Print 190 comment(s) - last by DRMichael.. on Feb 20 at 6:47 PM

U.S. Senate to telecoms -- I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.

Telecoms and many in the federal Executive branch seemed quite content with the increased usage of warrantless phone surveillance, which some people feel violates Americans' legal rights.  The telecoms received large paychecks for every wiretap put in place; Comcast's rate was a modest $1,000 per tap.  Meanwhile, politicians are happy because they were able to extend their surveillance programs as planned.   The program may toss due process out the window, but, in their opinion, that is a necessary loss to deal with today's troubled world.

Then all of a sudden the good times ended, when a few members of Congress demanded telecom's spy records for hearings on the legality of the program.  The phone companies refused, and all of a sudden, their dirty laundry was aired to the public.  The public exposure opened the NSA and telecoms up to legal action from civil liberties groups and citizens.  Sure enough, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed for a class action lawsuit for the warrantless eavesdropping practices.  Such a lawsuit could cost telecoms and the U.S. government millions of dollars -- enough to rain on any wiretapper's parade. 

Facing mounting political pressure from the Executive Branch, a largely Republican backed coalition in the U.S. Senate formulated and passed a "spy bill" which would grant the telecoms who cooperated with warrantless snooping programs retroactive immunity from lawsuits.   The bill would trash the EFF's suit and 40 other pending lawsuits against Verizon Communications, Sprint Nextel, and AT&T, which accuse the telecoms of violating citizen rights.   The bill replaces a temporary spy law, which was going to expire this week.

The bill's big struggle will be passing in a Democratic-led House, which has shown strong opposition to the bill.  The bill's backers in the Senate claim the bill will also add legal protection of privacy rights for law-abiding Americans swept up in terror hunts.  However such measures would likely be carried out confidentially, raising questions of how to measure their success or maintain accountability.  Sen. Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican and a chief sponsor of the bill, feels that those issues are a moot point and the important thing is that the bill passed.  He expressed frustration with the Democratic resistance, stating, "I don't know what they (House Democrats) are going to do -- I hope they pass it."

If the bill fails in the House, the temporary law will expire on Sunday.  The House would likely be willing to pass another extension of the current law extending the surveillance program, but still leaving the issue open to debate and telecoms open to legal trouble.  Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also was vexed with the House Democrats' lack of compliance, stating, "We do not need yet another extension, yet another delay. We need to focus on getting our work done."

Interestingly, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John Rockefeller of West Virginia, a Senate Democrat broke ranks with many of his party members and endorsed the bill.  He however did also voice seemingly contradictory criticism that President Bush enacted the original bill without Senate approval.  Rockefeller tried with little success to sway other members of his party, stating, "Anger over the president's program should not prevent us from addressing the real problems that the president has created."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, voted no and blasted the bill, stating, "I believe that the White House and any companies who broke the law must be held accountable."

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) mandates that the government require approval of a secret FISA court to conduct surveillance programs on suspected foreign agents operating inside the U.S.  Critics argue that Bush's wireless wiretapping program is blatantly illegal and violates FISA.  Bush argues that he has the power to override the FISA.  However, Bush did put the program under FISA supervision in 2007, about 6 years after its inception.
The debate about whether telecoms should be granted immunity despite helping to trash due process remains a contentious one.  Some argue that due process is impractical in some situations and flexibility and legal protection needs to be given to entities cooperating with government investigations. 

Meanwhile privacy and civil liberties advocacy groups argue that privacy and free speech are facing unprecedented assaults both online and off.  The conflict leaves U.S. citizens wondering exactly how they feel about the stark realization that their actions and conversations may be monitored.

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This Sucks...
By Gravemind123 on 2/14/2008 10:26:58 AM , Rating: 5
I'm appalled with what the government is doing and what the Telcos did. They broke the law, they should be punished, no matter who told them to break the law, the president himself is not and should never be above the law.

Eroding freedom for some supposed "safety" is not a fair trade. I'd have hoped that the Democrats would finally have done something to save our freedoms, but as always, here's the new boss, same as the old boss.

If the terrorists hate our freedoms, why are we throwing them away to protect ourselves from the terrorists who want to get rid of them? In that sense the terrorists seem to be winning.

RE: This Sucks...
By mdogs444 on 2/14/08, Rating: -1
RE: This Sucks...
By diablofish on 2/14/2008 10:42:30 AM , Rating: 5
As someone who claims to be a conservative, the erosion of your right to due process should be a major concern to you.

"First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me."

- Pastor Martin Niemöller

RE: This Sucks...
By MrBungle123 on 2/14/2008 10:50:22 AM , Rating: 3
the calls being monitored are coming in from foreign countries, so when a cell phone call is made from a satellite phone in some remote location in pakistan to someone here in the US the govt wants to know what is being discussed. domestic to domestic calls are not being monitored. Given the circumstances this seems reasonable to me.

RE: This Sucks...
By diablofish on 2/14/2008 10:58:44 AM , Rating: 2
And you know that how?

RE: This Sucks...
By helloseth on 2/14/2008 11:01:02 AM , Rating: 2
If that is true, then how do you 'feel' about it?

RE: This Sucks...
By Tsuwamono on 2/14/2008 11:16:45 AM , Rating: 2
<Pull out guitar> Do you, Do you feel like i dooo </bad ass guitar solo>

RE: This Sucks...
By NullSubroutine on 2/15/2008 12:44:15 AM , Rating: 2
Those who make silent evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.

RE: This Sucks...
By Hieyeck on 2/15/2008 8:38:36 AM , Rating: 4
Put down the guitar hero, you are not a rocker.

RE: This Sucks...
By MrBungle123 on 2/14/2008 11:31:06 AM , Rating: 2
From wikipedia.

Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the "terrorist surveillance program",[1] the NSA is authorized by executive order to monitor, without warrants, phone calls, e-mails, text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed the existence of the program, first reported in a December 2005 article[4][5] in The New York Times, on December 19, 2005. He stated that the program authorizes warrantless intercepts where the government "has a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda." and that one party to the conversation is "outside of the United States".

RE: This Sucks...
By yawnbox on 2/14/2008 12:31:45 PM , Rating: 2
really? a publicly open and freely editable source in which the CIA has been caught editing many of its articles?

RE: This Sucks...
By helloseth on 2/14/2008 1:08:31 PM , Rating: 2
Well if you had bothered to read you would see that the wikipedia article is quoting the New York Times and includes links to the articles.

RE: This Sucks...
By DRMichael on 2/14/2008 9:22:29 PM , Rating: 2
Please refer to for a clearer understanding of what your talking about. If more people would do their own research instead of listening to third parties, (i.e. the news media) their would be a lot less ignorance in the world.

RE: This Sucks...
By wrekd on 2/15/2008 8:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
I checked the link and found this:

Under the Protect America Act, the Attorney General is required to submit for review to the FISA Court the procedures by which the Federal government determines that the authorized acquisitions of foreign intelligence do not constitute electronic surveillance requiring court approval under FISA.

This part is kind of fuzzy. When is the review submitted? After the information has been gathered? Is it a case by case basis and continually submitted or has the procedure already been submitted to cover all future investigations.

RE: This Sucks...
By DRMichael on 2/16/2008 12:04:55 AM , Rating: 3
The Protect America Act has allowed for the electronic surveillance of non-U.S. citizens located outside the United States without the prior approval of the court; the argument being time sensitivity. For this provision in the Protect America Act, the Attorney General is required to submit for review to the FISA Court the procedures (or means) by which the Federal government has determined that the authorized acquisition of foreign intelligence do not constitute electronic surveillance requiring court approval; in other words: the Attorney General must show the procedures by which the Federal government has determined that the person under electronic surveillance is not a U.S. citizen and is located outside the United States.

The bill that passed the Senate on February 12th, but failed to be voted on in the House today, can be seen here: it is known as the FISA Amendments Act of 2007.

A layman’s overview of the major changes can be viewed here:

The wording can be a little difficult to grasp (I had to look at it for a moment myself). Hope this clears it up.

RE: This Sucks...
By tdawg on 2/14/2008 11:24:32 AM , Rating: 5
How about those American citizens with family members working and living in foreign countries? Or friends that are in visiting or volunteering in foreign countries? These calls could very well be monitored and if you say the wrong thing, the government could show up at your house. How fun would that be?

RE: This Sucks...
By MrBungle123 on 2/14/08, Rating: -1
RE: This Sucks...
By tdawg on 2/14/2008 11:48:00 AM , Rating: 2
In order for them to know what I'm talking about, they would already have to be listening, right? So my privacies about anything I'm discussing are gone. An innocuous conversation with your best friend about nailing a Princess at a night club in London just became government property.

RE: This Sucks...
By MrBungle123 on 2/14/08, Rating: 0
RE: This Sucks...
By Alexstarfire on 2/14/2008 12:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
There are so many problems with that statement that I don't even know where to start. Who decides if it's reasonable or not, cause it's surely not a judge? Because it won't be a judge it has a much bigger chance of getting abused. Say they wiretap a person under false pretenses. What will happen if they figure out he smuggles drugs into the country? Are they just going to sit back and do nothing? You'd be a fool to think that any of this is a good idea.

RE: This Sucks...
By mcmilljb on 2/14/2008 12:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
Tell that to people in our "secret" prisons. The Senate has been unwilling to sit down and discuss the bill. They want a blank check like President Bush. There are going to be more Democrats in Congress and a Democrat president come 2009 because the Republicans want a blank check. and Americans are tired of cashing it.

RE: This Sucks...
By straycat74 on 2/14/2008 1:24:49 PM , Rating: 5
You've had the democrats controlling congress for a while now, and what has changed besides the cafeteria food?

RE: This Sucks...
By tdawg on 2/14/2008 3:21:47 PM , Rating: 3
While the congress has been no more effective than the previous congress (Steroids in baseball?! "Spygate" in football?! Are these the most pressing issues?!), it's hard to get anything done when Dubya won't sign anything into law. All the blame can't rest with the congress here.

RE: This Sucks...
By sonoran on 2/14/2008 3:44:56 PM , Rating: 4
You've had the democrats controlling congress for a while now

No, they don't control congress, they control the House - but not the Senate. And even if they controlled both houses of Congress, they don't have a sufficient majority to really be in control, as they cannot override presidential vetos.

RE: This Sucks...
By derwin on 2/14/2008 1:39:05 PM , Rating: 5
Hence the point of "warrantless wiretaps." Usually a judge needs to sign off that the requirements for a wiretap are met. Here nobody does. Nobody is here to check whether or not its legal to wiretap the person. I would have no problem if they just had the balls to ask a judge to sign off (the old way - get a warrant; they could do that before this "spy bill"), but who knows why they don't want judges to review whether or not the requirements for a warrant are met...

Listen to my phone all you want as long as you have "reasonable basis" and as long as someone legally signs off on the evidence you present for that reasonable basis. Is that so hard?

RE: This Sucks...
By encryptkeeper on 2/14/2008 2:25:39 PM , Rating: 5
Usually a judge needs to sign off that the requirements for a wiretap are met. Here nobody does. Nobody is here to check whether or not its legal to wiretap the person.

It's also so that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing. If no wiretap is needed, and the wrong person is eavesdropped on, who's to step up and say, hey we made a mistake and listened in on the wrong person?

Warrants aren't permission slips for a school trip. They're a sign of proof that the state has met probable cause to seize some sort of custody, like property or a person. Also, warrants are proof that evidence has been gathered and that the law enforcement involved isn't just wasting time or on a wild goose chase. The average person might not be affected by this, if they REALLY are only listening on international calls that involve terror suspects (yeah, right) but next the government will claim the right to walk into your house if they suspect everything.

RE: This Sucks...
By encryptkeeper on 2/14/2008 4:12:07 PM , Rating: 2
Damn. I wish we had an edit button for our posts. What I meant to say is "If no WARRANT is needed, and the wrong person is eavesdropped on" yadda yadda yadda. My bad.

RE: This Sucks...
By eye smite on 2/15/2008 2:58:12 AM , Rating: 1
Who all reading and commenting on this suffers from the delusion that they have privacy? Who suffers from the same kind of delusion called security? Lets all take a deep breath and a sip of coffee now. Feeling secure and private are just that......feelings. So, what's the problem. Who cares if they wire tap you (points finger)? Do you have something to hide or are you arguing the principles and the feeling of privacy. Regardless of your feelings they'll do like always and do what they want, they'll cover it up like always or doctor paperwork to make it look legite. So what are you really debating about and is there anything you can do to make a difference?

RE: This Sucks...
By Magius on 2/16/2008 12:42:33 AM , Rating: 2
Right, that is one of the best excuses to erode rights... "Do you have something to hide?". Well mate, I may not have something to hide but I sure aren't a novel, book, or peep show. Thin or not, at least now whomever breaks the law can be prosecuted. Of course, none of this is perfect, as we can see how the current administration has gotten away with lying, destroying evidence, etc. Nonetheless, it is not an excuse to roll over and play dead.

