinion here is that you in a way disagree with the game itself, and while it's certainly your right to do so, I think you're probably screwed in that respect.


RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/22/2010 5:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I mean, the entire purpose of government is to tell people what they can't do, so they are always going to be taking away your right to do something.

This is NOT what OUR gov't is for.
We should all be familiar with this...
quote:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

There is nothing about telling people what to do in there.

Or how about this?
quote:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The pursuit of happiness could involve cigarettes. Though of course it doesn't for me. But that is the great thing. That we as individuals can make those decisions. We are free to throw our lives away if we wish. We are free to lounge around on Sunday instead of going to church. We are free to play video games non-stop. Hell we don't even have to be employed. We are free to do all of that to the extent that we can afford to support ourselves. The problem is that now that the gov't is involved in the welfare of these people they become the gov't problem and we have to ban (or tax into non-existance) cigarettes because it is bad for the health of the people whether they choose to do it or not. (And that is why cigarettes are being banned. It is not because of people not liking the smell or what not. It is first-hand and second-hand smoke concerns regarding public health. It is the same with the Snickers and tanning. That is one issue I have with socialized medicine BTW.)

quote:
One man's tyranny is another man's 'getting to go to the bar without coming home stinking like cigarettes'.

Well you and I have freedom to go to the bar and enjoy it without cigarettes. But because it is a health concern, the guy who wants to go to a bar that caters to smokers, can't... because there aren't any: they're prohibited by law because they are public places (CA law that is). So it is nice that YOU have a place to drink (ironic isn't it? Because someone who's been drinking alcohol is more dangerous to bystanders than someone who smokes cigarettes) but the guy who likes to smoke gets the shaft.


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/23/2010 12:21:12 PM , Rating: 2
Can you explain to me how the US government would establish justice or ensure domestic tranquility without laws prohibiting/sanctioning certain behavior? Can you explain how the US government would provide for the common defense without taking actions that some of the state would find coercive and against their will?

The quote from the DOI is a nice rhetorical statement, but it's not a governing principle. Of course the rights to life and liberty aren't inalienable, if an axe murderer is running around killing people, we alienate his right to liberty as fast as we can. The pursuit of happiness could mean anything. We might disagree on where to draw the line at what behavior government can or should prohibit, but the fact that the government can and must prohibit some behavior really is beyond debate.

I feel like debating individual laws isn't really useful, but I would have to say that I just moved to NYC after spending 10 years in California, and everyone I knew, smokers included, loved the smoking ban. What better way to meet girls than outside lending them a light?


RE: What blows my mind
By The Raven on 10/25/2010 12:13:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The quote from the DOI is a nice rhetorical statement, but it's not a governing principle.

Our struggle for independance and formation of our country was based on these principles. And you really want to write it of as rhetoric?

quote:
Can you explain how the US government would provide for the common defense without taking actions that some of the state would find coercive and against their will?
Yes, the same way I could explain that the "Iraq War" was unnecessary. I don't think you need any further explanation as I assume you are an anti-Iraq War democrat.

quote:
Of course the rights to life and liberty aren't inalienable, if an axe murderer is running around killing people, we alienate his right to liberty as fast as we can.
Agreed. So why an I being punished by having my money taken away from me??! I didn't murder anyone or steal from anyone!!

quote:
The pursuit of happiness could mean anything.
Exactly my point. The gov't can't define that. So how can they legislate it? They can't. What they can do is legislate in ways that protect freedom.

quote:
I just moved to NYC after spending 10 years in California, and everyone I knew, smokers included, loved the smoking ban. What better way to meet girls than outside lending them a light?
Ahh...You spent 10 years in my dear CA... you must have caught something ;-)

Personally I love the smoking ban myself (that is to say, the effect of it anyway). But I don't think it is right. I also get some great benefits from our tax structure as well it would seem. But I don't think it is right. I have benefits available to me because I am "latino" too. But I don't think it is right. If the gov't gave me a million dollars just because they felt like it, that would be great. But it isn't right. And what does that have to do with freedom, domestic tranquility, common defense, or the pursuit of happiness? Nothing.

I would make temporary exceptions myself to these kind of laws as it is at least in some part due to the gov't why people smoke in the first place. If they want to make a temporary law to undo the damage they caused in the first place then that is fine I suppose. But to make smoking in public an outright crime is rediculous (again, especially since the laws regarding alcohol aren't held to the same standard).

quote:
the fact that the government can and must prohibit some behavior really is beyond debate.

"Can and must" is beyond debate, but to what extent and which laws? Abortion is obviously wrong, right? We can't let people do that? Premarital sex is wrong too. No no, you can't do that! Being Japanese during WWII, oh no you didn't! We'll have to lock you up for that. Spending money on a lawnmower? Well if you want to do that you will have to get the gov't involved by paying taxes on it and the fuel that you put into it and the land that has the grass growing on it and the paycheck that paid for it all and the company who gave you the paycheck. And yeah it's only 1%... oh what?... it is up to 20%+ now?! Ok well that is ok but don't go any higher now you hear... What!? you want to raise my taxes again? Seriously?!!

Both parties grow gov't and both parties want your money and power. If you have a problem with wiretaps and brownshirts, then I'd hold on to your money as not to fund such horrendous activities because the money has always come first throughout history.

