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Spying On Americans/Dissent

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Aenimal
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the ass-end of space


25 posted 12-19-2005 08:18 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

they wrote all of the bad things, and none of the "truth"....


does it mention truths like what really happened at the gulf of tonkin? or truths like the mi lai? there's one truth that people seriously need to take heed of, the old saying 'those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them'

[This message has been edited by Aenimal (12-19-2005 10:41 PM).]

iliana
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26 posted 12-20-2005 01:35 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Noah for President!

Seriously, I find your comments very well researched, Noah, and I would agree with you.  They are kind of utopian; but why not!  Our foreign policy is primarily what has brought terroists to us.  Years and years of butting into places where we shouldn't have made us a lot of enemies....and the reasons for the butting in.  Geez, if it had only been to distribute aid, that would have been fine.  But no, we had to try and change whole cultures.  It is not our responsibility to change the world; it is our business to be responsible for ourselves.  I think WE have been overlooked.  When I hear of people still living in tents in Biloxi and bodies still not discovered in New Orleans, it sickens me to think of what this war in Iraq has cost this nation.  

As a birth-right Quaker myself (as well as many other things, lol), I find myself very aggrieved that our children are growing up as either well-synthesized little business people, warriors, or just plain criminals (I know there are exceptions, of course, I am speaking in terms of the majority).  No wonder there are events such as Colombine.

The culture in the U.S. which used to be one of the finest places in the world to get an education is now being assaulted full front and center.  When our children grow up with no culture (unless they're of a privelged class and can afford private school), then the whole nation loses.  Where will the diplomats of the future come from and what will they know besides how to lie?  Where will the Condi Rice's come from or the Rumi's?  They will only come from the privileged.  This used to be a nation where anyone could grow up to become President....that ended about a century ago, but there was still the dream.  What is happening to the dreams of children today?  They dream of so little.  

In my view, the Best Teacher I've ever been acquainted with, once said something like, and I paraphrase: pluck the moot out of your own eye first, before you pluck it out of your neighbor's.  

Okay, it's too late to do that, the damage being already done, but can't we start working on our own eyes a little bit?  There are serious domestic problems here.  We have controlled news, communicaiton is under surveillance, there are many homeless, there are many jobless, there are many emotionally unstable, there are many loney, there are many just looking for some kind of future....and there just doesn't seem to be much of a future for many.  Shall I go on?  Don't we have enough problems to solve ourself that we need to borrow more trouble?  

One must ask themselves, what is the true motivation behind our international policy.  It certainly seems one of economic convenience to me and protecting what we perceive as vital raw material, strategic and economic interests....oh yeah, we have China to worry about there.  Why can't we fix ourself first?  

Just blowing off steam, folks.  I apologize if anyone takes offense.  

The truth is that we only know what we are permitted to know.  That is pretty much the way it has always been done by the aristocracy.  So, I vote for looking after ourselves and our families and our fellow American citizens, and definitely will not be pleased when the current administration moves on into Iran or Syria next...or, who knows, maybe China's on the back burner, too.  

As to Viet Nam.....you talk to any vet who was there for any length of time and really saw combat and they will most likely tell you that war is not the answer.   )  'Course my 16-year-old son would disagree, saying "War is nature's way of keeping down the population just like floods, famine, pestilence, etc."  And, guess where he learned that thinking!--right here in Bush country Houston public school.  Hopefully, this is just his youth speaking, too.  I'm telling you, the culture, the only culture that we can boast now in this country is A Culture of Desensitization. !!!!

Kacy, if you read this thread, I hope you know I totally agree with you and you have the right to say what you believe, as I do, as long as we don't step on the rights of others.  I do not believe you stepped on anyone's rights by expressing your own thoughts.  

I do not intend to post anything else to this thread, Noah, but I will probably follow it.  I hope it stays on top for awhile because so many people are blind to what is going on.  Even if Bush (and his administration) were legitimately trying to do the right thing (which I personally question but do understand other's perception), it has set unusal precident and prepared the stage for a dictatorial government....that is what is so dangerous that most people just don't get!  There needs to be accountability this time!!!!


[This message has been edited by iliana (12-20-2005 02:43 AM).]

Christopher
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27 posted 12-20-2005 12:11 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

The "people" are blind thing often gets me. No offense and speaking only to your statement, iliana, but how is it that one person can "see," but everyone else (who just happens to be those who disagree with [you]) can't?

