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Remember those online phone record brokers where you could buy anyone's records for a fee? Aravosis underscored how nefarious those services were by buying Wesley Clark's records and the subsequent attention led the House to unanimously pass a bill outlawing the practice.

Well, guess who was a big customer of those phone records? Yeah, I gave it away in the title of this post, but it still boggles my mind. The Bush Administration. Aravosis explains:

[T]oday we learn that the federal government and local police were using these questionably-legal online data brokers to get YOUR private phone records without the necessary search warrants.

Yes, the Bush administration once again didn't go to courts of law to get search warrants when it was supposed to.

Numerous federal and local law enforcement agencies have bypassed subpoenas and warrants designed to protect civil liberties and gathered Americans' personal telephone records from private-sector data brokers....

The law enforcement agencies include offices in the Homeland Security Department and Justice Department -- including the FBI and U.S. Marshal's Service -- and municipal police departments in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Utah. Experts believe hundreds of other departments frequently use such services.

Now, this gets even more interesting. While the House passed one bill that would address this issue, a second piece of legislation was due to be debated on the House floor on the same day that USA Today revealed that Bush was using AT&T and other phone companies to spy on you. That day the House legislation suddenly disappeared and never was to be seen again. No one knows how it disappeared or who pulled it (though it had to be a Republican, like Denny Hastert, since they control the House). And even more interesting, for some unexplained reason the Senate legislation has gone nowhere. Bill Frist just won't move it.

Now that we know the Bush administration has been skirting the law by buying your phone records without the necessary court order, it's looking more and more interesting that the Republicans in Congress seem to be sitting on legislation that would protect your privacy and stop this abuse of privacy from continuing.

The House bill had overwhelming, unanimous support. The American people were outraged at these gross violations of our privacy. Then the administration put its foot down and squashed all such legislation because it would interfere with their ongoing efforts to bypass the courts and the law in their citizen surveillance programs.


Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:27 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hey, with all the hardcore amazing nerd tools... (8+ / 0-)

    ... that the NSA has, why the hell did they need these brokers?

    I mean, this is like saying "hey, we have access to broadband, but we're going to use 2400 bps modems, dude!"

    Mind boggling in so many ways.  It's like they're criminals who leave fingerprints everywhere.  Bumbling idiots.

    Thanks a lot. No seriously, thank you for blowing purity smoke out your assholes... -- Hunter

    by Page van der Linden on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:30:20 AM PDT

    •  I'm betting, (9+ / 0-)

      on reflection, that they decided it was technically legal to do so, since no government agency was actually doing the surveillance.  Sort of like the sheriff hiring vigilantes.

      lime rick All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom.

      by mspicata on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:38:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there's case law on this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shapeshifter, Nightprowlkitty

        like using Fed Ex to sniff out drugs, i can't remember off hand, but i don't it would past muster, as the gov't would be creating the data it's requesting,

        •  Fed EX does a lot more than that (5+ / 0-)

          As the pittsburgh Post reported Thanks to its Gung-ho CEO, Fed ex has become a virtual wholly owned subsidiary of the DHS, openinging Packages whenever anybody from the federal goverment asks and turning over all sorts of private customer records to the FBI at their slightest whim.

          Mr. Smith, who started FedEx 34 years ago after two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Marine officer. He says FedEx is willing to cooperate with federal authorities "up to and including the line on which we would be doing a disservice to our shareholders."

          Mr. Smith is leading a drive to gain access to the government's secret terrorist watch lists. He says they would be an invaluable tool to help companies screen employees.

          But of course he already HAS access.

          Two years ago, after intense lobbying by FedEx of the Tennessee state legislature, the company was permitted to create a 10-man, state-recognized police force. ...

          . As a recognized police force in Tennessee, it has access to law-enforcement databases. FedEx also has a seat on a regional terrorism task force, overseen by the FBI, which has access to sensitive data regarding terrorist threats....FedEx is the only [private company with a seat on the task force], the FBI says.

          Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

          by Magorn on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:01:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The whole point of "privatization" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Magorn, joanneleon
            wasn't to make more money, but to evade being accountable to the public by hiding activities behind "proprietary interests" and "trade secrets."

            The impetus goes back to a couple of landmark court decisions which said citizens could hold officials accountable not just for malfeasance in office, but for negligence.  Before that, the principle of governmental immunity provided cover for a lot of incompetence, preference, and misfeasance.

            Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

            by hannah on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 02:10:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The case law (0+ / 0-)

          would have to stack up against the "national security" argument.  Not saying you're wrong, just that there is a potential counter-argument.

          lime rick All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom.

          by mspicata on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:27:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  From USA Today (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joanneleon, Daisy Mayhem

          Legal experts said law enforcement agencies would be permitted to use illegally obtained information from private parties without violating the Fourth Amendment's protection against unlawful search and seizure, as long as police did not encourage any crimes to be committed.