The problem here is not the checking out communications of suspects, it is how this suspicion is validated and who makes sure this power doesn't become abused. Anyone here remembers a certain Mr. Hoover?

As for the precedent this sets. Where do we stop? How much do we erode the rights set by our forefathers in the name of "liberty and democracy"? Are we going to start using methods and devices that countries we so criticized in the past have used? Ah, wait, it seems we are well on our way to do so (ID card or "national passports" and certain interrogating techniques).

RE: This Sucks...
By eye smite on 2/18/2008 11:14:19 PM , Rating: 4
I think the biggest problem is people getting hyped up about something and not doing anything about it. I guess that's just another opinion though.

RE: This Sucks...
By Skitchin on 2/14/2008 4:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
"reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda."

Ah, I get it; the loophole is that all they have to do is call themselves something other than al Qaeda and they'll be scott free, am I right?

Honestly, how can you read that sentence and not realize it is flooded with post-9/11 scare tactics? Besides, think about this for a moment - there are prisoners in our own system, who live under constant surveillance, that are able to establish a code and communicate kill request all from using the prisons own phone. Now, with this in mind, how is it that we plan to pull one over on ol' Al, a group with intelligent and radical thinkers, all whom which have a common goal of our demise, by simply tapping our communication systems? How many terrorist have we stopped with this system so far? Are we ACTUALLY paying people to sit around constantly analyzing calls that could "reasonably" be terrorist? Give me a break.

RE: This Sucks...
By FITCamaro on 2/14/08, Rating: -1
RE: This Sucks...
By TechIsGr8 on 2/14/2008 1:19:05 PM , Rating: 2
and you know this how? You work for the NSA?

RE: This Sucks...
By derwin on 2/14/2008 1:41:28 PM , Rating: 2
infact wasn't there that story here a couple months ago about AT&T setting up monitoring stations for that NSA presumably so they could run scanning programs over the majority of communications?

RE: This Sucks...
By TechIsGr8 on 2/14/2008 2:08:19 PM , Rating: 1
and, in fact, bush and cheney started the illegal wiretapping and FISA lawbreaking right after they got into office, well before 9/11/2001. That's the nature of my angst for the whole thing. If it was just fear mongering following 9/11, then fine, maybe a pass is deserved. But no, while cheney was secretly meeting with the oil execs, spreading out maps of Iraq and dividing up the oil fields, they were telling the telecoms to violate the US Constitution. A fun band of merry criminals, aren't they?

RE: This Sucks...
By encryptkeeper on 2/14/2008 2:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
OK, so you seem to be willing to let a few freedoms go for some perception of added safety. I can understand that even if I don't happen to agree. That's one of the great things about a free society (or, did it get just a little less free?). My question is, how far can the government go before you feel your freedoms are being impeded on? And do you realize virtually everything in politics is like a slippery slope?

RE: This Sucks...
By MustangMike on 2/15/2008 8:22:21 PM , Rating: 1
You hit it the nail on the head!!
Honestly let's slow down and actually think this through.
You know what rather then me explain it all for you why don't you just read the damn thing. I'll even be nice and post the ACTUAL 1978 FISA Bill and the latest version that passed in the senate! Then we can actually debate on REAL SUBSTANCE AND NOT HEARSAY!

1978 Version
House bill H.R. 7308 >
Senate bill S. 1566 >
Enacted Final Version >

2008 Update
House Bill H. R. 3773
Senate Bill S. 2248

RE: This Sucks...
By Fusible on 2/14/08, Rating: 0
RE: This Sucks...
By derwin on 2/14/2008 1:49:09 PM , Rating: 4
No man, its more like malptacticing doctors being forced to hand out settlements before a lawsuite is ever filed.

We have a legal system for a reason.

We have an ammendment to our constitution that reads
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.

At the risk of being called crazy or leftist, I need to say that I feel this is bordering on unconstitutional...

RE: This Sucks...
By MrBungle on 2/14/2008 3:41:17 PM , Rating: 4
Man, isn't it sad that one has to make statements like "At the risk of being called crazy or leftist..." to stand behind the Constitution these days?

I get this kind of reaction, too, when I try to argue a point based on Constitutionality. The Bush administration's great success has been polarizing the populace so much that people make absurd, historically ignorant statements like "Well, if you've got nothing to hide..." and "The government has our best interests in mind."

It used to be a positive and healthy thing to criticize and be skeptical about the actions of your own government, but now you're called a "nutjob" or a "tin foil hat conspiracy theorist" just because you're diligent in relating historical precedents to contemporary situations.

With that kind of climate, someone in power can do almost anything in the name of "spreading freedom" and "combating terror" even if he's doing exactly the opposite in his own backyard.

RE: This Sucks...
By derwin on 2/15/2008 12:47:04 AM , Rating: 2
It is not entierly bush. Good willed people often make mistakes too; such as the many who understand that what bush is doing is bad, but don't have the ability to clearly articulate it. Often it does come off as nonsense and counter-critics have probably just become lazy and assume most points critical to bush are more along the lines of "not quite to the point," and thus just dismiss them all as "nut-job" or "crazy." (It is reasonable to see how if you don't quite understand the powerplays this adminstation is using, when you attempt to describe them they may come off as conspiratorial and etc.). The point that is most important to consider here though is that just as the critics miss the point from time to time, counter-critics have fallen into the same trap, some assuming that all criticizms are "nut-job" and "whacko."

The most important element lacking from both the critics and counter critics is disgression.

RE: This Sucks...
By Alexstarfire on 2/14/2008 12:58:29 PM , Rating: 1
I think that's just some crappy way to justify that this bill is constitutional. Like terrorists can't live in the US? Come on. I'm not saying that they do of course, but it'd be very naive to think that terrorists only exist outside the US.

I'm guessing that you don't ever call outside the US. I for one call my GF in Taiwan at least twice a week. I don't really like the idea I could be wiretapped for saying the wrong thing. Not that I'd likely say stuff like that anyways, even if I talked about this bill or terrorists. It's that the government would be violating my privacy without a judge or some other neutral third-party and they'd be in the right. Not that they'd really care what I have to say anyways.

As I've posted before, what would happen if they wiretapped a person but found out that they traffic drugs and aren't terrorists. I seriously doubt they are going to just sit back and do nothing. It is said that only those with something to hide are going to be the ones opposed to bills of this kind, but bills like this always have the ability to become heavily abused. The government could just wiretap a person to find information to blackmail them with.

While I haven't actually read the bill, and I doubt many have since it's supposedly 100 pages long, it doesn't seem to be just from the US to the Middle East. It seems like it could be anywhere in the world, bar the US of course. Though I'm sure that'll get changed eventually should this bill get passed.

RE: This Sucks...
By straycat74 on 2/14/2008 1:37:07 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, we wouldn't want do take away the rights of drug dealers. If the government becomes aware a a phone used by terrorists, how long do you think they use that number? probably a day less than it takes to get a warrant. Oh wait - they aren't that smart, they actually don't even exist. Since everyone criticizes these programs, how about an idea on what to do besides nothing. Is doing nothing better? We did nothing for years, where did that get us?

RE: This Sucks...
By derwin on 2/15/2008 12:48:53 AM , Rating: 2
How about this for a start.

Get a Warrant.

RE: This Sucks...
By encryptkeeper on 2/14/2008 3:58:00 PM , Rating: 1
The president’s power as military commander in chief, in time of constitutionally authorized war, of course includes the power to intercept enemy communications , including enemy communications with persons here in the United States who may be in league with the enemy, and to follow the chain of such communications where it leads, in order to wage the war against the enemy and, of vital importance, to protect the nation against further attacks.
-Michael Stokes Paulsen, Associate Dean, University of Minnesota Law School

The Congress shall have power: To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

-Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the US Constitution.

The War Powers Resolution (which is probably unconstitutional anyway, but unfortunately the law's constitutionality has never been brought before the supreme court) only allows for the President to use military forces for 60 days. Plus, the ability to intercept "enemy communications" is only for CONSTITUTIONALLY authorized war. So one way or another, doesn't this mean the wiretapping is illegal?

RE: This Sucks...
By mmntech on 2/14/2008 12:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
Definitely but it depends on which branch of conservatism he follows. Individual rights are a major component for more libertarian leaning conservatives but not so much traditionalists and the religious right.

Even though there is such a law, I wounder if it would hold up in the Supreme Court. Spying on citizens should violate the first, fourth, and fifth amendments. If anybody was ever brought to trial over this information obtained through warrantless taps, I can't possibly see it as being admissible in court. You can't just lay out a dragnet like this to catch possible criminals. It's unconstitutional. It's specious reasoning to say that such extreme measures are protecting the US from terrorism. There's no proof either way that it's working or not. Such laws cannot be justified.

RE: This Sucks...
By derwin on 2/15/2008 12:52:46 AM , Rating: 2
The whole point is that it wouldn't need to be admisable in court; it would do well enough to attain a search warrant to obtain admissable evidence.

RE: This Sucks...
By derwin on 2/15/2008 12:54:42 AM , Rating: 2
er in otherwords evidence gathered via these wiretaps could be used to attain a warrant to collect other evidence...

Or it could be used to attain a warrant to search a premisis (this does not mean they will find anything).

RE: This Sucks...
By Gravemind123 on 2/14/2008 3:02:14 PM , Rating: 2
My life has changed because I have been disillusioned about what the government actually cares about. The president swore an oath to uphold the Constitution then him, the administration and the Senate go and tear into the freedoms it was supposed to guarantee the people of this country. The Founding Fathers had some great ideas and I don't like the fact that the current government would throw away what this country was founded on for any reason.

Also, the fact that any of my phone calls can be listened to scares me, if I am not suspected of doing anything wrong(as in, they don't have a warrant for wiretapping my phone) then I should not have anyone listening in on me. Sure I won't ever get busted for anything as I have no intention of ever comitting a crime, but I just don't like my privacy invaded.

RE: This Sucks...
By dluther on 2/14/08, Rating: 0
RE: This Sucks...
By eye smite on 2/15/2008 3:04:35 AM , Rating: 4
Then exercise your 2nd ammendment rights and go do something about it instead of ranting on a blog eh?

RE: This Sucks...
By DRMichael on 2/15/2008 1:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
This may take some time but I cannot in good conscious let these preposterous statements go unanswered. Additionally, I will provide the links to both the Bill of Rights as well as the USA PATRIOT ACT so that it may easily be referenced.


If I feel that I have been threatened or my privacy violated, I cannot sue.

Please inform me when the judicial branch of our government was dissolved. If you believe that the USA PATRIOT ACT is unconstitutional, utilize your 1st Amendment rights for redress of grievances and challenge it in court. Additionally, the USA PATRIOT ACT specifically addresses Civil actions against the United States by amending TITLE 18, Chapter 121 by adding Sec. 2712 paragraph a)
In General.--Any person who is aggrieved by any willful violation of this chapter or of chapter 119 of this title or of sections 106(a), 305(a), or 405(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) may commence an action in United States District Court against the United States to recover money damages. In any such action, if a person who is aggrieved successfully establishes such a violation of this chapter or of chapter 119 of this title or of the above specific provisions of title 50, the Court may assess as damages--
``(1) actual damages, but not less than $10,000, whichever
amount is greater; and
``(2) litigation costs, reasonably incurred.

The so-called "Patriot Act" provides for prohibition of any citizen to keep and bear arms without showing any shred of evidence for it, without just cause or due process.

This is FALSE. Nowhere in the act does it repeal the 2nd Amendment.
The so-called "Patriot Act" provides for my financial records, medical records, telephone conversations, and indeed my very house to be searched without my consent, without any oversight, due process, or probably (sic)cause presented.

This is FALSE.
The so-called "Patriot Act" makes it possible that anyone can accuse me of being a "terrorist", and I can be shipped off to Guantanamo for the special treatment.

This is FALSE. The USA PATRIOT ACT does not address this whatsoever. However, the DETAINEE TREATMENT ACT of 2005 ( does address procedures and policies for persons detained by the DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. Of course if you were outside the U.S. and engaged in battle with U.S. forces you would be subject to detention. To imply that a citizen within the U.S. could be accused of terrorism without due process would be in violation of the Constitution. Additionally, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prevents the military from executing the laws of the United States.
Should I be accused and detained for suspected "terrorism", The so-called "Patriot Act" says that I would not have rights to counsel, a jury trial, or be allowed to call upon my accuser.

This is FALSE. See previous Quote.
Amendment VII:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

This is NOT Amendment VII.
Amendment VIII states: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The water boarding that you are referring to does not fall under the protection of the Constitution since it was not administered to a U.S. Citizen.
However, I’ll assume that you’re referring to TITLE 18 U.S.C. § 2340A ( ).

The argument, for which there are always two sides, is whether or not “Water Boarding” is considered torture.

RE: This Sucks...
By Noya on 2/14/2008 10:40:14 AM , Rating: 2
I'd have hoped that the Democrats would finally have done something to save our freedoms, but as always, here's the new boss, same as the old boss.

The whole Dem. vs Rep. thing is an illusion for the common man to believe he is free, that he actually has a choice in voting.