It never ceases to amaze me at the breadth and depth of the supposed conspiracies that we are surrounded by on a constant and daily basis... that we never see! Why, some conspiracies would require more people involved IN the conspiracy, than those not! One lesson I've managed to learn in my short life is that it is much more likely for the sun to fail to rise in the morning than it is for more than a handful of people to manage to keep their mouth shut on anything even remotely labeled a "secret."

In regard to this whole wire-tap thing, which I don't consider is classified as a conspiracy, but rather common-sense defense, hey - I'd do the same thing in Ringo's scenario. I don't often agree with much of that side of the spectrum - I believe President Bush has a lot to answer for yet, and many of the answers he's provided leave a lot to be desired in regards to accuracy and forthrightness, but at the end of the day, he is responsible for ensuring our security at this time in history.

Regardless of whether we "caused" this to come about (as you suggested iliana) by our past actions, the fact of life is that we are dealing with it now and there is no ready solution. I heard an expert on NPR say "If we pull out our troops now, there will be civil war in Iraq. If we pull them out in ten years, there will be civil war in Iraq." For the flip side, someone last night said, "Conditions in Iraq are terrible... but it's better than it's ever been." My point being that there's no easy answer. You can listen to one biased report or another and get two wholly separate answers that "represent the optimum solution to our problem with [fill in the blank]."

As Ron said in another thread, complex problems require complex solutions. Until you find that unsatisfying "magic wand," complex problems will continue to require complex solutions.

Part of the complex solution to our current, complex problems is to find methods to ensure security for home and country. This whole wire tap thing is just one of many that are in place to help safeguard our homeland. If listening in on phone conversations between potential terrorists without a lengthy approval process can help prevent another attack on American soil, then I support Bush's decision to authorize it wholeheartedly. If that means that some of my conversations may be listened in on, then by all means, they can hear my wife telling me to stop at 7-Eleven on the way home to pick up milk and cigarettes; there's a balance to be drawn in this situation between security and privacy - to be reasonable, I'll err on the side of security rather than the side of privacy any time.

I recognize that I haven't addressed the abuse of power issue yet and don't have time to, but I will summarize by saying that until such a time as it clearly interferes with my freedoms without a recognizable return of good for the populace as a whole, then I will still stand behind it.

When we wrote our constitution, it was after fighting for that freedom in the cost of lives. How then can you balk at the cost of a private conversation?
Christopher
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28 posted 12-20-2005 12:15 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

And Noah, have you ever considered not centering your text? It makes it a little challenging to read any of the longer posts.
Mistletoe Angel
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29 posted 12-20-2005 01:55 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Has Bush flip-flopped again?

*

White House Press Release: April 19, 2004, Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey, PA

"For years, law enforcement used so-called roving wire taps to investigate organized crime. You see, what that meant is if you got a wire tap by court order -- and, by the way, everything you hear about requires court order, requires there to be permission from a FISA court, for example."

*

White House Press Release: April 20, 2004, Kleinshans Music Hall, Buffalo, NY

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

*

White House Press Release: June 9, 2005, Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy, Columbus, OH

"One tool that has been especially important to law enforcement is called a roving wiretap. Roving wiretaps allow investigators to follow suspects who frequently change their means of communications. These wiretaps must be approved by a judge, and they have been used for years to catch drug dealers and other criminals. Yet, before the Patriot Act, agents investigating terrorists had to get a separate authorization for each phone they wanted to tap. That means terrorists could elude law enforcement by simply purchasing a new cell phone. The Patriot Act fixed the problem by allowing terrorism investigators to use the same wiretaps that were already being using against drug kingpins and mob bosses."

*

White House Press Release: June 20, 2005, Port of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD

"The Patriot Act helps us defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all Americans. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, or to track his calls, or to search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of the tools we're talking about. And they are fully consistent with the Constitution of the United States."

*

White House Press Release: President's Radio Address, December 10, 2005

"The Patriot Act is helping America defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all our people. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Under the act, law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone or search his property. Congress also oversees our use of the Patriot Act. Attorney General Gonzales delivers regular reports on the Patriot Act to the House and the Senate.

*

*

Two White House fact sheets also make clear the following:

*

White House Press Release: Fact Sheet, June 9, 2005

"The Patriot Act extended the use of roving wiretaps, which were already permitted against drug kingpins and mob bosses, to international terrorism investigations. They must be approved by a judge. Without roving wiretaps, terrorists could elude law enforcement by simply purchasing a new cell phone."

