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Senate Committee Votes to Authorize Warrentless Wiretapping 927

Posted by kdawson
from the patriot-act-3 dept.
LividBlivet writes, "The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that not only authorizes, but extends, US warrentless wiretapping. No accountability. No oversight. No definition of 'terrorist.' No record of who voted for what. Great way to devolve a democratic republic into a fascist theocracy. Me worried? Yea." Here is the text of SB2453, the National Security Surveillance Act (PDF). Confusingly, the committee also voted out two other bills, one of which "all but declares the warrantless wiretapping illegal," according to Wired.
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Senate Committee Votes to Authorize Warrentless Wiretapping

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  • Vote! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:06AM (#16103443) Homepage Journal
    I don't know who is more dangerous, the "Islamofascists" who are behind terrorism or the Neocons who are willing and able to give away all of our Constitutional rights and freedoms. The thing that gets me is that I cannot see an endgame to the Neocon strategy as it is based on a continued fear and principals of isolationism. What are they getting out of the deal by giving away our rights?

    Your first chance, should you disagree with these strategies (rights erosion, elimination of civil liberties, etc...etc...etc...) is to exercise your Constitutionally given rights (for now) and vote this November for a change. Elect those individuals that will best represent the people, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at home and abroad. Make these people responsible for what they say and do by linking their jobs to their implemented law and take back your country.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Franio (964631)
      And what do we do when "individuals that will best represent the people, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at home and abroad" are not on the ballot?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Or, what do we do when they are on the ballot, and the people vote for them, but the official election results once again differ wildly from exit poll results, as they hve in every election since 2000?

        Exit polls were the gold standard of election forcasting...until 2000. Funny...that's when all the trouble started, isn't it?
        • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by The AtomicPunk (450829) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:51AM (#16103910)
          I wasn't aware exit polls showed Libertarians winning ...

          Surely you aren't so blind as to think this is a republicrat vs. demopublican issue. They both approved the war, they both approved the patriot act. There's no real dissent, except for a handful of folks -- like Ron Paul (Libertarian in Republican clothing)

          As long as YOU keep voting for either one of the two halves of the dominant party, we're all screwed.

          The "football team" voters that root for "their" team regardless of what they stand for, and rationalize everything their team does, are the real cause of all our problems.

          • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Gulthek (12570) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:13AM (#16104084) Homepage Journal
            Mathematically infeasible. Socially infeasible. Logically tenuous.

            Your position seems based on ideals rather than rationality.

            The "football team" voters that root for "their" team regardless of what they stand for, and rationalize everything their team does, are the real cause of all our problems.


            Retort: the idealistic voters who ignore the fact that we have a two party political system and, instead of choosing the better of the two candidates available, choose to throw their votes away and allow the conservative side to gain a numeric advantage are the real cause of all our (political) problems.

            Note: Neo-Con takeover of the republican party. Salient point: existing parties can be almost completely reformed to new goals and ideals. Conclusion: possible to work within the system to achieve a goal.
            • Re:Vote! (Score:4, Interesting)

              by hal2814 (725639) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:25AM (#16104197)
              "Retort: the idealistic voters who ignore the fact that we have a two party political system and, instead of choosing the better of the two candidates available, choose to throw their votes away and allow the conservative side to gain a numeric advantage are the real cause of all our (political) problems."

              Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

              The problem with choosing the "best" fit is that neither may do a single thing to represent you as a voter. There may be no "best" candidate. Personally, I vote third party as a last resort. By the time I get to that point, either a third party candidate gets my vote or nobody does.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                Actually I will blame you. If you didn't vote for Kerry, you basically elected Bush.

                Libertarian or any other 3rd party is a complete WASTE in a presidential election. I generally favor the ideas of non Dem/GOP candidates as they are more realistic. However, the 3rd party groups need to win some local elections before they can lay any claim to being a superior choice.

                Lets talk when there are more than 30 Libertarians in the House....show the country you actually have convinced some people to vote fo
                • Re:Vote! (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by skadus (821655) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @01:44PM (#16106439) Homepage Journal
                  Actually I will blame you. If you didn't vote for Kerry, you basically elected Bush.

                  I have a friend that says the same thing to me all the time. Like I'm somehow the reason Kerry didn't win. Funny, at the time of the election my parents told me the same thing, only with the names reversed.