RFID's will be here soon will FITcamaro and mdogs444 blind support of the US Gov.

Where are the terrorists? Why aren't they sneaking up through Mexico with the other 20k+ illegals every month? OH, that's right, there are NO terrorists outside of Iraq (and even they're just the locals and maybe some of Saddams ex-loyalists fighting it out).

RE: This Sucks...
By Noya on 2/14/2008 10:43:35 AM , Rating: 2
It looks like good'ol boy Mdogs444 beat to my own post. He must have the General Lee of super-computers...

RE: This Sucks...
By mdogs444 on 2/14/2008 10:45:11 AM , Rating: 3
Nothing like making an entrance...

RE: This Sucks...
By dluther on 2/14/2008 8:48:43 PM , Rating: 2
Or the same old tired rhetoric set up as a speed key macro. You think this is the first time he's asked that?

RE: This Sucks...
By sweetsauce on 2/14/2008 10:44:58 AM , Rating: 1
Don't use common sense man, you might be labeled "unpatriotic". Oh yeah, i bet you "hate the troops" too. Don't you know they hate us for our freedom... oh shit how do we sell that if we keep taking away people's freedom?

RE: This Sucks...
By Omega215D on 2/14/2008 11:14:42 AM , Rating: 2
The US government must hate its own troops. I was reading a newspaper article (a small one at that taken over by the latest sports scandal) on how a US sniper was following orders from his officer and is now facing murder charges and 15 years in prison.

The officer ordered the sniper to kill a detained person because the person was making a lot of noise that may give away their hiding post.

If the sniper didn't follow the order I'm pretty sure there would've been a court martial so the sniper is screwed either way.

RE: This Sucks...
By Ringold on 2/14/2008 11:18:31 AM , Rating: 2
All members of the military are, to my understanding, obligated to ignore illegal orders from superiors such as that. If he was dumb enough to go ahead and do it then he deserves the 15 years.

RE: This Sucks...
By tdawg on 2/14/2008 11:28:09 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Soldiers do not have to obey illegal and unethical orders from their superiors.

RE: This Sucks...
By KristopherKubicki on 2/14/2008 12:38:42 PM , Rating: 4
Eichmann pretty much set all the precedence in the world for this. If you don't know who he is (not directed at you tdawg), start Googling now.

RE: This Sucks...
By FITCamaro on 2/14/2008 12:47:25 PM , Rating: 2
As soldiers, they also have their duty to complete their mission. If it means killing an enemy who's trying to give away your position which could result in the death of your squad, you do it.

I've got no problem with them putting a bullet in an insurgents head if it means they stay safe. Anyone who believes otherwise should be ashamed of themselves. To put the life of an enemy soldier before that of our own troops is just disgusting.

RE: This Sucks...
By bodar on 2/14/2008 3:51:26 PM , Rating: 1
I've got no problem with them nuking the site from orbit if it means they stay safe. Anyone who believes otherwise should be ashamed of themselves. To put the life of an enemy soldier before that of our own troops is just disgusting.

Fixed. Come on, why not go all the way? Clearly, lethal force is the only way to get things done and if we don't support any action that guarantees the safety of our troops, we are "letting the terrorists win". That's exactly what you're saying.

"He who fights with monsters should be careful least he thereby becomes a monster. When you stare at the abyss, the abyss stares back at you." -- Nietzsche

RE: This Sucks...
By bodar on 2/14/2008 10:49:38 PM , Rating: 2

Clearly, the situation was complicated, but I'm not sure if it warranted shooting him. On the one hand they could have just cracked him upside the head with said pistol, but that would not be guaranteed to knock him out in time.

The guy was probably just yelling because he didn't understand why they were holding a gun to his head. I'd like to know why he was just chillin around the soldiers in the first place, but I guess that'll be forever unsolved.

I still reject the idea that killing people who have not directly posed a threat is always OK as long as our troops are safe. According to the unclassified parts of the Army's current Standing Rules of Engagement (CJCSI 3121.01B) lethal force can only be used when someone has at least shown hostile intent. The soldiers' own testimony says that this guy approached with raised hands and no weapons were later found. In fact, other unit members were found guilty of planting an AK-47 on his corpse.

We may never know all the facts surrounding that incident but by all accounts, it sounds like both sides get screwed.

I will concede that the concepts of personal and unit self-defense described in the SROE are too murky right now, and a seemingly easy for an enemy to exploit:

RE: This Sucks...
By FITCamaro on 2/15/2008 8:30:51 AM , Rating: 2
Way to act like a liberal and completely exaggerate. You just equated shooting a single hostile to nuking an entire area.

Now one use of tactical nukes to save our own people would be to nuke large tank regiments so they cannot be brought into battle. This was the plan if the Soviets ever attacked as while the majority of their tanks aren't anywhere near as good as ours, they have an incredibly large number of them.

RE: This Sucks...
By bodar on 2/15/2008 4:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
Except that he wasn't hostile. The soldiers never said that he did anything to show hostile intent. Noisy and stupid =/= hostile. Also, from the CBS article they had detained this guy and his son for an hour. Why didn't they gag him earlier, if they were so afraid of being discovered? I'm gonna say "sleep deprivation" FTW, but you can't say that this guy deserved to die for being a "hostile". He never did anything hostile. We also cannot completely trust the soldiers' accounts since they tried to cover it up after the fact. If you do believe their accounts, then it was a lose-lose situation brought on by the Iraqi's curiosity and the soldiers' exhaustion.

Way to act like a neo-conservative and completely ignore facts. Did you even RTFA?

RE: This Sucks...
By bodar on 2/15/2008 4:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
Also, can't we find a middle-ground between completely cutting off our troops' nuts to effectively defend themselves and Blackwater mowing down anything that moves?

I understand that we are second-guessing decisions that were based on limited info they had at the time -- hindsight's 20/20 and all that -- but there should be SOME responsibility involved. Is it right to just say, "Oh well, screw 'em." whenever a mistake is made?

RE: This Sucks...
By bodar on 2/15/2008 4:41:10 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry for triple-posting, but I have to admit that I'd probably agree with shooting him if he was a KNOWN hostile trying to give away their position.

RE: This Sucks...
By CascadingDarkness on 2/15/2008 5:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
That won't stop The Rock from shooting you in the neck during a mission gone wrong on mars...

...couldn't help it.

RE: This Sucks...
By clovell on 2/14/2008 11:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
It's also rather unethical to let someone give away your position and have your entire platoon wiped out. This isn't the ivory tower of black and white, gentlemen - it's a friggin battlefield.

Chances are, that if he hadn't shot the guy, he wouldn't be court martialed - he'd be dead. Reminds me of a story I once heard about a soldier in Vietnam. His platoon as out on patrol and they had a photo-journalist embedded in the unit. But the jerk wouldn't quit snapping pictures. The CO told him to cut it out a few times and then gave him a final warning that if he didn't stop, he'd be shot. It didn't end well for the photo-journalist.

RE: This Sucks...
By tdawg on 2/14/2008 11:41:22 AM , Rating: 2
They could have tied him up and taped his mouth shut with duct tape. That'll limit the amount of noise he could make without shooting a prisoner of war.

RE: This Sucks...
By clovell on 2/14/2008 11:46:30 AM , Rating: 2
I guess I wasn't thinking outside the box. Even then, he could probably make noise, but you're right, there are a lot of things you can do short of killing someone to make them shut up.

RE: This Sucks...
By maverick85wd on 2/14/2008 12:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
it wasn't a game of tag, it's war. It comes down to us or them... and that means they gotta go. That's just human nature.

I would have shot the guy too. If it's me and my comrades or a POW, consider him dead.

RE: This Sucks...
By KristopherKubicki on 2/14/2008 1:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
Who's job was it to tape the guys mouth shut in the first place though ... it should never have come to "us or them"

RE: This Sucks...
By TechIsGr8 on 2/14/2008 1:40:06 PM , Rating: 4
I love this black and white type of discussion. It plays into the White House Nazis who framed the phony war on terrorism as "you're either with us or you're a terrorist". It's a pretty simplistic "us or them" model, but it plays strong to the weakest minds that are incapable of understanding circumstantial nuance, and only capable of reacting by instinct to fear propaganda.

RE: This Sucks...
By Noya on 2/14/2008 1:56:16 PM , Rating: 2
Well said.

RE: This Sucks...
By Omega215D on 2/14/2008 5:57:56 PM , Rating: 2
The sadder thing is that the newspaper I read it in only had a small amount of info about it. Sad state of affairs when the people in this country care more about their celebs than the people dying supposedly for their country.

by the way I didn't mean to start a long discussion on this.

RE: This Sucks...
By maverick85wd on 2/15/2008 1:51:52 PM , Rating: 2
war on terrorism propaganda? I hardly pay attention to it. I think like that because I'm in the military. When it comes time to go to war, it's us or them.

RE: This Sucks...
By TechIsGr8 on 2/16/2008 3:34:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, you are, in fact, part of the problem. No point in researching the facts, let's just go drop some bombs and maybe we'll sort it out later. Tough guy.

RE: This Sucks...
By DRMichael on 2/20/2008 6:47:45 PM , Rating: 3
You’re nothing but a self righteous hypocrite . Only an immature prepubescent punk would say something so ignorant. If being in the military is “part of the problem” what does that make you? The service members in the military signed up of their own volition. They were not forced at gunpoint. Why don’t you do something like STOP PAYING TAXES that fund this war – that by the way, doesn’t affect you. Or better yet, if your not here in the U.S. paying taxes, join the TALIBAN or INSURGENT fighters. Anything less makes YOU PART OF PROBLEM!

RE: This Sucks...
By C'DaleRider on 2/14/2008 5:24:22 PM , Rating: 3
Too bad that story is just that....a BS story.

First, embedding photo-journalists didn't happen in Vietnam. Embedding is a new thing that came into being with this war we're in an attempt to make the war "transparent" and more palatable to the public.

True, journalists did get temp. assigned to some units, but it was very rare to have one in a front-line area for any length of time. IF you could even remember back then, Cronkite, Rather, et al, did reports from the front, but they were few and far between...typically doen as a special, not as a routine assignment.

Second, journalists NEVER accompanied bush patrols....and absolutely knew to keep their asses down and their mouths shut when in the field. Casualties were high then and no on e wanted to die for a worthless war.

My knowledge in this? I was a medic assigned to the 20th Combat Engineer Bn., a front-line unit, from 1969-1970. Never had photo-journalists "embedded" in our unit and when journalists made vists, which were rare, they were NEVER invited to trip the light fantastic and go on patrol into the bush.

Your story is BS....pure and simple.

RE: This Sucks...
By Ringold on 2/14/2008 5:38:32 PM , Rating: 2
I mispoke, then. My mistake. All I saw was "detained person", the giving away the position part didn't register first time I read it. I had an image of killing a prisoner in some prison or the likes.

RE: This Sucks...
By TechIsGr8 on 2/14/2008 1:30:08 PM , Rating: 1
The prison abuse was ordered from above, but our "support the troops" government allowed the military to put the little folks behind bars. So, yes, the US government does, in fact, hate their own troops. Let's not even mention the VA cuts that Bush has continued to push for ever since he got appointed to office by the Supreme Court in 2000. ("appointed", because a full Florida recount was halted by the US Supremes, reversing the Fla. Supreme ruling, which would have found Gore was the winner. A subsequent full state recount found more uncounted Gore votes than Bush votes, which would have swung the victory back to Gore.) And not to mention the illegal invasion of Iraq, setting up the troops to 4000+ deaths, and Iraqis to 300,000+ deaths. (We put a gun to the UN's head 6 months after our illegal invasion to sign a retroactive authorization to make the invasion "legal"). So yes, whenever I hear a conservative say "support the troops", I really hear him say "screw the troops". All fun stuff...

RE: This Sucks...
By clovell on 2/14/2008 2:17:35 PM , Rating: 2
The full US Senate voted on the incursion into Iraq, per US Law. The UN's opinion has no bearing on the legality of the actions taken.

Neither of which speaks in any way to the arguement that conservatives want to 'screw the troops', but just shows that you're very bitter over a lot of things you think Gore could have handled better.

RE: This Sucks...
By Darkskypoet on 2/14/2008 9:10:28 PM , Rating: 2
Whoa there Simba...

Who's government couldn't find the money to buy their own troops body armour? Proper armoured vehicles? Or even enough 'up armour kits' for Humvees? Oh yeah, yours. (Haliburton wanted contracts, I know... Haliburton comes before soldiers in the dictionary too; I checked)

I think it is more a case (as I am in the Military myself, thankfully not yours) of watching Billions go to Haliburton to take over normal Military trades for 2-3x the pay, and sticking everyone in the infantry. Then, refusing to abide by postings, and contributing to troop burnout by extending postings left right and center.

Us military types work our asses off, but god damn it; can't you find it in your pork barrel patronage ways to have bought all your troops at least body armour? Not to mention something a bit more high tech then humvees with the 'any metal you can weld to them' uparmouring kits?

