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I have to admit that the amount of vitriol leveled at our Democratic Leaders over FISA on Kos yesterday is a bit jarring. It is one thing to dislike this bill as a matter of political principle; it's quite another to stop working for our candidate over what seems to be a trivial issue to me.

It's never been clearly articulated to me how combating telecoms immunity or warrantless overseas wiretapping is consistent with any core Democratic values. It's never been clearly articulated to me why Kos front-pagers spend an inordinate amount of time on an issue that I, a proud liberal, really don't care about.

So here's my reasons why FISA/telecoms immunity never mattered to me and why the controversy is puzzling. I'd like an explanation as to why people are so angry.

Update: I'd like to thank everyone who commented for a spirited discussion and defense of their position. While I remain unconvinced that this is the battle we need to be fighting in the face of the many other calamities and opportunities our country faces, I'm glad people took the time.

  1. Search and seizure requirements, from the beginning of our Republic enforcing customs duties off our coasts, have always had lower thresholds for reasonable action. To quote the unanimous decision in US v. Flores-Montano:

"searches made at the border... are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border."

The executive of a sovereign state has always borne the responsibility to monitor and protect the border - and this includes the electronic border.

  1. Warrentless blanket monitoring of overseas communications is a reasonable and effective means of gathering intelligence - and its the only means of monitoring large amounts of intelligence. The NSA has been rumored to have a project called ECHELON for a decade that hoovers up overseas telecommunications traffic and uses machine learning algorithms (like your spam filter) to try to find relevant conversations for human review. No machine filter is perfect, of course, so a human is going to have to wade through a lot of garbage to find anything useful. Are they expected to get a warrant for every one of those?
  1. Sure, you can say it's fear mongering about terrorism to say any of that traffic belongs to al Qaeda.  Unfortunately for the people who say terrorism is mere fear-mongering, the historical record is against you - and I guarantee you that another terrorist attack would do far more harm to civil liberties in this country than this bill.
  1. The idea of conversations being private in any way is becoming a quickly antiquated notion. The rise of VOIP communications like Skype means that your conversations don't just go through big companies and the government - they go through educational institutions, Silicon Valley non-profits, and any number of entities who log their requests. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy over the internet unless you encrypt your communications.
  1. Since when is demanding judicial wrath for petty crime by people helpless under the circumstances a liberal notion? Sure the executives may not have shown much courage, but at the same time, can't you feel for someone who's never served in government who suddenly has a bunch of suits show up and say "you're doing this in the name of national security, or else?" For that matter, no one has ever clearly articulated to me whether the guys down the food chain - the poor techie who's instructed to coordinate with the Feds, for example, could or should be sued or prosecuted?
  1. How does this have anything to do with (American) liberal values? Sure, we like the Constitution, but we're also for government intervention when it can help people, and that includes national security. We understand that the Constitution is a living document that has to reflect our common values in a time of rapid technological change. We understand that there are nuances to executive power - its not "all good" or "all bad."  It depends on whether that exercise of power produces victims with a clear loss - like detainees in Guantanamo, or civilians in Iraq.
  1. Which brings me to my last point. Show me a victim of warrantless wiretapping that has anything on one of our disabled vets, our minimum wage workers, our suffering immigrants. How is this worth my time and attention as a liberal?

Originally posted to tedit on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 12:41 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Is this worth a tip? Mostly, I'm confused. (4+ / 0-)
      •  Then can you explain to me why? (0+ / 0-)

        Particularly on my last point?

        •  Sure. (19+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure that you understand the issue.  People sued their telecom companies because they believed they were being spied on.  The telecom companies refused to either admit or deny it, claiming instead that they do not have to answer to their customers because whatever they did was at the behest of the gubmint.  Get it, we won't know who the victims are nor what was done to them unless the lawsuits are allowed to proceed.

          •  I understand the current fight... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            steveGA, Yirmiyahu

            what I don't understand is how is this a priority in any way. Tell me why it's more important than so many other things we care about that it deserves this much attention at Kos - there is clearly a liberty issue here. I have no dispute about that. But this is not a life and death issue - like Iraq, or health care, or for that matter education and unemployment.

            •  It may not be a "life or death" issue but it (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Arcparser, WI Dem, brentmack

              certainly is a "quality of life" issue.  Why shouldn't people be able to find out if they have been spied on?  The war will still be going on next week.  

              •  but what if the war is still going on next year (0+ / 0-)

                because Senator Obama took a principled stand that he got hammered on by the right endlessly through the summer that the American public agrees with McCain on?

                I have to admit I'm willing to sacrifice this for a President Obama, and I do worry that it's mutually exclusive.

                •  You already sacrificed rights for the terrorists. (7+ / 0-)

                  Now you are willing to sacrifice even more rights so Obama can win.  As a kid, did you ever have to stand up and defend yourself even when you knew you were going to get your ass kicked?  I don't allow people to roll over me, no matter how big they might be.

                  Republicans don't have 60 votes, and it doesn't seem to bother them one bit.

                  by dkmich on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 02:39:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, I never got my ass kicked (0+ / 0-)

                    despite being pretty scrawny, because I understood that its worth being healthy to fight another day against a fight that not only is worth winning, but that you can win.
                    I have to admit I value my right to universal health care a lot more than my right to call my parents overseas without the government snooping. But that's an individual choice, I'll admit.

                  •  Yep. bushco and the terrorists (0+ / 0-)

                    sure beat the hell out of the 4th amendment. Between the war, the gas prices, the economy, and dissolution of our civil rights, I'd say we gave the terrorists just about all they could have wanted and more. Unbelievable.

                    "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither." - Benjamin Franklin

                    by WI Dem on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 06:20:15 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Lose the constitution and it (16+ / 0-)

              could become a life or death situation to many people.

            •  the rule of law is our bulwark (13+ / 0-)

              against the kind of shit that happens in China and Russia.

              In those countries, the individual is at the mercy of a very powerful state, that can spy on you, lock you up, rob you, seize your home, beat you, and make you disappear.

