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National Surveillance State
August 5, 2007 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Bush Gets a Spying Blank Check. The passage of the new FISA bill was a hurried response to the revelation that the FISA court recently decided that at least part of the NSA wiretapping program is illegal. It looks to be another step in our gradual transition into a National Surveillance State.
posted by homunculus (78 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
In related news, Payback Time: FBI Raids Home of Suspected NSA Leaker.
posted by homunculus at 5:41 PM on August 5, 2007


Thanks, Democrats! :D
posted by Avenger at 5:42 PM on August 5, 2007


In the democrats' defense, anyone sane would be in a hurry to leave DC a week into August. I'd probably vote yea on cat circumcision and baby declawing if that was what it took to get me out of this steamy motherfucker.

...Also, we're all doomed, etc.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:48 PM on August 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


Hey, blubbertarians! If you don't have anything to hide, what are you so afraid of? It's either this or sharia, right?
posted by felix betachat at 5:49 PM on August 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


seriously, the democrats need to hear from people over the next month. it looks like shit, smells like shit, what do you know, it is shit!

the less they hear from people displeased about their utter capitulation to BushCo, the more they'll feel they got away with compromising our bill of rights with no repercussions...

[true conservatives should do the same. how does unrestricted monitoring of all US conversations fit into the conservative ideology?]
posted by Busithoth at 5:53 PM on August 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


Your country. You fix it.
posted by unSane at 5:55 PM on August 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


In the democrats' defense, anyone sane would be in a hurry to leave DC a week into August. I'd probably vote yea on cat circumcision and baby declawing if that was what it took to get me out of this steamy motherfucker.

Huh? If you wanted to leave you could have. Four senators were at the YearlyKos convention this weekend. Democrats didn't have to vote on this. In fact they could have passed their 'compromise' bill and then left town, leaving Bush fucked.

I don't even get how this makes political sense on the part of the democrats, I mean who to whom does it matter that the wiretapping must be warentless. The "compromise" bill allowed for plenty of wiretapping, but required more oversight by the FISA court.

This is just another example of Bush stomping his feet and throwing a tantrum, and refusing to do the government's job if he doesn't get what he wants. But what, really, would be the political fallout if they didn't authorize the program. The program is classified, and so voters won't know anything about the details. It's not even possible to be hurt politically by this.

Just pathetic.
posted by delmoi at 5:55 PM on August 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


The program is classified, and so voters won't know anything about the details. It's not even possible to be hurt politically by this.

Except that Bush and/or Cheney would undoubtedly selectively declassify certain details, in order to hurt the Democrats politically.
posted by Poolio at 6:08 PM on August 5, 2007


There's a comment over at TPM to the effect that the Dems vote for this shit because they are afraid of being called weak on terr but since the right's spin machines will call them weak on terrorism no matter what they do, what is the point? Hillary could support drafting 12 year olds and they would still be running the 911/weak on terror crap.

Has any Dem candidate, aside from maybe Gravel/Kucinich that is, yet been confronted on camera as to which specific Bush/Patriot Act power grabs they would actively work to repeal and which ones they enthusiastically support? I'm guessing the answer is no and none to the former. I'm also guessing if somebody eventually does ask that kind of question they aren't gonna touch it on the record with a ten foot pole. I'd be pretty comfortable betting the farm that no matter who is elected ALL of the Bush power grabs are here for good. Watch and see.
posted by well_balanced at 6:12 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is my surprised face.

:o

This is my surprised face having to lay down after reading these articles.

:o-|----<         =This is the back of my laptop as I sat at it and emailed sixteen US Democratic Senators. I believe the words "pussy" and "chicken shit" and "enjoy the plutocracy whilst it lasts" where key phrases.

--------------
|              |
|     ♡       |
|              |
--------------


:)
posted by YoBananaBoy at 6:14 PM on August 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


YBB, you're a merman?
posted by rob511 at 6:22 PM on August 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm also guessing if somebody eventually does ask that kind of question they aren't gonna touch it on the record with a ten foot pole. I'd be pretty comfortable betting the farm that no matter who is elected ALL of the Bush power grabs are here for good. Watch and see.