Embrace freedom or it will fly from you.

quote:
What is it, in a few words, that all Republicans believe? We believe - along with millions of Democrats and Independents - that a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
-Gerald Ford, RNC, 1974.


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/25/2010 6:54:58 PM , Rating: 2
I actually participated in the Iraq War, but you're right that I was against it and still am. I still require an explanation though, because while I believe the invasion of Iraq to be foolish, I certainly accepted it as a legitimate exercise of government power. You appear to be saying that it is not?

I seriously don't know how a government would promote tranquility, establish justice, provide for the common defense, etc. without exercising the power to either prohibit some exercises of freedom or to coerce otherwise free people to do things they don't want to do. So seriously, I stand by my analysis of the purpose of government as being an entity that exists to tell people what they can't do. (or what they must) Now we have chosen to put specific limits on our government's ability to do this, but I don't believe that changes its nature. You mentioned 'legislating in ways that protect freedom'. Can you give me some examples of how to structure a society using only laws like that?

You aren't being punished by having your money taken away by taxes, taxes are the price you implicitly accept for living in this society. I'm really not trying to say 'if you don't like it, leave', as I consider that comeback to be juvenile, but honestly the US is absolutely up front with the price of admission. Hell, the right to tax you is written into the Constitution (in two places)

As for the smoking ban, a few things. First, it is a state law and so not subject to the Constitution. Second, while the preamble is a nice start to the document, it isn't actually used to determine if something is constitutional or not. (I mean the Constitution is already seriously vague, and to try and figure out if a law 'establishes justice' or not would just be mind bending) Congress is granted pretty vast powers in the Consitution, with the commerce clause and the general welfare clause covering a huge array of potential laws.


RE: What blows my mind
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/2010 9:25:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I mean, the entire purpose of government is to tell people what they can't do, so they are always going to be taking away your right to do something.


You could not have proved your ignorance or showed how much out of your element you are any better than posting something like this. Seriously you simply are not qualified to speak on this issue. American's like you are why we're in this mess in the first place.

The purpose of the United States Government is so basic, so fundamental, and so free ranging that the very idea people like you don't know what that is, frankly, offends me.

Now I know for a fact that every time we've clashed, I was trying to argue with an idiot.

Thank you eskimosphy.


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/23/2010 12:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
By all means describe to me what you think the purpose of the United States government is, and explain how they can discharge those duties without telling people what they can't do. (or compelling people do take action they don't want to)

You are a deeply stupid person, more than your response I would prefer you just not write at all.


RE: What blows my mind
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/2010 9:17:29 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
We as a society choose our actions by selecting representatives to act in our place as they see fit for a set period of time.


Honestly, how naive. What "representatives"? I don't see any, unless you mean they represent their own agenda and beliefs.

The United States is NOT a Democracy anymore.


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/23/2010 12:26:19 PM , Rating: 2
Of course elected officials represent their own beliefs and agendas, that is part of the definition of representative democracy as opposed to direct democracy.

Yes, the US is still a democracy.

Grow up.


RE: What blows my mind
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/2010 6:27:59 PM , Rating: 1
Actually the U.S is a Republic, idiot. If it was a Democracy we wouldn't need representatives, we would vote on everything.

There's something out there called a dictionary, maybe you've heard of it?


RE: What blows my mind
By eskimospy on 10/24/2010 2:24:52 PM , Rating: 2
From the Oxford English Dictionary:

a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state , typically through elected representatives.

From Dictionary.com entry 'representative democracy':

a type of democracy in which the citizens delegate authority to elected representatives.

Do these definitions sound like any country you might know?

We are both a republic and a democracy, as both things describe different aspects of our political system. Seriously guy, if you're going to debate definitions, be sure you actually know what they are first. I've noticed that you like to opine about how little people know about politics, but you frequently make elementary mistakes about very basic concepts.

You already screwed yourself on this one because earlier you said the US 'isn't a democracy anymore', which implicitly states that it once was. Since the US has been the same form of democratic republic since it was created, if you didn't consider that democracy then the US never was one to begin with.

What you were really doing was throwing a temper tantrum because people put in office in overwhelming majorities by free and fair elections are doing things you don't like. Instead of being a man about it and understanding that losing has consequences, you whine about our system of government. That's why I told you to grow up.

You're still free to take my advice on that.


Uh....
By Motoman on 10/21/2010 10:26:00 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
There is no clear solution to this problem.


Yes there is. It's called requiring a warrant for any clandestine surveillance of a US citizen, which requires enough probably cause to get a judge to sign off on it.

That would be the solution. Anything less is a human rights violation.




RE: Uh....
By Motoman on 10/21/2010 10:34:35 AM , Rating: 2
Bah. "probable cause" - my kingdom for an edit button.


RE: Uh....
By Cypherdude1 on 10/22/2010 5:45:03 AM , Rating: 3
This debate is essentially rendered moot due to technology. Real spies and terrorists would simply use apps for the Blackberry which encrypt conversations over their Internet connection. In fact, the conversation never even registers as a phone call because the phone service connection is never used, only the data connection. An inexpensive app has been available for years already. This app uses military grade encryption which unbreakable and does NOT have a backdoor. The company is NOT located in the USA, but rather Germany and therefore is NOT subject to USA laws. The company has already stated if Germany were to attempt to force it to build a backdoor, they would simply move to another country. BTW, I believe, IMHO, Microsoft's Windows disk encryption certainly has a backdoor so I suggest you do not depend on it. The company whose products you wish to use is called SecurStar. I would not trust any other.
http://www.securstar.com/products.php

The only people who are really affected by legal and illegal wiretapping are honest citizens and dishonest criminals who are unaware or unable to use encryption products.