              That is, if it wants to. It may do all that to you. Or some of it. Or it may do absolutely nothing at all. It's totally arbitrary, depending on the whim of those in power and whether you piss them off.

              In such a state, looking funny at the wrong person could land you in jail. Or in a labor camp. Or dead. Or anything in between.

              The rule of law protected us against that for over two hundred years. Every person--from ordinary working-class people to the president himself--submitted to the impartial judgment of the law. This kept the powerful from exercising their raw power against the weak.

              Now that impartial rule of law is gone. And if it is not restored, we will go the way of those nations which do not honor the impartial rule of law.

              •  The rule of law is only as good... (0+ / 0-)

                as the values of the society from which is sprung. Case in point, the United Kingdom has no written constitution and its Parliament has absolute authority (except to contravene the European convention on human rights, which is relatively recent).

                I think today's decision does reflect the supermajority values in America, for better or for worse.

                •  Not a few people in the UK think it is straying (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  marina, limpidglass, drblack

                  ... in the direction of allowing so much surveillance on ordinary citizens that it is in danger of becoming a police state.

                  The Dutch children's chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen (= “kids for kids”): is a world cultural treasure.

                  by lotlizard on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 03:12:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  This has been a constant worry in the UK (0+ / 0-)

                    for the last three decades or more. And yet, they have universal health care, a reasonable social safety net, and a totally secular government (ironically despite having a state church). I've got to say I would gladly trade a few more (or even a lot more) CCTVs for that, but those are my particular values.

                    My point is that it's not the piece of paper that determines the rule of law - the UK doesn't have a specific Constitution. It's the common values that the people who elect - and pressure - their leaders have.

                •  majority or super majority is not relevant (0+ / 0-)

                  the constitution was set up to protect everyone, especially from the "tyranny of the majority".
                  Just because a 'majority' of the populace agrees to an action does NOT make it morally right or ethical.
                  See Germany circa 1930's.

                  The FISA ruling with it's telecom immunity is an attempt at retro-active legalization of an illegal and un-Constitutional act.

                  I have no objection to tapping communications that begin and end in foreign countries just because they route at some point through an American exchange. But this bill could allow them to tap any call if it is routed through a satellite, or foreign exchange at any point.

                  "George Bush was a mean crook from Texas. He had no friends and nobody in Washington wanted to be seen with him..." HST

                  by vet24 on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 06:10:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Only the supermajority of dollars, not people (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  limpidglass

                  Seriously - ask people - hey, do you mind if the government listens in on your calls, reads your e-mail, and opens you mail?  

                  I don't think you're going to get very positive feedback.

                  The Republicans were right about one thing - The media is irresponsible.

                  by nightsweat on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 06:37:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  A Majorflaw seems to be present (0+ / 0-)

            in your argument.

            It seems to be this diarist and my opinion expressed here that agencies within and outside of the US Government have long had the capacity to run all overseas telephone calls through computers that run programs where key words are searched and if found flagged so humans can listen to the conversation to see if there is reason for concern.

            I have long believed that any telephone conversation is insecure in that you cannot be assured that no one else can listen in. Telephones started with party lines and I have seen crossed lines with conversations from other parties on my lines quite often.

            Every cellular phone conversation is subject to being open to intercept by a number of means - i.e. cloning.
            I doubt there are more than a couple of people who ever say anything over the telephone that they would be afraid of being listened to by others. Those involved in sensitive conversations about business plans go to some lengths to secure their phone lines  using scrambling technology. Drug dealers and criminals could be negatively effected.

            There are 6 billion people on the planet speaking in   6,192 languages. People with secrets to keep who share these secrets over the telephone speak in code. There are billions of telephone conversations every day in these 6,192 languages some using codes and by far the vast majority are boring as hell to anyone who isn't personally involved in the conversation.

            So these overseas conversations are monitored by computers that seek out key words or phrases and when those key words or phrases show up a human being listens to that part of a conversation to see if there is some need to listen to the entire conversation and to investigate further.

            Personally I could care less about that either way.
            I think it is probably terribly ineffective and terribly expensive. I am more concerned  about the expense than the fact that someone being bored to death over my personal phone calls.

            So I see a MAJOR FLAW in your reasoning majorflaw.
            I can't imagine most people in America being particularly upset over their conversations being heard because the computers will never find a word or phrase in my conversations to flag and if they did a human review would quickly ascertain that there is nothing to fear in my call.

            On the other hand if we are spending billions for this call screening I might be upset at the waste of money because I expect that terrorist would be very careful to scramble or code their conversations to make them very hard to catch.

            So what exactly are we fighting for here?
            Not the principal but the PRACTICAL
            We should now withdraw support for Obama because of this?

            I love ENENMY OF THE STATE as a movie and I can get very exercised over my right to privacy in my own home but on this issue the battle is already lost. Agencies of my government and other governments are going to search for terrorist plans any way they can because they don't want another 9.11 on their watch .
            The thing that will stop this phone screening will be a lack of funding.

            Seems to me that the chances of my phone call being listened to is about a billion to one and I don't really care if it is. I imagine most folks feel that way because most of us never say anything that is all that interesting to listen in on and certainly nothing that is a threat to the USA

            Republicans 2 things to offer What to FEAR and Who to BLAME

            by aurabass on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 03:13:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So you are comfortable (4+ / 0-)

              with spying.

              What about the lawyers for detainees, whose conversations are monitored to the point that justice is threatened?

              What about the secrecy our government claims, for virtually everything this administration has done, while they invade every single aspect of its citizens' lives?

              What about the fact that the government has gathered huge databases from commercial sources, banks, etc.? Will you find yourself denied a job, a loan, or clearances for reaso0ns you can't uncover?

              What about the chances of your ending up on a no-fly list, or targeted for extra questioning, like Jesselyn Raddack has been since her work on the John Walker Lindh case?

              IMO, you are too inured to the loss of rights, because it hasn't touched you YET. If we permit the loss of our constitutional rights--and we may already have--it is only a matter of time before you too will be tripped up.