Ensuring this doesn't happen seems to have become the new big argument for impeachment -- Bush as object lesson in "this will not be tolerated." Does it...seem as though it won't be, though?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:23 PM on August 5, 2007


Time to be getting some new democrats - the one's we got are broken. Do they believe the fear mongering, believe DC is under imminent threat, or fear the GOP and FOXNEWS more than their own base? If they think that the GOP would stop calling them surrender monkeys, they're sadly mistaken. And they may be just as mistaken to seem that they have the base's unflagging support.

Secondly, TPM had an interesting interview from Reason with former NSA analyst Russell Tice, who detailed how an "If I Did It"-type hypothetical spying machine might work. There's also an apparent deep throat at work as well.

As far as getting out of DC, you'll recall that in addition to Bush stamping his feet and holding his breath (which of course, worked), you had fellow surrender monkey Trent Lott stating that DC was under threat of attack, and hastened everyone to leave.

Methinks that, again, the terrorists have won.
posted by rzklkng at 6:35 PM on August 5, 2007


Working in the Intelligence field (from the Military side of the fence) I can tell you authoritatively, proper oversight is everything. The old saying that power corrupts is no joke; it is true in the vast majority of cases. The military got caught with its hand in the cookie jar a few too many times - usually due to a very small group or even one person in each instance - and the price to pay is a pervasive lack of trust on the part of the general population that we will act properly if not supervised. Somehow the civilian side of the government has not been put to task despite being caught for abuses in multiple times as many instances as all military branches combined. The sickening degree to which the administration and its party have degraded the capacity of our government to hold even a vestige of credibility is breathtaking - and it will likely take decades to repair. And all it takes is assuring the public that a neutral entity (or as close as you can get - a secret court works by protecting the judges from most forms of political pressure) will be watching over the shoulder.

It's not even a matter of the oversight itself being public. The American people just need to know that there is oversight and that checks and balances will not be eroded.



The Republicans-In-Name-Only aren't democracy-friendly, since the whole concept of a "unitary executive" is fundamentally incompatible with democracy and fundamentally indistinguishable from fascism. They just haven't finished the job. Remember, though, that they didn't do it alone. The opposition was complacent once their "patriotism" was put in question. The Democrats-In-Name-Only hid from their civic duty to defend the Constitution and the ideas for which it stands.

"All that is required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

</soapbox>
posted by mystyk at 6:37 PM on August 5, 2007 [6 favorites]


A good post and discussion of this topic at Volokh Conspiracy
posted by rockhopper at 6:44 PM on August 5, 2007



Someone's small tag seems to have ... leaked. Maybe this will fix.
posted by blacklite at 6:57 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Your country, you fix it.

Actually, unSane, you may want to reconsider that attitude and approach and ask your representation to do the same.

The “Protect America Act of 2007” sets the standard for a surveillance order – which can last for up to one year – as simply that it be “directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.”

Help us help you, man.
posted by rollbiz at 7:13 PM on August 5, 2007


I was about to post about this. Anyway, while we're in the mood for quoting Edmund Burke:

"..the true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts." Letter to Sheriffs (II 249).
posted by inoculatedcities at 7:15 PM on August 5, 2007


In related news, Payback Time: FBI Raids Home of Suspected NSA Leaker.

So fucking brazen. Absolutely no shame.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:18 PM on August 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Civil_Disobedient,

I agree. That guy should have taken his security clearance a little more seriously.
posted by rockhopper at 7:31 PM on August 5, 2007


There are no slippery slopes, more like huge steps down.
The steps get to be steeper overhangs each time.
One of these times we'll fall flat on our faces.

These wiretaps will be immediately abused, just like they were when they were illegal.
And now we just threw away one of the best arguments for impeachment.
posted by Balisong at 7:38 PM on August 5, 2007


I suppose You can't blame prey for being prey. It's not really the DEMS fault. It's the voters that put certain Democrats in office that are to blame. The donkeys did nothing to earn it, other than not have an (R) next to their name. I don't understand how anyone who votes Dem can be mad. They are doing what they have been doing since Bush was elected: and they were rewarded for it.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 7:40 PM on August 5, 2007


If you read anything this year, read Jack Balkin's post (last link in the FPP.)
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:42 PM on August 5, 2007


I agree. That guy should have taken his security clearance a little more seriously.

