It is our worst dystopian nightmares made real. It is 1984 in 2013. Our government is behaving in a way that is indistinguishable from the very worst surveillance police states.
Wow, that is some serious hyperbole. Have you actually read 1984? Do you have any idea what it means to live in a totalitarian state like Soviet Russia or even modern China? A police state actually arrests people for what they say. Have you or anyone you know or even read about been arrested for what they've said to anyone anywhere? Even Manning was not arrested for saying something and Snowden is not being chased because of his opinions about the NSA. They were arrested for leaking state secrets - a fact which even they do not dispute.
In Soviet Russia (and even to some degree contemporary Russia), people are arrested for simply speaking out against the government. In China, people are regularly sent to forced labor camps for their political opinions and even their religious affiliation.
If you or I get caught in their dragnet we won't have anything to worry about either because they just do detection
What dragnet? They have no jurisdiction over citizens, and I dare you to find any evidence of anything more than people falsely put on a watch list (which is not maintained by the NSA, but by the DHS). Please provide evidence of these mythical dragnets. And again I emphasize the fact that were the US government to go fascist and actually start rounding people up a la USSR, the constitution and the courts would not help. The NSA is a tool of government, not the government itself. As long as we are vigilant in our oversight - and I stress that I think more oversight and transparency is necessary - we have little to be concerned about.
You are insulting and diminishing the struggles of people in China, Saudia Arabia, Iran, N. Korea, etc etc by claiming that life is the US is even remotely the same as life in those places. It's like saying that the cops busting you for beer in the park is the same thing as people in the south being beaten for speaking out against segregation.
In other words treating people as criminals only after they have done something suspicious.
Actually the definition of a criminal is someone who has been convicted of a crime, so the simple act of surveilling someone does not make them a criminal. But that is just you being a bit confused. My original point was that the idea that no information about a person should be collected until after they have been made the target of an investigation would mean that phone, financial and other transactional records would no longer be kept any longer than the organizations who generate them deem it necessary. Such record keeping is expensive, and there would undoubtedly be cases where actual criminal activity would go unpunished for lack of evidence. Consider the Swiss banks. Do you imagine that their habit of keeping records secret is based on some principle of privacy? No, it is based on the fact that people all over the world are willing to pay a premium to keep their money somewhere that legitimate law enforcement investigations cannot get to them.
Again, the NSA is an intel gathering organization that is charged with determining threats before they occur. Not charging people with crimes after they happen.
Good. Stopping one or two suicide bombers every decade is not worth giving up our privacy from government intrusion. If I had to decide between the terrorists and the NSA I'd choose the terrorists. They are far less harmful to us than than the NSA.
First of all, what makes you think it was "one or two suicide bombers"? Do you have evidence for this? Because the NSA is claiming that they have thwarted more than 300 plots with these programs. They may not possess the unfaltering trust of the people at the moment, but even if that's 10x the actual number, 30 attacks over the past few years would have been devastating to the both the American psyche and its well-being. Consider how much more power would be given to the NSA were that number of plots actually successful. Chilling.
Because freedom from tyranny requires it. Once the government itself becomes the true enemy of its people then I for one will be cheering for the terrorists. Let them blow up the white house and the pentagon. I'd vote for whoever did it.
And the people of the Middle East are very happy with how well Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban have worked out as governing bodies. When fear and intimidation is your only path to support, you cannot abandon that path once you gain power. Have you studied anything at all about how the National Socialists came to power? They blew things up, intimidated people and claimed that once they were in power the abuses would stop. How'd that work out?
Even if the NSA were keeping everyone's emails, how exactly does that make them the enemy of the people? It does go against many of the principles we have considered sacrosanct, especially in the face of actual totalitarian regimes like Soviet Russia and China. But it does not alone make it the enemy. Is it possible that the NSA is actually made up of patriotic well-meaning people who are doing their best to protect the US from the very real and continuing threats it faces? No, probably not because you are immature enough to say things like "...fuck Big Brother and fuck you." That screams "daddy can't tell me what to do anymore", so there is little chance that you can impartially judge any powerful institution.