        •  on the last point? We are forbidden from knowing (14+ / 0-)

          who was surveilled in this fashion so you ask something that can not be done.

          Now here is something that I had not put in other responses down thread that should make this important for you:

          By voiding some sections of the fourth amendment, not through a subsequent amendment but rather just by their own whim.. they have violated and in effect rendered invalid the document that they legally derive authority FROM!

          We have passed as a nation from one that HAS a constitution that is the basis of all government and law in this country to one that has rather rule by whim.

      •  That deserves a tip (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drblack
    •  Yes it is and yes you are. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drblack
    •  It is worth it because it strikes at the very (11+ / 0-)

      heart of our government, our liberties and our rights under the constitution.

      And it can affect YOU with nothing more then the wave of a pen.  

      It retroactively protects those who HAVE committed crimes against the people of the United States...

      If you quite simply don't understand that if congress can by fiat violate or render nearly inert the bill of rights; the thing that allows you to speak your mind here or anywhere without fear of retribution... then you are not thinking about this hard enough.

      What does this have to do with "liberal" values?  Nothing, it has to do with American values that go beyond party affiliation or ideological predisposition.

      It is the realization that we as a people can have our protections stripped from us not by amendment but rather by congressional whim.  It is the realization that after today we are not really citizens anymore but subjects.

      I take that part back about liberal values:  Liberals value freedom, and yesterday we all became a lot less free.

    •  NO (6+ / 0-)

      (Assuming this is serious. I no longer have an way to tell at this place.)

      It isn't worth the paper it isn't written on.

      You have bought into the whole Neocon GOP reasoning of if you're not guilty, there's nothing to worry about. And missing the point of the fourth amendment for starters. Like all of them, it never occurs to you that it is just possible that someone, somewhere, might be innocent of whatever bs the autorities decided to steamroll them with.

      Please put yourself in the position. A president Kucinich, Barbara Lee, or melvin is about to press charges. Now do you get it?

      What's so hard about Peace, Love, and Truth and Progress?

      by melvin on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 12:57:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  someone help me out with something (0+ / 0-)

      Though I have a pretty good understanding of this issue, one thing I'm puzzled about is what a lawsuit related to the warrantless wiretapping would look like (in a world where the telecoms weren't granted retroactive immunity).

      What's the cause-of-action in this suit? Is it simply the tort of "invasion of privacy"? It's not a 4th Amendment claim if you're suing the companies. And what would the damages be?

      •  OK, hope this adds some clarity. (7+ / 0-)

        Bushco has effectively shut down every legal challenge that takes violation of the Fourth Amendment or FISA or any other statutory law as its basis, some on grounds of 'state secrets', and in other cases because the plaintiffs could not 'show standing', i.e., specific injury.  Well, how could they, since the entire episode has been shrouded in secrecy by the executive?  (One exception, Brandon Mayfield, through serendipity... but that is a different matter.)

        In the case of the tort suits against the telecoms, the issue of 'standing' is moot.  You make a tort claim, and if your case proceeds, you are also entitled to discovery.  The defendant(s), in order to defend, must address what transpired and present legal justification that overrides the tort claim.

        In this instance, since Bushco has successfully blocked any other avenue of approach, this tort action against the telcos is the only way to ever know the extent of the executive's warrentless spying in violation of law.  NO other action, or even intelligent remediation is even possible without that knowledge... and certainly no way to hold anyone accountable.

        Personally, I think damages are a non-issue.

        Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

        by wgard on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 01:52:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The new FISA does not block this. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          steveGA, LiberalVirginian

          It specifically does not block the current suits against TelCos.

          The current suits are largely based on pre 9/11 offenses.  The (limited) immunity provided by the new FISA covers only post 9/11 and pre current offenses.  The dates specified in FISA could not be better designed to ensure that the current suits can continue.  Some smart staffer worked on that one.

          With other parts of it, Bush is actually more tightly restrained than he was before.  Congress now does not have to ask (beg) the WH for an explanation.  They can get it from the judicial branch.

          It has not yet been challenged in the supreme court which (if properly constituted) would throw it out anyway.  If not for basic constitutional reasons than the fact that it resembles a bill of attainder.

          But all that aside, just read the damn thing, and please tell me how we are actually worse off?   Oh, yes, if the constitution were being followed it needs a lot more discussion but the constitution is not being followed right now.   At least it is a step towards (if not in) the right direction.

          It gives Buch, Cheney, the NeoCons, the TelCos, and the Republicans absolutely nothing.  And boy does it leave us with a lot of options.

          Best Wishes, Demena

          by Demena on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 02:32:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have, as you said... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marina, Clem Yeobright, Dianna

            read 'the damn thing'.  You are correct about the dates referenced in the bill, but you are wrong about them as well.  The period after 9-11 is the one of greatest interest, since there is scant evidence that wholesale intercepts began before then.  By eliminating that window from discovery, it effectively buries the crime.  (Yes, there was some collusion between the telcos and the executive prior to 9/11, but there is, so far as I know, little reason to believe that a vacuum-cleaner approach to intercepts was in effect; what I can find indicates that it was a 'preparatory' phase, the installation of capability, etc.)

            In the combined suit, spearheaded by Hepting vs. AT&T in a class-action suit combining that an 37 other suits, the affidavits of a Mr. Klein are key, Klein being the former AT&T technician who brought to light the cooperation of AT&T with the NSA, most notably in an AT&T switching/routing facility in San Francisco.

            According to Klein's (redacted) affidavit, Klein's first contact with the NSA in regard to the allegations of sweeping illegal intercepts came in 2002!

            So, you see, giving even a 'block if time' from 9/11 in which the telcos have effective immunity means that Klein's affidavit and evidence, as well as other evidence, is no longer admissible in court... yet Klein asserts that he knew of massive communications of intercepts extending beyond that time (the intercept 'room' was not even completed until circa 2003).