Which guy? Karl Rove or Richard Cheney?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:44 PM on August 5, 2007


C'mon Dems, political gridlock doesn't work if you keep capitulating to the other side. If you want your poll numbers to go up you're going to need to start showing a little backbone.
posted by Tenuki at 7:45 PM on August 5, 2007


The Democrats are clearly chicken-shits in all of this, but the real prize for scumbaggery must go to the Republicans.

With Dems majority in the Senate being competely imaginary (really 49 to 49 with 2 independents who caucus Democratic, but of course Leiberman has had one foot in the RNC office since election day 2006), the Dems have no real effective power given that 41 members of the GOP can bring anything to a screeching halt through the use of filibuster. Research elsewhere has shown that the current GOP caucus in the Senate is on track to triple the existing record for filibustering in a single session of Congress.

Anything the Dems pass on the strength of their own votes alone, even in both houses, can't overcome the 2/3 majority required to override Bush's veto. Under normal circumstances, this would be the point where parties would begin to negotiate for votes on these matters, but the Republicans have decided that it in their best interests to stick with the President and doom the Democrats to the fate of legislative pinata. Look at what's happening with the war legislation. They can't even get the GOP to sign onto bills mandating minimum down time for Iraqi troops coming back from Iraq before they are redeployed there.

The GOP has made a pact with the devil that their best interests reside with supporting the White House, even when it seems pretty clear that those interests are not in the best interest of the country. You've simply got parties here, particularly in the White House that are dealing in glaringly bad faith. I think that something that the GOP may not be taking into account is that what Bush is really looking to do is break Congress. At least that's how it looks to me. If they don't, they're idiots. If they do, their traitors. Under GOP control, Congress was little more than a rubber stamp to bush. Under Democratic control, its legislative chicken, usually resulting in incremental power grabs by the Executive.
posted by hwestiii at 7:47 PM on August 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


Methinks that, again, the terrorists have won.
posted by rzklkng at 6:35 PM on August 5 [+] [!]


We have seen the terrorists, and they is us.

apologies to Walt Kelley.
posted by beelzbubba at 7:51 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Game over man, game over. Anyone want to meetup in D.C. on September 15 for the impeach bush rally?
posted by chlorus at 7:56 PM on August 5, 2007


The FISA Amendment and The Founders
posted by homunculus at 7:56 PM on August 5, 2007


There is no excuse for this. None.

My representative (a rubber-stamping Republican apologist shithead, on his best day) has received a very heated missive from me - not that that will do any good. I put him on notice that between now and the next Congressional elections I will make it my avocation to be his number one anti-reelection campaign.

Every chickenshit, non-Constitution reading, civics ignorant, freedom-hating motherfucker who voted for this bill needs to pay with their job.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:02 PM on August 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


BTW, the bill was called, in grand Orwellian fashion, the "Protect America Act". These people have no shame.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:04 PM on August 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Man, rockhopper, I dunno how you and your kind get through the day. Isn't being so pants-shittingly paralysed with existential terror because you honestly believe that we're up against some kind of nigh-unstoppable entity so powerful that we have to give up our freedoms to be safe kind of, you know, unpleasant?

Shit, why do people believe that conservatives are "tough"? All the "tough on crime" and "tough on defense" blathering sounds like small children pissing their pants in terror of their own shadows. The word for it isn't "tough"; the word is "pussy".
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:28 PM on August 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


homunculus:The FISA Amendment and The Founders

If men were angels, no government would be necessary.

Angels are governed by God. I don't know what to call it, but there is nothing democratic about the existences of Angels. The very existence of the devil (and rebellion against the perfect order) has more in common with America and liberal democracy than anything related to Angels. I'm trying not to be hyperliteral, but it just doesn't make sense. The only one who doesn't need to be governed is God. Why? Because God is the most powerful Being in the multiverse. On Earth, nature respects power, not perfection. Government is not necessary, it's just a symptom of natural predispositions in certain species.