*

White House Press Release: Fact Sheet, June 20, 2005

"The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Law enforcement officers must seek a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, track his calls, or search his property. These strict standards are fully consistent with the Constitution. Congress also oversees the application of the Patriot Act, and in more than three years there has not been a single verified abuse."

*

Exactly, Mr. Bush...exactly.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
Alicat
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30 posted 08-11-2006 07:19 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

And 'illegal' wiretaps helped bring down a terrorist ring bent on either bringing airplanes down over the Atlantic Ocean from Britain, or over American cities.  Shame on the NSA!
Ron
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31 posted 08-11-2006 07:41 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Or, in other words, Ali, the end justifies the means? That's certainly not a new argument.

Here's another one of similar ilk. The most efficient form of government, bar none, is a beneficial dictatorship. Anyone you care to nominate for the role?
Balladeer
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32 posted 08-11-2006 07:49 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Those evil Brits!!! How dare they violate the rights of citizens like that??? Wiretapping? Computer monitoring? I'm surprised our ACLU leaders aren't on planes right now to get over there and form protests denouncing such diabolical tactics. Ted Kennedy should be standing on a soapbox in Hyde Park demanding the assination of Tony Blair and the dismemberment of MI5. Stopping terrorists from blowing up 22 planes is a good thing but not if civil liberties of terrorists are violated in such a manner. It's a good thing Britain doesn't have the strict ACLU that we have...

NOT!
Ron
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33 posted 08-12-2006 02:09 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

They actually could have saved a lot of time and expense, Mike. If they just rounded up all English citizens of Arab descent and shot them, the end effect would have been exactly the same. And since the end effect is the only thing that matters . . .



Added thought: I find it interesting that the people most strident in their claims that illegal immigration is, by definition, wrong simply because it's illegal are so forgiving when other laws are broken?

[This message has been edited by Ron (08-12-2006 11:35 AM).]

Balladeer
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34 posted 08-12-2006 09:24 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I find it interesting that the people most strident in their claims that illegal immigration is, by definition, wrong simply because it's illegal are so forgiving when other laws are broken?

Well, I would have to know what other broken laws you are referring to, Ron. If you are referring to Bush monitoring movements or communications by suspected terrorists, I have not seen anyone call it illegal. Sure, the Democrats tried to  get mileage out of it by referring to "abuse of power" and by trying to scare 80 year old Grandma Jones into believing the government is watching her every move but I haven't seen Bush brought up on charges for breaking the law. All of the rhetoric was nothing but another failed political manuever by the Democrats in another one of many smear campaigns against the administration.

You want to know what should be illegal? Having the resources to be able to uncover terrorist plots and not using them.  As I said, thank God England doesn't have our ACLU or Teddy K, both of whom I'm sure are not that happy right now. Do you hear any screaming from Blair's opposing party condemning him for such tactics? Do you see the British newspapers screaming about loss of  rights and privacy? No - they are all actually PLEASED that the plot was uncovered by intelligent investigative means......a far cry from left-wing tactics.


They actually could have saved a lot of time and expense, Mike. If they just rounded up all English citizens of Arab descent and shot them, the end effect would have been exactly the same. And since the end effect is the only thing that matters . . .


hmmm....so would that be sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek?   Yes, I agree that if you consider monitoring a suspect's phone calls and bank movements the same as shooting all Arab-Englishmen, then you would be right. Fortunately, i don't have the mind that could follow such logic.

Ron
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35 posted 08-12-2006 10:44 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Well, I would have to know what other broken laws you are referring to, Ron.

You'd have to ask Ali, Mike. He's the one who said illegal wiretaps helped bring down a terrorist, in what I took to be an obvious reference to the recent England incident. I'm afraid I was taking his word for it. I'm not even sure it matters whether it's true or not. What matters, I think, is the implication that the end justifies the means.

quote:
hmmm....so would that be sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek?

Neither. It was a very honest analogy, Mike.

quote:
Yes, I agree that if you consider monitoring a suspect's phone calls and bank movements the same as shooting all Arab-Englishmen, then you would be right. Fortunately, i don't have the mind that could follow such logic.

I know. There have been other Americans, however, who believed personal liberty was more important than their lives. They would have followed the logic just fine, I think, and agreed that one was no less dangerous than the other.