RE: Uh....
By kattanna on 10/21/2010 10:51:57 AM , Rating: 2
yes, its sad that such a clear answer isnt so clearly listed


RE: Uh....
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/21/2010 10:53:15 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
It's called requiring a warrant for any clandestine surveillance of a US citizen, which requires enough probably cause to get a judge to sign off on it.


Absolutely. I merely meant that there was no clear solution to the government determining accurately what users of foreign services are actually American citizens or not.

I agree that warrants are absolutely the way to go when it comes to investigations involving surveillance of American citizens.

However, this still remains an issue, even if such legality is restored by future legislation or overturning current legislation (namely, portions of the Patriot Act).

Imagine this scenario. Two users of foreign cell phones are calling one another. If the two users are Americans, their privacy is protected from wiretaps without warrants under both your scenario and the current law. But if they're two foreigners their privacy is NOT protected under either your scenario or the current law.

The critical issue is that it's virtually impossible for the U.S. intelligence agencies to accurately determine what subscribers of foreign services are foreigners and which are U.S. citizens.

One possibility is to force U.S. users to register their foreign accounts/devices, but this could create serious trade barriers.

As I said there is no EASY answer to this problem.


RE: Uh....
By kattanna on 10/21/10, Rating: -1
RE: Uh....
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/21/2010 11:27:44 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
or we could simply expand the ideal of innocent until proven guilty to all on US soil. regardless of nationality.

if our laws are good enough for us, then they should apply to anybody while on US soil.


That would eliminate one possible scenario yes, but it would also possibly endanger the government's ability to counter foreign spies operating within the domestic borders.

I'm one hundred percent behind protecting the civil liberties of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil and requiring warrants when it comes to legal action against U.S. citizens. But foreign citizens on U.S. soil... that's a tougher call, in my opinion, particularly in light of recent events. (I'm not just talking about 9/11; the Russian spy scandal was another example of these dangers...)

Additionally your idea does not solve the problem of foreign service users operating/travelling in OTHER countries. The U.S. gov't has no means of knowing whether they are U.S. citizens or not, and thus could violate U.S. citizens' rights illegally and unwittingly.


RE: Uh....
By kattanna on 10/21/2010 11:36:02 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Additionally your idea does not solve the problem of foreign service users operating/travelling in OTHER countries. The U.S. gov't has no means of knowing whether they are U.S. citizens or not, and thus could violate U.S. citizens' rights illegally and unwittingly


i have always been of the opinion that if i am traveling to another country then i am beholden to the laws of that country, regardless of where i was born. If the laws of the country i am in dont offer the same protections that some of out laws might offer, then thats MY problem.

if the NSA asks the country i am in "hey can we monitor this person" and they agree, then it shouldnt matter if i am an american or not.


RE: Uh....
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/21/2010 1:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
i have always been of the opinion that if i am traveling to another country then i am beholden to the laws of that country, regardless of where i was born. If the laws of the country i am in dont offer the same protections that some of out laws might offer, then thats MY problem.

if the NSA asks the country i am in "hey can we monitor this person" and they agree, then it shouldnt matter if i am an american or not.


I suppose that's one idea, but your premise (U.S. citizens have due process within the U.S., but no guarantees of it outside the U.S. even from U.S. agents) is similar to the logic behind the current mandate.

Basically that logic boils down to that the U.S. Constitution is no longer the ultimate governmental mandate for the United States government and can be overridden via legislation, without amendment.

The Constitution guarantees U.S. citizens the right to due process and privacy and offers no qualifications for where those citizens reside spatially around the globe. Further the Constitution offers no provision for due process or protection of privacy to foreign citizens who may be behaving illegally.

Thus your idea is entirely unconstitutional, though a novel suggestion certainly.

Basically your argument boils down to the same argument that others, include those penning the legislation in this article are making. That we should abandon strictly following the Constitution and the protections it guarantees to some degree.

Your opinion and that of Obama administration task force only differ in the sense of to what degree to abandon those protections and how/when to abandon them.

Thus I respectfully disagree with both your opinion and that of the task force, in so much that I believe that legislation should not remove Constitutional protections.


RE: Uh....
By ClownPuncher on 10/21/2010 1:26:01 PM , Rating: 3
Excellent, I wish more voters would realize the Constitution in our country isn't some fortune cookie suggestion.

Government, quit adding "In Bed" after every amendment.


RE: Uh....
By kattanna on 10/21/2010 1:43:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Basically that logic boils down to that the U.S. Constitution is no longer the ultimate governmental mandate for the United States government and can be overridden via legislation, without amendment


no where have i stated that the government of the US is above its own laws. In fact i have suggested while a person is within our borders all of our laws in fact apply.

quote:
The Constitution guarantees U.S. citizens the right to due process and privacy and offers no qualifications for where those citizens reside spatially around the globe


on US soil, it sure does. but it is high arrogance to assume our laws trumps the laws of the land if a US citizen is in another country.

how would you react to a saudi citizen stoning his wife for infidelity while here in the US, its a law of their land and within his right. should they trump ours? I think not.