Also, I noticed that the quote on that page from Federalist 51 isn't offered with any historical contexts. One of the reasons we aren't under the Confederate flag is because Lincoln, for his anti-liberty positions, as an executive did what it took to win.

I don't see what is so unnatural about government using war to strengthen itself. Bush was elected twice and has moral authority to do what he wants.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 8:30 PM on August 5, 2007


One of the reasons we aren't under the Confederate flag is because Lincoln, for his anti-liberty positions, as an executive did what it took to win.

Of course, the Confederacy was an actual problem and not a minor problem blown up into a real threat by one of history's greatest propaganda machines.

I don't see what is so unnatural about government using war to strengthen itself.

Neither, pre-1918, did anyone else.

Bush was elected twice

lol

and has moral authority to do what he wants.

You people would be a lot more convincing as "strict Constitutionalists" if you gave the impression that you actually give a shit what the document says.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:33 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Every chickenshit, non-Constitution reading, civics ignorant, freedom-hating motherfucker who voted for this bill needs to pay with their job.

So, anyone have a link to the list of names of those who did the deed with contact info?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 8:46 PM on August 5, 2007


rzklkng: There's also an apparent deep throat at work as well.

It's great, you know, I don't even know what to believe anymore. Everything is just so bizarre. Can we dismantle everything and start over?
posted by blacklite at 8:57 PM on August 5, 2007


Gnostic Novelist: Um, what?
posted by homunculus at 9:00 PM on August 5, 2007


.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:00 PM on August 5, 2007


"One of the reasons we aren't under the Confederate flag is because Lincoln, for his anti-liberty positions, as an executive did what it took to win."

Umm, proof please? Most military history scholars (the PhD kind) agree that no tangible benefit came of those actions of his that were anti-liberty, like suspending habeas corpus.

"I don't see what is so unnatural about government using war to strengthen itself."

Unnatural? No. Immoral? Usually.

"Bush was elected twice ..."

Calling BS on that. There is overwhelming evidence that he clearly lost the first time. The supreme court, in violation of its powers and the established legal process, called an end and just declared a winner. There is a preponderance of evidence to back up election fraud claims for the second one, which would have made him lose then also.

"... and has moral authority to do what he wants."

Nobody except possibly the son of god could claim that. Bush is not that man. Hell, he doesn't even have the legal authority, and that's a much more lax level. There's more evidence coming every day showing a lack of legal authority to do the things he's already done, and that's the standard on which impeachment charges are based.

And for Pope Guilty (on preview):
"You people would be a lot more convincing as "strict Constitutionalists" if you gave the impression that you actually give a shit what the document says."

There's only one party that accurately can be called strict Constitutionalists. They're called Libertarians.
posted by mystyk at 9:07 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't see what is so unnatural about government using war to strengthen itself. Bush was elected twice and has moral authority to do what he wants.

Can we have a flag for "blatant attempt to start a shitstorm by saying exactly the most incendiary and idiotic thing possible in a given thread"? I'm afraid I must call bullshit, sir. It was a nice try, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:08 PM on August 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


There's only one party that accurately can be called strict Constitutionalists. They're called Libertarians.

Wanting it hard enough won't make it true.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:31 PM on August 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


There's a comment over at TPM to the effect that the Dems vote for this shit because they are afraid of being called weak on terr but since the right's spin machines will call them weak on terrorism no matter what they do, what is the point?

I don't think that's true. I think there are two main reasons they vote for this crap:

1) It would be irresponsible not too. What I mean by that, is that if they don't vote for this, then bush will shut down all spying in a fit if pique. Same with the war funding. Bush refuses to compromise and that means you have to either do what bush says or shut the whole thing down. Bush actually said he would veto the 'compromise' bill worked out with DNI (the head of all US Spy agencies). So, if bush vetoes, we get no spying, which is fine with me, but suppose you're Nancy Peloci and you happen to know, for sure, that some terrorist just happens to be routing their phone calls through the U.S. even though both ends are outside the country. If you don't sign the bill, then you know for sure that this particular terrorist will not be spied on.

