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Spying saves lives


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Here's a longer story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051217/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush. A passage from it:

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James Bamford, author of two books on the NSA, said the program could be problematic because it bypasses a special court set up by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to authorize eavesdropping on suspected terrorists.

"I didn't hear him specify any legal right, except his right as president, which in a democracy doesn't make much sense," Bamford said in an interview. "Today, what Bush said is he went around the law, which is a violation of the law

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Russ Feingold was brilliant on CNN. He passionately expressed the fact that this <i>is</i> still nominally a democracy, and Chimpy is not king.

He waxed poetically pissed on several other abuses that the fascocracy has perpetrated, mirroring my sentiments to a T.

If the dems get some testes and grow a frigging spine, it will be hailed with a (hesitant) sigh of relief from all us paranoiacs and conspiracy theorists. For a while, at least... ;)

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I am quite surprised at all the furor over this.  The government is already collecting tons of data about people already and no one seems to care.  This just involves a minor difference of which government employees are doing the snooping.  That and a violation of a law that was already routinely subverted when need be.

People, the FBI reads every one of your emails! Hello, anyone remember "Carnivore"?  It didn't go away, they just changed the name.  And, it was already operational when it was exposed.

Ever fly to grandma's for Christmas?  TSA has a list with your name on it.  They track every time you have flown and how you paid for your ticket.

Also, if you ever get on their bad character list, they can refuse to let you fly.  Without any explanation.  Without any proof that you are any threat to a particular flight.  You could volunteer to wear a G-string, be xrayed and cavity searched to prove that it was impossible to be any physical threat and they would still refuse.

This is the same as standing at the end of your driveway and refusing to let you drive your car on the street because you might be a threat. Since I mentioned it, that's the next logical step.  This is exactly the same sort of thing the Soviet Union did, restricting internal travel.  Except that they also required internal passports.

Did you know that any FBI agent has the power to get any information on you without a subpoena from a judge if he says you might be a threat.  Thats right, you don't even have to be suspected of a crime either.  Oh, and the letters they issue are secret. 

And the people who get them (like the library, your accountant, the phone company, your bank) can't tell anyone that the FBI ever asked them for the info.  Not even you.  And they can't go to a federal judge to contest it, because they would have to tell someone about the letter.  Catch-22. 

Oh, and the FBI isn't required to account for or justify their use of the letters. Oh, and last year they issued 30,000 secret information requests, up from around 3,000 a couple years ago.

I've become pretty cynical about government and privacy intrusion.

A.M.

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President Bush grew up with a silver spoon. Because of who his dad is, growing up he got away with anything.  He is the most arrogant president that I have every seen.  How a man can look so proud and full of himself and use words like "ain't" and always "ahhhing" after every other word is beyond me.  He believes that he is above the law.  He stated that he was using his power as President of the United States to spy on it's citizens without court orders to protect us.  He did not state which constitutional law gives him that power, because there is none.  He has no respect for the law, the poor, the middle class, the uninsured, or the financial future our country.  He constantly states that to question him is to demoralize our troops and send the our enemies the wrong message.

Can't we all see that God is directing George Bush?  God is telling him directly what to do.  I believe that the Roman Caesar Nero had similar beliefs.

When all is said and done, and all of his illegal activities uncovered, I believe that history will judge him to be one of the worstest (he said it!) presidents ever.

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Carnivore? Sorry, I thought it was clear from my remarks. Carnivore (since renamed) is an FBI program that scans all email (and probably all internet traffic) in the US.  High speed computers using custom software scan emails for key words, like bomb, explosive, jihad, for example.

Emails that contain key words are flagged for review by a human analyst.  If they appear suspicious then agents start tracking down the sender, reciever and searching their databases for other emails and information about the individuals.

Long explanation for "They are reading all your email", I'm not kidding.  ;)

One way to send an email that is believed to be reasonably secure is to use the free PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption program.

a.m.