                  I didn't like either of them. That's why I voted third-party. Otherwise, I wouldn't have voted at all.

                  Between a Fascist and a Communist I picked neither, and apparently that makes me the bad guy? I may never get my ideal candidate into office, but at least I voted my conscience. Maybe if other people did the same thing there'd be some change in the government.

            • Mathematically infeasible. Socially infeasible. Logically tenuous.

              Only while people like you continue sitting on your arse doing nothing but insisting that the status quo is the best that can be expected. Politics is a participation sport.

              instead of choosing the better of the two candidates available

              You're making the assumption that it matters which of the two main parties you vote for, the policies remain the same. The biggest difference seems to be the way they want to pay for things, either taxation or i

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by .killedkenny (589139)
              One problem with that. Any Dems or Reps listed on the ballot have already sold their souls.

              Don't give me any malarky about voting for the "lesser of two evils". If you do that, you are VOTING FOR EVIL, and you deserve this broken government.
            • by pavon (30274) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:43AM (#16105035)
              First on the issue of throwing votes away. It only takes one vote over 50% to win, so any amount over that is unnecesarry - ie wasted. Therefore, unless the race is close, and you have a chance of casting the deciding vote, then voting for a major party has just as little practical effect on the result of the election as voting for a third party.

              Secondly, if the democrats actually defended civil liberties, then I would start considering the lesser of two evils. But they are just as bad as the republicans when it comes to throwing out our freedoms to appear tough on crime or terrorism. Furthermore the progressives have gotten as bad as the religious right when it comes to forcing everyone to live the way they want them to. The only civil rights issue that the democrats still defend are equal rights for gays, and other minorites. While I give them credit for this, it doesn't matter much if you are systematically eliminating everyone's rights.

              As an aside, you cannot blame liberals voting for third parties for the result of the last presidential election or for democrats poor showing in congress. That is due to more people voting republican, not third party.

              I vote for the candidate I think is best in almost every election. The only time I vote for the lesser of two evils is when all the following are true:
              1. One of the two major candidates really is significantly worse than the other.
              2. the race is close
              3. I am in a swing state/district
              4. The race is close in my state/district

              The last presidential election was the very few times that has happened in many years.

              If the only "realistic option" is to vote for a major party, then we might as well admit that there is no solution to the problems that are facing the country today, because they are the ones who created them and they show no signs of changing track. I don't think that voting third party is a waste, but even if it is, I would rather waste my vote than be complicit in the destruction of our country.
              • by Shajenko42 (627901) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @12:34PM (#16105616)
                Only solution to the spoiler problem is to change to approval voting. That way, those who are worried about "throwing their vote away" will vote for the third party plus their main party choice.

                Approval voting is the least complicated of all the voting systems that gives a fair result. IRV is far too complicated for the type of people who will accidentally vote for Buchanan.

                To implement it, we have to get the local races to use it first. So go to a town hall meeting once in a while and bring up approval voting. It's the only way it will ever happen.
            • Re:Vote! (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:43AM (#16105046)
              While I agree with your point about wasted votes,

              Both bloody parties are OWNED by the powers that be now.

              It doesn't matter which side you vote for except on trivial side issues (like abortion).

              For everything that matters, we have one party, owned by big business and the wealthy.

              The republicans choose from 5 to 7 candidates *chosen* for them.
              The democrats choose from 5 to 7 candidates *chosen* for them.
              Then we all get to vote between the two "candidates" to pick a "winner".

            • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Insightful)

              by legoburner (702695) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @12:53PM (#16105820) Homepage Journal
              Douglas Adams rest in peace.

                        "No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

                        "Odd," said Arthur, "I though you said it was a democracy."

                        "I did," said Ford. "It is."

                        "So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

                        "It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

                        "You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

                        "Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

                        "But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

                        "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"

                        "What?"

                        "I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"

                        "I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."

                        Ford shrugged again.

                        "Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."
        • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by fotbr (855184) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:12AM (#16104077) Journal
          Can't speak for anyone else, but I refuse to talk to exit poll people. My vote is my own damned business. And I've seen many, many people tell the exit pollers to go jump off a cliff (or other not-so-polite words to that effect).

          Maybe I just never understood why, when the exit polls said one thing, and the actual counted results show something else, it MUST be the counted results that were wrong, and not the exit polls that had incomplete data in the first place.

