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Author Topic: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...  (Read 5936 times)

glynor

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Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« on: July 09, 2008, 07:57:01 pm »

Today made me sad.  It wasn't that I didn't expect it, but it was nice having a little hope (even if I knew deep-down it was false).  I don't really want to get anyone into a huge, raging argument but if anyone wants to comment... It just spins me into a libertarian rage.

All I can really say is.... EPIC FAIL.

Quote
More than two and a half years after the disclosure of President’s Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program set off a furious national debate, the Senate gave final approval on Wednesday afternoon to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/washington/10fisa.html?ref=washington

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KingSparta

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2008, 08:34:14 pm »

As long as your not building a bomb or supporting terrorism I think you will be OK.
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John Gateley

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2008, 09:48:52 pm »

Disclaimer: opinions are solely my own, and do not represent JRiver

I used to hate Qwest - a long history of terrible customer service. Then they were the only major telecom to not give info to the government. I bought a new DSL modem from them to say thanks.

King - remember Watergate? Here's a brief quote from wikipedia:
They also revealed the immense scope of crimes and abuses,
which included campaign fraud, political espionage and sabotage,
illegal break-ins, improper tax audits, illegal wiretapping on a massive scale,
and a secret slush fund laundered in Mexico to pay those
who conducted these operations.

I don't think Nixon would have said "we'll only use this to catch terrorists and bomb builders".
If it happened before, it'll happen again.

j

glynor

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2008, 09:52:41 pm »

As long as your not building a bomb or supporting terrorism I think you will be OK.

Not sure if you were completely serious or not, but...

With attitudes like that, I don't think any of us will be okay.

Unchecked power is unchecked.  What's to stop them from using the most faulty of evidence (or non-existant evidence), since judicial review is not required (it can still be delayed indefinitely and in secret)... Not even a secret, high-speed, high-priority review.  I mean, we have 24 hour McDonald's stores and we can't have a couple of judges standing "by the ready" at all times for things like this in order to maintain national security and abide by the most basic checks on power?  What exactly is the problem with that?  Heck, let them do it after the fact.  How about three  months after the fact?  Or six?  (The existing law already allowed submissions to FISA after the fact.)

This is not like previous wars.  These new completely unchecked executive powers are not temporary.  Do you really think we can "defeat" the islamic extremest movement completely?  Of course not, you can't kill them all, they'll just make more.  Our own country will produce more.  The best we can hope for is to marginalize them and contain them (and pray like hell they don't go crazy and use BioWeapons), and in 20-30 years, we might, maybe, f we are lucky, have a solution similar to what exists now in Northern Ireland.  Therefore, we are not talking about just granting the current (and next) administration "special powers" like we did in the 40's.  This is forever, giving them carte blanch permission to listen and track and pattern-match, as long as the Attorney General says it is for National Security and involves a non-US party at one "endpoint" of the transmission.

Freedom isn't free, but we can't just give it up forever without truthfully discussing the long-term consequences.  I don't think that was done.
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glynor

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2008, 12:22:30 am »

But, then, you know... Things like this come along and make it all seem okay:

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/09/rube-goldberg-cockta.html

 ;D
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JONCAT

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2008, 12:32:49 am »

FISA in direct response to Nixon use these powers to spy on political opponents.

What the GOP did was FUNDAMENTALLY wrong and ILLEGAL...well not anymore I guess. I take the way they went about it as proof they wren't just looking for intel on terror suspects, internatiational comms, etc.   i.e. Why so seceret. The bad guys use encryption VOIP on open networks...untraceable at best.

It really makes me sick to my stomach that they trashed America's system of checks and balances, habeus corpus, and well just about everyting else on the table....

DC
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hit_ny

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2008, 02:03:14 am »

Quote
The measure, approved by a vote of 69 to 28, is the biggest revamping of federal surveillance law in 30 years.

More than double were for it  :o

Dems caved in as they did not want to risk looking soft on national security come election time.
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MGD_King

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2008, 08:19:33 am »

As long as your not building a bomb or supporting terrorism I think you will be OK.

Because privacy doesn't mean anything, right?
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JimH

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2008, 08:30:13 am »

Privacy disappeared a while back.  The spying has gone on a long time. 

This vote was about protecting the phone companies from lawsuits.

I'd hate to have been in the phone companies' position when the program started up.  The government that runs the show demands that you comply.  If you do, you risk the lawsuits and embarassing publicity.  If you don't, who knows what the government will do to you.

It's a corrupt government.  I had an acquaintance who was elected to the U.S. Congress about ten years ago say, "It's all about money".  He meant that getting elected takes huge amounts of it, that elected officials are always thinking about where the money will come from for their next election, and that there are plenty of deep-pocketed companies and groups always circling the spectacle like hungry wolves.
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hit_ny

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2008, 08:48:31 am »

Privacy disappeared a while back.  The spying has gone on a long time. 

This vote was about protecting the phone companies from lawsuits.
Technically yes, but what about the implications of that ruling ?