Give me a break! If your government was so pro troop, they would have moved f**king mountains to get them the proper gear for fighting. Proper vehicles, Proper personal kit, and proper troop levels from the beginning; is that too much to ask?

(from a soldier to a civilian)

RE: This Sucks...
By Ringold on 2/15/2008 11:54:48 AM , Rating: 2
(from a soldier to a civilian)

Some of my best friends are in the US Army, and unfortunately being a soldier isn't instant credibility on military issues.

You talk a lot about preparation, however. It should be enough to simply direct you to the Civil War Union general George McClellan; ultimately, he was a near-disasterous failure because of his anal desire to be well prepared. It's much more important to move.

Also, I wouldn't of stressed being a member of another, non-US, military. Kids in Darfur are waiting for their meal, don't you have some peace-keeping to do? That is assuming you're not British or one of the miniscule number of Canadians in Afghanistan doing some real work. Even the Canadians that are already there could be withdrawn. Unfortunately, if you are either of those, your government starves your military of funds even worse then America, so not sure how you could be pointing fingers.

Oh, and in case anyone failed to notice, virtually no one sent to Iraq or Afghanistan today signed up or renewed their contract prior to the invasion of either country, except for a small number of people that might've signed 10 year contracts a long way back. You can have your own perspective but my old friends that've gone to Iraq and Afghanistan and returned are happy with their choice, would do it again, are willing to return and most plan not to muster out at the end of their contract.

RE: This Sucks...
By Darkskypoet on 2/15/2008 1:42:18 PM , Rating: 2
Who said anything about not moving? As well, its not as if in this particular conflict it needed doing 'now', but besides that point, if you must land troops now, do it. But Where was the support post landing? Where were the much needed sets of personal body armor? Why were families ponying up the cash for them? Why wasn't one of the Big 3 handed orders for newer more heavily armored vehicles? I mean, its not as if they are operating at capacity for the civilian market.

In fact, the large amount of pseudo protectionism / bailout that could have been handed to various domestic industries, and wasn't, is kind of shocking. However, that being said; Bush et al probably aren't big Auto stock holders.

I've noticed no catchy comebacks about Haliburton either. Even those in denial can't seem to stomach that much money fed straight to the hog w/o oversight. Or can you?

As to which Military I belong to, it is the Canadian, and we wisely avoided a dance in Iraq... The US Congress may believe they can convey legitimacy on something by holding a vote. However, that legitimacy doesn't pull much weight in the rest of the world, and thankfully our Liberal government was smart enough to stay away.

As to the comments on Afghanistan, yes we have only about 2500 troops there, however we've pretty much been the only other ally in the region to commit those troops almost exclusively to the more intense combat areas. The fact that our military is small, comprising about 65000 members is also (in my mind) unfortunate, however extrapolating that to the size it would be had we the US's population, we would have a regular force of around 650000; which during peace time isn't too bad.

Considering that for both major world wars, we mobilized massive amounts of our population for fighting on an almost entirely voluntary basis (conscription was exceptionally late, and brought almost no additional troops into either war); I'd say we tend to try and hold our own in truly legitimate operations.

Further, over the past few years the capital expenditures of our military have increased dramatically, as has recruiting, etc. The problem however, is that attempting to rebuild force levels, while maintaining numerous global commitments with a small force, is quite difficult. However, we have been doing so. Unfortunately, much of the equipment necessary to truly assist our forces in the field (heavy lift helicopters) cannot be delivered in a timely manner. That being said, we have purchased as many other necessary pieces as have been needed including: Leopards, Nyalas, howitzers, heavy and medium airlift, LAVs, etc. Whereas, your soldiers were confounded in their attempts to get body armour, uparmoured humvees, etc.

Consider also that the key difference here is that your government decided to go and F**k Iraq up, not content to simply contain the man that your government helped to put in power decades ago. To enter into Iraq on a new hostile footing was determined by your government, not military or strategic necessity. In fact, one would have an easy time arguing that the Iraq fiasco is definitely off mission, and further that opening a second front (unsupported by the coalition assembled for Afghan mission) actually creates even more tension in an already hot region. This additional tension further excites those that once may have been moderates, and as such is the case it further destabilizes any pro-western governments in the region. In doing so, your government directly impacts the safety and security of those who side with you.

NATO is in Afghanistan because its members have treaty obligations to fight alongside an attacked ally. NATO is not in Iraq, because we do not have to follow an ally on a 'crusade' that was not warranted. If Iraq was the big threat to western stability, and thus NATO itself, that the US was reporting it as, we would be fighting along side you. (As we were in the action to remove Saddam from Kuwait.) However, we are not, and neither are many other NATO members, and that is also why there is no NATO mandate / mission and/or command in Iraq.

Back to your point on preparation;

Are you honestly attempting to convey some sense of equality between this Iraq action, and the American Civil War? That is quite preposterous. When moving is necessary, you move. You move now, and with whatever you have on hand to fight with. That is elementary. However, in this case; your side did not have to move. It wanted to. It moved with all the fury that an invasion on the cheap could muster. It moved so quickly, and stupidly, not because Iraq was a threat. It moved because the thin layer of legitimacy to attack was going to be lost if they waited even a few months to move. That legitimacy was based on the back of some of the best / worst fear mongering PR ever mobilized to convince the public they should fight someone other then their assailant.

Bottom line, is that the Hawks in the then current administration jumped on the chance to attack a foreign state not because of the threat they possessed nor because of the time sensitivity of the 'threat'. They jumped, and threw their own soldiers into a mess they couldn't fathom because they were in a race against the domestic legitimacy clock running out.

Its a shame that folks like you choose not to see that the Iraq fiasco was completely unnecessary, and was simply a way to get lodged into a conflict that enriches some at the expense of the majority. Now, the majority must confront massively useless deficit spending that has failed to protect any of the rights that were held up as the referent object to be protected.

In fact, that is the lunacy of this entire escapade; while away in a foreign land, fighting for their own and their squad-mates lives. Their rights are being whittled away by a domestic government on the home front. Just a little ironic, don't you think?

At least the democrats would have utilized such a massive amount of deficit spending to fix your health insurance regime, and education system. Hell maybe even to rebuild the Gulf Coast, who knows? Apparently Keynesian economics isn't dead, just ask Bush. Deficit spending is fine, as long as the right lobbyists get theirs.

RE: This Sucks...
By DRMichael on 2/15/2008 2:57:02 PM , Rating: 3
I wish our country was the successful medical welfare state that Canada has become.

RE: This Sucks...
By Darkskypoet on 2/16/2008 12:56:04 AM , Rating: 1
Meh, I am just glad I have the choice of waiting in a slightly longer line to get treatment for free... Or heck.. if I have the cash, paying $100,000 to have say... a double or triple bypass done in the U.S., or maybe like $12,000 for the same in India...

Actually... for the under or uninsured... What does a full reattachment of an ACL cost in the U.S? Including CT Scans, an MRI, and bone fragment repair/reattachment? (top of my tibia was split / sheared last year along with ACL and PCL) Just curious, 2 surgeries etc, and no medical bills...

And I didn't even end up in a place like Walter Reed...

RE: This Sucks...
By OhCanadOUGH on 2/19/2008 3:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
HAAAAAA - An F*'N Canadian Military Person! You GOTTA BE SH$TTIN ME! Dude I know your joking because anyone in the Canadian military would NEVER ADMIT IT. C'Mon, tell the truth - you're some 14 year old living with a liberal mother from whom your views are derived, right?

Well, if you REALLY are telling the truth, I guess it’s because you’re hiding behind the anonymity of the computer. But I bet your commander would be pissed off to find out your a Conscientious PANSY – maybe not though, after all, it is Canada.

I shouldn't be so hard. If it wasn't for Canada we wouldn't have a fall-out zone for missile defense when ICBM's are coming over the Pole - thanks:0)

RE: This Sucks...
By TechIsGr8 on 2/14/2008 11:01:02 PM , Rating: 1
In retrospect, I would be happy if ANYONE would have won in 2000, rather than the Nazi sympathizer we have now. Do a little reading on Prescott Bush, and one of our most honorable American military heroes, Smedley Butler. Mr. Butler saved our republic from the likes of Bush and his rich cronies.

The US Senate did not vote for war. They also were not aware that cheney had already met with oil execs to carve up Iraq a year before, in a secret meeting that featured maps of untapped Iraqi oil reserves, spread out across a boardroom table.

"Screw the troops" is the conservative hidden agenda. They're fine and dandy if the military falls apart due to deployment stress, they will just increase the Blackwater payments for more mercenaries. By the way, mercenaries are illegal, per international law. So is invasion of a soverein nation that is not presenting any pending threat. I'd love nothing more than to see bush and cheney stand trial at the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We obviously did not learn a thing from a true war hero and American leader:

"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience ... In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic process."
-- President Dwight Eisenhower, farewell speech to the nation, January 17, 1961

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron."
-- Dwight Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

RE: This Sucks...
By retrospooty on 2/14/2008 11:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
What makes me sad is that allthough most of what you say is correct, and that is the true nature of our current govt. most people dont see it and would call you un-american for saying it. Sad, really sad we have become. The vast majority of the american public has been sold the worlds largest Brooklyn bridge and they still cant see it.

RE: This Sucks...
By DRMichael on 2/14/2008 11:19:33 PM , Rating: 3
What, no citations for your accusations? I guess your just typing in the shade and sippin' on Kool-Aid.

RE: This Sucks...
By TechIsGr8 on 2/16/2008 3:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not going to do your work for you. If you are unwilling to spend a little effort, just the thinnest of effort in researching the citations above, all easily found and documented through a google search, then nothing I can say will ever breech the impenetrable wall between your ears and your gray matter, my friend. All of which are the hallmarks of the reich wing conservatives in this country. Steven Colbert said it best at the White House Correspondents' dinner..."This is a man who believes the same thing on Wednesday that he believed on matter what happened on Tuesday."

RE: This Sucks...
By DRMichael on 2/16/2008 6:07:50 PM , Rating: 4
Let the carving begin.

cheney had already met with oil execs to carve up Iraq a year before, in a secret meeting that featured maps of untapped Iraqi oil reserves, spread out across a boardroom table.

Here, allow me to do your work for you. The following websites will direct the masses to the “secret meeting” news:

I’m sorry; I failed to realize that the preceding organizations were LEGITIMATE. It really must have been a secret meeting, since I don’t recall hearing about it on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, or my personal favorite FOX NEWS:)
…illegal, per international law. So is invasion of a soverein (sic) nation that is not presenting any pending threat.

I'd love nothing more than to see bush and cheney stand trial at the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Yet the wonderful actions of Saddam don’t justify a trip to the Netherlands? Well, just in case you want to make sure George and Dick have some company, I’ve included the other countries that were publicly committed to the Coalition prior to the invasion:

Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Tonga, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan

At least Jan Peter Balkenende (Netherlands Prime Minister) won’t have far to go for his trial.

(My apologies for providing such a “biased” source, maybe you could email your buddy Steven Colbert for verification.)

If all this hatred of the war in Iraq is just because you’re a pacifist and not just a card carrying liberal Democrat who supported John Kerry in 2004, that’s cool – I can respect that position. But if the latter is true, you should really educate yourself and read my post a few replies below that quotes Senator Kerry. By the way, I thought liberals were supposed to be peace loving people. What’s with all the hatred toward your fellow conservative man? Careful, you wouldn’t want to appear to be a Reich-wing Conservative;)

RE: This Sucks...
By TechIsGr8 on 2/16/08, Rating: 0
RE: This Sucks...
By MrBungle123 on 2/14/2008 10:57:42 AM , Rating: 2
Where are the terrorists? Why aren't they sneaking up through Mexico with the other 20k+ illegals every month?

They probably are, the southern border is likely a point of entry for terrorists looking to start or add to cells operating inside the US.

and its more like 120K illegals per month.

RE: This Sucks...
By imperator3733 on 2/14/2008 11:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
there are NO terrorists outside of Iraq

If that's true, how do you explain the Madrid bombings, the London bombings and all sorts of other bombings? There are "terrorists" in most countries.

RE: This Sucks...
By Ringold on 2/14/2008 11:16:37 AM , Rating: 2
And what about the Beirut marine barracks bombing, the African embassy bombings, the USS Cole attack, and the few attacks in South Asia targeting westerners vacation spots? And the plan to blow up a few air liners over the Atlantic?

Pacifists see only what they want to see. All they see is Iraq, and all they see in Iraq is an affront to their view of what could be a peaceful world. Anything that challenges that world view must be fiercely opposed. Hence, posts like the above.

RE: This Sucks...
By Alexstarfire on 2/14/2008 12:25:49 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, I guess you didn't pick up on the EXTREME sarcasm in his last sentence or two.

RE: This Sucks...
By Darkskypoet on 2/14/2008 9:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
(i got the sarcasm, but couldn't resist answering)

Wow... Pacifists eh? The world certainly seems black and white for you. Sigh. So i guess then you're either a Hawk or a pacifist? Hawks always seem to see only what they want to see, War, terrorists, etc. Except of course if the country in question can fight back...