          That said, I'm convinced there were shennanigans from both sides in 2000 and 2004 -- but taking exit polls as fact is fundamentally flawed.
          • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:33AM (#16104273)

            Unless I'm reading it wrong, the parent poster's point is that until 2000, exit polling did jive with the actual result of the election. After 2000, it did not. Regardless of how flawed exit polls are, the dichotomy indicates a problem unless public behavior radically changed (and I don't think it has).

          • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Informative)

            by Catbeller (118204) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:48AM (#16104417) Homepage
            "That said, I'm convinced there were shennanigans from both sides in 2000 and 2004 -- but taking exit polls as fact is fundamentally flawed."

            Statistically, no. They were never flawed. The polls match the vote results, as statisticians know what they are doing, and history backs me up. Not to mention that the elections in Chechnya were anulled and redone because the exit polls didn't match the counts -- and the polls were right, and the votes WERE manipulated in the first election as the second election (far better monitored) changed the results enormously.

            The idea that exit polls are flawed came from the Republicans in 2000 on those talking head shows, trying to explain away the obvious fact that someone rigged the election results in the contested areas, as those were the only places where statistics magically stopped functioning. The networks threw up their hands at their own exit-poll operations, which were fantastically accurate until they hit Florida in 2000, and decided rather than conclude that statistic work and vote counts were fishy, that Republicans were right and statistics somehow didn't work anymore ipso facto. Bullshit, of course. But the Republicans were in power in both the government and their own network boardrooms, and butting heads with them has been shown not to be a good career move.

            So now we don't have exit polls. Hooray! Now there is absolutely NO evidence if someone electronically rigs an election, no backup system as we used to have. Exit poll stats don't match outcome, stats therefore are "flawed", therefore get rid exit polls, end of problem. This is magical thinking, and works well in the US which is a magic-based nation, anyway.

            Exit polls were never "flawed", as their performance has shown for over a decade. Someone has fucked us in the collective asses, and then used the outcome to remove the assfucking detectors.
      • Re:Vote! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by HiroProtagonist (56728) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:20AM (#16103571) Homepage
        Run for office.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Running for office is actualy an option. If there were more candidates who took the platform of representing the younger voters who was actualy one of the younger voters they might have a chance of actualy drawing them out to vote. With the proper support and campaing advertising tapping into that demographic could wield powerful results.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mrchaotica (681592) *

            "Fun" Fact: Public offices have minimum age requirements. For example, you can't be President unless you're at least 35 years old. Therefore, at least in terms of national politics, the scenario you describe can never happen.

    • by knightmad (931578) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:16AM (#16103527)
      From where did this "Islamofascist" expression came? I'm not a native english speaker, and this expression makes absolute no sense, except if I'm missing some context-dependent information that is out there. Islamic theocracy (that is, according to the most distorted views on both sides, the ultimate goal of the islamic terrorism) and fascism are so different concepts that "islamofascism" sounds like an oxymoron.

      I don't know, I'm guessing here, but it sounds like an attempt to label the "other side" fascist, in order to evoke towards them the anti-fascist feelings that survived after the WWII, and also to avoid to be labeled themselves as fascists.

      Anyway, it is a lame expression (meme) and I doubt there is an equivalent for it currently in use in any other country/language.
      • by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:22AM (#16103600) Homepage Journal
        From where did this "Islamofascist" expression came?

        I put the word in quotes for a reason in that the label "Islamofascist" is a marketing term developed by Rove and company to help define who the enemy is in this "Global War on Terrorism", better defined by General Abizaid as "The Long War".

        OT: Abizaid gets it and understands what it is that we are dealing with with radical fundamentalism and is just the sort of person you want in the military.

        • by knightmad (931578) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:46AM (#16103858)
          You know what is sad? Being a Brazilian (and consequently a South American), I've studied (and saw the demise of) the exactly same thing that is happenning now on the U.S.: a mix of fascist and populist government, conducted mostly by the militar and industrial elite. It's all the seventies again, but this time, on North America instead of down South, and without the clear military coup. It is a proven working tactic: unite the people against a common enemy (like Argentina against England over Falklands/Maldivas island) so there is a "us vs. them" feeling, leaving no room to internal dissent, stir passionated nationalism (like Brasil with the Football world cups), use the internal GDP growth as a way to create an illusion of prosperity while, in the reality, the only thing that is growing is a concentration of the wealth (on of the Brasilian military slogans was something like "let's first make the cake grow and later, to share it", what, of course, never happen), institucionalize mistreatment of prisoners (you think CIA is not torturing, well, they taught Latin America dictators the joys of the interrogation tactics in the Escuela de las americas, and they used it gladly against the average joe when they got ride of all dissidents), etc.