I'd hate to have been in the phone companies' position when the program started up.  The government that runs the show demands that you comply.  If you do, you risk the lawsuits and embarassing publicity.  If you don't, who knows what the government will do to you.

Oh I don't know, they got most of their infrastructure handed to them on a plate, which public money built.

You would think they'd be obliged in some way or the other :)
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bob

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2008, 09:23:50 am »

As John said, not all the phone companies complied with the illegal "request". Qwest's lawyers told them it was illegal and to not comply. They didn't. I'm sure AT&T's and Verizons lawyers aren't totally stupid (they must have gotten some kind of under the table assurance of immunity). There were some government contracts pulled from Qwest after their non-compliance. As with all of these things, simply follow the money trail....
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glynor

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2008, 01:50:49 pm »

This vote was about protecting the phone companies from lawsuits.

Not true at all.  The phone company immunity was a red herring.  The press has focused on it because it is easy to explain.

This is what the bill was about: http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/fisa-compromise.ars
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bob

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2008, 02:07:38 pm »

It's true that the bill's main effect is to allow lots of unconstitutional spying (very likely the SCOTUS will overturn it).

However, the telecom immunity is not a minor matter. From USA today 5/11/2006

"The concern for the customer was also based on law: Under Section 222 of the Communications Act, first passed in 1934, telephone companies are prohibited from giving out information regarding their customers' calling habits: whom a person calls, how often and what routes those calls take to reach their final destination. Inbound calls, as well as wireless calls, also are covered.

The financial penalties for violating Section 222, one of many privacy reinforcements that have been added to the law over the years, can be stiff. The Federal Communications Commission, the nation's top telecommunications regulatory agency, can levy fines of up to $130,000 per day per violation, with a cap of $1.325 million per violation. The FCC has no hard definition of "violation." In practice, that means a single "violation" could cover one customer or 1 million."

Also, Mark Klein blew the whistle on AT&T http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Klein.
He's testified that they were pulling ALL internet and phone traffic from a tap off of the AT&T backbone in SF.
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JONCAT

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2008, 02:20:53 pm »

I understand your point Glynor, but it wasn't went to be a distractor per se. I mean this is a win win for the neo-cons.

What I don't understand is how they (GOP) grant immunity without self-incriminating themselves. The executive prerogative here is off the wall, way beyond what the founders intended. State secrets at risk gets you off the hook? Truly Orwelian. And the oil crisis has begun......a lot of Peak Oil talk on the radio. Two decades of full nation effort needed to prepare for alternatives which ends up mainly being reduction. Getting WAY OT but in light of all this, we're doing this:

Quote
The 114-page bill was pushed through the House so quickly that there was no real time to debate its many complex provisions.

from - http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/fisa-compromise.ars

Well ....we are a nation at war, well an unauthorized one at least  ;D

DC

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KingSparta

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2008, 05:43:44 pm »

Quote
King - remember Watergate?

Yes, they are all corrupt Liberals And Conservatives

Giving Up Some Rights Of Ours In The US Is Always A Strong Debate, Many People Around The World Don't Have The Same Rights As We Do Here In The United States.

Some Times People In The US Think They Have Rights That Really Do Not Exist, and Some Times Politicians, And Special Interest Groups Try To Take Away Rights That Are Clearly Outlined In The Constitution.

Many Countries Like The UK, and some major cities in the US Are Installing Cameras On Every Corner. Going To A Football Game Could Land You In Jail With Facial Recognition Cameras And Computers That Scan You As You Enter The Gate.

It Is A More Complex World That Needs More Complex Ideas To Catch Criminals, and To Keep The Public Safe.

No matter who is in office The Following Is True

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely

Meaning

Literal meaning.

Origin

This arose as a quotation by John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887:

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Another English politician with no shortage of names - William Pitt the Younger, The Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778, is sometimes wrongly attributed as the source. He did say something similar, in a speech to the UK House of Lords in 1770:

"Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it"


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glynor

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2008, 06:08:48 pm »

True... I was being overly dismissive of the immunity provision.  The thing is, I can actually see the point in that.  If the government came to you guys right after the bridge collapsed and told you, despite what you saw on the news, that someone may have really blown it up, and they needed some confidential employee (or forum) info right away... What would you do?

I mean, sure... Phone companies are different and there are laws, but that was a different time and under different circumstances.  There was anthrax in the mail and talk of bio-terror weapons all over the news.  I can see how the Phone Companies would have said "okay, we'll help however we can, please sort out our liability for us".  Suing the phone companies doesn't seem really fair, when it is the administration and the FBI and the NSA that are at fault.  Impeachment is the remedy, not lawsuits against AT&T.

My issue is that this basic premise of fairness is being used to "cover up" the true nature of the bill.  No one in the mainstream media is talking about anything in the bill other than the immunity provision.  Heck, they didn't even really debate anything other than immunity in congress!  Just passed it pretty much as-is.

It feels like fighting over a leaky faucet in the head when the ship is sinking.

Also, Mark Klein blew the whistle on AT&T http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Klein.
He's testified that they were pulling ALL internet and phone traffic from a tap off of the AT&T backbone in SF.