Into Iraq for WMD, yet North Korea conducts long range missle tests, and may actually have the bomb... But hey.. whoa.. wait.. They could fight back! Dang, we can't risk that. So instead, we've had Iraq in a choke hold for 10 plus years.. Time to go finish them off...

Except, couldn't even get that right...

John Stewart said it best; "If this is really that big of a deal, then lets WW2 the damn thing!"

In other words, if Iraq was the most threatening place in the entire world for the U.S... What the hell is up with the chicken sh*t troop levels, the pathetic need for 'surges', etc. Someone tried to fight a war in a country they didn't understand, on the cheap, with no real plan for what to do when the easy part (storming the gate) was over.

Its so sad that such a brutally botched campaign (regardless of right or wrong), and a self serving executive, has split such a proud country into two sides who speak in absolutes, about things they don't even begin to understand.

With us or against us? Hawk or chicken? Red state, Blue state? Enough with the false dichotomies damn it! Instead turn to the important tasks like fixing your mess, finishing your Afghanistan escapade, and taking care of your ground zero fire fighters for Pete's sake. There is a tonne to do in your homeland besides staying divided while a ludicrously powerful executive robs you blind.

RE: This Sucks...
By AntiM on 2/14/2008 10:49:24 AM , Rating: 2
I think all male members of the Senate should have a daily, FORCED prostate exam. It's for their own good, it's for the good of the American people to know that our Senators are healthy and free from prostrate cancer. I don't care if they object to it or not, or whether it violates their precious civil rights, we citizens know what is best for them. We should also ensure that the examining physician has immunity from being sued (in addition to having an extremely large index finger).

RE: This Sucks...
By mdogs444 on 2/14/2008 10:52:30 AM , Rating: 2
for their own good, it's for the good of the American people

You mean how Hillary wants to withhold peoples wages who refuse to purchase healthcare - even though its their own choice. I mean sure, its better for their own good, and for the sake of the American people.

RE: This Sucks...
By retrospooty on 2/14/2008 11:57:13 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed... Thank goodness Obama will be our next prez.

George Dubbya screwed the pooch so bad in the past 7 years the republicans have no chance of winning.

RE: This Sucks...
By mdogs444 on 2/14/2008 12:57:35 PM , Rating: 2
Well in a way, im glad you dont like her haha.

I am not voting Obama, becuase I'm not liberal. But I still think hes a good person, I just dont agree with his viewpoints. What is scary though is the fact that hes getting much praise just for being a good speaker - hes never actually accomplished anything in the senate.

But dont be so quick to rule out the republicans. McCain is a strong candidate in his own right- and will pull the independants. The republicans may not like him or want to vote for him - but they will just to vote against a democrat.

RE: This Sucks...
By retrospooty on 2/14/2008 1:15:29 PM , Rating: 2
I would disagree with the fact that he accomplished nothing... That is a statement Rush Limbaugh made and keeps making... Not at all true. He has done great things in his career, and in the Senate and doen not take lobbyist money, all other candidates do, Hillary is maxed out on the legal limit she can take from most of her lobbyist contributers. McCain is cool, but has too much hill to climb.

1. George Dubbya messed things up so bad that reps will have a tough time getting past it.
2. Obama is inspiring, not just a great speaker, but people beleive he will change the world. I do too.
3. McCain has stated we need to be in Iraq for 100 years. Not a smart statement. America wants out. Its not about Winning a war vs surrender, we won the dang war in the first month. It is now about giving it back to Iraq to run themselves and secure themselves, and freeing up our military to do something worthwhile, like going after Al Qaeda.

I am from AZ... McCain country, but I dont think he has a chance at all. Obama will pull in far more independants, and crossover republicans.

RE: This Sucks...
By mdogs444 on 2/14/2008 1:19:19 PM , Rating: 2
That is a statement Rush Limbaugh made and keeps making... Not at all true. He has done great things in his career, and in the Senate and doen not take lobbyist money

Uh er...its not just Rush Limbaugh. Its pretty much out there all over. But inform me if you wish, what exactly has he accomplished?

Its one thing to stand up and say "I opposed the war to begin with"...but what he isnt saying is that he didnt even vote on it! You cant stand for something when you didnt have the fact to stand up to it in the first place.

He says he doesnt take money from lobbyist, but you know as well as I do that hes taking some scrutiny right now for his assets.

RE: This Sucks...
By retrospooty on 2/14/2008 1:38:00 PM , Rating: 3
Ya, its out there by opposing sides trying to discredit him, of course, thats the way campains work... It doesnt make it true at all... And he was very outspoken in his opposition to the war, its just that at the time he was not yet a US senator so he didnt get a vote, he WAS against it and very vocal in the party. In addition to the fantastic things he did in Illinois, here is a blurb about his acts in the US Senate from wiki, more info at the link.

109th Congress
Senate bill sponsors Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Obama discuss the Coburn-Obama Transparency Act.
Senate bill sponsors Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Obama discuss the Coburn-Obama Transparency Act.[55]

Obama took an active role in the Senate's drive for improved border security and immigration reform. In 2005, he co-sponsored the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act" introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).[56] He later added three amendments to the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act", which passed the Senate in May 2006, but failed to gain majority support in the U.S. House of Representatives.[57] In September 2006, Obama supported a related bill, the Secure Fence Act, authorizing construction of fencing and other security improvements along the Mexico–United States border.[58] President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act into law in October 2006, calling it "an important step toward immigration reform."[59]

Partnering first with Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), and then with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Obama successfully introduced two initiatives bearing his name. "Lugar-Obama" expands the Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles and anti-personnel mines.[60] The "Coburn-Obama Transparency Act" provides for the web site, managed by the Office of Management and Budget, listing all organizations receiving Federal funds from 2007 onward, and providing breakdowns by the agency allocating the funds, the dollar amount given, and the purpose of the grant or contract.[61] In December 2006, President Bush signed into law the "Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act," marking the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor.[62]

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In August 2005, he traveled to Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. The trip focused on strategies to control the world's supply of conventional weapons, biological weapons, and weapons of mass destruction as a first defense against potential terrorist attacks.[63] Following meetings with U.S. military in Kuwait and Iraq in January 2006, Obama visited Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. At a meeting with Palestinian students two weeks before Hamas won the legislative election, Obama warned that "the U.S. will never recognize winning Hamas candidates unless the group renounces its fundamental mission to eliminate Israel."[64] He left for his third official trip in August 2006, traveling to South Africa, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Chad. In a nationally televised speech at the University of Nairobi, he spoke forcefully on the influence of ethnic rivalries and corruption in Kenya.[65] The speech touched off a public debate among rival leaders, some formally challenging Obama's remarks as unfair and improper, others defending his positions.[66]

110th Congress

In the first month of the newly Democratic-controlled 110th Congress, Obama worked with Russ Feingold (D–WI) to eliminate gifts of travel on corporate jets by lobbyists to members of Congress and require disclosure of bundled campaign contributions under the "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act", which was signed into law in September 2007.[67] He joined Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in sponsoring S. 453, a bill to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections, including fraudulent flyers and automated phone calls, as witnessed in the 2006 midterm elections.[68] Obama's energy initiatives scored pluses and minuses with environmentalists, who welcomed his sponsorship with John McCain (R-AZ) of a climate change bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds by 2050, but were skeptical of his support for a bill promoting liquefied coal production.[69] Obama also introduced the "Iraq War De-Escalation Act", a bill to cap troop levels in Iraq, begin phased redeployment, and remove all combat brigades from Iraq before April 2008.[70]

Later in 2007, Obama sponsored with Kit Bond (R-MO) an amendment to the 2008 Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality disorder military discharges, and calling for a review by the Government Accountability Office following reports that the procedure had been used inappropriately to reduce government costs.[71] He sponsored the "Iran Sanctions Enabling Act" supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran's oil and gas industry,[72] and joined Chuck Hagel (R-NE) in introducing legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism.[73] A provision from the Obama-Hagel bill was passed by Congress in December 2007 as an amendment to the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill.[73] Obama also sponsored a Senate amendment to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to provide one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat-related injuries.[74] After passing both houses of Congress with bipartisan majorities, SCHIP was vetoed by President Bush in early October 2007, a move Obama said "shows a callousness of priorities that is offensive to the ideals we hold as Americans."[75]

RE: This Sucks...
By tdawg on 2/14/2008 3:39:07 PM , Rating: 2
Wow! Thanks, Retro. I too will be voting for Obama. I don't want someone in the White House who knows how to work the system, I want someone that will work to change the system and work to reuniting this country, no matter what party you belong to.

We may disagree with each other, but hopefully in 2009 we will relearn to respect each others' opinions and work together through cooperation and compromise.

RE: This Sucks...
By retrospooty on 2/14/2008 4:24:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yup... Bush's famous statement "I am a uniter, not a divider" turned out to be the most rediculous in a long stream of awful lies. He has divided this country farther apart then I have seen in my lifetime. Obama really has the ability to work with people and bring them together, using truth and common sense. . We need that more than anything right now.

RE: This Sucks...
By Ringold on 2/14/2008 5:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
I guess liberals are easily impressed. Any one could go to the Senate and rack up a few easy wins; especially soft-ball bullshit like that foreign trip to Eastern Europe, etc. Are you serious in trying to quote that as a win, or did you just want to make a wall of text that looked impressive? I went to Honduras and Mexico a few months ago, does that make me special?

Thanks though for pointing out he was in favor of the amnesty bill. Previously I was rather neutral on him figuring he wasn't Hillary, but anyone that supported that bill and asn't since recanted earns a serious amount of my ire.

The only part of that entire propaganda-filled post even interesting was in the last paragraph/block.

I hate to tell this to you but you can't possibly have a guy with such a short career as a Senator and hope he can compare to almost anyone else in the game. Obama is simply a Rorschach test; he is what ever you want him to be, because he's not done anything definitive.

RE: This Sucks...
By retrospooty on 2/14/2008 6:07:15 PM , Rating: 2
You dont seem to be aware that I just pasted what was on wikipedia about him, that was in response to the commest that he has never done anything. Its not propaganda, it was a direct response to a question, with facts to back it up.

Abnd as for being easily impressed, are you impressed by Bush? To me experiance is far FAR less important than character. Obama is genuine, Hillary and McCain are typical politicrits.

RE: This Sucks...
By Ringold on 2/15/2008 11:40:51 AM , Rating: 2
I never said anything about Bush, the next election isn't about Bush; bait-and-switch liberal debate tactics work not so easily on me, young padawan!

Your post, while copying Wikipedia, clearly the most definitive source of all information ever acquired by man kind, could've restricted itself to true achievements, but instead you opted for the attack-of-the-wall-of-text approach to try to boost his credibility. Wow, lots of stuff, must be credible! By the way, I note a lot of things he has co-sponsored -- you do realize, I'm sure, everyone and their brother can co-sponsor bills. Thats by no means something exclusive. It's almost like listing "He showed up to vote for ___" as an accomplishment.

To me experiance is far FAR less important than character.

Truman was easy to anger. Lincoln had a dark, brooding personality -- often deeply depressed, in fact. All of them were politicians; Lincoln couldn't of emerged from a convention meeting as the dark horse candidate otherwise. Character means little compared to experience as to how the gears actually move and how to get them moving in the direction needed. We elected Kennedy partly on character and if you read a history of the cold war around that period you'll see how pathetic his leadership was. He had no respect from the Soviet's because of diplomatic flops, he had no understanding of Vietnam and took a middle path from his advisors (half hawk, half dove, leading him to put in ever increasing numbers of troops). Lincoln Go ahead though, ignore history. Lincoln had experience at the federal level for 14 years before ascending, F.D. Roosevelt was a governor, Truman a senator and a mayor, Reagan a governor. All the great presidents with ample experience, Lincoln probably having the least among them. And yet, you expect that to somehow not be statistically important.

RE: This Sucks...
By retrospooty on 2/15/2008 12:05:14 PM , Rating: 2
Again, my posting wiki data was in resonse to a direct question "what has Obama done". That was a few things he did as a first term senator, he has alot more good things as a state senator and comuunity leader. What of it? He stands behind his record, even though it may be short to you. We are very idealogicly different... I guess that is pretty much true for America in general. You would prefer business as usual, if so, then please do vote for McCain. You will get your business as usual. Continue wasting time, and money in Iraq, and Washington will grind on as it has been for decades.

I far prefer an intelligent leader with values and not too much Washington experience (Obama) than a long time Washingtion insider with experience... McCain is well experienced in the machine and will continue to screw us all and pull the wool over YOUR eyes with his vast experience (and Hillary would too). He may make some rookie mistakes, but that is better than the deleiberate dsmantling of our economy, and society like we have had in the past 7 years of republican rule.

RE: This Sucks...
By straycat74 on 2/14/2008 1:52:53 PM , Rating: 2
And his accomplishments are? His campaign doesn't run on a particular policy. Change? That's what gets everyone excited? What does that mean? Less is more I guess. But he might win. He has the black vote and the white-guilt vote. I just don't know which group is larger.