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AM - the thing that's really bothering people is not that spying's being done, but who's doing the spying. NSA is not allowed to gather intelligence within the confines of the US. this is part of their charter. it's in the rules which govern its body. its employees have to agree to this policy once every quarter - four times a year. the bush administration knew this, and made people working there break those congressionally-imposed rules. had the white house really needed this power, all they had to do was request a rule change. but they didn't. it's the haughtiness of these people that i find so offensive. they don't just consider themselves above the law. they don't even acknowledge that the laws have meaning. i remember an unnamed white house aide telling a story about a meeting between bush and some of his advisors. it ended with bush screaming 'stop waving the goddamn constitution in my face!' he doesn't fucking care. it's not just that civil rights are stomped on - it's that these people don't believe that we HAVE civil rights. civil rights don't matter.

land of the free, home of the brave: where war is peace and ignorance is strength.

halation,

just another moonbat who would rather die in a terrorist attack than live in totalitarian chains.

ps: evidently, some of the NSA employees tapped for this program have refused to participate, considering it wrong. this cheers me, and should be applauded. it would have been great if one of them had blown the whistle on this program sooner, but that just doesn't tend to happen at the Never Say Anything agency... still, it's important to direct the anger at the government, not at the spooks.

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The scary part is not the monitoring but whats done with the information. I have a crapload of afghan, iraqi, lebanese, and persian friends. Now what happens to me if one day I donate to a mosque or sit in during a protest? Just because I'm there or particiapte in certain events doesn't make me a terrorist but in some eyes the very fact that I have this many friends of that descent puts me on the radar. Since people have been picked up and held for no reason at all for whatever period of time the government wants to keep them, without the benefit of a lawyer, and with no recourse until the homeland security department says something I am very frightened.

This very much reminds me of Texas when my grandfather was a child. He would talk about his neighborhood. The neighbors were told to "keep an eye" on the shanty irish(because they were thought of as thieves) or the new chinese working out on the railroad(to make sure they weren't slackers), the mexicans in the fields(because they might steal the produce in the dark early morning or at  night). It went without saying that anyone black was the first choice for prosecution in any crime committed, evidence or no evidence. Natives were to be completely avoided no matter what. Anyone that didn't follow that social policy were often hurled with foul names or called sympathizers. They also might get a visit from the local sheriff or the klan. Then those Whites would be taken in for their "alliances" which may have been nothing more than telling someone to ease up on a servant. Later  on people would be pulled in as "communist sympathizers". Once branded a persons life would never be the same.

Thats what scares me about monitoring people. The context in which it's used. A mentally ill person is often easy pickings in a crime with little solid info or few witnesses.

scary

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Technological advances are proceeding faster than our ability to integrate them into our social fabric.  Some smartypants is always going to figure out how to mis-use the tech before society at large comes to grips with its full implications and applies suitable regulation.  As soon as it became possible to digitize an image and send that image electronically, some guy said, "Man, think of the porn!"  I believe that some aspects of this are unavoidable as we play catch-up.

I also believe that attempts by unscrupulous individuals to control others through fearmongering, gossip, slander and hate-speech run in cycles.  The Salem Witch-Trials.  The Ku Kux Klan during Reconstruction.  McCarthyism.  "Defense of Marriage" platforms in the 2004 election.  And then there is the absolutely proven adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Any day now I fully expect to hear George W. Bush quoted in the press saying "I am not a crook." and "They're not going to have George W to push around anymore."

Nothing is guaranteed us in this life, so we just have to keep our eyes peeled, and stand up when it's time to stand.

Cerberus

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Any day now I fully expect to hear George W. Bush quoted in the press saying "I am not a crook."

I've heard him quoted as saying the Constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper;" how's that?

Wait, that's just a website.  Damn. ;)

I, personally, am waiting for his attempts to redefine a common verb.  While under impeachment, if that wouldn't involve Cheney.

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Any day now I fully expect to hear George W. Bush quoted in the press saying "I am not a crook." and "They're not going to have George W to push around anymore."

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

LOL. :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm not sure that George W. could be this eloquently spoken.    ;)

a.m.

p.s.  Two weeks ago I watched an interview on current world politics with Bill Clinton.  As much as I dislike him, it was refreshing and a pleasure to listen to a President who could speak in whole sentences while expressing an intelligent thought.

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More stories on the "threats" to our national security. Though these are from December 14-16, somehow I'd missed the details of the groups in the secret database:

Is the Pentagon spying on Americans? Secret database obtained by NBC News tracks 'suspicious' domestic groups

Update: Pentagon eyeing activist groups? NBC's Lisa Myers talks about the latest in the investigation

Pentagon Caught Spying on U.S. Anti-War and Anti-Nuclear Activists

And on it goes. This is getting more Nixonian by the minute.

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