          The saddest part is that, at least down here, people took 30 years even to realize what was happenning, and even if the military regimes came down, people in politics are still the same, only changed the party names.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sethg (15187)

            you think CIA is not torturing, well, they taught Latin America dictators the joys of the interrogation tactics in the Escuela de las americas, and they used it gladly against the average joe when they got ride of all dissidents

            As an American, I'm starting to feel like those were the good old days--when US officials were sufficiently embarrassed by torture that they tried not to get the blood directly on their hands.

            And I thank God that Bush is not as smart as, say, Pinochet [wikipedia.org] or Stroessner [wikipedia.org]....

          • by Shawn is an Asshole (845769) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:09AM (#16104637)
            What you posted sounds very much like the lyrics to this Anti-Flag song. It was written soon after 9/11.

            The Anatomy of Your Enemy
            by Anti-Flag on "Mobilize"

            10 easy steps to create an enemy and start a war:
            Listen closely because we will all see this weapon used in our lives.
            It can be used on a society of the most ignorant to the most highly educated.
            We need to see these tactics as a weapon against humanity and not as truth.

            THIS IS HOW TO CREATE AN ENEMY! THIS IS HOW TO START A WAR!
            THIS IS HOW TO CREATE AN ENEMY!

            First step: create the enemy. Sometimes this will be done for you.

            Second step: be sure the enemy you have chosen is nothing like you.
            Find obvious differences like race, language, religion, dietary habits
            fashion. Emphasize that their soldiers are not doing a job,
            they are heartless murderers who enjoy killing.

            Third step: Once these differences are established continue to reinforce them with all disseminated information.

            Fourth step: Have the media broadcast only the ruling party's information
            this can be done through state run media.
            Remember, in times of conflict all for-profit media repeats the ruling party's information, therefore all for-profit media is state-run.

            Fifth step: show this enemy in actions that seem strange, militant, or different.
            Always portray the enemy as non-human, evil, a killing machine.

            THIS IS HOW TO CREATE AN ENEMY. THIS IS HOW TO START A WAR.
            THIS IS HOW TO CREATE AN ENEMY.

            Sixth step: Eliminate opposition to the ruling party.
            Create an "Us versus Them" mentality. Leave no room for opinions in between.
            One that does not support all actions of the ruling party should be considered a traitor.

            Seventh step: Use nationalistic and/or religious symbols and rhetoric to define all actions.
            This can be achieved by slogans such as "freedom loving people versus those who hate freedom."
            This can also be achieved by the use of flags.

            Eighth step: Align all actions with the dominant deity.
            It is very effective to use terms like, "It is god's will" or "god bless our nation."

            Ninth step: Design propaganda to show that your soldiers
            have feelings, hopes, families, and loved ones.
            Make it clear that your soldiers are doing a duty; they do not want or like to kill.

            Tenth step: Create and atmosphere of fear, and instability
            then offer the ruling party as the only solutions to comfort the public's fears.
            Remembering the fear of the unknown is always the strongest fear.

            THIS IS HOW TO CREATE AN ENEMY! THIS IS HOW TO START A WAR!
            THIS IS HOW TO CREATE AN ENEMY!

            We are not countries. We are not nations.(enemy)
            we are not religions. We are not gods. We are not weapons. We are not ammunition.(enemy) We are not killers.We will NOT be tools.

            Mother fuckers
            I will not die
            I will not kill
            I will not be your slave
            I will not fight your battle
            I will not die on your battlefield
            I will not fight for your wealth
            I am not a fighter
            I am a human being

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AndersOSU (873247)
        Actually, a good portion of the islamic fundamentalists should be considered fascists.