RE: This Sucks...
By retrospooty on 2/14/2008 2:16:11 PM , Rating: 2
You completley miss what he is all about. He is winning the popular vote among democrats and gaining support rapidly. People beleive in him because he is genuine. My post above lists some of his accomplishments, and as for specifics... He has given them, and continues to. You, listening to McCain say he is not giving specifics just means you are listening to McCain and have not seen Obama speak, at least not much.

Here are a few specifics he has stated he will implement as president.

1. Remove the tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% that Bush put in and cut taxes for those that make less than 75,000 per year.

2. Remove tax breaks for corporations that close facilities in the US and outsource overseas, and give tax breaks to those that stay.

3. Gradually remove our troops from Iraq and let the Iraqi govt. take over the police action in their own country... This is to save the billions we waste there heach month, and free up our military to go after the real threat, which is Al Qaeda and other terrorists.

There are others, too numerous to mention. The man is extremely intelligent, and has a ton of great ideas, and the humility to know when to ask for help, adn admit it if he is wrong. I encourage you to at least hear several of his speaches in full, before you make up your mind and automatically assume things that the opposition are true, just because they say it... This IS politics and candisates DO tend to lie to get elected.

RE: This Sucks...
By Ringold on 2/14/2008 5:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
I encourage you to at least hear several of his speaches in full

Of course you would. You know full well his voice is a political weapon of mass destruction.

Instead I would suggest one visit his website. I just looked over his "Economy" issue portion. Most of its vapid, a lot of it common with Hillary and some of it common across both parties, some of it is outright dangerous, though I will point out that the "Improve Transition Assistance" portion is good and long overdue. We needed that 30 years ago.

I have listened to some of his speeches though, and they're of little value depending on the audience. Much better to skip the BS, remove emotion, and visit the website and compare and contrast on the issues -- not how good someone sounds or how good they look.

RE: This Sucks...
By retrospooty on 2/14/2008 6:17:31 PM , Rating: 2
Its not that he is just a good speaker, he is the one that can make it happen. You may not see it, you may not beleive it, you may even fear it, but I do beleive he will be your next prez, so get used to it. The republicans have messed up so incredibly badly in the past 7 years controlling the presidency, house and senate for 6 of those years, there is nothing that can save this race. The country is fed up. McCain has little to no chance to win this. The fact that the reps have even put McCain in front, the most liberal rep of them all says alot about how fed up even moderate republicans are at the far right . He doesn't have a chance, Obama will gain more and more support the more time that passes and the more he is seen and heard.

RE: This Sucks...
By Ringold on 2/15/2008 11:26:14 AM , Rating: 2
"he will be your next president, so get used to it"

Thanks, that was so convincing. I don't fear it, for the record. Thanks for putting words in my mouth. I fully understand the course nations and civilizations take over the course of time; from the bondage to liberty and democracy, to prosperity and strength, to socialism and decay, right back to bondage. People like Hillary and Obama are inevitable; I simply vote to try to delay the process.

alot about how fed up even moderate republicans are at the far right .

Here I was looking at the polls thinking how it proves that when you split the base (Romney and Huckabee) you can't be certain of the outcome! It probably makes more sense in your mind though to think Republican's actually are fed up with their party and thus chose McCain due to that. Whatever maintains your internal harmony, though.

He doesn't have a chance

That's propaganda, but possibly correct -- if he runs a traditional campaign. If he brings aboard Lierberman (you know, that former Democrat who was too moderate, leading your party to attempt a political execution) as his VP he'd have a strong ticket, and if he campaigns on the idea of effective change by a man with a lifetime of experience then he does have a chance. You can not deny that polls make the two highly competitive with each other -- and against Hillary, he soundly defeats her. You can however choose not to accept such facts, which is your right.

RE: This Sucks...
By retrospooty on 2/15/2008 12:14:52 PM , Rating: 2
Well, you can say a whole lot of reasons the reps will win, and I can counter a whole lot too, neither really matters until Nov 4th, then we will know, and deal with it. Not much point continuing this debate. Its not like you would vote for Obama, nor would I change my vote to McCain.

I will say this... Of all the reps, McCain is by far my favorite, In fact, I like everything he has said, except for the 100 year war thing, and I would think, that of all the dems, Obama would be the favorite of many reps. As long as we don't screw up and put Hillary up there, I am happy. I think Obama has what it takes to not only be a respectable, responsible president, but to lead us into a new age of political, economical, social, and defensive prosperity. McCain these days is embracing the far right, which he had previously fought all his career, which shows me he is more interested in catering to the party line, than being himself.

RE: This Sucks...
By MisterChristopher on 2/17/2008 2:52:56 PM , Rating: 1
This entire disgussion has nothing to do with the federal government warrantlessly wiretaping the phone calls of whoever they deem potential terrorists.

Besides, you are still arguing between a shit sandwhich and a giant douche. Neither McCain nor Obama has engaged in any active disgussion on the reduction or the limitation of the size and scope of the federal government. Instead they talk about how to redirect funds from one type of government spending to another.

This is why Ron Paul is important. You can be guaranteed that he would not vote for any potential increase in the federal government's ability to intrude in peoples personal business; through wiretapping or otherwise.

RE: This Sucks...
By Alexstarfire on 2/14/2008 12:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
This is why I don't vote. It's not that I'm lazy or don't care. It's that each candidate has something completely retarded that prevents me from supporting them.

RE: This Sucks...
By MrBungle123 on 2/14/2008 10:53:50 AM , Rating: 2
I move that the previous post be added to any universal healthcare plan proposed by any politician running in the 08 elections.

RE: This Sucks...
By Polynikes on 2/14/2008 12:26:43 PM , Rating: 2
Here's hoping the House will swat this down.

RE: This Sucks...
By encryptkeeper on 2/14/2008 2:13:20 PM , Rating: 2
If the terrorists hate our freedoms, why are we throwing them away to protect ourselves from the terrorists who want to get rid of them? In that sense the terrorists seem to be winning.

By the term "terrorists" I'm guessing you mean Islamic extremists. Honestly, they could probably care less what freedoms we give our citizens here. The biggest thing that they hate is the US's constant bungling of foreign policy, which often manifests itself as the US backing of Israel or countries that oppress Muslims like Russia or India. There are other things too, you can read about them here:
But saying "They hate our freedom" is pretty stupid. Only someone driven to the point of insanity would attack someone because of freedoms they are allowed to enjoy. Take Iraq for example. The whole country is and was pretty secular, even in Saddam's time. The whole reason extremists are willing to martyr themselves is because for several reasons (especially those laid out in the article) they feel their way of life is being threatened. That could make any sane person do some pretty terrible things.

RE: This Sucks...
By Gravemind123 on 2/14/2008 2:58:13 PM , Rating: 2
That last paragraph I typed was supposed to come off as sort of like sarcasm, it was the bullcrap that we were told about how they hate our freedoms and now the same people are taking away those freedoms to protect us from terrorists who would do the same. That was more the point I was trying to make with that.

I know about the things we've done in the Middle East, and it is not surprise they hate us, if I lived there and in that environment, I would probably hate the US too. We've definitely caused more harm then good there in the name of fighting Communists during the Cold War or for oil.

Big Brother is watching
By sh3rules on 2/14/2008 10:32:54 AM , Rating: 2
What a shame. Time to think about the Founding Fathers (as imperfect as they were).

RE: Big Brother is watching
By mdogs444 on 2/14/08, Rating: 0
RE: Big Brother is watching
By diablofish on 2/14/2008 10:57:53 AM , Rating: 2
They did forsee that a government, including the one they created, could be less than perfect. And a government's attempt to erode the people's right to due process is certainly a violation of the people's rights. The Founder's would be against granting the government this power.

Just out of curiosity, do you see the irony in having no concern over your due process rights being eroded yet (from reading other posts in other threads from you) you have the utmost concern for how many HP your car has? Isn't the HP of your car a far more trivial thing than your right to due process? In my humble opinion, it certainly is!

RE: Big Brother is watching
By mdogs444 on 2/14/08, Rating: 0
RE: Big Brother is watching
By diablofish on 2/14/2008 11:15:59 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Big Brother is watching
By Ringold on 2/14/2008 11:24:53 AM , Rating: 2
So then, intelligence analysts could suspect an attack is close at hand, and someone in America gets a call from a known terrorist or suspected terrorist overseas to one at home. You find it unbelievable that some people would rather intelligence agencies be able to tap that line and garner information about a possible attack, funding, membership, etc?

I'm not even big on cars, not my interest, but I too would be more concerned about horsepower than if some Islamic radical feels as though he wasn't given due process.

RE: Big Brother is watching
By tdawg on 2/14/2008 11:34:32 AM , Rating: 3
When you're picked up by the government by mistake, you'll be screaming for due process.

RE: Big Brother is watching
By Alexstarfire on 2/14/2008 12:35:25 PM , Rating: 2

It's very simple to understand that this would work in principal, but I think many people are failing to see that it's IMPOSSIBLE to monitor the correct people 100% of the time. I mean, no one is going to argue that it's a bad idea to catch terrorists in the US contacting Bin Laden or Al Qiada. No one wants that stuff happening.

RE: Big Brother is watching
By Noya on 2/14/2008 1:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I'm from Portland OR, and a local lawyer was detained a few years back.

RE: Big Brother is watching
By encryptkeeper on 2/14/2008 3:31:58 PM , Rating: 2
On September 26, 2007, two provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act were declared unconstitutional. Finding in Mayfield's favor, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended by the Patriot Act, "now permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment," which violates the Constitution of the United States.[5]

This is from your article. Does this mean that if this bill passes the house, it will go back to the Supreme Court for approval?

RE: Big Brother is watching
By FITCamaro on 2/14/2008 1:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
I had my apartment raided by the government in college. I still support this. I'd rather be inconvenienced for a few hours and the government be able to get the intel it needs to keep us safe, then not.

RE: Big Brother is watching
By Noya on 2/14/2008 1:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
I still support this. I'd rather be inconvenienced for a few hours and the government be able to get the intel it needs

What if you were inconvenienced for six weeks? What if you were beat, kept awake for days at a time, waterboarded and had your nuts hooked up to a car battery?

Would you still support it?

Would you still say "Gotta keep us safe...everyone makes mistakes"?

RE: Big Brother is watching
By encryptkeeper on 2/14/2008 2:47:49 PM , Rating: 2
You can't convince them otherwise Noya. Check some of my other posts from this thread, I don't want to repeat myself. But the truth is the ends don't justify the means. Sometimes, you can even do things the "right way" and things still wind up like crap. That's life people. It's gonna suck sometimes. The question is, how would you feel afterward?

Think about it, how would you feel if your phone lines were tapped, your movements on city streets monitored by video cameras, your parents taken to be waterboarded, your friends threatened with dogs to spill information on their activities, your children taken away and photographed in a military prison mocking despicable acts, but woke up on September the 11th 2001 to a newscast that said "Terrorist plot to destroy 4 major buildings with airplanes thwarted by previously illegal interrogation techniques"?

And even further from THAT, say they went that far and stopped an attack thanks to their new "techniques". You don't even want to imagine how much worse their "techniques" would get after that.

RE: Big Brother is watching
By tdawg on 2/14/2008 11:32:43 AM , Rating: 2
A little off topic, but speaking of Miss Cleo, one of my friends was a youth basketball coach in South Seattle for a group of third graders. They got on the topic of Miss Cleo or they were around a tv and saw her ad and one of the third graders pointed out that Miss Cleo was actually a third or fourth grade teacher at their school. Kinda scary. :)

RE: Big Brother is watching
By pauldovi on 2/14/2008 1:32:40 PM , Rating: 2
You are what is called a neo-conservative. A war-mongering liberal of sorts.

RE: Big Brother is watching
By sweetsauce on 2/14/2008 10:42:05 AM , Rating: 2
That was the brilliance of our founding fathers. They had true wisdom and foresight. They knew they were imperfect human beings who needed to be kept in check for everyone's sake, despite it being a hinderance to how they governed.

RE: Big Brother is watching
By Ringold on 2/14/2008 11:35:08 AM , Rating: 2
Most things the government does today, including Social Security and the federal income tax, would make the founding fathers mess their collective pants. We would probably look, to them, no better than monarchy; year by year increasingly centralized power at the federal level that is so deeply entrenched nothing short of civil war could possibly bring it all back to the local levels.

That said, on another note, America has a long history of, during a time of existential crisis, completely ignoring for large periods of time parts of the constitution that make the maintenance and protection of the nation more difficult. Lincoln and Roosevelt are poster-boys for presidents who became practical dictators, much more so than Bush, who then later released that power. More accurately, both happened to die while in office, and their successors and the Supreme Court slowly rolled back those things that did violence to the constitution as the crisis passed. It would be fair to say the constitution was meaningless from 1860 to 1877 and for the duration of WW2 and parts of the Cold War.