          "If law enforcement is encouraging people in the private sector to commit a crime in getting these records that would be problematic," said Mark Levin, a former top Justice Department official under President Reagan. "If, on the other hand, they are asking data brokers if they have any public information on any given phone numbers that should be fine."

          Levin said he nonetheless would have advised federal agents to use the practice only when it was a matter of urgency or national security and otherwise to stick to a legally bulletproof method like subpoenas for everyday cases.

          lime rick All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom.

          by mspicata on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:06:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Pretexting is illegal (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joanneleon, Daisy Mayhem

            Since pretexting is a known form of fraud, this is illegal.  Since the records are obtained by data brokers, using pretexting, and for a price, that means law enforcement is encouraging people in the private sector to commit a crime.

            While a "new" law was passed explicitly outlawing the practice of pretexting to obtain information, it was illegal even before this law as it fits the definition of fraud.  You can not lie to a company, government agency, whatever in order to obtain private information.  It is illegal to misrepresent oneself as another person in order to defraud them or violate their privacy.  This was illegal before and after the new law, and was illegal when the Bush administration did this.

      •  Another way around it has been.... (0+ / 0-)
        having Brits or other nationals at the console to see what what packets get flagged and what words were uttered that trigger data storage.

        "Hey mate, come have a look at what one of your blokes wrote/said."

        BushCo Policy... If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention. -3.25 -2.26

        by Habanero on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 01:19:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Because NSA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Plutonium Page, joanneleon

      Doesn't play well with others and proabably doesn't want to share its toys with the FBI and others.  Never underestimate the power of interdepartmental rivalry

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:50:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Our government, world's biggest pretexter (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, Nightprowlkitty, SherriG

    Obtaining these records under the guise of "terrorist surveillance" would seem a feeble pretext.  The legislation passed earlier this year would apply directly, would it not?

    "When the truth is found to be lies. And all the joy within you dies." Grace Slick, 1966

    -3.88, -5.49 cuz I'm old

    by dhomyak on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:31:50 AM PDT

    •  You're dead on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ybruti, joanneleon, Habanero

      Dhomyak, you accidentally hit the nail on the head when you call the government a "pretexter" and I ask for patience when I explain why.

      Aravosis is a little bit off when he says this is "questionably illegal" as it is actually unquestionably illegal.  The house bill was actually redundant.

      The data brokers that obtain this information lie or use moles inside the phone company to fraudulently obtain these records.  The most common technique is called "pretexting" in which they pretend to be the customer calling up asking for their phone records in order to obtain private information.  

      This is also known as fraud.  It is unquestionably illegal.  Further, knowingly obtaining information from fraud is also fraud.  Any justice department lawyer, FBI agent, etc., who did this should be subject to fraud charges.  Further, a lawyer should be disbarred for paying for information to be fraudulently obtained.  This is a known ethical no-no.  If they knew that the brokers obtained this info by pretexting they are also crooks and should have their licenses revoked.

      So excellent word Dhomyak, but pretexting in this case is even more apt than you think.

  •  Data Theft: Standard Procedure for Bush Admin. (6+ / 0-)

    Dept. of Ag:  "sold" SS Numbers and tax numbers of farmers to some unnamed "contractor".  Call Theresa Lassater at USDA and find out more.

    Lost: 26 million veteran's personnel files.  Lost?  Sure, Phil.  My ass lost.

    Phone records.
    Med records, probably sold or given to insurance companies for preemptive policy canceling.

    Credit card companies sharing info.  How else would we get so damn much junk mail.

    The blame for all this really lies in Congress where the Rubber Stampers and Nutless Dems are in collusion with all the corporate thieves.

    To hell with them all!
    They have more than failed us; they have harmed us.

  •  Our Tax Dollars Hard At Work (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PanzerMensch, Drocket, DonMahoney

    The sad thing is that they're collecting SO MUCH information they'll never be able to week out the wheat from the chaff.

    It'll sit there in boxes in some warehouse until doomsday before anyone gets through it all.

    I'm suddenly picturing that last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    Bloggin' with a bar of soap and my car window IMPEACH -8.75 / -6.10

    by Alegre on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:33:04 AM PDT

    •  Preview (0+ / 0-)

      is my friend...

      Make that weed out rather than week out!

      Bloggin' with a bar of soap and my car window IMPEACH -8.75 / -6.10

      by Alegre on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:33:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just an aside, (0+ / 0-)

        but technically weed still isn't the right term. The wheat and chaff are all parts of the same grain, no weeds involved. So you just want to separate them.

        Not that we all didn't know what you meant, anyway. Now that I've had my pedantic bit for the day, carry on. No offense intended.

    •  Using Tax Dollars to Abet Criminal Activity (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ralfast, Nightprowlkitty

      And no lobbyists involved?

      Way to step it up a notch, Bushie!