        Their stated goal is often times to have a islamic government, like Saudi Arabia, or Iran. I would argue that these are definately fascist governments. Fascists typically are authoritarian (check), highly nationalistic (in an islamic state the nation is suposed to represents the religion - so check), and anti-communist (see the Taliban.)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Darkforge (28199)
          Their stated goal is often times to have a islamic government, like Saudi Arabia, or Iran. I would argue that these are definately fascist governments. Fascists typically are authoritarian (check), highly nationalistic (in an islamic state the nation is suposed to represents the religion - so check), and anti-communist (see the Taliban.)

          Agreed; +1. And don't forget racism! They'd throw every Jew in Israel into ovens, except they can't afford the infrastructure.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jafac (1449)
        It came from far-far-rightwing radio commentator Michael "Savage" Weiner. (yes, his real name is Weiner, but he goes by "Michael Savage".)

        I take it to mean;
        Islamofascism - the religious/cultural/political movement to establish fundamentalist Islamic rule, impose Sharia law, put all women into bhurkas and subject them to; no education, stay at home, and stoning for accused adultery, trading your daughter for a couple of goats, and hanging for accused homosexuals - you know, the whole nightmare story you read
    • Re:Vote! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tgd (2822) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:22AM (#16103593)
      I don't know who is more dangerous

      When is the last time you were directly threatened by a "islamofacist"?

      Yup, me neither.

      Gues we know the answer to that question, then.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IAmTheDave (746256)

        When is the last time you were directly threatened by a "islamofacist"?

        Um... September 11, 2006 [msn.com]. Unless you don't consider that a direct threat to ME, although having been in NYC on THE 9/11, even without a patriotic nod towards "they attacked all of America", I was directly effected by the destruction of the WTCs.

        And being that 9/11/2001 actually happened, the threats of 9/11/2006 shouldn't be taken so lightly.

        That said, I'm appalled by the very foundations of this bill, and Congress's relative us

        • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Tim C (15259) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:10AM (#16104063)
          But yeah, al-q is real, and so were the London, India, USS Cole (sp?), etc. bombings - so not taking threats seriously - and personally - is pretty damned stupid.

          I've lived, studied and worked in London for 13 years now. I was on my way in to work when the bombs went off last year; I walked past police officers leading some rather shocked looking people away from (I assume) a bus. I was here when the IRA were still actively targetting the main land, I was here when some nutter was detonating nail bombs (one in a pub just round the corner from where I worked), I was here when a bus blew up outside the BBC building, etc.

          I guess I must be stupid though, as I certainly don't take the threat personally. Nor do I support some of the more egregious measures that are being taken in the name of the so-called war on terror. I refuse to allow myself to be cowed by the vague threat of being involved in an attack. I have far, far more chance of being killed crossing the road than I do of being blown up.

          Sure, the threat is real, and should be taken seriously. However, it seems to me that a lot of the things that are being done are knee-jerk overreactions that we'll be lucky not to regret in the future. I worry about the sort of world my daughter is going to end up living in, as much for the direction my country seems to be heading in as for the threat of terrorism.
        • Re:Vote! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by demigod (20497) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:27AM (#16104209)
          ...so not taking threats seriously - and personally - is pretty damned stupid.


          Take the threat seriously by all means, but keep it in proportion. I heard the other day that you are more likely to kill yourself than be killed by a terrorist.

          Let's not forget other things more dangerous than terrorism, I'll just list a few.

          • Heart disease
          • Cancer
          • Drunk drivers
          • Not drunk drivers
          • homicide
          • AIDs
          • Firearms
          • ladders
          • Drowning
          • ...
          Fear can lead to the destruction our country. Something terrorist could never accomplish.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Maximilio (969075)
          And being that 9/11/2001 actually happened, the threats of 9/11/2006 shouldn't be taken so lightly.

          You're more at risk of dying of the flu. Get a sense of perspective.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by psykocrime (61037)
        When is the last time you were directly threatened by a "islamofacist"?

        Yup, me neither.

        Gues we know the answer to that question, then.


        Yes, exactly. Statistically speaking, you're more likely to be shot to death by a domestic police officer, than die as the result of a terrorist attack [wired.com]. And many times more likely to die in a car accident or as a result of a fall.

        Terrorism IS a real threat, but if you look at the "big picture" it's hardly a significant one for any given individual. I expect most
        people need
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Epeeist (2682)
      > Neocons who are willing and able to give away all of our your Constitutional rights and freedoms

      Close but not quite, you are missing a "y". Replace "our" by your.