            For further information, you can review a reasonably good WaPo article, or Klein's (redacted) affidavit already cited, or even this EFF page.  If you are really interested, there's heaps more background and material available.

            So in short, that portion of the bill that designated the period as defined, "... authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 17, 2007..." effectively eliminates the plaintiff's ability to present what is perhaps the most credible evidence of violation of law.  That is why, in my view, your assertions that:

            It gives Buch, Cheney, the NeoCons, the TelCos, and the Republicans absolutely nothing.  And boy does it leave us with a lot of options.

            are absolutely in contravention to the facts of the matter.

            OMO, mind you.  You made an argument; I think you are dead wrong on this.  Cheers:)

            P.S.  You are correct.  The bill does not specifically block the class-action.  It only demands that, if the violations took place between 11 Sep 2001 and 17 Jan 2007, you may have evidence thereof, but there can be no criminal prosecution nor claim under tort law - effectively silencing existing evidence and blocking discovery, something I feel is absolutely essential for the good of the nation.  I hope you will rethink your position on this:)

            Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

            by wgard on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 04:23:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have rethought (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wgard

              and I apologise.  Grasping at straws perhaps.  Nevertheless there may be some hope.  But obviously not as much as I thought.

              Best Wishes, Demena

              by Demena on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 05:44:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sometimes, (0+ / 0-)

                straws are the only things we can see on the horizon, so we grasp, even if blindly.  And sometimes, straws are the only things we have.  It is not so unique a thing, really.  In the face of this maelstrom called Bushco, we are all grasping at any straw we can find!

                Cheers:)

                Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

                by wgard on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 06:59:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Check out (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard, MichiganGirl

        the EFF repository.

    •  For me, it's a simple matter of fairness. (7+ / 0-)

      Either we are a nation of laws or we aren't.

      Either we all have to follow the rules or none of us should have to and the rulebook ought to be thrown out the window.  

      This bill further cements the continuing trend in our nation that if you're rich enough or know the right people, the rules don't apply to you and you can do whatever the hell you want while never having to worry about any consequences, because consequences are for the serfs; not for important people/corporations like yourself.

      To have one set of rules for the rich and power and have another set of rules for the rest of us is just not right.

      "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

      by MichiganGirl on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 02:07:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nobody is Allowed to Do This (15+ / 0-)

    Show me a victim of warrantless wiretapping

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 12:48:04 AM PDT

  •  It is about the constitution and justice... (9+ / 0-)

    Either you believe in them or you don't.  

    The Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, and was designed as a response to the controversial writs of assistance (a type of general search warrant), which were a significant factor behind the American Revolution. Toward that end, the amendment specifies that judicially sanctioned search and arrest warrants must be supported by probable cause and be limited in scope according to specific information supplied by a person (usually a peace officer) who has sworn by it and is therefore accountable to the issuing court.

    Either they need to follow the law, or they need to be held accountable.  Equal justice under the law means that the law applies to more than suckers and poor, black males.  

    Republicans don't have 60 votes, and it doesn't seem to bother them one bit.

    by dkmich on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 12:49:17 AM PDT

    •  If that's true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raatz

      then why did the Supreme Court rule unanimously that it was legal to search the gas tank of a vehicle crossing the border into the United States with no prior evidence?

      The question I want answered: is the border in of itself probable cause and limited in scope? Clearly, 9 Constitutional scholars thought so.

      •  this allows them to spy upon you in your home (5+ / 0-)

        not at the border coming into the country physically.  It is not so much about the overseas aspects but rather the portions that indemnify them against DOMESTIC spying..

        As in no border was crossed, and they simply bent you over and subjected you to a cavity search without cause.

      •  Well, the question I want answered is: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard, brentmack

        what about sovereign nations within the borders of the US? Is crossing into Indian Country sufficient cause for me to be searched? Because I live in Indian Country, technically not the US, then can my phones be tapped without a warrant? wtf? about the 600 borders inside the US?

      •  They don't search (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brentmack

        gas tanks without suspicion.  Besides, borders are no man's land.  

        Republicans don't have 60 votes, and it doesn't seem to bother them one bit.

        by dkmich on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 01:00:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  you are arguing apples and oranges... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright, lotlizard, brentmack

        the Court case you are citing, US v Flores-Montano, dealt with tangible persons and effects being allowed to cross the border.

        The Government's interest in preventing the entry of unwanted persons and effects is at its zenith at the international border.

        the matter at hand - the FISA bill - is specifically about surveillance - conversations, movements - not tangible items and persons crossing the border.

        gotta find a better case than Flores-Montano to bolster your argument...

        --poligirl

        "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are."

        by poligirl on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 02:04:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd like to say thanks to tedit... (10+ / 0-)

    The reason why we lost on this issue, the reason why this (pretty bad) bill passed the House, is that the vast majority of Americans are in line with tedit's views--what the fuck is FISA?  Who cares?  Constitutional what?  Ah, well, dancing with the stars is on.

    This is a lesson: winning the war of "right v. wrong" is nothing--NOTHING--in comparison to winning the PR war.

    "'Shit' is the tofu of cursing" --David Sedaris

    by LiberalVirginian on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 12:53:29 AM PDT

    •  A simple answer... (0+ / 0-)

      And, Lord knows, I love Al Gore to death...yes, we do live in a world more dangerous than than the Revolutionary War, the Cold War, and World War II (well, maybe on that one).  But historically, yeah, anti-Western terrorism is a pretty goddamned big threat, probably bigger than all those things.  

      That said, this FISA bill sucked (for the most part), but (in my opinion) overblown rhetoric from Gore doesn't answer any questions.

      "'Shit' is the tofu of cursing" --David Sedaris

      by LiberalVirginian on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 01:08:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I respectfully disagree. (8+ / 0-)

        Terrorism is a threat but it has been blown way out of proportion.  Does it really need to be said.  

        We are living in really dark times right now because of the Bush administration and everything surrounding it.  

        Terrorism is a threat but I worry much more about what's happening to our Constitution and our way of life in this country.