I get tired of the arrogance my fellow country men/women have about the laws & customs of others. its a big reason why americans are not as welcomed in some countries because we dont feel we need to respect the laws and customs of others. we dont have to agree or like it in any way, thats for sure, but while in said country, we had better at least abide by them, or suffer the consequences.

we fully expect foreigners to respect our laws while here, and respect is a 2 way street.

quote:
I believe that legislation should not remove Constitutional protections.


if a proper amendment is passed, like has happened before, then it is entirely possible. but this "law" is nothing of the sort and is in fact trying to circumvent the constitution because it is well known such an invasion of privacy as an amendment would never pass.

thanks for the conversation jason, i am enjoying it.


RE: Uh....
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/21/2010 2:25:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

no where have i stated that the government of the US is above its own laws. In fact i have suggested while a person is within our borders all of our laws in fact apply.


Nowhere in the Constitution does it suggest that citizen rights may be abandoned by the government when a citizen is traveling outside the country. To be perfectly clear, that is what you are suggesting.

quote:
on US soil, it sure does. but it is high arrogance to assume our laws trumps the laws of the land if a US citizen is in another country.

how would you react to a saudi citizen stoning his wife for infidelity while here in the US, its a law of their land and within his right. should they trump ours? I think not.


First, your example is fundamentally different, from a philosophical standpoint, in that in your hypothetical example a foreign country is trying to PUNISH under its legal code on U.S. soil.

It'd be very different case if a foreign country is trying to exert its right to PROTECT under its legal code on U.S. soil.

Of course it'd be arrogant of that foreign nation to think such efforts would succeed, just as it would be arrogant of us to think our efforts of that nature would succeed. But you'll notice that the Constitution deals little explicitly with punishment, rather it deals with protections.

Whether or not they are on U.S. soil the U.S. government should TRY to protect its citizens' freedoms as guaranteed under the Constitution. It may not always succeed, but unless the Constitution is rewritten to remove that freedom, they are legally required to try.

Under your example government agents are only required to protect U.S. citizens' civil liberties inside the U.S., but are free to violate them outside the U.S. That is absolutely unconstitutional and, in my opinion, illegal.

quote:

if a proper amendment is passed, like has happened before, then it is entirely possible. but this "law" is nothing of the sort and is in fact trying to circumvent the constitution because it is well known such an invasion of privacy as an amendment would never pass.


You might be surprised given the way some things are going. I agree with you absolutely that warrantless monitoring of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil is illegal under the Constitution.

But again, I believe it is equally illegal on foreign soil.

Let us be clear, in your example you're not postulating a scenario in which a U.S. citizens' rights are abused because the U.S. gov't is powerless to stop that abuse (say jailing of journalists in North Korea). Rather you're defending that the U.S. government be allowed to perpetrate that abuse on foreign soil.

That stance is baffling to me and no matter how you argue it, it unconstitutional.

Returning to the problem at hand, though, surveillance of foreign citizens has been necessary to national security since our nation's earliest days, but I believe that creates somewhat of a paradoxical set of objectives, given that it's increasingly impossible to easily distinguish a civilian party from a foreign one. Again, this is the dilemma which I suggested there was no "easy answer" to.


RE: Uh....
By kattanna on 10/21/2010 4:08:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Whether or not they are on U.S. soil the U.S. government should TRY to protect its citizens' freedoms as guaranteed under the Constitution. It may not always succeed, but unless the Constitution is rewritten to remove that freedom, they are legally required to try.


i could not agree more. I have hopefully never implied otherwise. Its that just because you are a US citizen you should not expect other countries to hold it to the same value if you are in their country.

some international treaties have made is so with certain countries, like Britain, but its those treaties that have made it so, not our constitution.

quote:
Returning to the problem at hand, though, surveillance of foreign citizens has been necessary to national security since our nation's earliest days


so very true, but let me quote the relevant amendment

quote:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


all it states is "the right of the people". it doesnt make any distinctions between a US citizen and foreign visitors, IMO.

and such, those we let in should be treated the same.

i have wondered before why it is such distinctions are not included and then i come back to that maybe they didnt think it was necessary because when they wrote the opening bit:

quote:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


they assumed we would want to apply it to all of us here within the US. to make that "more perfect union" freedom and equality to all within our borders.


RE: Uh....
By ninjaquick on 10/21/2010 2:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with trumpage or no trumpage is that the Law is applied not only on the citizen but the governing body. A US citizen is, regardless of universal location, a US citizen. The united states constitution is not only a system set forth to control the citizens of the US, but also to control the gov't.
This is to say, the US gov't cannot, EVER without warrant wire tap a US citizen, regardless of location, since the US gov't cannot compromise a citizens privacy. Yes the US laws apply to all RESIDENTS within the US but also to all US CITIZENS outside the US. You are confusing jurisdiction with the right to enforce law. There are countries where if, as a US citizen, you commit a crime that only breaks US law, you can be arrested and shipped (extradited) to the us. Your Saudi example then would be plausible if:1- It were not illegal to murder in this nation and 2- if the US agreed to allow Saudi international police to have jurisdiction within the US.