      To quote from one of my favourite books (The Man who was Thursday) "The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly. The rich have always objected to being governed at all".
    • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by daigu (111684) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:34AM (#16103715) Journal
      What are they getting out of the deal by giving away our rights?

      Easy question to answer. More money and more power.

      Make these people responsible for what they say and do...

      The problem with American-style "democracy" is that it is all too easy to control the tyranny of the majority. It is easy to move from tyranny of the majority to simply tyranny. The major problem is not the people in power - they simply exploited the flaws in the system to their advantage. The major problem is that the system can be gamed by profiling voters, media control (did you see that extended ad by the president that he did from the Oval Office a few days ago?) and so forth.

      The sad fact is that despite this administration's incompetence on everything from Iraq to Katrina, it is still going to be a tight race. If the Democrats happen to take back a piece of Congress, they might become a minor thorn - but these guys will never see the jail terms they so richly deserve. Further, they have set the precedent where this will happen again a few presidents from now - and it will likely be even worse.

      So, let's not pretend that voting this November is anything major shall we? Yes, people should vote and we should do what we can to deal with the immediate problem - but it does not solve the bigger issue.

    • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Informative)

      by GogglesPisano (199483) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:35AM (#16103741)

      > What are they getting out of the deal by giving away our rights?

      To quote Orwell's 1984:

      'The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?'
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by slughead (592713)
      I don't know who is more dangerous, the "Islamofascists" who are behind terrorism or the Neocons who are willing and able to give away all of our Constitutional rights and freedoms. The thing that gets me is that I cannot see an endgame to the Neocon strategy as it is based on a continued fear and principals of isolationism. What are they getting out of the deal by giving away our rights?

      That's funny, I could've sworn the USA PATRIOT Act was approved by the senate 98 to 1, with the 98 being almost 50/50 dem
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:07AM (#16103448)
    (Apologies to Jello Biafra)

    Here's a quick rundown of SB 2453:
    1) Repeal the core requirement of FISA that its procedures and the criminal Wiretap Act (Title III) "shall be the exlusive means" for conducting electronic surveillance. The bill essentially makes FISA optional overall, by explicitly deferring to the President's "inherent" constitutional authority instead.

    2) Authorize (but not require) the President to submit the current NSA surveillance program to review and blessing by the FISA courts. This review effectively would be limited to Fourth Amendment issues. The separation-of-powers issues deriving from FISA itself would not be reviewed, because Congress already would have capitulated in Step 1) above.

    3) Refer all third-party court challenges to intelligence-surveillance programs to the FISA courts, instead of the ordinary District Courts such as those of Judge Taylor in Detroit, Judge Lynch in New York or Judge Walker in San Francisco, which now have several cases before them. I am uncertain of what effect this would have on Judge Taylor's case, since she already has ruled against the program and issued an injunction.

    4) Make some fundamental changes to the definitions within FISA, most importantly removing the current provision that makes FISA apply to any intelligence surveillance acquired within the United States, regardless of who the target is. This apparently would have the effect of authorizing warrantless surveillance beyond that now reported to take place under the NSA program.


    More information can be found at Unclaimed Territory [blogspot.com].
  • by Kainaw (676073) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:12AM (#16103491) Homepage Journal
    Going to Thomas - where the REAL text of the bill is located - it clearly requires FISC and Congressional oversight. It does allow for emergency authorization of a wiretap, but not without later Congressional oversight. So, without meeting the narrow definition of an "emergency", these wiretaps have to be authorized by FISC and then go to Congressional oversight. How is that considered "no oversight"?
    • by kevin_conaway (585204) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:26AM (#16103648) Homepage

      See Thomas [loc.gov] for more information.

      Section 7 contains the information about Congressional Oversight

    • by protohiro1 (590732) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:55AM (#16103950) Homepage Journal
      Narrow definition? I have read this bill, and it requires the most minimal oversight I could imagine. The president and attorney general can do WHATEVER they want as long as they sign an avidavit that says that it was important and then inform the congress about it after the fact. There is no teeth to the requirements and nowhere does it say when, if ever, the courts or congress could stop this activity. Ok Shaun, think about this for a minute. Do you really want to give the president and future, possibly democratic, presidents this power? How would you feel about Bill Clinton being able to tap your phone without warrent or court order merely by asserting (not proving or demonstrating) that you were talking to a terrorist?
  • No worries here. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boyfaceddog (788041) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:13AM (#16103508) Journal
    This is just political tactics. These loosers will tack this brick onto some Democratic feel-good bill, like free Housing for All, or National Health Care, or Puppies are Good.. Then the Dems will be forced to kill their own bill and the GOP will tell the world how the Evil Democratic Party (tm) doesn't like National Health Care or poor people or puppies.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:23AM (#16103614)
      These loosers...