        •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brentmack

          The threat of terrorism has been, for explicitly political purposes, been blown way out of proportion by The Republican Party.  We're living in dark times right now in large part because of the Republican Party's power grab and trampling of civil liberties, but if Palm Beach ballots had been printed differently and Al Gore had been President for the last 8 years, we'd still be living in pretty dark times, given the nature of anti-Western terrorism and the democratization of the threat of violence.

          "'Shit' is the tofu of cursing" --David Sedaris

          by LiberalVirginian on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 01:22:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well no, I think Bush has been the primary instig (5+ / 0-)

            ...instigator with respect to the rise in ethnic hatred in the past eight years.  World-wide.

            And elections matter.  Things would definitely NOT be the same if Gore had been elected.  That seems like an old Republican talking point. No, it was Nader who said that wasn't it.

            Gore would have shown respect to people and they wouldn't hate us so much, and vicer versa.  Even Americans are treated like we are some kind of enemy if we disagree with this president.  

            Sorry, don't want to argue but...I just disagree with you and I have insomnia.

            •  Didn't stress the wor "pretty" enough... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              brentmack

              As in, were Gore elected, we'd live in "pretty" dark times--under Bush, we live in extremely dark times.  There's a distinction there that I think matters, a lot: Bush has done so, so, much to increase the threat of cross-border terrorism by doing stupid ass things like invading Iraq and saying torturing random Afghanis with beards is a-okay.

              But "pretty" dark times under Gore--yeah, I believe that.  The availabilty of both weapons of mass destruction and the ability for anti-Western terrorist cells to use our own mobility and freedoms against is far greater now than it was in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War II, the Cold War--even the Clinton-era 90's.  

              I think we're in more agreement than we realize here, in the end.  I probably skew more towards a harder line against anti-Western terrorism than you do, but like most issues discussed among Dems here, I think we're really close to matching views.

              "'Shit' is the tofu of cursing" --David Sedaris

              by LiberalVirginian on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 02:03:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Very well said... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dianna, brentmack
  •  The constitution is what made this country (11+ / 0-)

    great.  It is to our country what the Bible is to Christians and the Koran is to Moslems.  Obama above anyone else should understand the significance of defending the constitution because he was a constitutional scholar.

    Listen to what Jonathon Turley of Georgetown University says about this bill:

    "People need to be very, very much aware of this bill," he charged. "What you're seeing in this bill is an evisceration of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. It is something that allows the President and the government to go into law-abiding homes, on their word alone--their suspicion alone--and to engage in warrantless surveillance."

    "That's what the framers who drafted the Fourth Amendment wanted to prevent."

    I am old enough to remember the Nixon impeachment hearings.  Our country came very close to becoming a military state under that administration.  Many of Nixon's people are key players in the Bush administration, including Dick Cheney.  You have no idea how corrupt these people are and what they are capable of doing.  Perhaps you need to visit a country that lives under a police state to understand why it is so important that we fight with everything we have to protect our constitution. I've visited third world countries, and believe me you don't want to live in one.

    •  Playing Devil's Advocate here... (0+ / 0-)

      But if Turley is right, won't all of this shit be overturned by the Supreme Court anyway?  If it's an evisceeration of the Fourth Amendment, won't the Supreme Court overturn it?

      "'Shit' is the tofu of cursing" --David Sedaris

      by LiberalVirginian on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 01:11:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh yeah... (4+ / 0-)

        That's a great point that I forgot about. The only worry there, as expressed before, is that there's no way to find anyone with standing to actually challenge it in court.

      •  That is the true danger of the neo-cons. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dianna, brentmack, MichiganGirl, poligirl

        They have corrupted some of the courts and the judicial system to protect themselves.

      •  first there has to be cause and a suit... (3+ / 0-)

        by someone with standing... if it's all secret how can someone with standing file suit?

        and the SCOTUS should overturn it if they read their Constitution... but there are 4 of them that believe in the unitary executive and the denial of habeas corpus so even the Supremes can come up short on interpretation... (hell they put W in office...)

        i would dare Scalia - a self proclaimed "strict constructionist" to rule the FISA bill constitutional. the text of the 4th Amendment is pretty explicit.

        --poligirl

        "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are."

        by poligirl on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 02:19:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The issue of standing... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poligirl

          Is pretty damn big here, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around that in terms of future litigation to challenge this bill...

          However (and sorry, I'm in a big Devil's Advocate-y mood tonight) isn't the phrase "there are 4 of them that believe in the unitary executive and the denial of habeas corpus" YOUR constitutional interpretation, not the constitutional interpretaion of the Supreme Court (the only one that matters.  For some reason, I just imagined a 1954 proto-message board where folks worried about Brown v. Board by saying "there are 4 of them that believe in the unitary executive and the denial of the 10th Amendment"

          "'Shit' is the tofu of cursing" --David Sedaris

          by LiberalVirginian on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 02:32:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  actually no... the unitary executive is not... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wgard

            in the constitution and would essentially would be a king; it is one of the ideas/goals espoused by the federalist society 4 of which are or were members...

            on habeas, the Constitution explicitly reads "the Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

            now, we are not being invaded and we are not in rebellion; instead, we are the invaders.

            Anthony Kennedy was right in his writing for the majority that the Constitution is meant to stand even in trying times...

            yet the 4 in the minority thought that excising habeas from the constitution was an ok thing...

            so in fact, while it may be my interpretation, it ain't far off from the majority's thinking either...

            so yes mine, but shared by a majority of the Court... (i can't believe i'm still able to think at this point of night... (it's 4 am)

            --poligirl

            "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are."

            by poligirl on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 03:54:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The president (0+ / 0-)

          has standing.  I was my impression that the President always has standing in any jurisdiction.  It is one of the powers inherent in his job.

          Best Wishes, Demena

          by Demena on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 03:04:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think your argument is worthwhile (5+ / 0-)

    I think that surveillance procedures OUGHT to be a HUGE deal, but I also don't get the outrage over this bill.