Absolutely.  And, BTW, not "were" but "are".  And that was just AT&T's network.  Think they don't have hooks into most of the others too?

It's a massive drag net.  Just hope you don't every say, email, tweet, sms, or post (here) the wrong combination of keywords, or you could find yourself identified as a "supporter of terrorism" and that is certainly something "to worry about".  Pray like hell those algorithms are perfect.
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KingSparta

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2008, 06:13:40 pm »

Quote
Pray like hell those algorithms are perfect.

Only the Borg Are perfect
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glynor

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2008, 06:14:12 pm »

Only the Borg Are perfect

Exactly My Point.
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JimH

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2008, 06:21:12 pm »

If the government came to you guys right after the bridge collapsed and told you, despite what you saw on the news, that someone may have really blown it up, and they needed some confidential employee (or forum) info right away... What would you do?
I like Mexico.
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jgreen

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2008, 08:48:24 pm »

I agree with King.

While it's outrageous that our elected (or appointed) officials can (by implication) spy on us, as JimH said, privacy disappeared a while back.  That doesn't mean we give up the fight, but I think it's time we pick our battles.

In L.A. hospital staff routinely scan the medical charts of celebrity patients.  This info, in excrutiating detail, is then sold to the tabloid press, who then First Amenment it in front of the world.  Anything on the chart is fair game.  You think you have more to fear from our incompetent, bloated bureaucracies monitoring our phone calls?

In one hospital, 50 people, doctors, nurses and techs, got an eyeful of Britney Spears private info.  While some were reprimanded, NO ONE has been charged with anything, or even fired.     

Anyone who has posted a resume on Monster, or personal details on Facebook, etc, can rest assured that criminal gangs are building a profile on them for future use.  They use web crawlers to slowly but surely put the pieces of the puzzle together.  Oh yeah, and your government is not allowed to, even when the profiles are uploaded from Syrian terrorist camps.

Anyone who has ever applied for a credit card,  sent in a rebate form, subscribed to a single magazine, EVER, can rest assured that he or she has made a difference in this world.  Companies are busy compiling lists of anyone, living or dead, in the hope that one day it can be used or sold.  You think that a commercial buyer of personal data has to provide ANY proof on honest intent?  Oh, please.

So yeah, Glynor, "EPIC FAIL".  The failure, however, is our own.  We've willingly traded our privacy for cheaper credit cards and easier background checks.  And you're right, it WILL come back to bite us.   
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bob

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2008, 03:39:49 pm »

True... I was being overly dismissive of the immunity provision.  The thing is, I can actually see the point in that.  If the government came to you guys right after the bridge collapsed and told you, despite what you saw on the news, that someone may have really blown it up, and they needed some confidential employee (or forum) info right away... What would you do?

Unfortunately, they approached Qwest BEFORE 9/11.

And the existing FISA law allowed 15 day exemptions with NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

Finally, during those 15 days, all they had to do to get a long term authorization was to show need to the FISA court which only rejected a couple of requests in 20 years.

The bill passed yesterday wasn't designed to meet some need. It was a coverup to prevent the trail of lawbreaking to be tracked back to the White House. As it stands we may NEVER know what data mining was going on and to what uses it was being put.

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KingSparta

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2008, 07:22:46 pm »

jgreen

Don't get me wrong

I think there is to much government in our lives now

However one of the first sentences in our constitution is

"provide for the common defense".

That requirement is to require the government to provide the appropriate level of defense for any perceived threats.

No matter if we as individuals like it or not

As Spock Said

"The Needs of the Many Must Outweigh the Needs of the Few or the One"
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jgreen

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2008, 07:56:03 pm »

I'm trying not to get you wrong, King.  I also think there's too much government in our lives, but granting immunity to telcos who cooperate with government requests in the name of defence is not a sign of too much government--which I believe you agree with.

My second point--not clearly marked as a "second point"--was that compared to the level of government intrusion, commercial intrusion in our lives is off the chart, and in a way the Founding Fathers (seven feet tall, every one of them) could never envision.

This is why, even if the government were acting capriciously, which it frequently does, the net effect of this latest bit of intrusion pales in comparision to "Check 21", the recent revision of banking regs. 

Now that I think of it, Glynor may have ranted against that also. 
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JimH

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2008, 08:09:33 pm »

Now that I think of it, Glynor may have ranted against that also. 
He tends to cover a lot of ground.
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glynor

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2008, 10:08:38 pm »

He tends to cover a lot of ground.

 ;D

Youthful exuberance.
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glynor

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Re: Way OT - Makes Me Sad and Angry...
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2008, 10:12:53 pm »

Unfortunately, they approached Qwest BEFORE 9/11.

Wasn't aware of this.  Interesting.

I was quite aware of the provisions that allowed them to go back and retroactively get FISA permission and whatnot, but didn't know that Quest (and then quite likely others) had been approached before 9/11.

I suppose I do agree on the immunity.... I just don't think that was the ONLY bad thing about the law.  It was chock-full of unnecessary evil, really.
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