    •  the Governmant does not collict it (0+ / 0-)

      They call up the data minning co and ask
      that is why the crongress would not pass the law against the data miners
      now they clame no law broke

      "Whatever is good for the country is good for the Demacrats." Howard Dean****

      by Luetta on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:24:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, I disagree (0+ / 0-)

      The truly sad thing is that they are going to use this information in every possible permutation to deprive us of our constitutional rights to, well, just about everything.  They won't be happy until they have ammunition against every individual and populist movement that could hope to contest their power.

      Nope, that's still not strong enough.  They won't be happy until they have used the ammunition to destroy every individual who does not kowtow to their demands.

      We can survive a terrorist attack or two, or three --  the Russians survived three major invasions over a period of less than one hundred and fifty years.  I'm much more concerned that we will descend into a Thousand Year Reich of our own making.

      Not a flame, I just hate to see people focus on what I believe is the lesser issue -- even when that issue is rhetorically powerful.

  •  Sort of related: (0+ / 0-)

    anybody notice how slowly Kos is loading today--a couple of diaries jump to "internal service error".  Is this the first hint of the telecoms re-tooling for the anti-net-neutrality era?  Or is it just me?

  •  Hello, Arlen Spector! (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, Senator Spector, I mean you.  This is your last opportunity to step up to the plate on this issue.  Demand publicly that the Administration be forthcoming.  Take your Majority Leader to task for failing to allow the legislation to move to the floor.  

    Nancy Pelosi, this is where you demand that House Majority Leader Hastert produce the bill that disappeared.  Harry Reid, this is where you hold Spector's feet to the fire.

    Data brokers?  Are you kidding me?  We PAID outsiders to give us this info?

    lime rick All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom.

    by mspicata on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:33:56 AM PDT

    •  Hello, Everybody! (0+ / 0-)

      This is where Pelosi demands the bill?

      Where was she when it got disappeared? Working with her Republican "opposition" to serve Bush's project to spy on all of us. Including her. While Harry Reid held SPECTRE's hair while he barfed all over us.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:13:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hell, why don't I just (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, Lying eyes, sodalis, SherriG

    give them the money to buy my own phone records ... oh wait ... my taxes pay for this ... never mind.

    •  Where IS the money going?????? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's what is weird about this.  I read this in the StarTrib off an AP report this morning:

      Congressional investigators estimated the U.S. government spent $30 million last year buying personal data from private brokers. But that number likely understates the breadth of transactions, since brokers said they rarely charge law enforcement agencies any price.

      PDJ said it always provided help to police for free. "Agencies from all across the country took advantage of it,'' said PDJ's lawyer, Larry Slade of Los Angeles.

      So if the data mining companies aren't charging for it, where IS that estimated $30M going?

  •  Swarm...Swarm...Swarm... (7+ / 0-)

    Swarm...Citizen journalists.

    What exactly is the relationship between these brokers and the adminstration? BushCo does not casually engage in commerce with folks they don't know. Especially if the business is national security.

    We need to find out who the principals are in these broker firms and what their professional bios are. Are they from Texas? Did they previously work for other defense contractors?

    This doesn't seem like to big a leap considering the business they are in is providing private, ostensiblt secret, data to anyone who will pay for it. Sound like spooks to you?

    •  Wow, this didn't take long. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joanneleon, Luetta, DonMahoney

      The AP story identifies one of the data brokers as PDJ Investigations of Granbury, Texas.

      •  But note the mulitple layers of Cut-outs (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KingOneEye, joanneleon, Luetta, mspicata

        The FBI hires a Coporate Data broker and then Engages in Willful ignorance whether or Notthe Broker should even have any of these records.   The Data broker then Hires the Shady PI's at PDJ to do the acutal snooping, and adopts a "don't ask" policy as to PDJ' data collection method.  The PDJ goes and Hires independant small time PI's and makes them swear "honest injun" that they'll obey the law in obtaining the data, but noting they only get paid if they deliver the goods.

        Then if somebody complains and law enforcement can be persuaded to actually take action, the only person left holding the bag is some schmuck in a sole-proprietor local PI firm who got paid maybe .10 on the dollar the data broker got for the info.  Both the broker and PDJ can then claim they are horrified by his methods, and wash their hands of him  (while not purging the data he got).

        Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

        by Magorn on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:08:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Magorn see above comment (0+ / 0-)

          But the PDJ company is doing it for free, to hear them tell the tale.

          (link in above comment about the monies)

          •  That what I found veerry interesting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            according to the AP article,   Law enforcement groups had spent at least 30 million  on data brokers last year; and yet the article went on to say that PDJ never charge Law Enforcement.   So how big an iceberg is that $30mil the tip of?  

            And why would anyone engaged in a business give their services away for free unless there was some other intangible Quid pro Quo being exchanged   (like NOT being prosecuted under RICO for conspiracy to commit wire fraud {which is what "pretexting" often is})

            Its seems that some of these borker operated in an extremely brazen way without apparent fear of the law:

            Congress subpoenaed thousands of documents from data brokers describing how they collected telephone records by impersonating customers.

