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Americans Not Bothered by NSA Spying 1322

Snap E Tom writes "According to a Washington Post poll, a majority (63%) of Americans 'said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism.' A slightly higher majority would not be bothered if the NSA collected personal calls that they made. Even though the program has received bi-partisan criticism from Congress, it appears that the public values security over privacy."
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Americans Not Bothered by NSA Spying

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  • The problem is... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Peter Trepan ( 572016 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @10:36AM (#15317317) getting the government they deserve.
  • by Alpha27 ( 211269 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @10:38AM (#15317345)
    They are not all of Americans. They are those Americans who read their paper. Come on seriously now. 63% is a high number of people who would agree to this. I see this number being more representative of higher-middle class conservative individuals.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @10:38AM (#15317346)
    If you can pass a law successfully then its "right"?

    Are you seriously incapable of making up your own mind about whether this is right or wrong? You need congress to do your thinking for you?

    I despair of americans, the sooner your empire crumbles the better.
  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Friday May 12, 2006 @10:38AM (#15317355)

    At this point, the current administration has basically said (without using so many words) that they are above the law.

    I agree with your entire post except the part above within the parentheses. Since taking office in 2001, President Bush has issued signing statements [] on more than 750 new laws, declaring that he has the power to set aside the laws when they conflict with his legal interpretation of the Constitution.

    This is by very definition holding yourself 'above the law'.
  • Re:Yay! For the USA! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @10:40AM (#15317368)
    Franklin also said "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." []

  • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @10:47AM (#15317463)
    We're talking about Americans here. They're much better at rhetoric about how great and free they are than actually getting upset when their leaders turn out to be blatantly trampling rights enshrined in the constitution.

    No, they're much better at using pundits on TV to bitch at the administration for not "connecting the dots" about people sitting in the country gearing up to kill a few thousand people, and using phones to chat with each other, keep their finances flowing, call their flight schools after getting off the phone with their buddy in Jordan (who just talked to his buddy in Germany, who earlier that day was talking to his buddy in Boston about renting that car that they left in the parking lot when they got on the plane).

    People watch endless news and popular entertainment that involves cross referencing dumped telco records to see who someone talked to, the better to bust up a criminal relationship or follow some other money trail. Of course it's a lot harder when you have to dig up disparate data from multiple providers, but it's there, whenever prosecutors need it - always has been. The difference, right now, is that when some twit in, say, Madrid, decides to blow up his apartment rather than be caught... and one of the scraps of paper left over includes a phone number assigned to disposable phone bought near the Mexico border... well, there's a certain amount of urgency in having a quick way to at least see if there's a red-hot pattern of calls swirling around the related numbers.

    I'm all for the privacy that requires judicial oversight on doing anything with that information. But what I don't want to hear is a bunch of witless complaining (from the same "We're talking about Americans here") about how the FBI (on Bush's watch! that lazy bastard!) didn't see an attack, an arms shipment, etc., coming ... just like on 9/11! Because the phone records are going to be there. After-the-fact quarterbacking is always going to show that there were obvious signs of coordination between the groups of people it takes import/export mayhem. Pattern detection is a pretty damn obvious tool - it's what you DO with it that matters. I wonder how the people who bitch about this feel about the cops they're driving next to surfing their license plate numbers on their dash-mounted laptops in traffic. You know - the people that say that's intrusive, and then shout scathing complaints when they hear that someone wanted for something heinous has been driving through toll booths every day for a year.

    Can't have it both ways, and while I'm inclined to err on the side of collecting and only judiciously (and judicially) using information, I'm really dis-inclined to later agree with anyone who complains that law enformcement didn't do enough to stop something that's otherise only obvious after the fact.
  • by TheConfusedOne ( 442158 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {eno.desufnoc.eht}> on Friday May 12, 2006 @10:49AM (#15317488) Journal
    You realize that the phone companies are already collecting all of this information in order to produce your phone bill?