      As opposed to tighteners?
    • by QCompson (675963) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:53AM (#16103932)
      This is just political tactics.

      No special tactics are required here. By and large, this isn't framed as an issue of civil liberties, this is framed as an issue of national security. The majority of democrats in the House and Senate are too frightened to be called "weak on national security" to come close to opposing this. The republicans have been extremely successful in narrowing election topics to exactly what they want. The only issue that matters in November? War on terror and national security. Other important issues such as health care, the deficit, education, etc. are barely mentioned if mentioned at all. Iraq is often discussed, but the republicans have been very adept at morphing the war in Iraq into some sort of larger world war against terrorism (and thus any criticism of the war in Iraq is a tacit support for terrorism).

      The democrats will lose once again in November, because they never learn their lesson. Instead of choosing their own political battles, they willingly march right into the trap set up by the republicans. The campaign slogan of, "Look at me! I'm just as tough as that guy when it comes to terrorism! I'm just like him but I have a "D" next to my name!" isn't going to work.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:16AM (#16103528)
    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.


    In case you'd forgotten.
  • Filibuster (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:19AM (#16103557)
    Consider encouraging Democratic (and Republican - though that's unlikely) senators to filibuster this.

    Senator contact list [senate.gov]

    It looks like filibusteris the only realistic option [crooksandliars.com] on this one.

    Oh, and vote however you prefer to end this destruction of personal and public liberties in November. I'd HIGHLY suggest Democratic in most cases this election.

    Ryan Fenton
  • by drewzhrodague (606182) <(ten.eugadorhz) (ta) (werd)> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:21AM (#16103584) Homepage Journal
    Hay, can I have my country back? I didn't sign up to be wiretapped, monitoried, surveiled, folded, spindled, or what have you. And while I'm at it, can I please go to college without having to give up two arms and a kidney?
    • by twifosp (532320) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:04AM (#16104015)
      Uhm, one moemnt please, let me check with our voting population.

      Ok, the two geysers in the back said no.

      The young hipster who listens to NPR said "Leave me alone you facist, I'm trying to protest a highway here".

      The under educated rural American could not be reached for reply. Allthough one of her 7 kids did throw a rock at my car.

      The middle class family I spoke with said, and I quote, "what are you talking about, this is America you left wing commie pinko terrorist supporting liberal". Well, at least the Father did, between commercials of Fox and Friends. The mother had no idea who her senator was, and the kids were trying to talk to me about government responsibility and all kinds of neat stuff, but who cares what they think, they were only 11 and 13. Not old enough to have purchasing power, or vote, so they don't exist.

      Well that's about your voting population. All 15% of em.

      Yea, so your answer is... no.

  • by ChePibe (882378) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:23AM (#16103601)
    No definition of 'terrorist.'

    While I realize the author's complaint regarding the law, it should be noted that the definition of terrorist has changed at least a dozen times since the term was coined in the 1790's - scholars who study terrorism for a living still don't have a working definition of what it means to be a terrorist that is widely accepted, and most books I've seen on the matter take about a chapter to come up with a loose working definition but ultimately apply a "you know it when you see it" approach.

    Defining a term whose meaning moves a great deal - and has strayed so far from its original meaning - is no easy task, and present USG definitions from State and DoD aren't too satisfying either.
  • by MECC (8478) * on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:24AM (#16103629)
    Actually, by declaring 'war on terror' (the pretense for invading Iraq and his mad rush for 'war powers'), GWB has done something that hasn't happened since King Charles I of England started a war with Scotland in 1637 without consulting Parliament. Parliament later didn't give him an army when the Irish rebelled, and in 1649 beheaded Charles.

    GWB is trying to take the country in the direction of Caesar-like rule, in that a leader under the pretense of fighting defending the empire/country could act with total impunity and a complete lack of accountability. He's actively fighting the constitution itself, even though he twice swore to defend it. Separation of powers in a standing government isn't just a hallmark of democracy - its a sign of being a civilized society.