Balladeer
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36 posted 08-12-2006 10:55 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I  see. Then it must be concluded that I don't value personal liberty because i have no problem with being checked as long as the same procedures can save lives and keep planes from being blown up with thousands of people on board. So be it. I can live with that...and so can they.
Local Rebel
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37 posted 08-12-2006 11:36 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

At what point do you stop yeilding personal liberty for safety Mike?  Where is your boundary?

All things can be done, after all, in the name of national security.

Sorry Mike -- you've had too many ice-cream sandwiches today.  You're placing the nation at risk from terrorism since the added risk of diabetes and subsequent medicare dollars could have gone toward finding Osama-Bin Laden's great grandchildren.

-- we can't allow you to study poetry in school -- there is a war on terror.  All available resources have to be diverted toward educational goals that can fight the Islamist terror machine.  We're enrolling you in Arabic instead.

-- we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience of not allowing fans to attend baseball games in person any more -- you will be able to watch the programs at home on your television - the threat of terrorism is too costly to provide for the security of the fans...

-- Someone in the city left a suitcase with a bomb at the airport.  No travel will be allowed into or out of the city until every occupant and visitor has been fingerprinted and had DNA samples made to determine who the guilty person is.


Balladeer
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38 posted 08-13-2006 12:23 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

At what point do you stop yeilding personal liberty for safety Mike?  Where is your boundary?

Everyone has a boundary, LR. Your examples are ridiculous, and I don;t mean that as a personal insult...but you know they are overboard. We don;t live in that world and you know it.

When the boundaries are reached, I assure you I'll be at the front of the line to scream.

For the life of me, I cannot understand either you or Ron and your comparisons and I cannot understand how you can be against sound, intelligent methods of uncovering terrorist activities....almost to the point of saying it's better for thousands of people to die rather than invade privacy. You come up with the most incredible examples as if they are the norm. Ron has just compared shooting all Arab-born men to checking on suspected terrorist's phone and e-mail messages. My God, gentlemen, what's that all about?

Do you really feel that our rights are being so violated? Because the government is checking on suspected terrorist's bank account movements and phone records,do you feel that the average American is suffering from that? That we are now in a police state with all freedoms taken away? You want to tell me that your argument is not political? I won't believe you. I;'ll go so far as to say that if a terrorist plot we uncovered by a President you did favor, you would applaud his using available resources to achieve such a favorable outcome. I can assure you the Democrats would be trumpeting it to the high heavens.

Create the doomsday scenario if you wish but we are not there and I don't even see us moving in that direction. We are taking proper precautions a nation should take at a time there are people out there vowing its destruction....and actively trying to bring it about. No one is being carted off to jail in the middle of the night. No one's rights are being trampled on and the terrorists are the only ones with a valid right to complain.

I can  understand that many Democratic faces are frowning today because millions of people both here and in England are grateful for using the tactics they tried to condemn Bush with. Too bad.....

How easy is it to  claim Bush-bashing, Ron? As I said....easy, when it's so obvious.

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39 posted 08-13-2006 12:34 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

I;'ll go so far as to say that if a terrorist plot we uncovered by a President you did favor, you would applaud his using available resources to achieve such a favorable outcome. I can assure you the Democrats would be trumpeting it to the high heavens.




Whatever Democrats would or wouldn't do is far from the issue -- partisans are partisans.  What you're saying here is that because you like/trust Bush you're willing to allow him to violate the Constitution.

But -- the very reason for the Constitution is that we are a nation of laws and not of men.  The power to make personal judgments 'for the good of the people' is too dangerous in any person's hands -- which is why we have a system of checks and balances.

According to folk legend -- the frogs don't realize they're being cooked when the heat is being turned up slowly.  I've personally never tried that experiment.
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40 posted 08-13-2006 01:19 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

No, LR, what I'm saying here is that I have not seen this violation of the Constitution you refer to. Nor have I seen all the law-breaking Ron refers to. When do the impeachment proceedings begin?

If you areally ARE interested in violations of the Constitution, we can go back to Johnson, Eisenhower, Truman, Roosevelt and a host of others who willingly did so.....and we are all still here and all with our freedoms intact. The Constitution is stronger than one man.

Personally, I think that if the founders of the Constitution were to look down and see this hubbub over using surveilliance to protect the country and see people protesting against it, they would say, "ARE YOU NUTS???"