            "I was shot down four times," Michele Yontef complained in an e-mail in July 2005 to a colleague. "I keep getting northwestern call center and they just must have had an operator meeting about pretext as every operator is clued in."


            Another company years ago even acknowledged breaking the law.

            "We must break various rules of law in acquiring all the information we achieve for you," Touch Tone Information Inc. of Denver wrote to a law firm in 1998 that was seeking records of calls made on a calling card.

            Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

            by Magorn on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:20:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  It seems strange they would bother to quash (5+ / 0-)

    the bill since Bush has made a strong habit of ignoring bills that do pass via invented technicalities such as the signing letters.

    I think in the long term, if Republicans retain power, we'll see more and more "good" legislation seemingly pass and then simply be ignored.  

  •  There can be no other conclusion. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mad cow, lcbo, SherriG, llbear
    They are using every means that they can find to spy on political opponents.  Plain and simple.  Cheney and Rummy are from the Nixon administration and the only thing they thought was wrong then was getting caught.

    We now know the lengths they will go to in order to create and dominate an imperial legacy and they will use their "tools" to continue to avoid the will of the voting public.  All in the name of greed.  Haliburton contracts up 600% under Bush/Cheney?  Wheres the public outrage and demand for investigations by congress?  Oh yeah, the GOP will forever provide cover and the spying will always turn up some embarassing or critical information to emasculate critics.  Oh and the media has been well trained, thank you.

    If we cannot urged a tidal wave of change this November; I shudder to think what is in store for us down the road in '08.

    He who gives up liberty in exchange for security is deserving of neither

    by joby on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:38:27 AM PDT

    •  Someone upthread asked why they would use (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joby, llbear

      data brokers. I think you've hit the nail on the head.

      They would be able to purchase the exact information they're after, as Aravosis did with Wesley Clark. Just hand the broker a name, some cash and voila!

  •  I remember (0+ / 0-)

    When you warned us about this one afternoon. You were on the fly and you just dropped it on us and soon enough it kinda scrolled on by. About a week later, there was a quickie on morning Edition and then congress was "moving quickly" to address the issue. My mind, and i'm sure millions more, just put that little nugget into storage.
    Thanks for bringing it back. It is outageous beyond the beyond.
    Maybe we should all try to buy some records. Is there a link to one of these companies? Do they have a price chart?

  •  Think WATERGATE, Nixon didn't use cops (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mspicata, StrayCat

    because some honest cop might rat him out, here King Bush avoids any review, WFT are looking for? and who are they listening too, Buchco went outside the system to avoid review and oversight.

  •  Surprised you ask? (0+ / 0-)

    No, but I wish I were.

  •  Calling all 'traditional' conservatives (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is the type of news I like to use as ammunition to call bullshit on my Republican friends who aren't crazy fundies and claim they vote red because they believe in things like fiscal responsibility, and, ahem, a small, nonintrusive federal government.

    Traditional conservatives who claim to stand for these things but continue to vote G.O.P. aren't just kidding themselves - they're also enabling perhaps the most dangerous group in American politics today with their support.

    I believe there is plenty of room in the Democratic party for meaningful discussions on the role, scope, and size of government without compromising our fundamental, Constitutional rights.

    The question is, how do we reach these people who care about such things? It's tough to convince people that the politics of the 21st century are not the same as those of the 20th, and that many, many issues dividing Dems and Reps that were rooted in the New Deal and concepts of big government are all but moot.

    On a side note, it's indescribably infuriating to consider that through our tax dollars, we all paid these shady companies to spy on ourselves.

  •  Whomever pulled the bill, should be (0+ / 0-)

    charged with aiding and abetting.  

    The brokers, no doubt, were laughing at us for making a stink while they were safely nestled in the arms of the government.  

  •  I smell a marketing campaign... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lcbo, StrayCat

    Phone Records Brokers - For when Presidential Signing Statements can't give you enough cover!!!

  •  Typical Transcript (Save BushCo Some Time) (0+ / 0-)
    Below is a typical transcript of my chatting on the phone just to save BushCo some time (I know how timely y'all were with the transcripts prior to 9/11 BTW):

    "Yeah, just got of work... Fucked up place that it is."
    "You know my husband could find you a <BLEEEEE> <silence>"
    "He...ou still..."
    "I think I'm going through a bad cell..."
    "Hang on, I'm almost out of it..."
    "Were you like in a ditch or what?"
    "No, ever since AT&T took over Cingular I've had more dropped calls."
    "Yeah, I know what you mean. What EVER they did has really fucked things up..."

    and so on and so on... Pretty damn boring to tell you the truth.


    P.S. No mention of 9/11 was mentioned in this post... Wait ONLY two times did I mention it....9/11...THREE!