This, in my eyes doesn't present much of a problem because the American public will never know that. So who cares?

2) They actually like spying on people. After all spying on people isn't frightening and if you know exactly what's going on it probably doesn't seem bad. So why not do it? It's not like the courts would really have a problem, and on top of that the vast majority of democrats are not going to be paying attention. They're looking at other issues. And this doesn't get a lot of media play.

I'm not really sure what's going on in their heads, but I seriously doubt they care as much about these issues as I do.
posted by delmoi at 9:46 PM on August 5, 2007


What I mean by that, is that if they don't vote for this, then bush will shut down all spying in a fit if pique.

Let him. I think "I endangered the nation and engaged in out-and-out dereliction of my duty because those meanie dems wouldn't gimme what I want" is a losing narrative.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:48 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't see what is so unnatural about government using war to strengthen itself. Bush was elected twice and has moral authority to do what he wants.

Well, you're troll credentials are pretty well established at this point. You don't need to try so hard anymore.
posted by delmoi at 9:57 PM on August 5, 2007


mystyk:Unnatural? No. Immoral? Usually.

Unnatural was a poor selection of words. I'd agree with you on the immoral part, but this is an elected government we are talking about and it's hard to see whose morals are exactly correct. So it's always going to be doing something immoral in some citizen's eyes as long as it is doing anything.

Nobody except possibly the son of god could claim that. Bush is not that man. Hell, he doesn't even have the legal authority, and that's a much more lax level. There's more evidence coming every day showing a lack of legal authority to do the things he's already done, and that's the standard on which impeachment charges are based.

The law means nothing if no one is going to enforce it. And those with power and influence don't face to face the law in the same way as someone who is powerless does. It may not be right (or exactly moral) but it is the way things are. Bush is never going to shoot for elective office again, he has no reason to show anymore respect for the law than I did when I was a marijuana smoker. It's not like an American President is going to ever sit in a prison cell as long we are a superpower.

Calling BS on that. There is overwhelming evidence that he clearly lost the first time. The supreme court, in violation of its powers and the established legal process, called an end and just declared a winner. There is a preponderance of evidence to back up election fraud claims for the second one, which would have made him lose then also.

If that was the case then the Democrats did what? Roll over? That is my original point. George Bush is on the books as the winner. There was no revolution, there was no disastrous loss in 2004. There was simply nothing. It simply is not Bush's fault. He is doing what people interested in pursuing an agenda would do.

There's only one party that accurately can be called strict Constitutionalists. They're called Libertarians.

True. But, sadly, the lack of popularity of libertarianism ought to serve as example enough of the fact that power is more important than liberty...well at least the liberty of others. Most of us have nothing to fear if we are not sympathetic to terrorism. It's a shame that so many people feel that way, but that's just life I suppose. Besides, I seriously doubt all partisans are truly upset at the loss of liberty, and simply disagree with everything that Bush does, because Bush is Bush. If Bush was a Democrat it would be the same thing from the other side. Until the voting public starts taking responsibility, the blame rests with them. Politicians are going politicians.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 10:21 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


sigh.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2007


foxy_hedgehog:

Here's the list of votes in the House:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2007-836

They don't have a Senate list yet.
posted by bdragon at 12:03 AM on August 6, 2007


There will be revolution in my lifetime.
posted by oncogenesis at 12:04 AM on August 6, 2007


How bad is this law?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:34 AM on August 6, 2007


I have to wonder if voting for a misogynistic loony like Ron Paul is the only way to bring the country back to basic Constitutional rights, in lieu of a vote for any of the spineless autocrats now running as Democrats. Perhaps revolution isn't too far off, if the country is at such a low point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:47 AM on August 6, 2007


Your country. You fix it.

How about we join you instead?
posted by oaf at 6:26 AM on August 6, 2007


One of the reasons we aren't under the Confederate flag is because Lincoln, for his anti-liberty positions, as an executive did what it took to win.