...but that's just my opinion.
Brad
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41 posted 08-13-2006 02:48 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
If you areally ARE interested in violations of the Constitution, we can go back to Johnson, Eisenhower, Truman, Roosevelt and a host of others who willingly did so.....and we are all still here and all with our freedoms intact.


Are they?

Perhaps I can actually compliment Bush here. He was my wake up call. Who will be yours?

I am told that certain parts of the constitution no longer apply (I was told this here). People here believe that safety is more important than freedom (as defined by the constitution). Cruel and unusual punishment is acceptable by people here as along as it produces results.

You tell me, are you sure your constitutional freedoms are intact, are you sure you're as free as you were twenty years ago?

Because I don't see it.

The constitution is ultimately only a piece of paper with black marks on it. It only takes one man to tear it up but I agree, it didn't start with the current guy. He's just the one who made me see it clearly.
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42 posted 08-13-2006 09:39 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

You tell me, are you sure your constitutional freedoms are intact, are you sure you're as free as you were twenty years ago?

As free as twenty years ago? No, we are not and the people twenty years ago were not as free as the people twenty years before them. That's life. Twenty years ago no one had to go through metal detectors to see a concert or board a plane. Does that then mean we have lost that freedom? Twenty years ago schools did not have "drug dogs" sniffing out substances in school lockers. Have the students then lost their freedom? As the world progresses and millions of more humans inhabit this floating rock we call Earth there will always be more restrictions and controls to keep the world moving as smoothly as possible. The 49'ers had basically no restrictions at all...that's why it was the Wild West. As cities grew from frontier towns to major metropolises, the same personal "anything goes" freedoms were curtailed. People twenty years from now will not have the same freedoms we have. The question is - do the restrictions of freedom destroy our basic rights as citizens of this country? I say no...at least not at this time. Should the time come they do, I will be protesting and ranting with the rest. I have no problem with the TSA - in fact, I appreciate the fact the the government created it and has it running. I can handle the inconvenience much easier that I can handle the worry about a weapon or bomb being on my plane. If they want to restrict my rights to insure my safety in this case I say be my guest. Do I have a problem with the government conducting surveillance procedures on individuals or groups they consider to be "high risk"? Not at all. Let leftists try to use scare tactics to convince the entire country that all of their mail and bank accounts is being monitored,if they wish. Intelligent people know better. Am I trading safety for freedom? Again, I do not see it having reached that point and I do not see the average American's freedoms being violated in any significant way. Terrorists? Criminals? They have much more to worry about with these controls than I have.

I watched an old charlie Chan movie last night and it made me smile comparing the scenario to the current world. Charlie had seven people in the living room and stated that one of them was the murderer. He said all would be questioned, no one would be allowed to leave the room and all would be searched. it made me smile because I had spent time on this thread earlier and I could hear the people screaming, "You can't do that, Chan! We have rights! You can't forbid us to leave! You have no right to search us! You are violating our basic rights! I can see people here screaming the same things, making the same challenges. Go, Charlie!
Ron
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43 posted 08-13-2006 03:06 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
When the boundaries are reached, I assure you I'll be at the front of the line to scream.

Mike, historically, from the American Revolution to our Civil War to the more recent Civil Rights movement right up to the current war in Iraq, I've yet to see freedom won solely at the cost of a little hoarseness. I wish it could be so. The liberties you surrender today open the door for abuse and, as sure as the sun will set tonight, sooner or later someone is going to walk through that open door. It probably won't be Bush, it may not be a Republican or even a Democrat, but it's as inevitable as night following day. When it happens, screaming about it probably isn't going to help very much. Our freedoms, including the freedom from illegal search and seizure, were paid for in blood, Mike, not with invectives, and I rather strongly suspect they will only be reclaimed with payment in kind. Someone someday is going to have to die to get back what was so easily relinquished today.

The frustrating thing is that it's all so incredibly unnecessary.

No one is denying the need for wire-taps and surveillance. They're useful tools, but they are NOT solely the prerogative of the Executive branch. Constitutionally, they can only be authorized by the Judicial branch. Checks and balances. Due process. It makes sure someone is always standing at that open door to look for abuse, in large part because our Founding Fathers understood that such abuse is inevitable.