  •  I hope John Laesch hammers Hastert over this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, Luetta, mspicata, llbear

    in his race.  If there is near unanimous support in the house for this bill then Denny "I make money off of earmarks" Hastert has no reason, other than being a Bush lapdog, to hold it up.  That said, Bush would robably issue a signing statement saying that he didn't have to abide by the law and that he could authorize these companies to continue to do what they are doing anyway.    

    Don't be so afraid of dying that you forget to live.

    by LionelEHutz on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:50:46 AM PDT

    •  Good thought (0+ / 0-)

      It's so difficult to keep up with all the crap the GOP Congress is pulling right now.  Perhaps candidates running against incumbents could be part of the solution.  In addition to calling our representatives and Senators, maybe we should be forwarding information to said candidates and asking them to help us work on issues.  It could be beneficial to their campaigns as well.  

      We definitely need all the hands we can find to fight back against all of these things and to get more exposure.  Candidates could possibly get more media attention by grabbing on to some of these issues as well.  This is something to seriously consider, IMO.  

      •  With all that Denny is going to hammered about (0+ / 0-)

        It will be hard for any one overriding issue to be heard.

        But one phrase keeps keeps coming back over and over:

        Where did Denny Hastert go so wrong - and why?

        Amazing that John Laesch is fighting for respect from the Front-Page writers.

        Well, sooner or later.....
        sooner would be better

        Free the Congress - Retire Denny Hastert - donate to, work for, and vote for John Laesch

        by llbear on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:31:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  yay capitalism! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, lcbo, SherriG

    isn't this such a GOoPer way top go? this is the free market meets the lawlessness of the executive branch and the leadership of the majority party in congress.

    what a perfect example of what happens when you let assholes like this run amok.

    who sucks the most here? the executive that wants to snoop without warrants? the shady creeps who sell this stuff? the GOoPer congressional leadership that makes a very public show of passing legislation to make such chicanery illegal and then just makes it "disappear"?

    let's face it, you just can't trust republicans with, well, anything, really, can you?

    "after the Rapture, we get all their shit"

    check out An Angry Yank in Kent. now mostly legible!

    by lipris on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:51:21 AM PDT

  •  The bright side (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is that the ACLU will have an easier time going after the data brokers than after the telecoms.  The data brokers, as we know, are far less regulated, and have significantly less protection under the law than the telecoms.  This just might bust the whole damn thing open.  

    lime rick All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom.

    by mspicata on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 10:51:35 AM PDT

  •  Overwhelming, unanimous support... (6+ / 0-)

    The House bill had overwhelming, unanimous support. The American people were outraged at these gross violations of our privacy. Then the administration put its foot down and squashed all such legislation because it would interfere with their ongoing efforts to bypass the courts and the law in their citizen surveillance programs.

    Twice in two days Kos has reported about something the people clearly communicated to Congress about and the will of the people was ignored and overridden.

    Yesterday we found out about the Dubai ports deal, and today about the ditching of the privacy legislation.

    I'm at a loss.  Call my Congressman and Senators again?  What do we do in cases like this?  We need organizations like the ACLU or think tanks or something to organize efforts to expose and oppose things like this.  I can't keep up with all the things we need to be watching and following up on.  The GOP Congress seems utterly manic in their legislation efforts and it's almost never legislation that benefits the average American.

    Since these organizations don't exist, is there a way to form groups of dkos people to work on specific issues or something?  Does something already exist?  I feel like we're not organized enough to deal with this stuff and it's gotten so bad that it's painful.  They want us to give up.  They want to outrun us.  But we can't let that happen.

  •  This might explain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Luetta, StrayCat

    the rash of "lost" and "stolen" customer data.

    If the government is willing to turn a blind eye to illegal sources, and has lots of money to spend, then it may be purchasing purloined files, thus motivating more disappearances.

  •  Colorado (0+ / 0-)

    I am so NOT surprised to see Colorado on the list. In Denver, the police and FBI were (are?) following people to peaceful protests and other events and writing down license plate #s, looking people up, and starting files. The ACLU sued for us. It had some light shed on it, people were allowed to see the files, and (hahaha) "it stopped." uh huh.

    Seems the Denver police, and Colorado just can't follow the law.

    Crash the Gate!
    Please contribute to Kossack Brian Keeler for NY State Senate. Be the change!

    by OLinda on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:02:41 AM PDT

  •  If this doesn't cause Americans to start... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    calling for Bush's head on a platter then nothing will.

    Let me be the first:

    Give me Bush's head on a platter! Who is with me?!?

    •  Here here... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My head is spinning with all of the loophole jumping W and the Repug congress are doing right now. And Cheney is simply the muscle behind it all. I wonder how many deals he's made with the devil?
      Per the comment downthread, where is my tinfoil hat indeed. Half of me feels like a total paranoiac, that there is no way the government is doing this shit. But they are.
      And where the fuck is the American public?