Now here we are in a new conflict with new problems where our enemies use radically different vectors of attack and some people are shocked a President dare take action, like so many previous presidents did before him, to protect the nation even if it crosses some possible constitutional lines? Historical literacy would do some people a lot of good. Two good books, one on Lincoln and one on Roosevelt, would do the trick.

RE: Big Brother is watching
By straycat74 on 2/14/2008 2:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
It is nice that someone actually tries to put things in perspective.

RE: Big Brother is watching
By Rhaido on 2/14/2008 2:17:02 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget Wilson. The WIB, Blue Eagle, and so forth covered well in Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg.

By pauldovi on 2/14/2008 12:36:23 PM , Rating: 2
What happened to Republicans. They used to be for people's rights and big on reducing government. Now they are no different from the democrats, sure their may beat to a different drum, but they are all marching in the same direction.

RE: Republicans....
By barjebus on 2/14/2008 1:14:38 PM , Rating: 2
Irving Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Project for the New American Century happened, and brought Neo-Conservatism into power in America.

RE: Republicans....
By pauldovi on 2/14/2008 1:22:21 PM , Rating: 2
Its a damn shame they are shunning the libertarian base of the party. The GOP is getting smaller and smaller, and it is no surprise why. People tend to lean libertarian (about 40% of Americans have libertarian views) but they go Democrat. They see no alternative.

Nothing peeps me more than to hear someone think that this crap (in the article) is what makes a conservative. This is definitely not conservatism.

RE: Republicans....
By Noya on 2/14/2008 2:16:01 PM , Rating: 1
A letter from 1998 from Bush's cronies attempting to get Clinton to remove Saddam. WTF is wrong with you Bush supporters? His crew has had all these crazy plans since the inception of PNAC, with plenty of info open for all eyes on their website. I guess I'm a tin hat nut because I don't believe the 9/11 official story. Without 9/11 and public paranoia of the mid-east, we would have NEVER invaded Iraq.

RE: Republicans....
By Ringold on 2/14/2008 6:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
If you Bush-haters are so awesome, why did so many Democrats not see it at the time when they voted to authorize what they knew would be the ultimate invasion of Iraq? Go ahead, listen to some of the old tapes of Hillary supporting the authorization.

The difference between "Bush supporters" (apparently any one who is against immediate withdrawal?) and Democrats is that we've moved on and aren't fighting that battle any more. Everybody was wrong to listen to Bush in retrospect. The issue is what to do moving forward based not on what happened last year or last week, but what the situation is today on the ground, what is best for the long term interests of America and what makes the most sense from a humanitarian perspective, not to mention a consideration for what the Iraq government wants -- which last I heard they recently requested we stay at least one more year, because they know they'd probably collapse otherwise.

RE: Republicans....
By pauldovi on 2/14/2008 7:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
Just because we are "Bush haters" doesn't mean we are "Hillary Lovers" or democrats. I dislike both! I don't think we should be in Iraq, but that doesn't mean I agree with Hillary or the Democrats on why.

You must realize there is more to politics than Democrats and Republicans.

I am a libertarian (not the party) who use to make up the Republican base. Now the Republican base is war mongering, tax hiking, fed bloating neocons.

RE: Republicans....
By Ringold on 2/15/2008 11:14:55 AM , Rating: 1
Thanks for stating the obvious on politics.

Now the Republican base is war mongering, tax hiking, fed bloating neocons.

War mongering? McCain says he wants to pursue Osama to the gates of hell. Sounds reasonable to me. A majority of American's believe Iran poses some type of threat; so do Republicans. The entire world knows Iran is developing nuclear weapons, the disagreement is merely how far along they are, what number of single-digit years before they have a weapon. That's not war mongering, that's facing the facts of life.

Tax hiking? Hello? Are you from Earth? Are you thinking about the Civil War era Republicans, who were then the northern liberals? In case you need to be brought up to date, it is the Democrats who promise tax hikes and Republican's who desire to hold the line. It's the Democrats promising to extort corporations for ever larger sums of money.

Fed-bloating? Since you stated you were refering to the Republican party base, you'd be wrong. Republican's approval rating of Bush among Republican's isn't pretty, especially on this issue.

Given the huge degree by which you were off on taxes and the base, I'd say you've got no idea what you're talking about, don't know what the base really is, and have unfortunately been drinking too much Democrat kool-aid. I'd rethink that "libertarian" moniker. Goldwater simply could not exist in the Democrat party today.

RE: Republicans....
By retrospooty on 2/15/2008 11:29:25 AM , Rating: 3
"War mongering? McCain says he wants to pursue Osama to the gates of hell."

This is a comment I can stand by... The issue is HE IS NOT AND NEVER WAS IN IRAQ. He left Afganistan and went into Pakistan. If Bush meant anything at all when he said "either you are with us or against us" he would demand that we are allowed to go into Pakistan to get that mofo. Instead, he ignored Osama, and AL Qaeda and went into Iraq.

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Now McCain says we have to stay in Iraq? Yes, War mongering is the correct term.

RE: Republicans....
By DRMichael on 2/15/2008 12:11:51 AM , Rating: 2
We do not know why Saddam Hussein chose not to use these weapons
against the Coalition troops in the Gulf War that resulted from his
invasion and occupation of Kuwait. We do know that he had them in his
inventory, and the means of delivering them. We do know that his
chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons development programs were
proceeding with his active support.
We have evidence, collected by the United Nations's inspectors during
those inspections that Saddam Hussein has permitted them to make, that
despite his pledges at the conclusion of the war that no further work
would be done in these weapons of mass destruction programs, and that
all prior work and weapons that resulted from it would be destroyed,
this work has continued illegally and covertly.
And, Mr. President, we have every reason to believe that Saddam
Hussein will continue to do everything in his power to further develop
weapons of mass destruction and the ability to deliver those weapons,
and that he will use those weapons without concern or pangs of
conscience if ever and whenever his own calculations persuade him it is
in his interests to do so.
Saddam Hussein has not limited his unspeakable actions to use of
weapons of mass destruction. He and his loyalists have proven
themselves quite comfortable with old fashioned instruments and
techniques of torture--both physical and psychological. During the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Kuwaiti women were systematically raped and
otherwise assaulted. The accounts of the torture chambers in his
permanent and makeshift prisons and detention facilities are gruesome
by any measure.
Mr. President, Saddam Hussein's actions in terrorizing his own people
and in using horrible weapons and means of torture against those who
oppose him, be they his own countrymen and women or citizens of other
nations, collectively comprise the definition of crimes against
I have spoken before this chamber on several occasions to state my
belief that the United States must take every feasible step to lead the
world to remove this unacceptable threat. He must be deprived of the
ability to injure his own citizens without regard to internationally-
recognized standards of behavior and law. He must be deprived of his
ability to invade neighboring nations. He must be deprived of his
ability to visit destruction on other nations in the Middle East region
or beyond. If he does not live up fully to the new commitments that
U.N. Secretary-General Annan recently obtained in order to end the
weapons inspection standoff--and I will say clearly that I cannot
conceive that he will not violate those commitments at some point--we
must act decisively to end the threats that Saddam Hussein poses.
But the vote this morning was about a different albeit related matter
today. It was about initiating a process of bringing the world's
opprobrium to bear on this reprehensible criminal--to officially
designate Saddam Hussein as that which we know him to be.
We are realists, Mr. President. Even if this process leads as we
believe it will to the conviction of Saddam Hussein under international
law, our ability to carry out any resulting sentence may be constrained
as long as he remains in power in Baghdad. But Saddam Hussein will not
remain in power in Baghdad forever. Eventually, if we
persist out of dedication to the cause that we must never permit anyone
one who treats other human beings the way he has treated tens of
thousands of human beings to escape justice, we will bring Saddam
Hussein to justice. And in the meantime, his conviction on these
charges may prove of benefit to our efforts to isolate him and his
government, and to rally the support of other nations around the world
to the effort to remove him from power.

Senator John Kerry

RE: Republicans....
By DRMichael on 2/16/2008 7:13:14 PM , Rating: 3
Link had moved.

[Congressional Record: March 13, 1998 (Senate)]
[Page S1907-S1913]

RE: Republicans....
By Ringold on 2/14/2008 6:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
Watch Newt Gingrich speach at CPAC:

He knows it. The rank and file knows it.

However, also look at my post putting this all in historical context. Republican's, having taken on the mantle of the pro-defense party, are simply doing what they see as necessary to fight the current conflict, which is exactly what Lincoln did when he'd have a dissenting newspaper's printing presses dumped in the nearest river and what Roosevelt did when he knowingly lied while campaigning for re-election; he later told his son he knew he'd be at war soon but promised the American people that no American boy would die on foreign soil because if he didn't get elected then America wouldn't be prepared when the storm came and if he was truthful he would lose because he'd appear to be a warmonger. Some one else also brought up Wilson, but it's simply a well established historical fact that when it hits the fan in America the constitution has come second to getting the job done.

The primary difference between 1860 and 2008 is that now we all know about it. Unfortunately, in 1860, even when it was obvious to everybody the enemy was clear and easily identified; the battlefield was just down the street. Today the threat is in the shadows; they're not conveniently wearing uniforms.

If you strip away this one sticking point and look at core Republican values and remember Bush isn't representative of the whole, the difference still couldn't be any more stark when compared to Democrat ones. If anything, they've become more stark over the last 20 years, as the Democrats have lurched further left. The party still praises Reagan and Goldwater for a reason. If you look at Goldwater's positions.. that's pretty significant.

Who 'leads' the Senate
By helloseth on 2/14/2008 10:49:38 AM , Rating: 4
I'm sorry, we're told that the House is Democrat led, but who leads the Senate? Must have slipped you mind.

RE: Who 'leads' the Senate
By mdogs444 on 2/14/2008 10:58:07 AM , Rating: 1
but who leads the Senate

Dingy Reid....

And technically, its Congress as a whole, not just the senate. So in that case, its also Pelosi...

RE: Who 'leads' the Senate
By helloseth on 2/14/2008 11:02:37 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't "Dingy Reid" a Democrat?

Don't the Democrats 'run' the Senate?

RE: Who 'leads' the Senate
By mdogs444 on 2/14/2008 11:04:20 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't "Dingy Reid" a Democrat?

Don't the Democrats 'run' the Senate?

Yes, as well as the House (Nancy Pelosi).

RE: Who 'leads' the Senate
By helloseth on 2/14/2008 11:07:23 AM , Rating: 2

So it's not just the evil Republicans...

RE: Who 'leads' the Senate
By mdogs444 on 2/14/2008 11:09:33 AM , Rating: 2
So it's not just the evil Republicans...

But that wouldn't make for a good story in the liberal media, now would it?

RE: Who 'leads' the Senate
By straycat74 on 2/14/2008 2:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
The liberal media never lets the facts get in the way.

RE: Who 'leads' the Senate
By saiga6360 on 2/14/2008 3:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Probably because George W. Bush has all the facts.

It's a vicious cycle.

By uhgotnegum on 2/14/2008 11:32:47 AM , Rating: 2
To the people who are posting comments and HAVE read the bill, this really doesn't apply to you, but I doubt that holds true for many here (maybe my ignorant assumption of the day).

To everyone else...Please try very hard to think whether your opinion is based on your first-hand research (i.e., primary sources), on party positions, on the news, or based on discussions among people who just don't know. This has been my mantra since first posting here earlier this month. Everyone has an opinion, me included, but it bothers me that so many have posted on this article so quickly and make overgeneralized statements about this bill.

I mean really, we're talking about over 100 pages of text here. News and other media don't have time, or more appropriately their viewers don't have the patience/interest, to really hear the details of this legislation. So, they generalize. Then we seem to draw generalized opinions about the generalized summaries. What makes some of you think that this bill is just flushing our freedoms down the toilet? Where are you getting the support for that argument? You might be right, but I can't think that our Congress would pass legislation that "flushes our rights down the toilet." Sure, Congress may not have the best reputation, but they are American citizens too, and in their defense THEY take more of an interest in the everyday workings of OUR democracy than almost anyone who visits this website.

So, I don't know what this bill will or will not do, but I ask everyone to take some stock in how you are drawing your opinions and urge you to think beyond your party's position, beyond the generalized reporting you hear on CNN before they switch to the latest B. Spears sighting, and if you really think your rights are being trampled, go to the source and educate yourself for your own benefit. That, above all other things, will make discussions on this forum and in our daily lives richer and more relevant.

Here are a couple links I quickly found that should allow you to draw some real conclusions...Thanks, and the soapbox now has a vacancy ;)

link to the bill

pdf of it (don't know if amendments incorporated or not)

By uhgotnegum on 2/14/2008 11:44:37 AM , Rating: 6
First link expired, I guess... I think this one will last.

Bill is S.2248 if this link fails me.

By mcmilljb on 2/14/2008 6:46:43 PM , Rating: 2
Actually reading the bill by itself is worthless. It's a bill with amendments to the original FISA of 1978. They just describe what the changes will be added to the USA's code of laws, it's exactly what states do. You have to look the original act and all amendments after it, or you have look at the USA's code of laws to see what will be changed according to the bill. It's very important to look at the code of laws because it reflects all changes in effect. Without it, you will be left wondering what the other sections are stating.

