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  •  Patriot Act Oversight Revision NOW (4.00)
           We need to get the Patriot Act revised now, while we have the opportunity.
           We need proper elected civilian oversight that can competantly oversee and hear Top Secret testimony and can investigate this highly secret  spying apparatus in a responsible smart manner. That I believe is the actual big picture constitutional challenge before us.

          Whether or not to spy or how... I don't friggn' want  nor should I know any secret details, but somebody should. Right now all we got is Dick.

    1.  Patriot Act right in front of our noses, set to ( o lawdy )
          EXPIRE.
    It will be renewed, count on it.
                Dems need to step up in the next five weeks and fix it. Shut
                the mutha down until then. The civilians run this govt right?

    2.  NSA and CIFA  involve data mining with a Top Secret level NO
          elected CIVILIAN  can oversee.

             Look at the bitch slapping they got, re: Rockefella's note to
              Cheney:  ' ..I don't have the technical whatever to agree or not
                to the searches..'  
                Senate Intell Senators or Congressmen don't have expertise
                             AND the Top Secret clearances
               his staff doesn't have the expertise AND clearances
               Fitz doesn't
               the FISA judges don't
                AG and staff don't
        So who the hell does, of the 'our guys' type of people?
                               Nobody, nobody, nobody.

       Except maybe ex-VP and internet founder Al Gore, that's a good place to start imho. Maybe Kos? Oh yeah wrong military.

    3.  Ex-NSA Intell Analyst Russ Tice is trying to testify about the
           illegal activities at the NSA
    and there's no oversight
            committee with Top Secret clearances and expertise to
           deal with him and any other whistleblowers out there.  There is
           also no whistleblower protection either so this gets fixed now
           too right? Sybel Edmonds and Scott Ritter come to mind...
    This diary here has a comment  at 9:57 from wgard that talks about  the top secret aspect and has a link about the FISA court's jurisdiction.

        Am I wrong- hell I hope so, tell me to stfu and I'll be happy to knowing the adults are running things ok, but...

         If I'm right we have to bombard the Senate and House Dems to get their story straight and not settle for some "revisions" like those I have read about. "Revisions" doesn't start to sound thorough enough.No fucking political posturing allowed, I've got kids I care about !

    •  oversight vs. probable cause (4.00)
      FISA judges must be able to see the keywords and patterns being mined and then decide if they are legitimate before issuing warrants.
      We need proper elected civilian oversight that can competently oversee and hear Top Secret testimony and can investigate this highly secret  spying apparatus in a responsible smart manner. That I believe is the actual big picture constitutional challenge before us.

      There is an even bigger constitutional question:  How should these awesome new computer-based searching, recording, and indexing methods be viewed in terms the our constitutional right to personal privacy?  If we accept the idea that our national security suddenly requires that we implement a sophisticated data mining system for communications, where do we draw the line?  Why not set up a system able to mine (and to cross reference) totally everything we can find a technical way to track and record?

      To me the problem is not how we find someone that we can all trust to oversee such an operation, but rather it is to get back to idea that we all have a right to privacy that can only be overcome by a judge finding specific probable cause to believe there is a specific crime going on.

      Once we forget about that and frame the problem as to finding people wise enough and honest enough to look at anything and everything we are moving down the cliff toward a totalitarian  state.

      •  If they can't open my snail mail without (none)
        a warrant, why should they be able to open my email without one? This is equivalent to steaming open envelopes. Just because the technology allows it to be done, doesn't make it legal or proper. Get a warrant!
        •  We gave away the store (none)
          when we weren't looking. The phone companies and other corporations won big time by getting an exception to privacy on 800 numbers. Now, when I have to use an 800 number, and they ask me what my phone number is, I say, "Look on your computer screen. It's right in front of you."

          A lot of our loss of privacy happened as a result of our own desire to be safe, as in the 911 emergency system (way before Sept. 11, 2001). They know who made the call, and they know exactly where you are calling from. They can be there in seconds or minutes, and they are, and you had better not have been creating a false alarm.

          Forget about an unlisted phone number; as soon as they realized that people were not listing their numbers to avoid paying for the listing, they turned it around and made us pay NOT to list. So, what can you do? Well, for one, don't buy a car that is reporting your whereabouts at all times. That seems about as foolish as calling the cops to complain that your stash has been stolen.  

          The DO NOT CALL list excludes charities and political organizations, but it has been some help. Chip away, chip away. A woman called me the other day and asked me if I supported my local police and firemen and immediately told me, "This call is being recorded." I said, "Sorry, I try not to do recorded calls," and hung up. Am I now on a list of people who do NOT support the local police and fire? I don't know, but it's possible. I just hate those intimidation methods.

          Here's a quote that I wish were emblazoned over the SCOTUS hallways:

          "...The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection....Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."--John Stuart Mill On Liberty 1859

          He was great, wasn't he? He was also prophetic, when he said in that same 1859 essay (long before his countryman, George Orwell wrote 1984), "The disposition of mankind, whether as rulers or as fellow-citizens, to impose their own opinions and inclinations as a rule of conduct on others, is so energetically supported by some of the best and by some of the worst feelings incident to human nature, that it is hardly ever kept under restraint by anything but want of power; and as the power is not declining, but growing, unless a strong barrier of moral conviction can be raised against the mischief, we must expect, in the present circumstances of the world, to see it increase."

          This essay is in the public domain and available online.  

          "That story isn't worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

          by martyc35 on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 09:36:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Also (none)
          Look at what G-mail does at Google.  Or virus protection software.  Your email is already looked into by non-governmental entities.  One does it to tailor advertising your way.  The other to protect their servers and other computers on the net.
          Technology has trumped privacy concerns in areas we hardly think about.  We lost those rights long ago by default.  Maybe around the time our S.S. # was appropriated by commercial interests as a de-facto national I.D. number.  No one protests how our financial and medical identifiers are knocked around data bases anymore.
          Data mining is here to stay.  The big telecom's do it already without permission.  The President's case is that he should have access to the same information our top CEO's and engineers have.  He should formalize that right with Congress but whether he's technically outside of the law or constitution will fast become a mute point.  The phenomenon is here to stay based purely on how networks work.  The country will give him the right to this very powerful access, since the whole process will seem arcane and harmless to most.

          "I'm an insect who dreamed he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over..." - Charles E. Pogue, "The Fly".

          by edsdet on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 10:51:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, (none)
            that's what I'm afraid of. The obsequiousness of the American public. Brings back bad memories of the Stanley Milgram experiments on torture and obedience. Frightening.

            "That story isn't worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

            by martyc35 on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 11:19:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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