The Confederacy was not an existential threat to the United States, and it was militarily impossible for the South to conquer the North. They weren't even trying. Lee's invasion of the North that ended at Gettysburg was an attempt to get diplomatic recognition of the Confederacy by European countries, particularly England.

of course Leiberman has had one foot in the RNC office since election day 2006

Thanks, Connecticut!
posted by kirkaracha at 6:48 AM on August 6, 2007


Would foreign companies be concerned that their communications would be compromised? Might some foreign companies consider this when deciding to grow inside the US?

Also, remember, the Blackberry servers are in Canada. So even if you're texting your friend California to New York, the traffic still goes outside the US. Spyable?
posted by joecacti at 7:34 AM on August 6, 2007


Until the voting public starts taking responsibility, the blame rests with them. Politicians are going politicians.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 10:21 PM on August 5 [1 favorite +] [!]


Oh c'mon, there's plenty of blame to go around. And there's plenty of reasons to blame the complete failure of the voter public on other stuff (failing education system, the death of journalism, the rise of American Christianity). Don't try to paint the modern American political climate as a typical partisan back-and-forth; it resembles in no way the goings-on of other modern democracies, nor does it resemble even itself 20 years previous.

Besides, if you concede that Bush did not honestly win 2000, he's least of all the voting public's fault. I think the last 7 years has damned the Democrats just as thoroughly as the Republicans, though, I agree.
posted by mek at 8:29 AM on August 6, 2007


Gnostic Novelist,

I don't know enough about the Civil War to comment on whether Lincoln's action were difference makers, but I do agree with the general idea. An executive may well be faced with situations extreme enough to require illegal actions. Leo Strauss apparently respected FDR for doing what it took to get the U.S. involved in WWII. That kind of action has its place and judgment is also required to make sure that those power grabs are restricted to times of emergency and not part of an overall creep towards the collection of power. Whose judgment? Not the leaders. I don't think anyone would claim that FDR was solely motivated by WWII, he was already sold on increasing the power of the federal government and the executive branch. Ultimately, the responsibility is the citizens. And I suspect you are right, people are seduced by the notion that a powerful government equals safety from terrorism, poverty, environmental disaster and what-have-you. Liberty and government restraint are far down the list. This is the real danger in exceeding authority. It's tough to go back. After all it was done once before, why not take the power now? Why refuse the responsibility? Is issue X not as important?

These developments are serious but I doubt they are regarded as such by any significant portion of the population. Few politicians talk about them. Instead we get testimony about being tough in foreign relations and aggressive against the terrorists as if that's what America needs. The default for most people is a federal government that is far more powerful relative to the power of the states and far more intrusive in the lives of citizens than anything the Founding Fathers would have intended.

Why so nervous, Comrade? What are you trying to hide?
posted by BigSky at 8:32 AM on August 6, 2007


Makes you wonder what kinds of stuff you can find out about politicians when you can tap everyone without a judge looking over your shoulder.
posted by trondant at 9:54 AM on August 6, 2007


The Democrats are clearly all talk and completely full of shit. The "Spying on Americans" story has been one of their biggest campaign buzzwords and... they vote to make it legal?

The Republicans may be charting the wrong course but at least they seem to believe in what they're doing. The Democrats obviously care only about winning their elections because they say one thing while campaigning and do another thing while legislating.
posted by b_thinky at 10:05 AM on August 6, 2007


The Republicans may be charting the wrong course but at least they seem to believe in what they're doing are transparently and ruthlessly exploitative.

fixed that for you.
posted by mek at 10:53 AM on August 6, 2007


Well they do seem to believe in being ruthlessly exploitative, and they don't seem to care who knows it, so I think b_thinky's right.

We also agree about the Democrats on this score.

*head asplodes*

I'm becoming of the opinion that everyone should just stop voting, to the point where there's only something like a 2% turnout at the polls. At this point, I doubt it would make any difference whatever in the outcomes.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:01 AM on August 6, 2007


I'm really at a loss here.

I don't think I can support the Democratic party any longer. We gave'em the keys to the car and they drove it off a bridge.