      Hello? <silence> Anybody out there?
      The US govt is raping your civil rights... //chirp, chirp


      I know we're all making a difference, but what the fuck does it take? //sigh

      Thanks for listening to me vent, y'all.

      -6.50, -6.26 *** Think Globally, Act Locally

      by cgiselle12 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:23:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I choose... (0+ / 0-)


      "[A] 'Sharecropper's Society' [is] precisely where our trade policies, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike, are taking us." - Warren Buffet

      by RichM on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:42:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Will warrants soon be a quaint old-fashioned (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goodasgold, SherriG

    custom?  "Oh, that's so pre-9/11!"

    The ends justify the means, ya know. Terrorism - Boo!

    Tinfoil, please.  

  •  Traitor Democrats (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, Newtown2, goodasgold

    It had unanimous Congressional support. The White House said "boo", and the bill collapsed. Of course all the Republicans controlling the government jumped for Bush.

    But what about the Democrats?

    Maybe they're cut out from controlling what gets voted on. But why not appear on TV complaining? Any Senator can get national TV coverage the same week they call. Any Representative can get local TV coverage in their district. They can all get op-eds published in newspapers. Reid and at least a half-dozen others can get national TV coverage the same day.

    They get free TV time to campaign for reelection by talking about this overwhelmingly popular issue. Instead they just shut up and let us take it.

    Democrats are committed to their easy job blocking real representatives from representing the people.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:09:43 AM PDT

  •  Still unconstitutional.... (0+ / 0-)

    Its called "State Action" since its the goverment that it's exploiting private industry to do it's dirty work. Didn't any of the lawyers in the Bush Admin pass Con Law I/II?

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." Seneca

    by Ralfast on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:11:30 AM PDT

  •  We need Constitutional Amendment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    guaranteeing a right to privacy, seeing as how it's arguable whether such a right exists in the Constitution.

    Pushing for such an amendment this election cycle would be good for Democrats. First, it would energize their own base (much the way anti gay marriage and anti-abortion amendments energize the right). And second, it would put the wingers on the defensive. So far, they've managed to keep their anti-privacy positions secret. But how many would go on the record against an individual's right to privacy?

    When your dream comes true, You're out one dream ~ Nerissa Nields

    by redlami on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:13:35 AM PDT

  •  Cowardly Clones (0+ / 0-)

    This Congress is full of cowardly Republican clones who rubber stamp everything the Bush/Cheney/Rove triumvirate does.  Why not just go home and save everyone the time and money?

  •  Time to Flip This Shit on Them (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndyScott, lcbo, SherriG, llbear
    Somebody with cash needs to pull the records of Abramoff, Hastert and Frist and make them public.

    Evolution is the organizing principle of all known life; Your God is a theory postulated by goatherders before movable type.

    by The Baculum King on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:26:15 AM PDT

  •  It Had to be Said... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SherriG, llbear

    All your privacy are belong to us!

  •  Election slogan: 'It's The Constitution, Stupid!' (0+ / 0-)
    •  when (0+ / 0-)

      Or we could say:

      I know the Constitution. I served with the consitution, the constitution is my friend. You mr. bush, you're no constitution.

      They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety- Ben Franklin

      by JackMcC on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:38:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We could, but....this applies to not only Bush (0+ / 0-)

        but to those traitorous Republican leaders who killed this legislation.  Those bastards, who do they think they are anyway?  Do they really think they are "small government" conservatives?  Here's what they think:  "Lopyalty comes first."  As in, loyalty to the Fuehrer, the hell with those little "people."  We must not let them forget what they did.

  •  What's the problem? (0+ / 0-)

    This is obviously, patriotic capitalism.

    And anyone questioning this practice obviously is a terrurist loving communist.

  •  I called this one (0+ / 0-)

    back when the whole spy game was revealed.  The only way that the phone companies could say they weren't giving data to the government was if they were giving it to a third party who was providing it to the Govt.  A fine use of our taxpayer dollars.  If they were that curious to know how often I order pizza, I could have told them for free.

    Just because you're self-righteous doesn't mean you're not a hypocrite.

    by AMcG826 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:39:11 AM PDT

  •  I love DKos, but I gotta tell ya... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, Kurt Kaletka, SherriG, conguero

    It's almost getting hard to come here.
    Every time I think they can't go any lower, it's like, "Look! We found another rock layer - Let's dig a little deeper!"

    Makes me wanna vomit.

    I belong to the LMTFA wing of the Democratic Party.

    by Sam Loomis on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:39:19 AM PDT

  •  Do they still hate us for our Freedom? (0+ / 0-)

    Now that we don't have any...

    I wonder how this dove-tails into the new credit card legislation.  It seems like the Rubber-Stamp Congress is making it easier to steel one's identity.  That way, DHS (read, Republican political appointees) can just hire some sleazy data company to get all they need on you you and just turn the other way if that data just happens to cost you money.  Looks like we get the goverment we deserve, not the government we want.