Evidence? None. I am certain there have been abuses, but the kind of widespread abuses that would justify getting "rid of the NSA entirely or at least disable it during times of peace." And even if we did for some reason shut it down. What would you replace it with? Moreover, how exactly do you define "times of peace"? I understand that we are not at war in the way the Bush administration claimed. But would we have any chance at all of stopping a serious plot against, for example, a major American city without an institution like the NSA? Like Ron Paul, you want to shut the government down without any consideration for what would rise up the vacuum. I suppose since you are ready to root for terrorism, you would have no problem with people killing thousands in a NYC tunnel or a crowed stadium. Perhaps your desire for anarchy is more a function of your hatred for institutions you personally deem to be too powerful than any defensible reasoning.
Monitoring all online forms of communication and cell phones and landlines is just a start.
Did you even read the slide deck Snowden released? The NSA is not monitoring anyone without approval from a judge. Collecting data is not the same thing as monitoring someone. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If a phone call's meta data is stored and no one ever looks at it, does it constitute monitoring? Each question is legitimate and each is open to different interpretations, but you must balance the cost and benefit of such data retention before simply judging it all with the harshest interpretation.
I have lived in Cuba, and I still think the US is somewhat fascist and things are accelerating in a nonlinear fashion toward complete totalitarianism. These new revelations about our 1984-ish surrveillance state is even more evidence that this is so.
Again, opinion is not evidence. I ask again, have you actually read 1984 or are you just imagining it to be whatever you want it to be? If you lived in Cuba, you must have a reasonable sense of why most people living there would prefer the NSA to Castro. The NSA does not round up political enemies and kill them. The NSA does not outlaw political opposition. The NSA is not Castro. You would truly relieve yourself of any credibility if you claim that it is.
Orwell wrote 1984 as a commentary on the nature of Communism in the Soviet Union, and was simply taking what was the current state of affairs in Russia and extrapolating it to its logical conclusion. He was not talking about surveillance alone. He was talking about the way in which a totalitarian regime must maintain complete control over people's lives in order to stay in power. The US needs no such control because people actually want to live the way they do in the US.
The simplest test for this is to ask yourself, "am I at risk for saying what I am saying about the NSA?" You are not. In the state of Oceania, you would be arrested and executed for even thinking that there was something wrong with the government.
Please point out the relevant section of the constitution where it states that only American citizens have human rights and that the US government is free to enslave or murder or otherwise mistreat any non-US citizen simply because they weren't born here. I'll wait.
The 14th Amendment states that the government cannot "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws". That means non-citizens living outside the US do not share that protection except under very specific circumstances. To claim that they do would be to say that people living in another country are subject to US law. Moreover, while there are certain universal rights assigned to "persons" living within the jurisdiction of the US, not all protections are granted in such a broad way. The 14th Amendment states that it prohibits "any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States." This explicitly states that these protections are for US citizens. Please understand that I believe these rights should be universal, but the idea that people living outside the US can plot against it with impunity is absurd. And this begs the question, what court would the US government acquire such rights under the rules of due process? The FISA court. Should it be more open and less of a rubber stamp? Absolutely. But the idea that the US is simply ignoring people's rights is simply wrong.
You really are a shill aren't you? I mean, you actually work for the NSA or some part of public relations responsible for defending them online. This sounds like it comes right out of some internal propaganda sheet. Traitor.
Ignoring the slander for a moment, I would suggest that you reconsider calling anyone who disagrees with your assessment of the situation a traitor. That is exactly what 1984 and a totalitarian state is all about. I find it quite amusing that your big finish involves claims of disloyalty to your cause and accusations of commiserating with the "enemy". You sir are the type of person who the average citizen should be concerned about. You are the definition of a zealot who considers opinion as fact, speculation as truth, and evidence as lies. What was the motto of the Oceanic government? Oh right, it was: Ignorance is strength.