As a side note, even if the bill(amendments) fails, we still have the original bill(from 1978) and all amendments that are permanent, or unexpired, in place. George Bush refused to state that to the public today when asked what would happen if the bill expired. Sadly, he and a select few in Congress continue to use scare tactics to get this bill passed.

Cry me a river.
By DEVGRU on 2/14/2008 11:04:11 AM , Rating: 1
Oh, yes, lets roll out the tin foil hats.


So now they can 'officially' do unauthorized wiretaps. Your all clueless lemmings if you think for ONE second that the government hasn't at will tapped anyone's phone it pleased since the 40's at the latest.

Your all shocked and shaken that the government might, possibly, do this to YOU. ZOMG!

What narcissists.

Like the NSA et. al. having nothing better to do, and all the money and manpower in the world to waste on 24-hour surveillance on joe blow citizen. Please. LMAO.

RE: Cry me a river.
By mdogs444 on 2/14/2008 11:08:06 AM , Rating: 1
Finally - sense of reason.


RE: Cry me a river.
By DigitalFreak on 2/14/2008 11:17:52 AM , Rating: 2
You are the next to be taken.

RE: Cry me a river.
By mdogs444 on 2/14/2008 12:59:49 PM , Rating: 1
Another tin foil hatter....i highly doubt your analog tv antenna is going to come get me.

RE: Cry me a river.
By DigitalFreak on 2/14/2008 11:15:34 AM , Rating: 2
You are on our list. We are coming for you soon.

Michael Hayden

RE: Cry me a river.
By diablofish on 2/14/08, Rating: 0
Am I misunderstanding?
By clovell on 2/14/2008 11:33:05 AM , Rating: 2
If the program is legal as long as it is under the supervision of FISA, and, even though it wasn't under FISA supervision for 6 years, it is under the supervision of FISA now.

So let's see, we have a major premise and a minor premise, and a oh yeah - ergo the program is now legal (conclusion).

That's not to diminish any responsibility for those six years, but calling it warrantless surveillance as if it's a criminal act right now seems misleading. Or am I misunderstanding?

RE: Am I misunderstanding?
By barjebus on 2/14/2008 12:30:13 PM , Rating: 2
Your argument makes absolutely no sense. Take this example:

I'm some random FBI agent. I have a suspicion that grandma and grandpa down the street are funnelings guns and money for XYZ terrorist organization (or lets call it Al-Qaeda since that simplifies it in the public mind, because this is, of course, people fighting for their homeland against a foreign invader doesn't give the right impression).

Now, since I'm a completely reckless person and have no respect for the law, the constitution, or the principles my country was founded upon, I decide to wiretap their phones, have them watched, break into their house and install spyware on their computer to get all their passwords and email's), all without warrants or any oversight _whatsoever_.

Fast forward 6 years later. After I've broken the law in so many ways without any oversight, judicial inquiry, or due process, someone finds out about it. Oh damn! Guess FBI guy is out of a job....but instead of him being put in jail, the government says, wellll, you were just trying to protect the public, so it's cool, you can keep doing all that stuff, but we'll check in on you every so often, and get rid of the laws that would have gotten you fired and jailed before.

Regardless of whether grandma and grandpa are guilty, the guy in this story is completely in the wrong, breaking the law without knowing in the future that these laws would be repealed.

RE: Am I misunderstanding?
By clovell on 2/14/2008 2:07:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, my arguement does make sense, and it's pretty astonishing that it could be misconstrued as not doing so. All I showed was that such actions are presently legal.

I explicitly did not speak to what happened in the six years when its legality was not as established.

It's an important distinction to make.

I just love..
By rninneman on 2/14/2008 12:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
I just love how the left wants to give foreign terror suspects American due process. Since when are foreign nationals protected by the constitution? They're not. If this program was started on Bill Clinton's watch, almost nobody by far left groups like the ACLU would've cared. Despite the fact that it has been repeatedly stated that the program only involved foreign phone calls, the liberals will do anything to fight the Bush administration.

For all you skeptics, the reason we can be certain the government is not monitoring all of our phone cals is technology. It is technologically impossible to monitor and process all voice traffic in the US. Monitoring even 1% would prove to be nearly impossible. So that means the government would have to be singling people out to be monitored for a reason. If you are not a terrorist or a criminal in general and you think they are monitoring you, I hear tin-foil hats work well.

RE: I just love..
By barjebus on 2/14/2008 12:19:09 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point completely. We're not afraid of them monitoring everyone's communications; rather, we're concerned that there is absolutely NO due process in what Bush set up. There is no oversight, no accountability, no balances and checks.

Now please remind me...whats it called again when the government doesn't answer to the people, the people answer to the government? The government exists FOR the people. I'm sure the vast majority of American's do not feel that this level of surveillance is necessary.

RE: I just love..
By rninneman on 2/14/2008 3:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
No, I'm not missing the point. I have no interest in giving foreigners due process, whether they be terrorists or illegal aliens. The constitution does not apply to them. Therefore, they are not protected against illegal search and seizure.

Like I said before, this is just a left wing tactic to subvert the Bush administration's strategy on terror. So if this program needs oversight and accountability, why doesn't every other clandestine program the government runs need oversight and accountability? Let's just get everything the CIA, FBI, NSA, NRO, and DoD do out in the open for everyone including our enemies to see.

Last time I checked, our government still listens when the general public gets pissed off. If you don't believe me, read up on the illegal alien amnesty bill last spring.

RE: I just love..
By Ringold on 2/14/08, Rating: 0
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 2/14/2008 10:28:26 AM , Rating: 3
"This call may be monitored for quality or training purposes."
That seems to give every business the permission to record conversations, whether you object to it or not.

Due Process Served
By DRMichael on 2/14/2008 10:56:52 PM , Rating: 3
Again, this law is aimed specifically at persons outside the U.S. contacting persons inside the U.S. Remember, the constitution does not apply to non-U.S. citizens outside of the U.S. Therefore any intelligence gathered from the foreign side of the conversation would not be under the scrutiny of the U.S. Constitution. However, the bill takes the extra step to preserve the privacy implied by the Constitution for the recipient as well as the foreign provider of the communication in Section 703 subsection (b), paragraph (3): “shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the fourth amendment to the Constitution of the United States.” In fact the bill that went before the Senate stipulates that a U.S. citizen outside the U.S. may not be intentionally targeted without adhering to the 4th Amendment.

`(2) ACQUISITION OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES OF UNITED STATES PERSONS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES- An acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device outside the United States may not intentionally target a United States person reasonably believed to be outside the United States to acquire the contents of a wire or radio communication sent by or intended to be received by that United States person under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes if the technique were used inside the United States unless--
`(A) the Attorney General or the Attorney General's designee submits an application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that includes a statement of the facts and circumstances relied upon by the applicant to justify the Attorney General's belief that the target of the acquisition is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; and
`(B) the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court--
`(i) finds on the basis of the facts submitted by the applicant there is probable cause to believe that the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; and
`(ii) issues an ex parte order as requested or as modified approving the targeting of that United States person.

By mcmilljb on 2/14/2008 12:32:22 PM , Rating: 2
The problem I see is that they do not want to talk about the bill. They just want it passed. We are talking about the Fourth Amendment being violated because it clearly states "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." Now if they want to get around this they need to make it reasonable . If Congress thinks they really need this, then they need to explain when will this be used. They are clearly unwilling to to provide details about this. I am not dumb in thinking they are tapping everyone. That clearly would be a waste of time. However, I do think they should be willing fess up about what "incidents" will initiate one, and they should quit this "24" type incident where it's gotta be done now. It's just sad they have ot use scare tactics to pass laws instead of debate and discussion.

Trying to take the long view.
By CannedWeasel on 2/14/2008 12:44:19 PM , Rating: 2
My politics lean way closer to libertarian than anything else, so I've been thinking about how I feel about this. I don't like the thought of my personal liberty being trampled any more than anyone else does, although I'm not afraid of anything being found about me from my phone conversations that would lead the government to label me a subversive(I am, however, an asshole; sometimes when I'm on the phone with a friend we'll throw out keywords of the sort that the NSA looks for to screw with them).

On the one hand I think telecoms should have the ability to hand over whatever sort of information they want, if they want to aid their government as sort of a patriotic thing, but, at the same time passing a law to make them immune from lawsuits stemming from such is heinous.As far as domestic unsanctioned wiretaps go, I was under the impression(and please, correct me if I'm wrong) that you enter into an agreement with your telecom that your information is private, accessible by only yourself and them, and if they break that then they most certainly are liable for it.

I'm not entirely sure where I'm at on the issue yet, I guess I'll keep reading and try to form the best opinion I can.

Smoking Bans are worse
By rhog on 2/14/2008 12:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
Seeing as the calls needed to start for outside the US in order to be tapped this does not bother me as much (although it does bother me) as the Smoking bans that seek to dictate what we can do in our own homes, apartments and cars. Or the dems attempt in Missouri to not allow fat people to be served in resturants or the Dems deciding that a certain food ie. trans fats in NY must be banned. Or the dems in california deciding what temperature you home can be. Just as soon as we have Universal Healthcare they will tell us how to eat, how to sleep and what we can do for recreation. Pay attention people the Wiretapping is far less an issue than these so call bans for our Health. Why did they not simply ban smoking altogether, because they want to dicatate what you do in you home or what you neighbor can do in his. Private telephone calls and Private Property are just that Private the govenment needs to stay out of all of it!

Slippery slope
By JakLee on 2/14/2008 1:10:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's really a shame that people do look at this as such a black and white affair. On the one hand I would like the government to be able to use any and all resources available in their hunt to find terrorists & stop any plots that target the USA and our allies.
On the other hand I do not want to see even 1 innocent person unfairly targeted by a program like this.

In a perfect world we could have both. Ours is far from perfect though and so this becomes a slippery slope of self delusion. If we support the government in its quest to "protect" us we will quickly lose our freedom. It’s much easier to protect a child from the dangers of the world if we just lock them up & only allow them to do things we verify are "safe".
If we support those who advocate pure "freedom" then we are at the mercy of goodwill. It would be nice to live in society where I could trust my fellow man to respect me & my possessions; where trust was absolute.

However I live in the real world. Guess what? So do you. People out there will happily kill you for what you have. Governments will do you wrong to increase their own power. Because of the limitation of freedom I believe this to be wrong. Even though I can agree with the need for the surveillance does not mean I agree with the way to accomplish it. Our freedom is based not on our safety from our enemies, but safety from those who have our best interests at heart. I believe too often in recent years that we have tried to legislate morality for the betterment of all; seatbelt laws, smoking laws, emission laws, drug laws, pornography laws. Some restrictions you may think are ok, some good, others not good or even down right wrong. But by forcing other to follow your ideas of what is morally acceptable is never right. The government should be held to the same standard as its citizens.

When these types of "expansions" of government authority at the limitation of person freedom happen, they make it easier to allow further restrictions. It's much easier for people to swallow small, incremental changes to their freedom then it is to try for big sweeping ones.

Ex Post Facto legislation
By Rhaido on 2/14/2008 2:12:10 PM , Rating: 2
The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed."

"Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. ... The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less-informed part of the community." James Madison, Federalist Number 44, 1788.

I know that Article 1, Section 9 was aimed at preventing the Legislative branch from acting as Judiciary.

"The Bill of Attainder Clause was intended not as a narrow, technical (and therefore soon to be outmoded) prohibition, but rather as an implementation of the separation of powers, a general safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function or more simply - trial by legislature." U.S. v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437, 440 (1965).

Even so, when I hear of Congress proposing retroactive or Ex Post Facto legislation, in this case giving AT&T a free pass, I cannot help but feel contempt for my government.

"But the government did not act—and is not acting—alone. EFF’s case includes undisputed evidence that AT&T installed a fiberoptic splitter at its facility at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco that made copies of all emails, web browsing and other internet traffic to and from AT&T customers, and provided those copies to the NSA. This copying includes both domestic and international Internet activities of AT&T Worldnet customers. EFF is suing to stop this illegal conduct and hold AT&T responsible for violating the law and the fundamental freedoms of the American public."


The truth?
By encryptkeeper on 2/14/2008 3:30:50 PM , Rating: 2
Facing mounting political pressure from the Executive Branch, a largely Republican backed coalition in the U.S. Senate formulated and passed a "spy bill" which would grant the telecoms who cooperated with warrantless snooping programs retroactive immunity from lawsuits.

Retroactive immunity? Wouldn't that be illegal like trying to enforce a law retroactively?

One way or another this is obviously big business using it's lobbying power to try to get itself out of a mess with it's customers.

By SlyNine on 2/15/2008 11:31:22 PM , Rating: 2
Who's going to save us from the goverment when they become the terrorists...

I thought the whole point of our freedoms was to make sure we dont become a under rule of thumb.

There's a saying
By BruceLeet on 2/14/2008 1:36:44 PM , Rating: 1
I'll scratch your back so you wont stab mine.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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