    "[A] 'Sharecropper's Society' [is] precisely where our trade policies, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike, are taking us." - Warren Buffet

    by RichM on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:40:29 AM PDT

  •  No Congressional Notification (0+ / 0-)

    The vote to outlaw the practices of these companies was unanimous.  In all of the previous NSA spying battles, the GOP congressional leadership has closed ranks and defended Bush's policies, even when they are illegal.  Put this question to Frist, Hastert, Pat Roberts and the others:   Were you notified as required by law that the Bush Administration was buying these records and had a quid pro quo with these companies?  If you claim you were duly notified, then why did you then vote to make the practice illegal?  They are painted into a corner this one, and they must be held accountable.

    •  you don't get it yet, do you (0+ / 0-)

      If Denny doesn't want it, no one gets it.

      Impeachment begins in the House.

      by raisin on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:48:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh Yes I Do Get 'it' (0+ / 0-)

        In each and every one of the domestic spying bombshell cases so far, the first thing congressional reporters do is ask the "Gang of Eight" if they were properly informed.  Why?  Because if any particular aspect of domestic spying turns out to have been done without telling the Congress, then the Administration is defenseless against the charge that their motivation was political, was corrupt, and had nothing to do with "national security."  The fact that House members voted unanimously to denounce these companies and outlaw their practices (even if Hastert sat on the second bill) means that "Gang of Eight" members have only two possible explanations:

        1. I was informed at the time of the commercialized domestic spying, did not object or protest to the Administration as they informed me of it, but later voted to make it illegal (while telling no one that I had known of it all along); or
        1. The administration never told me, as required by law with all covert national security programs, that the government was getting Americans' private information from these companies illegally.

        #1 looks bad to the point of complete humiliation; #2 is quite definitely grounds for  impeachment.

  •  Question about the American Public (0+ / 0-)

    Instances of blatent disdain for civil rights such as this bring into focus for me what I think is the critical issue....

    At this point - I guess the point of view of the American public towards the Bush Administration breaks down like this:

    1. Those who are appalled by their criminality
    1. Those who willfullly ignore politics so don't know what's going on
    1. Those who either tacitly or openly approve of their criminality (tacit approval would include those who say they 'have faith in the president' and in public proclaim his 'innocence' but in their hearts believe otherwise)

    What I do NOT know is how these groups break down proportionally.

    My great fear is that there may be a LOT more people who approve of this criminal behavior then we may want to believe.

  •  Well, I can only hope... (0+ / 0-)

    ...they're going through the same broker who has been selling my cell phone number to people looking to reach a certain congressman.  (Sadly, my real name is the same as that of one of the dopier Republicans, although he spell his with a "C" instead of a "K".)

    "...the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    by Roddy McCorley on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:51:21 AM PDT

  •  In the crosshairs -- Cleveland Cavaliers player (0+ / 0-)

    Damon Jones.  An obvious terrorist.  We hate him for this freedoms (and his height, and his paycheck).

    lime rick All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom.

    by mspicata on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:53:20 AM PDT

  •  I Thought That... (0+ / 0-)

    As far as I know, doesn't the "Don't Call Registery" support the right of customers not to have their phone numbers recorded by anybody for any purpose, & if that's the case & you're registered with them, then no one is supposed to get your phone number from anyone for any reason.

    Take Care All... PLHeart..

    by PLHeart on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:54:11 AM PDT

    •  Except (0+ / 0-)

      The FBI's top lawyers told agents as early as 2001 they can gather private information about Americans from data brokers, even information gleaned from mortgage applications and credit reports, which normally would be off-limits to the government under the U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act.

      FBI lawyers rationalized that even though data brokers may have obtained financial information, agents could still use the information because brokers were not acting as a consumer-reporting agency but rather as a data warehouse.

      lime rick All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom.

      by mspicata on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:00:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep...I Forgot About Those Pesky... (0+ / 0-)

        What is the FBI going to do with your credit report..>?? Pay your back bills so you can have a better credit rating to buy a house with...??? Frankly I think the FBI has just wasted money spying on American's this way....  

        Take Care All... PLHeart..

        by PLHeart on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:13:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not a legitimate Gov't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, goodasgold

    This mis-administration is not a legitimate Gov't by any stretch of the imagination it is in fact a ruthless crime gang. It accepts no norms other then what it need s at the moment it justifies it's actions by creating phony conditions such as a  forever war against a tactic (the so called War on Terror.) It's only real goal is the accumulation of all the power it can smash and grab. Since nobody is really stading in it's way it will just continue to do this until a crisis arises or it faces having to leave office. The question on everybodies mind is will it leave peacefully? Or, how will it transfer power to it's own gang members preserving a thin veneer of constitutionality?
     The Republic as we've all known it is effectively dead under Bu$hCo.