Mind you, when entering a foreign nation you have no rights beyond those given to you by the US constitution as you are a US Citizen, if a foreign nation compromises these rights then the US gov't can retaliate if they so desire, if you don't believe me consult an international law professor or embassy worker maybe.

But as a right-less guest in a foreign nation you must abide the laws of the nation in exchange the local gov't agrees to provisionally extend limited rights to you. Most countries have laws in place that give limited rights to Foreign Guests. Some such rights are the rights to carry their currency, pay taxes, use public services, be protected by local law enforcement, etc. This if you enter with a Visa, as an illegal "alien" a government has no reason to extend any right as you are breaking the law, are not protected by provisional guest laws.

So seriously, learn some international law before you go saying the US constitution has no merit overseas. If you are a US Citizen and you are in North Korea helping develop scud 2.0, you will be pursued by military police/international police and will be tried with treason and will be executed. End of story.


RE: Uh....
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/2010 9:31:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
i have always been of the opinion that if i am traveling to another country then i am beholden to the laws of that country, regardless of where i was born. If the laws of the country i am in dont offer the same protections that some of out laws might offer, then thats MY problem.


Other countries don't have a Constitution of expressed specific granted rights. There's a difference between laws and the Constitution.

Your suggestion that Constitutional rights be granted to any person regardless of nationality/citizenship is BEYOND moronic.

Do you know that you just suggested making everyone in the world a potential United States citizen? Or better yet, you actually proposed that the legality and concept OF U.S citizenship be dissolved altogether.


RE: Uh....
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/2010 9:35:16 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Imagine this scenario. Two users of foreign cell phones are calling one another. If the two users are Americans, their privacy is protected from wiretaps without warrants under both your scenario and the current law. But if they're two foreigners their privacy is NOT protected under either your scenario or the current law. The critical issue is that it's virtually impossible for the U.S. intelligence agencies to accurately determine what subscribers of foreign services are foreigners and which are U.S. citizens.


Suddenly it matters to you now? Your articles of wiretapping during and after the Bush administration sure as HELL did not take this approach. You were clearly against it regardless of ANY reason. You never even bothers to bring up these "difficulties".

Honestly Jason, is it THAT hard to be objective? Suddenly, under Obama, you take the completely opposite stance even though wiretapping is now worst than ever?


RE: Uh....
By Ard on 10/21/2010 11:57:37 AM , Rating: 3
Indeed. I don't agree with the premise there isn't a solution to this problem. There only isn't a solution if we choose to ignore the protections the Constitution affords us as US citizens. Last time I checked, the Fourth Amendment is still part of the "supreme law" and no amount of legal finagling by this administration or Congress, save a decision from the Supreme Court, should abrogate the requirement of a warrant should the government want to intrude upon our right against searches and seizures.


RE: Uh....
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/2010 9:12:18 AM , Rating: 2
Typical Jason Mick. He'll slam Bush for this, but when Obama expands wiretapping to unprecedented levels, we get this softball moderate "well, there's no clear solution so it's ok" approach.

It's almost comical.


Where's the press?
By therealnickdanger on 10/21/2010 10:28:18 AM , Rating: 5
When President Bush authorized tapping of domestic/foreign calls, the media attention made me think the world was ending. President Obama gets a free pass for doing something even worse?

President Obama and (mostly) his liberal congress are taking us over the edge of reason. I remember him blaming republicans for "driving the car into the ditch". Well, he and his cronies are driving the car off the freakin' cliff!

Kudos to DT for reporting it.




RE: Where's the press?
By eskimospy on 10/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: Where's the press?
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/2010 6:34:10 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Or maybe the media reports less on things that are now more commonplace. Back when Bush was tearing up the 4th amendment it was fairly novel.


Right, nothing like that had EVER happened before Bush. It was a world of gumdrop forests and lakes of caramel and bees that would deliver you fresh honey!

Damn you Bush for bringing us things like Intelligence Agencies and spies and this thing called electronic monitoring, whatever that is!!


RE: Where's the press?
By MozeeToby on 10/21/2010 10:48:22 AM , Rating: 2
To be fair, if the media reported every time that the status quo didn't change all you would ever read about is things that are the same as they were before.

The Bush administration got a lot of attention when the programs were first discovered because they were new, kept secret, and unexpected. The Obama administration did take a lot of heat when the new AG supported the program because it was the first time the administration has openly supported the program.

This this is just more of the same, there's not much new information here to report. An honest headline could easily be "Obama administration maintains stance on warrantless wiretaps". Doesn't make for very exciting news.


RE: Where's the press?
By geddarkstorm on 10/21/2010 1:41:12 PM , Rating: 2
Unless the point is to dog them and keep the public aware till we can get the government to stop such nonsense. Isn't this part of why the public has become so complacent? It's only brought to our attention if it's "new and exciting"? But important matters don't just go away, and until the PUBLIC does something, the government is just going to continue and in fact just get worst.

Turn up the heat by small enough degrees so it doesn't hit the "new and exciting" threshold to be in the news, and it'll all happen before we even notice -- no resistance from us.


RE: Where's the press?
By The Raven on 10/22/2010 12:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
It shows that we are getting jobbed by 'both sides'.