    Also, its one thing to temporarily alter the separation and balance of powers laid out in the US constitution during a time of war - but in this case war has not been declared, and it also a 'war' with absolutely no end in site. As long as there is one terrorist group "plotting and planning", the undeclared war will continue. This is clearly a grab for permanent power, and he's using the pain of 9/11 to do it.

  • The real problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by segfault_0 (181690) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:44AM (#16103822)
    The problem is that Americans are a bunch of pussies now who arent willing to die for real liberty anymore. To keep my freedoms I would be willing to die in a terrorist attack if chance put me in that position and I wouldnt look at it any different than a car wreck or an earthquake. It appears that we've been subdued with digital cable, SUVs and 70$ jeans to the point where we have completely lost our perspective on whats worth something in this life - like fostering a free and fair society for our children. I just hope those of us who agree or sit silent while this occurs realizes its our children that will pay the price - not us.
  • warrAnt not E (Score:3, Informative)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:02AM (#16104002)
    Illiteracy rules Slashdot.
  • by slashbart (316113) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:20AM (#16104142) Homepage
    Hi all

    I am Dutch, used to like the U.S., used to admire the core values that it stood for. I've spent more than a year in the States (in the late eighties), travelled through 35 states, and generally loved it, and its people. There is (used to be?) some kind of optimism, and absence of cynism with Americans, that you don't find in the Netherlands.

    I don't go to the States much anymore, so the only thing I see is the news and sites such as this, but it seems to me that the U.S. has changed terribly for the worse. It seems to be a fear based society by now.

    • The terrorist attacks on 9/11 seem to have given the Bush government the excuse they needed (lets not talk about the conspiracies), but you Americans let Bush get away with it!
    • You have no more job security it seems, which is why you are working way more than pretty much everyone else in the first world.
    • The lawsuit mania makes people scared about taking any risk whatsoever.
    • The corporations get away with breaking the law, and f**ing over their customers.

    The U.S. used to be some kind of example to a lot of Europeans, but these days, not many think that way anymore. Anyway, I'm just rambling all over the place, but I really do hope that Americans change the course their society is heading, because right now the direction seems scary (Heinlein, "if this goes on?")

    good luck, you'll need it

    P.S. I hope Bush leaves at the next elections, but the way he's amending the Constitution, I'm not even sure about that :-(

    • Sigh. Not again (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      Eventually I'm going to either stop responding to these, or just write up and keep a standard response I can post. It saddens me to see Europeans with such strong opinions about the US and so little understanding of it. So I'll do a brief recap:

      1) If you are forming your opinions of the US based off of what you read on Slashdot, please stop. Slashdot is a decent source of Linux tech news but, in case you haven't noticed, rather alarmist and given to poor reporting. If you want a real picture of what's going
  • Nixon/Bush Legacy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:43AM (#16104363) Homepage Journal
    More precise headline: "Senate Committee Republicans Vote to Authorize Warrantless Wiretapping".

    More accurate headline: "Senate Committee Republicans Vote Bush as Emperor Nixon II"

    The FISA law that Bush broke, that his Republican Congress is now scrambling to drop from the laws, was written to outlaw the warrantless wiretapping that Nixon's CIA/NSA abused. Now that Bush is obviously incompetent/malevolent/dangerous, the Republican Party is handing him even more power than Nixon had.

    I note that Bush's father [wikipedia.org] was the chair of the Republican Party during Watergate, then the 1st ambassador to China, then head of the CIA while the Church Committee [wikipedia.org] was detailing Nixon's CIA's abuses. After Bush Sr left the CIA, Congress passed the FISA to stop it from spying on Americans without due process. Now Bush Jr has admitted doing exactly that for the last 5 years.
  • Encrypted!

    Seriously. The only thing that bugs me is I cannot get a good, wireless, portable encryption platform. My GSM cell phone might as well be an open book. Other than that, my SIP communication, and my GPG e-mail should be moderately difficult for the "powers that be" to crack.

    If all communication was encrypted, even if that encryption is breakble, the computational needs of large scale data mining would be impossible. If you need an NSA super computer to crack every e-mail, and it takes 1 hour of processor time per e-mail, you can't very well analyze one billion e-mails a day.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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