    Do you further realize that the phone companies share this information with their business partners and use it internally to try to upsell you phone and related services?

    So is it worse that the NSA does this or that big business does it?
  • by fingusernames ( 695699 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @10:53AM (#15317531) Homepage
    I have heard this 'above the law' bit a lot. However, it seems rather shrill.

    At one time, Congress declared that the Supreme Court could not strike down acts of Congress. Yet the Supreme Court seized that power. Marbury. At one time, Congress was unable to do a great deal of what it does today, yet its power has expanded through seizure and through jurisprudence, not amendment. Our legal history is rife with seminal moments, recognized by name, when once branch of government accumulated additional authority it wasn't previously considered to have.

    What the President is doing is promoting a view of Presidential authority that has waxed and waned throughout our history. I am sympathetic to some of the view. The President is not a Prime Minister. The Presidency is a co-equal branch of government, with inherent powers that were not created by the Congress, and that cannot be constrained by the Congress. The extent of those powers is the question. The President, obviously, wants to maximize his inherent powers to act decisively and rapidly without legislative action. Congress wants to maximize its power to define what is and is not legal. The Supremes want to maximize their power of review, and the further we get from 1937 the more comfortable they are reclaiming it.

    People should realize that the Presidency has given up a lot of its powers in the latter 20th century, and its going to start reclaiming them. The Supremes gave up a lot throughout the 20th century, and they too are reclaiming them. Those accustomed to the Congress being the more-equal among equals won't like it.

    The current "negotiation" among the branches of government over power seems ominous and terrible and unprecedented to many today because they didn't live through the numerous prior precedents, or, less nobly, because they are blinded by partisanship. The President will over-reach, Congress will express holy indignation, the President will retreat to a lesser, but still greater than before, position, and the Supremes will eventually mediate it all when it reaches them in due course, after the furor and passion has died down.

    Its the way our system works. People shouldn't get their panties all in a bunch. As there always are, there will be elections, and the people will have their say. Bush will be out of office. He won't become a dictator calling for a referendum on whether "Bush should be president" until 2031. He's no Caesar. The American legal system will keep moving along, constantly evolving and changing shape in fits and starts.

  • Re:Yay! For the USA! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @10:58AM (#15317589)
    what is the point of privacy (and if this is true, they are just collecting anonymous data) if you are dead.

    1) "If this is true"... why do you even assume it's true? We've gone from "Oh, we're not spying on americans at all!" to "Oh, we're only spying as permitted by FISA!" to "Fuck FISA, we don't need no stinkin' warrants! But we're only spying on international calls, which wouldn't have required a warrant anyway!" to "Ok, we admit it. We're spying on everyone. But it's anonymous, so theres nothing to worry about!" ... and all in the matter of a year or so? Is your memory that short or are you just in the market for some bridges?

    2) How does spying on me save anyone's life? How many hours of wiretap was the government behind on processing when 9/11 happened? How many hours are they behind now? If they're going to waste my tax money on stupid shit like this, they're going to have to do better than hold random people without charge for years calling them "dangerous terrorists" before finally charging them with an everyday conspiracy to commit murder charge.
  • Not upset? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Net_fiend ( 811742 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:03AM (#15317651)
    Eh? There are plenty of pissed off people in this country. The problem is that the news doesn't really report about it that much. As its been breaking new-er news basically every other day; in regards to our government. The problem is that our government seems to like sweeping our complaints under the carpet and whistling while they work.

    Its my opinion all 3 branches need to be completely cleaned out and new people voted into place; with exception to the offices that are appointed. The problem is that the majority of voters (that actually vote) are a bunch of sheep and believe most of what they see on tv.