The fact that our 2-party democracy can't protect our constitutional freedoms? Yeah that is pretty noteworthy.


dasf
By IamJedi on 10/21/2010 10:19:20 AM , Rating: 2
To put this in simple terms, this is bullsh*t. Honestly, having my rights taken away because I speak to somebody that is a suspected terrorist, and I might not even know? If that is the case, the United States government may as well do away with the Constitution altogether, as I see no point in having it, if they can so willingly do away with my rights because I spoke with a suspected terrorist. You know, I can appreciate the United States government trying to protect its ass, but there are times when I really do wish people would rise up and demand control of their government back.




RE: dasf
By The Raven on 10/21/2010 10:58:43 AM , Rating: 4
Go to a tea party.

I know people think of whack jobs like Chrissy-O or Palin when they hear tea party these days thanks to the media. But they are just exploiting the tea party movement to trick people into voting for republicans.

True tea partiers are just that. Focused on taxes and spending. There is no discussion of gay marraige, abortion, or other social issues.

There also most likely won't be talk of wire tapping either, but if you want to see people taking a stand: there it is.

If you want to see people who are upset about gov't intrusion in general, go to a libertarian convention/rally ;-)


RE: dasf
By Ammohunt on 10/21/2010 2:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you want to see people who are upset about gov't intrusion in general, go to a libertarian convention/rally ;-)


talk about Whack jobs.....


RE: dasf
By The Raven on 10/22/2010 11:59:56 AM , Rating: 2
With a name like Ammohunt, I hope you are not kidding.

But if you aren't I commend the humor of your post. Who would want to be labeled as average in today's America?


RE: dasf
By The Raven on 10/22/2010 12:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
With a name like Ammohunt, I hope you are kidding .


Whoops!


I thought that was Jason...
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: I thought that was Jason...
By Schrag4 on 10/21/2010 12:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
LOL way to up the post count by posting that this attracts trolls! So, discussion is bad I suppose. How about read the article then post about the article. Or - here's a novel concept - don't click the link in the first place if you just KNOW it's a troll feeding session.

Sorry, I found your post funny. It's equivalent to saying "HEY! THAT GUY WANTS ATTENTION!!! Please don't look at THAT GUY OVER THERE, RIGHT THERE, YEAH THAT'S HIM THERE!!!"


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/22/2010 7:07:23 AM , Rating: 2
If the science of set theory has taught us anything, it is that a set descriptor is not a part of the set. So in making the post, I was merely acting as a set descriptor, and not being a part of the set. Numb n*ts.


Wiretap Laws are already being abused
By benlev on 10/21/2010 11:37:12 AM , Rating: 3
Regarding expansion of warrant-less wiretap: I was one of the small group of people who developed the wiretap system (and a patent holder), and we spent 10 years assuring that the wiretap system ordered by the 103rd Congress in 1994 only preserved the rights that law enforcement had had since 1932 and did not expand capabilities to collect information. Law enforcement, led by the FBI, did manage to win some advanced features through the court system's interpretation of the congressional mandate.

Retrieval of voicemail, e-mail messages and other such "information services" was flatly rejected by the courts as protected. Just as the government cannot open your mail, it can't open your e-mail, either. Further laws are not necessary.

The current wiretap system already is a giant step toward "big brother," and additional laws would wade into territory that is draconian. Today, as an expert witness in cases involving wiretap, I see enough abuses of the current system. We need to protect privacy and continue to consider wiretap as an "investigative tool of last resort" because it is so intrusive.

Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/10/15/740728/wire...




Wrong Way Street
By tech329 on 10/21/2010 1:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Obama isn't helping this but it's being driven by the DOD and in turn the Military Industrial Complex. The idea that 9/11 allowed for the dismissal of the constitution is crazy. But that is what happened.

We've never had the DOD, not in all of our history, become the significant player it is now in domestic intelligence. This has opened up a huge revenue stream for the MIC that never existed before and they're cashing in. Like most of what we see going on around us, this is principally about money. Anybody who thinks differently needs to take their blinders off. Unfortunately, much of this is out of view under cover of national security. Labels aside, however you slice this, it's not good for this country.




C'mon Obama
By DNAgent on 10/21/2010 5:01:11 PM , Rating: 2
You were supposed to be the man, not The Man.




The American Problem
By Setsunayaki on 10/22/2010 1:19:31 PM , Rating: 2
The american problem in my eyes has always been a regard for opinion over law. The idea few commit a wrong and the majority are punished for it... How about the premise of "Good Laws are for the Bad, and Bad laws are for the Good"

Thanks to this, we have "Exceptions" by opinion and speculation. Example:

The members of the press are those who are average citizens. They do not have more "rights" than a regular citizen. They do have broadcast rights...

A member of the press breaks into a home, covers a story and all of a sudden its all over the media...unquestioned! A man gets attacked by a neighbor, the man across the street records a movie through his phone, All of a sudden everyone is running to the constitution....

I walk into a super-market...Cameras trained on me from every direction...Service with a smile, warmed to the touch. Someone gets robbed or something happens inside a store...no one cares...

Literally you get some excuse proving such devices are not designed to really "make people feel safe" but sure, someone steals something...all of a sudden cameras are everywhere.