    "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

    by Blutodog on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 11:54:23 AM PDT

  •  Oh, come on. If you haven't done (0+ / 0-)

    anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. You HAVEN'T done anything wrong, have you? Well, have you? HAVE YOU?

  •  Why is Bush so bent on appointing justices? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pithy Cherub, goodasgold

    Does it really make any difference, since he just ignores what the courts rule anyway?

    A conservative is just a liberal who hasn't needed a second chance yet.

    by Kurt Kaletka on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:02:15 PM PDT

  •  Some props, BTW (0+ / 0-)

    One of the co-authors of the AP piece is our much-maligned friend, John Solomon.

    lime rick All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom.

    by mspicata on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:03:49 PM PDT

  •  Brings a whole new perspective (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to the conservative's constant call for "Privatization" doesn't it?

    'Privatization' is just another word for a feudal economic system, divided into the very, very rich and the rest of us, also known as "the poor."  The change won't happen overnight, but it is coming day by day. Just look at the enormous redistribution of money that has been accomplished through "privatization":

    1.  Remember the savings and loans scandals of the 1980s?  Anyone at all even remember what Savings & Loans were??? (Hint: the place where the working population could go for a mortgage to buy their humble home.)  Billions and billions of bail-outs. Did the rich lose any money?  Not really. Were the Bush's involved? Ask brother Neil.
    1.  Airlines. What a mess that is. Fares were once higher (arguably), but we were also guaranteed service and airline employees had pensions and job security. Who got hurt in deregulation? Smaller to mid-sized airports, airline employees, and more rural areas.  Whose raking it in?  Wall Street backers of mergers and corporate buyouts, arline executives and their lobbyists, large cities.
    1.  Energy/Electricity. Enron. Need I say more.  Enron took from the grandmothers and gave to the very rich.  Just look at the transcripts of their tapes introduced in trials and lawsuits. They KNEW what they were doing and laughed about it. Laughed about it, too. "We blacked out hospitals" hahahaha
    1. 'Security' Companies in Iraqi, aka, Rumsfeld's Mercenaries.  Can do just about anything and everything without any oversight whatsoever, including murder at random.

    And now, in a list too long for me to type right now, we can add our phone records.  Privatization needs to become the ugly code word for Irresponsible.

  •  We need an open thread please! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

    by Kestrel on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:05:36 PM PDT

  •  Signing Statement? (0+ / 0-)

    I don't understand why Bush wouldn't just do a signing statement asserting these laws hold now sway over him.

    More than anything else, this makes me question what his executive branch is really up to and whether it has anything to do with National Security at all.

    I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

    by Tamifah on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:17:03 PM PDT

  •  Read Glenn Greenwald's post on the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Federalist 69 Paper, written by Alexander Hamilton, as he recommended all political reporters do.  Federalist 69 clarifies Bush's rights, which he has severly overstepped, as president.

    The post also contains this quote from one of our favorite Constitution urinator, John Yoo:

    Yoo dismissed Federalist 69 as ``rhetorical excess" that exaggerated the difference between a king and a president.

    "Fed 69 should not be read for more than what it is worth," Yoo, who is now a Berkeley law professor, wrote in an e-mail.

    Arrest that man, too.

  •  FYI (0+ / 0-)

    RELIANT4Data - fax and data monitoring.

    "STAR-GATE" - Intelligent Delivery System

    "ORPHEUS 2.0 SYSTEM" realtime voice authentication"

    BushCo Policy... If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention. -3.25 -2.26

    by Habanero on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 01:11:15 PM PDT

  •  Phone Records (0+ / 0-)

    I suspect the real reason the administration is so secretive about this program is because what they are really watching for is Americans trying to bring to light the huge government cover-up of what really happened on 9/11.  They're looking for critics of the administration.  What happened to Valerie Plame, and what is happening to the Dixie Chicks is just an indication of how far the administration will go to intimidate anyone trying to get out the truth.

  •  It wasn't until I read my congressman's (0+ / 0-)
    letter on the N.S.A. closely that I realized that what he was defending was the Domestic Terrorist Surveillance Program.

    That pretty much explains it.

    Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

    by hannah on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 02:06:50 PM PDT

  •  Those bastards! (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    How low can they go.  Using data mining techniques to try and find the dots to connect in the war on terror.  They actually want to FIND the terrorists that are active Right Here At Home.  It's insanity.  It's unthinkable, I say!

    We need to do something about this immediately, even if it means having a few more 9/11's.  Call your congress critters today!

  •  Freedom/Democracy (0+ / 0-)

    I just returned from a weekend trip to Yorktowne VA. All the congress and administration should take the bus down from the district one day so they can be reminded of what this country fought for 230 plus years ago. They should read the simple yet powerful words of men like Thomas Payne and Patrick Henry and be ashamed of what they have done to this great nation by removing our personal freedoms.

  •  So we add this to the list (0+ / 0-)
    of items we hit the rubber stamp rapeuglicans with from now until the 06 election is over..

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