    I will admit that I voted for Bush. Would I have changed my vote? no. And the reason being that Kerry (imo) didn't give me a good reason for voting for him. Had the dems run someone more able than Kerry I would have probably voted a different way. Most of my concerns don't really involve Bush anyways. He doesn't control how Congress works. The House and Senate are the main people I have gripes. In the end they are the ones who vote on the different bills being passed. Even if Bush vetos the House can override.
  • Re:Of course. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sj0 ( 472011 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:05AM (#15317675) Journal
    If you're referring to 9/11, I think the problem people have is that intelligence gathering services DID their job, and discovered what was going to happen, and reported it to the higher ups, and the higher ups ignored it.

    That fact, combined with the massive vacations of a certain sitting president, and a certain video of "My Pet Goat" taking precidence over jetliners running into skyscrapers, certainly should give anybody a moments pause.

    However, that's a red herring beyond the scope of the current discussion.

    To be frank, I'm disgusted by the entire western world for acting like such cowards during all of this. Terrorists are nothing. They're lamentable human trash with next to no resources and a whole lot of anger. Big deal. We deal with religious wackjobs on a daily basis. Treating these guys like they're special, and more importantly, fearing these guys like they're special, is to fail. They're not special, nor are they particularly impressive. The only thing they can actually do to us is scare us, and if we're afraid, then they've won and we've lost.
  • not even a joke (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:06AM (#15317689)
    This guy [] was shipped off to Syria by the US government and tortured. And here is their justification:

    "The Syrians believed that Arar might be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Why? Because a cousin of his mother's had been, nine years earlier, long after Arar moved to Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported that the lease on Arar's apartment had been witnessed by a Syrian-born Canadian who was believed to know an Egyptian Canadian whose brother was allegedly mentioned in an al Qaeda document." (quote from a this SFGate story []).
  • Re:Done by Phone?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ( 121677 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:08AM (#15317710) Homepage
    Exactly. On top of that, the only people who have the time and desire to sit there and talk to unsolicited phone callers are insane.

    How many people can you easily imagine telling unsolicited phone callers to piss off, or saying they just don't have time to talk to this unscheduled caller? A lot, I'm guessing. People who have nothing better to do or even weirder yet enjoy taking polls are not an accurate representation of the general population.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:15AM (#15317798) Homepage
    This is by design. From the beginning of public training (education) we're not taught anything but conformity, compliance and propaganda. It is extremely rare when anything is new, original or inspired any more. Asking children why we're in Iraq yeilds short answers like "freedom" and "democracy." Adults speak the same way. Most people would see that as a sign of brainwashing.

    The public at large is half-asleep. We're annoyed by higher gas prices... it's waking some of us up, but still most are content simply by complaining and comiserating as an outlet... takes too much effort to actually DO anything. There will come a tipping point and I have to wonder if "they" are smart enough to stop before it reaches that point or if the backlash from the public will be a total surprise?
  • by fingusernames ( 695699 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:17AM (#15317818) Homepage
    Um, double major here, history, focus on American Constitutional Legal Development and Roman history. So I do admit that I see our legal history through a lens influenced by the Roman Republic and some by the later Empire.

    The President in our system of government has inherent powers that he can exercise without any authorization from Congress. Those powers are inherent in his office, and they are inherent in the power to execute law. The question is, has always been, and always will be the extent. The Constitution is hailed as a flexible document -- that flexibility provides for these arguments. We have had these arguments for a long time. See Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison. So long as our Constitution remains a flexible, minimal document, we will continue to do so, and this will continue to be a natural part of our legal system and its constant evolution. It's a lot more complex than what your grade school teacher taught you.

  • Eat Cake (Score:4, Interesting)

    by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:18AM (#15317827)
    The masses almost always value security over freedom until they have so little of either a revolution is born.

    Now you're starting to sound like the founding fathers. Untenable aristocracy always has this fear, always afraid of that revolution, always chipping away at the freedom of the unwashed masses in order to abate it, yet always painfully aware that it will ultimately be their undoing.
  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:21AM (#15317865) Homepage Journal
    In your example, there is already a perfectly functional system in place for dealing with a murderer in your house - calling the police and getting the blue hell out of there. I doubt hanging around for several hours installing cameras or picking your nose will do much for you, unless perhaps he or she is kind enough to hold the ladder steady, or loan you a handkerchief.