Americans simply do not trust each other. They claim they can trust, but always there is a camera or surveillance device trained on you or some scheme. Americans won't even talk directly because they are afraid they will be sued or attacked for saying the wrong thing or wording it wrong.

Instead, Americans spend more of their time bottling up their hostilities and opinions and come out in Online sites no one really care about.

I have never been witness to such a fearful and broken population as Americans and American Culture and Life. The greatest contradiction to belief and opinion ever conceived...

Europeans learn to fight as they grow up...They know when the Government tries something they don't like...Europeans will REFUSE to deal with the EURO and will INVEST IN GOLD and will riot on the streets and refuse to work.

Warrants only work well if the law actually protects without bias, but unfortunately they dont so anyone can get a warrant these games against an average citizen without resistance while it takes the weight of the world to get a warrant against anyone with money and power.




And what
By Dr of crap on 10/21/10, Rating: -1
RE: And what
By Motoman on 10/21/2010 10:34:04 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
If you have nothing to hide what's the problem?


The rallying cry of the mentally deficient.

So, you wouldn't mind if the police just showed up at your place of business, and said they wanted to look through your desk...right? I mean, you don't have anything to hide...so that's cool...right?

How about you come home from work, and the FBI is searching your house, your computers, and interviewing your wife... That's all OK since you don't have anything to hide, now isn't it? Oh look, they're talking to your neighbors about you too now...asking them if they've seen you do anything suspicious. But it's not big deal...because you have nothing to hide.


RE: And what
By amanojaku on 10/21/2010 11:02:14 AM , Rating: 2
Bravo! I get sick and tired of the "if you have nothing to hide" rhetoric. To start with, no one ever says "if WE have nothing to hide". It's ok if me and mine get spied on, but the minute YOUR rights are violated you suddenly find a conscience and a spine. Hypocrites...

Anyway, not only is spying illegal and unethical, it's also unnecessary. There's a mechanism in place for obtaining information, even discretely. It's called a WARRANT. Spying eliminates the need for probable cause, and that's un-American.


RE: And what
By theapparition on 10/21/2010 1:52:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's a mechanism in place for obtaining information, even discretely. It's called a WARRANT.

It's also not so cut and dry as you would have believe.

If the police observe a crime and the suspect then goes into his house, do they just stop chase, camp out on the lawn for the next 8hrs so someone can find a judge and get a warrant signed? You know the answer, and it's perfectly legal for them to pursue the suspect into his residence to arrest the suspect and sieze any evidence related to the crime that they observed.

So what would you have Federal authorities do. Observe a suspected terrorist, but as soon a he picks up a phone, whoa....can't listen in. Maybe we can get a judge to sign a warrant tomorrow and hopefully he hasn't coordinated 2000lbs of Ricin into the NY subway system while we wait.

While I have some reservations about the abuse of warrantless wiretaps, I also don't have a tinfoil hat on believing that it is being misused on a daily basis.


RE: And what
By 91TTZ on 10/21/2010 2:16:19 PM , Rating: 2
If you look at the wiretaps against US citizens performed since 9/11, you'll see that those laws were used much more often against ordinary US citizens than they were against suspected terrorists.

Really, the laws were created with good intentions in mind but are abused by police forces across the country.


RE: And what
By amanojaku on 10/21/2010 2:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's also not so cut and dry as you would have believe.
Yes, it is. We have laws in place to allow the government to do its job while protecting our rights.
quote:
If the police observe a crime and the suspect then goes into his house, do they just stop chase, camp out on the lawn for the next 8hrs so someone can find a judge and get a warrant signed? You know the answer, and it's perfectly legal for them to pursue the suspect into his residence to arrest the suspect and seize any evidence related to the crime that they observed.
You just pointed out why a warrant isn't needed, although you don't understand why. An officer or other agent of the law who witnesses a crime is empowered to apprehend the criminal.

In contrast, warrants are required when no legal agent witnessed a crime. Witness testimony is untrustworthy unless compelling or corroborating evidence is discovered. That's the origin of the term "probable cause". One person who claims to have seen you bury bodies in your backyard is an unverified source, unless recording exist (compelling evidence). 10 unrelated people providing independent accounts of you burying stuff in your backyard is corroborating evidence.
quote:
So what would you have Federal authorities do. Observe a suspected terrorist, but as soon a he picks up a phone, whoa....can't listen in. Maybe we can get a judge to sign a warrant tomorrow and hopefully he hasn't coordinated 2000lbs of Ricin into the NY subway system while we wait.
Yes, because suspicion is not the same as guilt. Innocent until proven guilty, burden of proof, and all that. If you don't like it move to a country where they bust down your door for every suspected act. Just don't complain about the repair bill. Assuming you're proven innocent.
quote:
While I have some reservations about the abuse of warrantless wiretaps, I also don't have a tinfoil hat on believing that it is being misused on a daily basis.
Yes, they are. It was proven that quite a few agents in various agencies accessed personal information without just cause, some just for fun and games. The government has been caught taping internet connections and whole phone switching offices. Terrorists do their work out of the home; they don't have offices, community centers or club houses.

And you forget that just a few weeks ago an agency was caught spying on a person of Arabic decent because his is a blood relative of a (possible?) terrorist. There was no evidence at all, but he had tracking devices and other items placed without a warrant.