The confusion, I think, comes from too many people who are convinced that it's the President's job to protect this country. Nope. That job belongs to the government, not to just one man, not to just one branch of the government. Our system of trias politica, of course, isn't perfect. Our current administration claims it is too slow, for example. Okay, fine. Fix it. Expedite the process, if necessary, don't dissolve it in the name of expediency. Does anyone really believe we can't have a whole cadre of federal judges standing by to authorize wire-taps?

One has to wonder, I think, if perhaps the real problem isn't one born of frustration. It must be incredibly discouraging to believe a wire-tap is vital and then be told, no, sorry, there isn't sufficient justification to warrant that invasion of privacy. Yea, part of the Executive branch's job is to find and provide that justification, but wouldn't it be so much easier, so much less frustrating, to just eliminate that step entirely? Especially when you know you're right? No one, after all, honestly doubts the intentions of our elected officials. They mean well. Some of us, though, still remember what was used to pave the road to Hell.


Not A Poet
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44 posted 08-13-2006 06:11 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

There have been numerous time throughout our history that some freedoms had to be given up in order to preserve those more important, especially our right to be Americans. During WWII, we lost the right to buy new cars, tires and gasoline. Hell, we couldn't even by all the cigarettes we wanted. I barely remember my mother having to smoke a corncob pipe. Why all this? These items were needed for the good of the country, in hopes of preserving our more important right: not to be Nazi subjects.

Nearly half a million of our young men lost the right to live, for the same reason. They were drafted and sent to war for the good of the country. That many of them never came home. Were thos infringements on our freedom worthwhile? Make your own choice. Would you rather be a Nazi? If those and how many others rights had not been infringed during those times, you quite likely would be speaking German today. Now, admittedly, German is a fine language but I am much happier speaking English.

I'm with Mike. I don't mind standing in lines at the airport. I don't mind having to go through a metal detector. I don't mind if the gov't looks at my phone or bank records if they have reason to believe I am a terrorist. I don't think I have anything to worry about regarding those latter transgressions. It would be a real stretch to suspect me of terrorism.

Actually, I do mind, of course. But I would still rather suffer these inconveniences, call them loss of freedom if you want, than having to learn arabic and start worshiping Allah. If we don't do everything reasonably possible to stop the current Islamic Fascism, it is a strong probability that would be the final outcome.
Local Rebel
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45 posted 08-13-2006 09:09 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

There was a period in our history when there was an entire class of people who had no rights at all.  That doesn't mean that if we face an economic crisis we should consider a return to slavery.

(ah but, that is another subject -- on immigrant workers isn't it?)
Ron
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46 posted 08-13-2006 10:08 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Pete, I think you're making the same mistake Mike made in his earlier post. In hopes of maintaining focus, I let that one slip by, but since it seems to be multiplying ...

I don't think you're going to find freedom to buy cigarettes listed in the Constitution, Pete. It's not a freedom, it's a privilege, and privileges can indeed be revoked as needed. You also won't find freedom from conscription in the Constitution (unfortunate though that might be). In my opinion, that, too, is a privilege, though most would probably argue it is a duty. Don't confuse inconveniences or even sacrifices with personal liberties, Pete. I'm not arguing that nothing should change. I'm arguing that the Constitution that defines who we are shouldn't be changed (at least, absent due process).

One comment Mike made that did almost evoke a response was the one about loss of freedom in our schools. Personally, I think it's unfortunate that very few of our American liberties are extended to our children. It sets a very poor example, I think, and deprives them of an opportunity to experience the importance of being free.

I certainly hope people aren't dying, on both sides of the fence, just so we can avoid learning a new language. All of us, I'm sure, will agree there's a bit more to it than that? If we have to give up who we are to win this fight, when push comes to shove, language may end up being the ONLY distinction between them and us.


Not A Poet
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47 posted 08-14-2006 09:14 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Ron, you surely don't think I am against learning a new language. I voluntarily learned a little Spanish in high school and a lot of German in college. Can't speak either today and that truly is a shame. I really wish I could but can't seem to take the time to relearn.

I do not, however, want to be forced to learn arabic just so I can read the Koran. I don't want to be forced to Islam. And I don't believe you really think the terrorists will just leave us alone if we be nice to them or even let them have Israel.

Of course there is a diference between the privilege to buy cigarettes and freedom of speach. I don't see my comments any more radical than those posted here from the other side (no names but you know who you are).