    If the murderer isn't there now but the police say one might show up at some point today, are you still as willing to surrender your privacy? How about at some point within the month? Or possibly during the next several years? And just how reliable is their evidence for this hypothesis?

  • Spying? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:22AM (#15317869) Homepage Journal
    Even though the program has received bi-partisan criticism from Congress, it appears that the public values security over privacy.
    No, it's because assembling connection data from phone company records (which they already keep for obvious billing and customer service reasons) is data mining and not SPYING. In fact, this sort of data mining already has support in judicial precedent. If you're worried about the government actually LISTENING on your calls, then you're a little late because Echelon was implemented back during the Clinton administration.
  • Re:Yay! For the USA! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Moqui ( 940533 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:38AM (#15318040)
    Well written, and the same way I feel.

    The fact that it is happening, under the auspices of "safety and security" are more frightening than whatever bits of information that the NSA has on me due to the tracked phone calls.

    The essential liberty that Franklin talks about isn't the "essential right to private phone calls", that much is true. However, you do the the essential right to a law-abiding government elected by you, to protect you.

    When the government is in violation of the laws that THEY enacted, as a proxy for the laws WE wanted, something is wrong -- and it is time to question if they are acting in the interest of the consituents they are sworn to protect.

    Jefferson's quote about the tree of liberty is far more applicable than Franklin's.

  • Re:Correction (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:42AM (#15318086)
    I care. I need to know how much tax payers money is used for this.
    More importantly, how much money these telephone companies got for these records.

    Well, I am sure within few months, those companies will add one more type of charge "NSA Security Fund" into our bill.
  • Re:Yay! For the USA! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:42AM (#15318092)
    Are you seriously predicting that Bush is going to go Hitler on us and cancel the next presidential election? re []

    It wasn't an election but Nixon was one step away from doing the same, and Bush is a lot scarier than Tricky Dick.

    Rome is burning and Bush is playing the violin. Maybe in a few years the UN could help the US by sending in some peacekeepers and election monitors. =)

  • Re:Yay! For the USA! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:46AM (#15318127) Homepage
    > You forgot to mention that in 2009, Bush leaves office,
    > unlike Hitler who wasn't bothered by electoral process.

    You forgot to mention that there are no guarantees. Think:

    • Bush is the only president to be elected *twice* without winning the popular vote.
    • The first time, the deciding factor was a state where his brother was governor and his former campaign manager was state controller. There were many, many questions raised about the tactics used.
    • The second time, the deciding factor was Ohio, where Diebold, the maker of the closed-source-no-audit-trail voting boxes is headquartered. Let's not forget that Diebold's CEO was a major contributor, and essentially promised Bush the victory.
    • Bush has railed against the two-term limit, and has a history of manipulating presidential powers to get what he wants. Patriot act, war in Iraq over non-existant WMD, suspension of environmental laws, tax breaks for the richest people in the world, the list goes on.
    • Bush himself has been quoted as saying, "There's nothing wrong with a dictatorship, so long as I'm the dictator." Yes, I'm sure he was joking, but for a president to say that publicly, he's either the world's biggest idiot, or there's a grain of sentimental truth to it.
    You read it here first; Bush is going to try to get a 3rd term. Maybe Iran will attack Pearl Harbor. Keep your eye on the remaining "axis of evil" countries... right now, the only thing that would surprize me is if there were no surprizes.

  • by tocs ( 866673 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:50AM (#15318182)
    I would like to see a survey asking if they would feel the same way if Hillary Clinton was president.

    I do not support secret wire tapping but would feel a little better if I could snoop into what all government agencies and officials were doing. If there actions were completely in the open then maybe they would behave a little better.