As a side note, this is kind of interesting:

http://www.slate.com/id/2270956/?gt1=38001


RE: And what
By Dr of crap on 10/21/10, Rating: -1
RE: And what
By rrburton on 10/21/2010 1:00:55 PM , Rating: 3
First they came for my phone calls......


RE: And what
By Schrag4 on 10/21/2010 1:34:56 PM , Rating: 5
Extreme? The FBI going through your stuff at work or your house isn't extreme. MORE extreme? Maybe, but "the extreme" is WAY beyond that.

Oh, and nice job with the "It's for the children!" I could list dozens of things that will reduce the likelihood that my small children might die young, but that doesn't mean they're good ideas. Here are a couple:

- Mandatory helmets for everyone (all ages), everywhere at all times (yes even while you're sleeping - people fall out of bed after all).
- No contact sports. Children get hurt. Some even die! It's for the children!!!

Oh, and the fear isn't that our CURRENT government might consider us terrorists. Our fear is that several years down the road, the definition of what a terrorist is might change. If you disagree with how things are run, you might become violent, right? They might want to listen in on everyone then round up PREEMPTIVELY anyone that has a dissenting point of view. This is nothing new, it happens all over the world. We just don't want it here (for obvious reasons).


RE: And what
By Dr of crap on 10/21/2010 3:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
As stated -
So what would you have Federal authorities do. Observe a suspected terrorist, but as soon a he picks up a phone, whoa....can't listen in. Maybe we can get a judge to sign a warrant tomorrow and hopefully he hasn't coordinated 2000lbs of Ricin into the NY subway system while we wait.

If YOU have dealings with suspect people, YOU are going to be watched, leagle or otherwise. I have not and will not have any dealings with people such as this and so HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE.
As I said before - I do not want the govt to have more power. If I was suspected in doing something wrong - then tap my conversations!
You do know there is a no-fly list? Are you against this as well?
And Yes if you are from a certain country/area of the world you might be more inclined to be watched - sorry. That's how the world is right now.
Call it profling if you want to - but it's really needed!

And nice to throw in the kid reference.
But if you tap conversations to stop another 9/11 - it's worth it isn't it? Or would you rather have innocent suffer because our govt went soft agian and didn't go after suspect people they could have with a phone tap!


RE: And what
By drando on 10/21/2010 6:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yea! To hell with the constitution and it's guarantees of our rights and freedoms! We don't need those anyway as long we maintain an illusion of safety!
</sarcasm>


RE: And what
By Invane on 10/22/2010 1:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But if you tap conversations to stop another 9/11 - it's worth it isn't it?


No, it is not. This sentence has become the basis for all manner of trampling on citizens rights.

But if you slap tracking devices on innocent citizens' cars to stop another 9/11 - it's worth it isn't it?

But if you water board a few SUSPECTED terrorist prisoners to stop another 9/11 - it's worth it isn't it?

But if you <insert desired civil rights violation here> to stop another 9/11 - it's worth it isn't it?

God DAMN no it's not worth it. How do you think police states start? With the above rhetoric and a slow erosion of citizens rights. You take away all their freedom at once, they start a revolution. You take them away slowly and they accept the new status quo each time.


RE: And what
By geddarkstorm on 10/21/2010 1:49:55 PM , Rating: 3
You obviously have forgotten your human history. Not just ancient history, recent history. How many times has this story unfolded again and again throughout so many civilizations, hm? And how did it -always- end? Forget your history, and you're easy to dupe through bad and "feel good" logic.

Definitions change. Give them power to watch you, and they will FIND excuses to expand that power, to increase their control, to destroy you once things do get to the point where you finally wake up and say "wait a minute.." The Constitution was created expressly to resist this type of crap.


RE: And what
By geddarkstorm on 10/21/2010 1:55:07 PM , Rating: 2
I would also like to point out, that you may not need to have anything to hide. If you are simply SUSPECTED, and ANYONE can be suspected of anything by anyone else, then you could be arrested and held without due process indefinitely. This has already happened in this country to a small extent, and at this rate it looks like that "small" modifier won't be true for long.


RE: And what
By 91TTZ on 10/21/2010 2:12:08 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
If you have nothing to hide what's the problem?


Reasoning like that is a logical fallacy when you consider the protections the US Constitution affords you.

The burden is on the government to prove your guilt; there is no burden on you to prove your innocence.

Saying that you should be complying unless you have something to hide might sound reasonable at first but it would represent a pretty serious reversal of your rights against the government's.


RE: And what
By drando on 10/21/2010 2:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you have nothing to hide what's the problem?


'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id...

Abstract:
quote:
In this short essay, written for a symposium in the San Diego Law Review, Professor Daniel Solove examines the nothing to hide argument. When asked about government surveillance and data mining, many people respond by declaring: "I've got nothing to hide." According to the nothing to hide argument, there is no threat to privacy unless the government uncovers unlawful activity, in which case a person has no legitimate justification to claim that it remain private. The nothing to hide argument and its variants are quite prevalent, and thus are worth addressing. In this essay, Solove critiques the nothing to hide argument and exposes its faulty underpinnings.

At the top of the page there's a link that reads "One Click Download" click that to open the PDF file and have a nice little read about how disturbing and mislead that statement really is.


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