At the very least, I'm pulling my registration and going Independent.
posted by RavinDave at 12:46 PM on August 6, 2007


Analysis: New Law Gives Government Six Months to Turn Internet and Phone Systems into Permanent Spying Architecture
posted by homunculus at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2007


The strong and tough Democrats
posted by homunculus at 1:10 PM on August 6, 2007


You know, why aren't we datamining politicians? We have plenty of public sources of data available. Financial disclosures, lobbyist entanglements, criminal investigations (it makes no difference whether they were actually charged with anything), beneficial votes that are too close to campaign contributors and the like. Why can't we come up with an honesty index that ranks these guys? They shouldn't have a problem with it, being as they vote for this without question?
posted by rzklkng at 1:18 PM on August 6, 2007


You guys honestly think this decision happened cuz the Democrats were in a hurry to end the session and rush home? Man, they really have us all hoodwinked don't they? This is a smokescreen.

Dem or Rep makes no difference. American politics as we the Commoners see them are less relevant than a football game's outcome, because the outcome is already decided long before anything we see takes place. All we see is wagdogging. It's a puppet show.

Anyone who wants civil service jobs above a certain level does not want to be a civil servant. They're control freaks. They want power and influence and you get that by playing the game of money that's already been in play. They don't serve this country or the people in it. None of them. Maybe a couple of them had high inspirations going in but that's either burned out of you by those already on comfortable perches, or the media is turned on you and they make you look like an adulterer, or an idiot, or whatever suits them at the time, until you either step in line with the established protocol or you're run out on a rail.

The only way to win this game is to stop playing it. Unless your yearly salary is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, they are laughing at your face. If your yearly salary is less than millions of dollars, they are laughing behind your back.

Dollars vote in this country, not hanging chads. Stop voting. Stop perpetuating their illusion for them. Stop pretending that politics are relevant.

Follow the fucking money.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:32 PM on August 6, 2007


President Bush Wants Power To Immunize Telecoms That Aid In Spying On Americans
posted by homunculus at 2:00 PM on August 6, 2007


After 6 months, this law will be extended. Don't let the "temporary" fool you. It's permanent, and it doesn't matter who controls congress or the White House.
posted by b_thinky at 2:01 PM on August 6, 2007


Anyone who wants civil service jobs above a certain level does not want to be a civil servant. They're control freaks.

To paraphrase Heinlein, "civil servant" is semantically equal to "civil master" in a mature society. Civil servants haven't been there to "serve" you in well over a century - they're there to ensure that you don't get too unruly and bother the folks running the show.

Of course it's not "temporary" - that's a mollification bit added to ensure passage. Once the sunset comes, all it'll take is a little saber-rattling to ensure that it'll be extended indefinitely. The USA PATRIOT Act had a sunset clause, too, as I remember.
posted by FormlessOne at 2:43 PM on August 6, 2007


Glenn Greenwald and Marjorie Cohn were on Democracy Now today and covered pretty much every detail of the story, and also talked about the New Yorker article on the Black Sites.

This country is truly fucked.
posted by homunculus at 3:41 PM on August 6, 2007


In Bush we trust - or else
posted by homunculus at 5:21 PM on August 6, 2007


Wake me up when the oxygen masks drop down. I don't want to miss that part.
posted by MapGuy at 5:29 PM on August 6, 2007


FISA: What Isn't Electronic Surveillance?
posted by homunculus at 9:40 AM on August 7, 2007


Is the New York Times the Next NSA Leak Target?
posted by homunculus at 9:44 AM on August 7, 2007


When Does the Sun Set on Warrantless Surveillance?
posted by homunculus at 9:45 AM on August 7, 2007


Editorials On FISA: ‘Unnecessary And Dangerous Expansion of President Bush’s Powers’
posted by homunculus at 10:34 AM on August 7, 2007


Security-Theater Cameras Coming to New York
posted by homunculus at 12:59 PM on August 7, 2007


YBB, you're a merman?

I prefer mermaster.

posted by YoBananaBoy at 1:52 PM on August 7, 2007


ACLU Asks Secret Intelligence Court to Release Orders That Led to "Emergency" Wiretapping Legislation
posted by homunculus at 1:13 PM on August 9, 2007


The Protect Alberto Gonzales Act of 2007
posted by homunculus at 1:15 PM on August 9, 2007


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