  • by The Cubelodyte ( 913142 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:52AM (#15318207) Homepage
    I fear tyranny more than asshat suicide bombers. Foreign enemies are dangerous, perhaps none more so than the current crop of jihadis, but not as much as the creeping institution of a police state. Foreign wars (and shades thereof) come and go, but it's a hell of a lot harder to shake off the repression of your own government.

    I'm willing to bet that if a Democratic president had instituted these policies, you'd be screaming your head off about how the liberal pinko conspiracy is snuffing out our Constitutional freedoms in the name of governmental control.

  • Re:Yes, it was (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:55AM (#15318246)
    If you believe that because Bush said so, you are an idiot beyond all and any measure. The same Bush that won't let Congress investigate the issue, mind you.
  • Re:Yes, it was (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Salty Moran ( 974208 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @11:56AM (#15318256) Journal
    Because if it's a domestic call, a record of it is retained by the NSA, which is exactly what the topic at hand is about.

    I took the liberty of repairing your mistake so that the sentence is relevant and on-topic like the post you responded to was.

    In fact, this is quite relevant even though it was a joke. The NSA, or anybody within the NSA with the appropriate clearance acting out of the bounds of their duty, now has the ability to identify every one of the people who participated in this survey if it chooses to.
  • by berzerke ( 319205 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:04PM (#15318335) Homepage
    And big question is which group has a higher number of voters. Those are the ones whose opinions really count.
  • by maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:05PM (#15318342)
    "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage." - Alexander Tyler

  • It appears that the public values the illusion of security over privacy.
  • Re:Republican == NRA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:06PM (#15318999)
    The NRA leans very heavily to the Republican party. It's likely that many (if not most) voted for Bush at least twice. Damn single issue voters, they can't see the forest for the trees.

    True, the NRA guys tend to be more Republican vs Democrat, but they also openly state that they will stand by an incumbent regardless of party affiliation.

    I'm a Libertarian, and don't see too much of a difference between the dominant two parties, but I will say that I'm more democratic vs republican, but there are little real differences between them today.

    The NRA is supposedly the most influential lobby groups in the US. And, yes, we/they are a bunch of narrow minded, cant see the forest for the trees, bunch of people like any extremist group. But I feel more comfortable living in a country that has a NRA like group and a 2nd amendment. The NRA ignores the part about the "well regulated militia", and I'm a little more open to have some form of regulation there.

    But when things like the police illegally taking people's firearms in New Orleans after the hurricane when its up to the citizens to protect themselves in such a situation, and then the liberties that we have lost in the name of the "War on Terror". Well, these things need to stop.

    I'm not advocating an armed march on the White House (yet :), but its important that the people in the government know that we are aware of our rights and are willing to fight for them.

    The US constitution is excellent, and when elected officials that are supposed to "uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States." Well, its up to us to make sure this happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:12PM (#15319065)
    Water Powered Car! (search for Stan Meyer) []

    Ask yourself Which is worse?

    Islamic Terrorism
    Domestic Terrorism

    I'd argue the REAL TERRORISTS are the Executive, Senate, House, Judiciary, CIA, NSA, and the Electronic Vote Technology.

  • Survey Details (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ecorona ( 953223 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:13PM (#15319080) Homepage
    I don't remember the statistics portion of this but... Someone should point out possible inherent biases in the polls conducted as well as the confidence interval. This post should be modded up for all to read. I don't want to let the master scheming Bush administration slip one by me.

    On a different note, have you noticed that in the end of a CNN segment about this NSA spying story, more often than not the reporter finishes with something like "The Bush administration believes that the American people will side with the President on this issue." It's interesting that it's the last thing that's said because anyone with psychology training will tell you that the first and last parts of any story are the most vivid and are most likely to be remembered. Furthermore, people in general like to side with the mainstream on issues and by saying that most people will agree with George W. Bush then it becomes a powerful method of persuading people to side with George W. Bush! Let's keep our eyes peeled.
  • Re:It's not spying! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @02:23PM (#15319838) Homepage Journal
    How difficult is it to do a reverse phone lookup these days?