Maybe that's the whole point. It is impossible for us to discuss such a subject here since all we seem able to do is argue our own viewpoint. Not a single one is listening to the other. Instead we just crank up the rhetoric in response to the other guy's comments. Hyperbole flies in all directions and the arguments quickly become ridiculous.

Ron, I think you, Mike, Reb and Brad are probably the best debators I have ever experienced. I certainly can't compete on that level. But the wild claims and accusations make it really difficult to maintain interest in these discussions.

Since I tend to side with Mike more often  than not, and he is certainly in the minority here, I'll give him a bit of a pass on this one. Also, to be fair, I should say that Brad rarely resorts to such tactics.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

Pete

Never express yourself more clearly than you can think - Niels Bohr

Not A Poet
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48 posted 08-14-2006 10:06 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

All right, I had to come back since I left out a point above. I already admitted to not being much of an orator Ron, you made the distinction between privileges and constitutionally guaranteed rights. I don't think that is the real point of this discussion.
quote:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

There is a whole hell of a lot more implied in those few revered words than just those few things it later prohibits the government from doing to us, those limited things you refer to as rights. This implies the right to enjoy many privileges, as long as they don't infringe on the rights of our fellow citizens.
Mistletoe Angel
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49 posted 08-17-2006 04:58 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Again, I have reiterated this point many times already in this and in previous threads related to the NSA/FISA topic, and it is that, realistically, we do need this program, that there is a legal way and an illegal way in carrying out eavesdropping in our nation, about performing eavesdroppings that can crucially intercept and foil potential threats on our homeland.

The latest excuse that the President is making is that these warrantless wiretaps are exactly what foiled the London airlines plot last week. My response to that is that Britain has different approaches to terrorism currently than we do. In fact, the U.K under current law actually allows warrantless wiretapping unconditionally unlike we currently do, as well as have lots of security cameras installed in many city sites, and it has been done so under both governmental and public approval. I may critique how invasive such a security scope could be, but nonetheless I acknowledge and respect how these security endeavors were enacted without compromising the process of the law.

The British intelligence did terrific work last week, and largely because it seemed natural and even sort of old-fashioned, where they first recognized this plot in July of last year, ran some surveillance tests, sat on it, then last week, with patience and resolve, worked into the night to foil this plot after receiving that tip from a Muslim living in Britain, as well as from a Pakistani. And I think the reaching out to the Muslim community certainly proved a most important part in providing great teamwork against the alleged plot.

*

Again, I believe some are missing the central concern or point being raised here; it's not about whether we should even have a wiretapping program or not (I believe a vast majority of Americans agree eavesdropping is necessary in times of crisis)........this is about our President willfully breaking the law.......and continuing to make lame, changing excuses about why he did it.

I've been speaking out to begin with on this issue because I believe the president chose to walk around the law and go about these wiretaps the unconstitutional way. Even during a state of war, the law still exists, the law doesn't dissolve, and Bush must have believed he has the right to disobey any established law during wartime, as the John Yoo memo may suggest.

Mind you that it isn't always a requirement to obtain a warrant within 72 hours to begin a wiretap. FISA also allows provisions for emergency situations. When war is declared, FISA allows warrantless wiretapping for 15 days, then Congress must be consulted after that period of time.

These safeguards have been violated, and in result it also leaves our Separation of Powers and the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution very vulnerable, which reads, "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."

And while the Supreme Court has never upheld warrantless wiretapping within our country, hundreds of thousands of Americans are being monitored, with reports suggesting approximately an additional 500 added each day since 9/11.

Bush has had every right to question the effectiveness of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act from the beginning, as I believe times have changed since the Carter Era. If he truly felt that FISA was insufficient, he could have went to seek legislative amendment. That's part of what makes our democracy and checks and balances system so great; the President and citizens always have the ability to discuss, debate, and seek and change the law. But it is also beyond dispute that in a democracy like this, the President can't go violating laws just because he finds them obsolete or trivial.

*

THAT'S what the issue has been to me from the beginning; it's not about whether we should even have a wiretapping program or not, this is about both preserving our law and values and securing our nation in times of conflict, and I fear that there is a sort of executive power grab effect currently taking place that can undermine our checks and balances system in years to come should it continue to be encouraged.

Judge Diggs Taylor's Decision: August 17, 2006

With that said, here's a review of Judge Diggs Taylor's decision, ruling that the warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional because it violates the First and Fourth Amendments.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
 
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