    If the concern is over privacy/fourth amendment/warrantless wiretapping, that ship has already sailed.  It's important to remember that the original FISA law was controversial in and of itself, and that the court has largely proved to be a rubber stamp for the administration's surveillance desires.  "Weakening" FISA protections is kind of an oxymoronic statement, since it doesn't offer many protections to begin with.

    If the law is truly unconstitutional, it ought to be overturned by the supreme court.  If you're concerned at judges being given such prerogative to decide on their own if surveillance is justified or not--elect people who will appoint pro-civil rights judges.

    As far as capitulation goes--it's predominately the blue dogs caving on this--the ones that feel it's critical to be able to back up their "national security cred" in the most strident republican-lite way possible.  A lot of them want to try to beat the Republicans at their own game--if an opponent brings up "Dems being soft" they can respond with how they agreed with the "big imporant critical lifesaving FISA bill".  

    The Dem leadership doesn't consider it worthwhile to   break with the blue dogs over this, so they're giving them a pass.  The leadership is picking their battles, also knowing that this bill doesn't substantially (except in rhetoric) change the surveillance situation, and won't have enough time to during Bush's remaining term in office.

    I'm all for putting pressure on Dem leadership to be responsive to OUR interests.  And I agree that, in general, privacy/4th amendment rights are a critical issue to pressure ON.  But I feel we should also try and pick our battles as well.  To the extent we pressure the Dem leadership over every issue that differs from progressive orthodoxy, we dilute our influence.  It's also important not to be narrow-minded or "purity trolls" and be so desiring of rigid adherence to orthodoxy that we alienate representatives who disagree with us on some issues but overall are a net benefit to the progressive cause.

    •  Of course, the immunity provision (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      collidaescope

      is the truly galling issue in this bill, as it advances virtually no one's interests except telecom corporations and sets a dangerous precedent of allowing companies to collaborate with the government knowing they will get a pass if the issue turns out to be illegal.

      But I'm confident that will be nixed, or at least sufficiently neutered that a democratic or sane attorney general could largely override it

      •  Um. No. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        collidaescope

        There is no immunity for pre 9/11 offenses.  You know.  the ones they are being sued for.  I doubt they were worse after 9/11 than before.  This is pretty much a sham immunity.  It counts for little.  The TelCos are still screwed.

        Best Wishes, Demena

        by Demena on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 03:07:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry, but I disagree. (5+ / 0-)

      The fact that this administration declared itself above the law, operated outside the law, then stacked the courts and the judicial system so that they couldn't be held accountable for their crimes should be a big deal to every American.  The dems can't do anything because the neo-cons destroyed the judicial infrastructure.  They have commited many crimes including war crimes, but they will not be prosecuted.  If we allow them to destroy the 4th amendment, then they will find a way to abuse the laws and avoid prosecution.  It is a very big deal.

  •  With all your other examples, we can tell (5+ / 0-)

    You can tell what's on the physical border, and can tell whether a police action is taking place there (or that one is taking place).  With FISA, there's no way to tell any of that.  It's one big "remove oversight and trust us not to abuse it."

    The more people or entities are immune to punishment because someone told them it was OK, the more that someone has power.  If there are no checks on that someone, that someone has too much power.  

    It's not about wiretapping or privacy, it's about evasion of the laws, and as such is a structural threat to our entire government system.  

    "Oaths bind not an ill man. Were I minded to do you ill, then lightestly would I swear any oath you desire, and lightestly in the next moment be forsworn."

    by jbelac on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 01:28:37 AM PDT

  •  This is about the preservation of our system. (8+ / 0-)

    Will we have a tri-branch federal constitutional democratic republic, with a balance of powers and rule of law? Or will we have a pay-to-play police state with an elected tyrant who is above the law? Today, the House voted for the latter.

    I also believe we must impeach Antonin Scalia for protection from his inhumanity.

    by SciVo on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 01:51:24 AM PDT

  •  HERE is why it's so important! (9+ / 0-)

    There are citizens who feel that their constitutional rights were violated by domestic spying. They believe that they have suffered a tangible loss and want redress for that loss AND they want the telecoms to cease and desist. They feel that they have grounds to sue. They want to initiate a suit so that they can subpoena witnesses and to secure court orders for the production of relevant documents which they believe will prove their case.

    So, why such a big deal? Many of those behind the suit are attorneys, representing clients in legal matters, who believe that attorney-client priviledge was violated by eavesdropping. THAT is what the issue is! Does a citizen of The United States have the right to be represented by an attorney without the gubmint having access to all private communications between the defendant and his/her attorney? Does the attorney have the right to communicate with private investigators and potetenial defense witness without the government knowing about it? Does the gubmint have the right to know every detail of the defendants defense strategy long before going to court?

    Here is the really BIG question. How does a citizen have a fair and impartial day in court if the gubmint has access to all of the above mentioned information? How do we dispense justice? How may a ctizen present a case, with a chance of winning it, if the gubmint has access to all defense information BUT the defense doesn't have access to all gubmint information? It is like the cases in the world of sports where there was spying in order to know the opponents signals. Even in sports that's considered a "no no", for obvious reasons!

    Some congressional Democrats have stated that a crongressional grant of immunity to the telecoms doesn't matter because the courts would toss out the cases in question on the basis of insufficient standing on the part of the plaintiffs. So, let the courts do so if that is the case. If the courts are going to do that anyway, then why do we need a grant of immunity from Congress?

    We have seen Bushco usurping the power of the legislative and judicial branches of government. In this case, we are seeing the legislative branch attempting to usurp the power of the judicial branch.

    If YOU ever go on trial in a criminal case, do you want the gubmint having complete information on all aspects of your case before hand in real time? If you file a civil suit, seek redress and seek to put an end to what you contend is criminal activity, do YOU want Congress to grant immunity to the defendants so that you are deprived of your day in court?

    On the other hand, do you believe that Congress would ever trouble itself to enact a LAW, A LAW!, granting YOU, yes, little old YOU, immunity from a civil or criminal suit?

    The FISA issue is about the rule of law. It is about whether or not we are going to have a judicical system which even proposes to offer an even playing field. It is about government directly intruding into the lives of citizens, something, by the way, which conservatives have bitched about for decades! "Less government!" "Less regulation!" "Less intrusive government!"

    So, don't be fooled. The FISA issue really isn't about FISA at all. It is about what kind of justice, or injustice, system we are going to have. The point for those supporting telecom immunity is ultimately to derpive all citizens of the right to a fair trial and the right to redress through the legal system. They are simply coming through the BACK DOOR and dressing the whole thing in a FISA halloween costume.

    •  Thanks for taking the time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      collidaescope

      to write a great explanation.

    •  Bo Jangles (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      collidaescope

      Read the act.  Don't just go by gossip.

      Those suits can and will go straight ahead.  The FISA only covers post 9/11 to the present day.  

      The parts of the bill that affect the 4th are, well, "not good", but they at least get congressional review (with full information).  And the legality of the whole thing can be challenged by Obama after the Supreme Court imbalance has been addressed.

      Not the most desirable course of action, no.  But the constitution is not ruling now.  We can't wave a magic wand and "make it so, Mr Obama".  We have to get from "here" to "there".  It isn't a matter of preserving the constitution so much as getting back to it.  To wade through the mire you are going to have to get both feet in the muck, no choice about it.

      I don't actually see that "our enemies" actually got much out of this when you read it close.

      Best Wishes, Demena

      by Demena on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 03:14:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I DID read it and you are in error, Demena (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        relentless, brentmack

        The error you made is that you are applying part of one section of the bill to all sections of the bill. That's not how it works. Each section has it's own set of stipulations. The section regarding immunity stipulates, in part, the following:

        SEC. 802. PROCEDURES FOR IMPLEMENTING STATUTORY DEFENSES.

        (a) Requirement for Certification- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a civil action may not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court against any person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community, and shall be promptly dismissed, if the Attorney General certifies to the district court of the United States in which such action is pending that--

        (B) the subject of a written request or directive, or a series of written requests or directives, from the Attorney General or the head of an element of the intelligence community (or the deputy of such person) to the electronic communication service provider indicating that the activity was--

        (i) authorized by the President; and

        (ii) determined to be lawful; or

        (5) the person did not provide the alleged assistance.

        So, IF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CERTIFIES THAT spying was authorized by the President AND determined to be lawful then a civil action shall be promptly dismissed. There is NO stipulation in this section of the bill stating that this applies only the period after 9/11/2001. That stipulation DOES apply to another section of the bill which has nothing to do with immunity.

      •  I can't believe you still miss (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brentmack

        the salient facts and so misinterpret them!  

        Please read responses to your previous post(s).  Then make the argument you just offered, for it is, both effectively and in fact, simply incorrect.

        Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

        by wgard on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 05:34:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  At last some facts emerge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    collidaescope

    I now have some clue as to what this FISA thing is thanks to this diary. The bill is about national sovereign security, apparently, and thus important to pass as Obama said, to paraphrase him.The compromise in passing the bill (involving some sort of immunity)does not please Obama and of course a bunch of other 'upset' people. The Congress is of course a democratic institution which means that the members don't always agree on everything unanimously and naturally to pass bills there has to be... Compromise! That vexed word again! So why are people so upset that the Democrats compromised in order to pass a bill? To paraphrase another intellegent person, I can't remember who, you can't have compromise unless there are some compromises.And if you don't compromise you can't pass bills and possibly you can't solve problems you wanted to solve. Well that's all folks. Let's hope someone eventually gives us some education on what this bill is in fact all about and why it is so important to everybody that Obama doesn't compromise on it absolutely....While at it you might want to appraise us on what the alternative to compromising is in a democratic context.

    •  We are upset because... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      relentless, brentmack

      ...this bill DOES provide immunity to those who would be defendants in civil cases concerning events PRIOR TO 9/11/2001 AND the effects on the judicial system, which I previously mentioned, WILL take effect. To repeat, the immunity section of the bill reads, in  part, as follows:

      SEC. 802. PROCEDURES FOR IMPLEMENTING STATUTORY DEFENSES.

      (a) Requirement for Certification- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a civil action may not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court against any person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community, and shall be promptly dismissed, if the Attorney General certifies to the district court of the United States in which such action is pending that--

      (B) the subject of a written request or directive, or a series of written requests or directives, from the Attorney General or the head of an element of the intelligence community (or the deputy of such person) to the electronic communication service provider indicating that the activity was--

      (i) authorized by the President; and

      (ii) determined to be lawful; or

      (5) the person did not provide the alleged assistance.

      This means that, even if the alleged action happened prior to 9/11/2001, that if the Attorney General merely certifies that there was a written request from the AG himself OR "the head of an element of the intelligence community" indicating that the action was authorized by Bush and determined to be lawful that civil cases "shall be promptly dismissed".

  •  You're most welcome, tedit! n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  I just wanted to point out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WI Dem, tedit

    , in regards to point 4, that SKYPE and other VoIP programs make it HARDER for the government to tap communications. They send the data in packets that are scrambled and encoded in some pretty rugged stuff, as opposed to simply tapping in to a phone line or raiding an email server. It is a much more time consuming process and a much surer way of protecting the privacy of your conversations, which is why there is much hand wringing in the CIA about making VoIP share their encoding software and allow the government to unscramble calls easily enough to make it a reliable source of information.

    So, the current bill exerts even more pressure on companies like SKYPE that want to preserve their customers privacy. One small reason to care, the government wants to make companies MORE unscrupulous and LESS responsible to their customers.

    •  so the cynical part of me... (0+ / 0-)

      thinks that the semi-public handwringing over VOIP is a trap - they don't want to play their hand that they can plausibly reassemble the packets because that would just spur people (or even worse, Skype) to use encryption by default.

    •  Hmmmm... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brentmack

      No conspiracy theory here, but if you actually believe Skype encryption or VoIP in general poses much of a problem for the NSA, then I definitely have a bridge to sell you!  (It is named - 'The Bridge To Nowhere'.)

      Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

      by wgard on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 05:40:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I dont mean that they can't crack it (0+ / 0-)

        I am just saying that it requires a much more timely process, and is not a process undertaken without real reason to devote the extra resources necessary. It just adds one more step between Big Brother/whimsical monitoring and pragmatic targeted monitoring, which should the point of surveillance in the first place.

  •  I despise people who don't support Freedom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brentmack

    Freedom is it.  Are you a slave or are you Free?
      American Freedom has never been ideal,but instead of becoming a country of more Freedom the USA is slowly becoming a less Free and more Authoritarian country.
      People who think this FISA thing is unimportant or who don't get it either haven't read the bill in its entirety, Don't care about Freedom or are republican Conservatives.
      Freedom is the key to prosperity and happiness and self respect.
     The Founders got this.  Read the Declaration Of Independence.  If you read that and reflect on it and read the FISA bill and still don't get it you are probably in the wrong country.
      The Constitution is THE American value.  When the Constitution is  weakened, so is the USA.
      Check out China,Zimbabwe,The former USSR,and think about what happens to people who don't toe the line.
       Those who control the Information control everything.

    There is nothing Mainstream about the Corporate media.

    by drblack on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 04:43:08 AM PDT

  •  It is a big deal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brentmack

    the way I understand it for two reasons.

    Conceptually, it is disturbing that the 105 Democrats who caved were still so suseptible to Bush's fear mongering and "post 9/11" demagoguery as to be more concerned about how they're perceived vis a vis the "Global War on Terror" as opposed to Constitutional rights.  Their being manipulated and bullied by the Bush administration, for whatever reasons which will remain secret no doubt, is quite revealing.  The threat of not having "private" phone conversations is perhaps, as the diarist suggests, mundane compared to the blanket immunity given the telcoms (and thus by extension to Bush)for past crimes during his illegal wiretapping program. In other words, it exemplifies another instance of the Legislative branch ceding power (and our rights) to the "Unitary Executive" who wishes he were dictator.

    Practically, this isn't just about phone taps.  These telecoms provided private information on their customers to the Government (NSA) for uploading into NSA servers.  So, for instance, John Doe's information including phone number, wireless number, email accounts, ISP information--anything else I leave out here--are now part of the NSA database.

    "So what?", you say, "I'll never say anything over the phone in an overseas conversation regarding terrorism, so I have no worries."  

    But you may say something over the phone to somebody (domestically, sure, what's to stop them?) about globalization or global warming or class warfare or deforestation.  you might express something supportive of environmental activists battling corporate greed, and then you're pinged for a "domestic terrorist" and they have your name, address, cell phone number (and GPS coordinates), they know you're a "rabid" Leftist who comments and traffics at DKos and other "terrorist loving" websites.

    So, IF bush decided that "fuggit Congress hasn't figured out anyway to slow me down yet, so why should i leave this cushy job just because the Constitution that I've basically shredded the last 7 years says I have to?" and Blackwell started rounding up "domestic terrorists" into those nice detention centers they've already built around the country, they'll know exactly where to find you won't they?

    Paranoid?  Worrying about nothing?  Or facing reality?  First caller . . .

  •  Are ALL COMMUNICATIONS routed overseas ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brentmack

    Give this a read:

    Are ALL COMMUNICATIONS routed overseas to circumvent US law and the Constitution?

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    All this seems to be happening in a black hole of facts.

    Do any of the Dems who voted yesterday even know what was/is going on?  Does Obama have a clue about what Bush has done illegally?  What will their actions on this bill look like if the facts ever come to light?

  •  Jesus H Christ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WI Dem, brentmack

    the Bill of Rights is not worth your time and attention as a liberal? Maybe you should re-evaluate that self-designation. Nice for you that you don't care that your rights are being destroyed. I hope it helps you sleep at night. This post is so chock full of idiocy that I don't know where to begin.

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 06:12:14 AM PDT

    •  Here is the pertinent text (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WI Dem, brentmack

      from a document called "The Constitution", this is what is known as "The Fourth Ammendment", maybe you've heard of it.

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      sheesh.

      Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

      by hazzcon on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 06:17:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You have convinced me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brentmack

    that we need to stop spying without a warrent. The laws should be tight on what a warrent is issued for.

    There are too many people of bad character that can take advantage of spying on others.

    They can spy on political foes, enemies and protesters, plus get inside business info and other things that could lead to blackmail if they don't have to justify what they are doing to apply for a warrent.

    They have destroyed our financial systems and done their best to ruin everything that was good about this country.  Destroying the constitution is just one part of what they are doing.  They want one world with them ruling and they don't want America getting in the way.

  •  Don't need to spy illegally to keep us safe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brentmack

    The fact is we do not need to illegally spy on anyone to keep us safe. All this we need FISA to keep us safe is bullsh*t. John Edwards wrote an editorial in July of 2001 warning us of a possible terrorist attack. He was on the intelligence committee or some committee with the information. Rice admitted under oath that she saw a memo in August of 2001 which said Al Qaeda to strike U.S. using airplanes. Bush had the memo sitting on his desk in Crawford in August. Clearly some people in the Bush administration and the FBI knew that Al Qaeda was going to attack the U.S. using airplanes. Of course, they had no clue that it would be Sept. 11th but the information was clearly there. Several FBI agents knew that some Al Qaeda members were taking flight lessons and was investigating. My whole point is that all the information was there about 9/11. The problem was that the FBI agents did not share the information with others in the agency. It was more of a structure problem than not having the information. The FBI or the Bush admin. did not take the necessary precautions. All this information they had on the attacks existed before FISA and before illegally spying on people. If we want to prevent another attack, we need to look at th structure problems of the FBI and why Bush and Rice ignore the memo. We do not need to illegally spy on people to prevent another attack.

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