    Any cop can look up your auto license plates as well. So what?

    Someone did some calculations, and figured it would take 45,000 NSA employees just to listen to a mere one second of each phone call made within the US. You are far more likely to get your privacy violated by getting your picture taken running a red light, then by the government tapping your phone. In other words, they're not going to bother tapping your phones. They're going to reserve that to those receiving phone calls from terrorists.
  • by MythoBeast ( 54294 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @02:29PM (#15319902) Homepage Journal
    It really doesn't matter how large a percent of Americans mind if their information gets tapped. Our constitution gives me the right to privacy for my person, papers, and belongings, and this comes under that category. It's already been demostrated that the majority isn't allowed to give away the constitutional rights of a minority.

    Our lord leader the shrub, on the other hand, is trying to demonstrate that a powerful enough minority can do whatever the damn well please to the majority, and other members of that minority are trying very hard to make sure he gets away with it.

    I agree with the tagging system. Stupid sheep.
  • by Straif ( 172656 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @03:05PM (#15320243) Homepage
    The members of the Senate and House Intelligence committees are well within their powers to launch investigations into programs they review if they should so decide. They can also cut the funding of said programs if they can get other members of their respective committees to agree with them. They are pretty much the final authority as to whether or not these programs can continue.

    And I'm really getting sick and tired of these incessant hypothetical "if there was a Democratic President blah blah blah". Is your memory so short that you forget just 6 years ago. In term of the intelligence programs run under Clinton, they were much more evasive than these two NSA programs (Echelon, warrentless physical searches, etc..) and yet were permitted to run without much complaining by the Republican members of the committees or for that matter the national press. But don't let actual history get in the way of your rant.

    His other problems were mostly of his own making and played up by both sides for political points. For instance, no one gave a damn about his sex life outside of the tabloids, but once you lie about it under oath, then it becomes a crime; one for which he was fined and disbarred by an non-partisan independant court if memory serves. And don't forget Hillary's speaking tour drumming up support by blaming the whole "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" for all her husbands problems, even though as it turned out, the allegations were true.

    And the Starr fiasco was as much a Clinton invention as a Republican one; neither can escape from the taint of that mess. Just look up the "Magnificent Seven", the self named Clinton appointed judges that 'took it upon themselves' to stall and interfere with the independant prosecutors investigation thereby causing it to last a lot longer than was necessary, even to the point where they bypassed the normal assignment procedures to ensure certain cases ended up on there benches. Incidentilly, a large number of their rulings beneficial to possible Clinton witnesses and evidence were later overturned on appeal but by that time it was of very limited use to the investigators.
  • by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @03:47PM (#15320628)
    You might be right. I can read it either way now.

    I was confused, because my Senator defended this data trolling by stating that it was anonymous. They said the same thing on the news. I'm afraid people will believe things that Senators and Reporters tell them. There are people who will say "But it's anonymous" seriously.

  • Re:Yes, it was (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lynx_user_abroad ( 323975 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:40PM (#15321090) Homepage Journal
    Remember, all, or most, of these people have taken oaths to uphold the constitution; and, it's good to see some people take their oath seriously.

    That is an important point to remember. Perhaps the most important one of all.

    The President (and others) we collectively hired (whether we voted for him or not) was required to take an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution. He was not hired to protect the American people. That is critically important.

    The Constitution demands that if the President (and others subject to that oath) must choose between maintaining the viability of the Constitution and keeping Americans safe, he must choose the Constitution, and the powers we grant him as Commander in Chief are only legitimately used in pursuit of that objective.

    Of course, we encourage him to do both, if possible. And in many cases the requirement to defend the Constitution is well aligned with an interest in protecting the public. But he cannot say that his duty to protect americans, or to hunt down terrorists, or to keep the economy growing, or anything else necessitated ignoring all or a portion of the laws under which we all live.

    Accordingly, a President should never compromise this responsibility by advocating change to the constitution itself. That would be like hiring a security guard to protect your house, who then suggests your house doesn't really need to be protected anyway.

    Sometimes I think Bush forgets who he works for. Or maybe I just misunderstand who his employer is.

  • Re:Yes, it was (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @06:14PM (#15321817)
    The Wall Street Journal ( had an online poll going today. May-11 5:30 pm

        To what degree should the government be allowed to monitor phone calls without court approval?

    Any way it deems necessary
    1241 votes (23%)
    Collect data but don't listen to conversations
    1141 votes (21%)
    Not at all
    3116 votes (57%)

    I thought the wording "not at all" was beyond what most would say, yet over half voted for it. Seems the main issue is the administration is not saying what they are doing so they will catch terrorists off guard. But I think people don't want any of it because this goes against existing laws. I think people would be more tolerant if they know what was going on.

    Seems we need to find ways to attract better people to work in government, as government's role certainly isn't going to shrink in the future. How about starting with opening voting software source code to help improve public trust in election results?
  • by Bananas ( 156733 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @08:34PM (#15322703) Homepage
    Wow, I'm glad I live in the USA and not whatever US you live in.

    They are one and the same.

    Over here, there are plenty of jobs which don't involve being a target, even with minimal education,

    Like 7-11 clerk? There's one up the street from my work that's robbed on a weekly basis. How about a McDonald's attendant? Of course, a 16-year-old girl in the area was stabbed to death after she was followed from her job at Micky-D's. Hmm...I know! You could work retail in a store! Wait, that doesn't work either, with the gang shootings at the local mall taking place. Jeez, this is getting harder by the minute.

    ...and being poor, as in actually being unable to afford food, is so rare as to be essentially nonexistent.

    That would explain the people I see sleeping under a bridge with no food. Better yet, it would also include those people that go fishing for breakfast out of the city garbage cans, an event I see on a near-daily basis. Hey, I won't even bring up the time that I had to go on food stamps and go pick up donations of rock-hard stale bread, moldy produce, expired milk, rancid unrefrigerated meat (I didn't know meat could turn rainbow shades of green), and 10-year-old peanut butter from the local food bank. After all, I'm being fed food, right? Yum!

    Even the jobless usually plenty of support... hell, most of them can afford televisions, cell phones, and cigarettes!

    The last person I talked to who was jobless for any significant period of time couldn't afford television, a cell phone, or cigarettes. The only reason they could afford to eat and have shelter is because his wife had a job - one that just barely paid the bills. Of course, they were lucky in that they didn't have to choose between heat and food in the winter months, an issue that still affects many in my area.

    Our military is all-volunteer, and has plenty of people from rural areas as well as the cities, roughly according to population. National law means that even a minimal tour of duty ensures an excellent secondary education, and as a result people with an interest in protecting their fellows in the country get a leg-up over those that don't, which pretty much everyone agrees is reasonable. My family on both sides has benefitted greatly from this system.

    You're very lucky, and very blessed. I'm not trying to be sarcastic when I say that. I truely mean it. There are many that go into the service, but no-one talks about the few that don't come back. I hope that you never face that loss.

    You really should consider immigration, just petition the local embassy to 'reality' in your country.

    I don't have to. I already live here.

    I'm not saying the millitary is evil.

    I'm not saying that no-one should volunteer for service.

    I AM saying that poverty, hunger, and strife do exist, right here, right now, in the United States of America. Please don't tell people that no-one goes without, because thousands DO go without on a daily basis. I know - not only have I been there, but I see it every day.

    P.S. Mark me as a Troll if you want, it still doesn't change the fact that I have seen and experienced what I just described. You can bury your head in the sand and ignore the truth, or you can try to face it head on.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato