Time to Switch To Qwest

USA Today has a true bombshell this morning: the NSA has convinced every American landline phone carrier except one, Qwest, to hand over the complete records of every call made through their systems.

This story must have hit a nerve because the president scheduled a press conference for noon today. Besides the obligatory references to September 11 (does the president order a pizza without bringing up 9/11?) he forgot to deny the story, but he did deny that they’re doing anything nefarious with the records:

“We’re not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans,” he said. Instead, the NSA’s efforts “strictly target al-Qaeda and their known affiliates.”

So the government has amassed “the world’s largest database” which includes every call that you the reader has made since 9/11 unless you’re a Qwest customer, but they don’t plan to do anything with it. That makes sense, after all these guys would never think of misusing personal information about their political adversaries.

Refereshingly, even Republicans didn’t take the news well:

The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said he would call the phone companies to appear before the panel “to find out exactly what is going on.”

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked “why are the telephone companies not protecting their customers? I think they have a social responsibility to people who do business with them to protect our privacy as long there isn’t some suspicion that we’re a terrorist or a criminal or something.”

“I don’t know enough about the details except that I am willing to find out because I’m not sure why it would be necessary to keep and have that kind of information,” said House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News Channel: “The idea of collecting millions or thousands of phone numbers, how does that fit into following the enemy?”

The list of concerned Republicans doesn’t include John Cornyn, but you already knew that:

“The hyperbolic language is just ridiculous,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “To suggest that there’s some sort of coverup is not correct, and the motivation of those who would suggest otherwise is obvious. We need to be conscious of what’s at stake: the security and safety of the American people. That should not fall prey to petty, partisan politics. One of the reasons the administration doesn’t tell more members of Congress about such programs is because Congress leaks.”

Among Senators who didn’t make today’s news, you can count on support from Bill Frist and I wouldn’t bet against Trent Lott voicing his indignation (revenge, dish, cold). I am sure that John McCain would prefer not to comment and will say something tepid if cornered.

It looks like the NSA picked a bad day to stonewall the wiretapping investigation. Whether Arlen Specter was in a mood for a scrap before, he sure is in one now.






179 replies
  1. 1
    Davebo says:

    John Cornyn.. Working hard to ensure I don’t repeat the mistake I made when I reluctantly voted for him.

  2. 2
    Punchy says:

    The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said he would call the phone companies to appear before the panel “to find out exactly what is going on.”

    My Douchebag Alert System just went bonkers. Isn’t this one of the clowns that declined to investigate this because the WH gave them some backdoor, behind-the-scenes “information” that made them all warm and fuzzy?

    And NOW he’s feigning surprise to just now know about this? I’ve seen liars, I’ve seen bad liars, and now I’ve just seen Specter. Kudos, Senator, your hypocrisy/arrogance is mind-numbingly off the charts…

  3. 3
    Jill says:

    Oh no! Now all the terrorists are going to switch to Qwest for their phone service! Stupid reporters! Why does Qwest hate America?

  4. 4
    fwiffo says:

    Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked “why are the telephone companies not protecting their customers? I think they have a social responsibility to people who do business with them to protect our privacy as long there isn’t some suspicion that we’re a terrorist or a criminal or something.”

    Shorter Chuck Grassley: How dare they submit to the police state I helped create!

    I am sure that John McCain would prefer not to comment and will say something tepid if cornered.

    Either that, or he’ll introduce some piece of legislation which claims to ban the practice, followed by feigned but vigorous opposition from Frist and White House, followed by a big show of reluctant submission, followed by a signing statement that declares the POTUS’s right and intention to ignore any law he wants.

  5. 5
    Joel says:

    “Whether Arlen Specter was in a mood for a scrap before, he sure is in one now.”

    No. Specter’s pattern has been consistent for five years: He will talk tough until it comes time to actually do something. Then he will cave in to the President.

  6. 6
    Gratefulcub says:

    Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked “why are the telephone companies not protecting their customers? I think they have a social responsibility to people who do business with them to protect our privacy as long there isn’t some suspicion that we’re a terrorist or a criminal or something.”

    Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, “Why am I not protecting my constituents? I think I have a responsibility to the people I represent to protect their privacy as long as there isn’t some suspicion that they’re a terrorist or a criminal or something.”

  7. 7
    Andrew says:

    Why do Republican Senators hate America?

  8. 8
    fwiffo says:

    Isn’t this one of the clowns that declined to investigate this because the WH gave them some backdoor, behind-the-scenes “information” that made them all warm and fuzzy?

    Yep. He’s also the guy behind this (paraphrased) exchange on the Judiciary Committee.

    Specter: We always swear in witnesses.

    Dems: Yep.

    Specter: Hi Al.

    Alberto Gonzales: Hey Specs.

    Specter: We won’t be needing to swear you in.

    Dems: Hey!

    Gonzales: It’s OK, I don’t mind if you swear me in.

    Specter: I’m the decider!

    Gonzales: Seriously, it’s cool. I can’t be charged with lying under oath to the Senate cause the president can just extend to me his right to ignore the law.

    Specter: Fuck you Al! You touch that bible and I’ll kick your ass!

    Specter: We always swear in witnesses.

  9. 9
    Gratefulcub says:

    On Monday, they nominate General Hayden as head of the CIA.

    Tuesday it becomes apparent that the reason for the nomination is to pick a fight. They think that they can win a fight about NSA spying.

    Wednesday they kill the NSA investigation by declining security clearance to the investigators.

    Thursday offers us a new story about millions of calls being tracked in the “world’s biggest database.”

    Smaller story: General Hayden’s meet and greets with Senators today…..Cancelled. Hmmmmmmmm.

    Are these people brain dead? Quick, someone call Bill Frist for a prognosis.

  10. 10
    Caleb says:

    I have seen all over the lefties scrambling to give Qwest thier business because they kept their customers records safe.

    What I want to know is how many righties are going to dump Qwest for not giving into the governments demands?

    Personally, I think this is all a big scam by Qwest in an effort to become our new telecom overlord….but that’s just me.

    :-)

  11. 11
    JoeTx says:

    If Bush would have followed the law in the first place and not strong armed everybody who tried to legally bring these issues up and address them, we would not have these leaks now by people who actually HAVE a conscience. If these programs were lawful, I doubt we’d know about them, because they’re not, we’re finding out about them, because the leakers have no other avenue to pursue righting the wrongs Bush has brought upon us….

    Here is the money quote from US Today…

    Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest’s lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.

    The NSA’s explanation did little to satisfy Qwest’s lawyers. “They told (Qwest) they didn’t want to do that because FISA might not agree with them,” one person recalled.

  12. 12
    JoeTx says:

    What I want to know is how many righties are going to dump Qwest for not giving into the governments demands?

    Lets see, Bush has a 31% approval rating, which means 69% don’t like him. So Qwest loses 31% and gains 69%, I’d say they’d do pretty well…

  13. 13
    Gratefulcub says:

    The NSA’s explanation did little to satisfy Qwest’s lawyers. “They told (Qwest) they didn’t want to do that because FISA might not agree with them,” one person recalled.

    That is the funniest thing I have read in a long while.

    I lie. The funniest belongs to Duke Cunningham. On his party boat, he would wait for most people to leave him with his hooker. He would turn on the lava lamp, break out the champagne, and change into his pajama pants and turtlenecks. Come on man, you paid her, she is a sure thing.

  14. 14
    Marcus Wellby says:

    So just how much Soviet style bullshit are Bush supporters willing to put up with? Is there any limit at all to what Bush can do?

    Man, I can’t wait for the Rapture to come and suck all these maroons up to the big Walmart in the sky so the rest of us can have America back.

  15. 15
    KC says:

    Four words: par-for-the-course. Did anyone ever really believe that this whole NSA spying thing was just about monitoring calls overseas?

  16. 16

    Three questions:

    1) When we sign up for a phone number/service, don’t we fill out some legal form? It’s been awhile since I had to do that, but I recall filling out SOMETHING to get my phone lines and cell phone up and running.

    2) Does that legal form spell out the legal protections that the phone company(ies) are supposed to provide to ensure our telephone conversations are our own business (as long as it falls within the protection of the law)?

    3) Without a warrant, how can we determine that the phone companies were legal in allowing any third party (NSA, fer example) access to our calls and/or conversations?

  17. 17

    The Rule of Law is a qaint concept.

  18. 18
    Perry Como says:

    Any attack on this program from Republicans will be about self interest. The amount of info you can get from just monitoring who someone calls is immense. Imagine a hundred little hookergates…

  19. 19
    Perry Como says:

    Did anyone ever really believe that this whole NSA spying thing was just about monitoring calls overseas?

    Darrell.

  20. 20

    Man, I can’t wait for the Rapture to come and suck all these maroons up to the big Walmart in the sky so the rest of us can have America back.

    PoTD

  21. 21

    Gratefulcub Says:

    That is the funniest thing I have read in a long while.

    I lie. The funniest belongs to Duke Cunningham. On his party boat, he would wait for most people to leave him with his hooker. He would turn on the lava lamp, break out the champagne, and change into his pajama pants and turtlenecks. Come on man, you paid her, she is a sure thing.

    Dude. Haven’t you heard of romance, even if it’s with a hooker? It’s not the sex, it’s the poetry of the moment that lives on in the heart…

  22. 22
    srv says:

    Old news. This is primarily about AT&T’s Daytona Database.

    If you’ve ever asked yourself “Why is there always someone from Kansas (that intel hotspot) on the Intelligence Committees?” The answer would be to look for where the database is based.

  23. 23

    Any attack on this program from Republicans will be about self interest. The amount of info you can get from just monitoring who someone calls is immense. Imagine a hundred little hookergates…

    Maybe we should be monitoring Congressional phone lines?

  24. 24
  25. 25

    You’d think that among the 31 percent of people who supported Bush before all this, there were a good number who *did* believe the President’s illegal wiretapping didn’t involve any wholly domestic phone calls. Now that it’s their own phone lines getting tapped, think Bush is going to lose enough people from that 31 percent to fall into 25-29 percent territory?

  26. 26
    Gratefulcub says:

    The amount of info you can get from just monitoring who someone calls is immense

    But Bush would never use the information in an inappropriate way. He is our father figure, and he just wants to keep us safe.

    Clinton would have used this information to his partisan advantage. He would have blackmailed political opponents that made calls they shouldn’t have. Poor Duke Cunningham would have had to worry about all those calls to hookers.

    But that won’t happen under George. He is just a regular guy, like you and me. He loves us. His Christianity would prevent him from abusing this power. He’s a Christian, I don’t understand how you can not trust him. He gave up nose candy and whiskey for Jesus. Don’t you see? The rule of law is for Democrats because they can’t be trusted. Republicans that are born again can operate without legal limits because they can be trusted. They love Jesus.

  27. 27
    FDeSoto says:

    Specter used this intelligence like everybody else. This has been going on since the beginning of the NSA. All comunictions means justs that and no less. I need a Plame list of all of ’em just like the memos leaks.

    It’s the DIA, they don’t need warrants.

  28. 28
    Perry Como says:

    Maybe we should be monitoring Congressional phone lines?

    It’s a great idea from a facist point of view. Not only do you get to monitor your enemies, but you get to monitor your friends too.

    “Mr. Senator, we understand you don’t support legislation x and we understand your concerns. By the way, why do you place so many calls to DC’s Happy Escort Service?”

  29. 29
    JoeTx says:

    But Bush would never use the information in an inappropriate way. He is our father figure, and he just wants to keep us safe.

    Clinton would have used this information to his partisan advantage. He would have blackmailed political opponents that made calls they shouldn’t have. Poor Duke Cunningham would have had to worry about all those calls to hookers.

    But that won’t happen under George. He is just a regular guy, like you and me. He loves us. His Christianity would prevent him from abusing this power. He’s a Christian, I don’t understand how you can not trust him. He gave up nose candy and whiskey for Jesus. Don’t you see? The rule of law is for Democrats because they can’t be trusted. Republicans that are born again can operate without legal limits because they can be trusted. They love Jesus.

    That would almost be funny, if it weren’t so tragically true!

  30. 30
    Brian says:

    Another day…..another leak.

    The story is troubling though, isn’t it? Here’s more.

  31. 31

    From the USAToday article

    Among the big telecommunications companies, only Qwest has refused to help the NSA, the sources said. According to multiple sources, Qwest declined to participate because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.

    Actually, I wonder if this would be a violation of the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act.

    The exception for sharing information to government says this:

    (8) to comply with Federal, State, or local laws, rules, and other applicable legal requirements; to comply with a properly authorized civil, criminal, or regulatory investigation or subpoena or summons by Federal, State, or local authorities; or to respond to judicial process or government regulatory authorities having jurisdiction over the financial institution for examination, compliance, or other purposes as authorized by law.

    If the requests were not properly authorized, these companies who gave data are in big trouble.

    This sounds like a good lawsuit for the ACLU or the EFF to bring. Sue those companies who violated the GLB act by giving data to the NSA without property authority.

  32. 32
    Perry Como says:

    Now that it’s their own phone lines getting tapped, think Bush is going to lose enough people from that 31 percent to fall into 25-29 percent territory?

    It depends on where the Darrells, Brians and Mavias fall. If there is some minute justification for the actions, one of those three will come up with it.

    btw, when do we get to turn this discussion into something geeky like small world networks? Comment 300 or so?

  33. 33
    srv says:

    Oh, and FYI, some cell phone companies outsource their credit and billing services overseas. Not only that, so do some credit card companies.

    So your phone and card info are going to where?

    Here’s one

  34. 34
    Perry Como says:

    Justificaiton #1: Damn leakers.

    /me keeping a running tally

  35. 35
    JoeTx says:

    Maybe we should be monitoring Congressional phone lines?

    The way these guys cave in to Bush, thats probably not far off from the truth. Bush either has a closet full of taps on tape, or some pretty damning pictures. Nixon broke into an opponents shrinks office to get dirt and frame him, Bush has proven himself orders of magnitude dirtier than Nixon, so I honestly wouldn’t put it past him at this point. There are just too many dots lining up that paints a pretty nasty picture..

  36. 36
    DougJ says:

    I hate to shamelessly repost my comments and I normally make no claim to advancing the discourse in any way, but I thought the 5 stages of Republicans dealing with Bush might be useful here. We can decide who is at which stage.

    I put John at Stage 4, Mac at Stage 3, Al at Stage 2, Darrell at Stage 1.

    1. Denial (what about the secret meetings in Prague?)

    2. Anger (why won’t the MSM report the good news about Iraq?)

    3. Bargaining (if I’m not drafted I promise not to belive the neocons ever again)

    4. Depression (I don’t care anymore, I’ll only post about the Steelers and Pirates until this blows over)

    5.Acceptance (the moonbats are right—Bush is the worst president ever)

  37. 37

    Hmm. Or does GLB only apply to financial records?

    Damnit, I want a lawsuit!

  38. 38
    Mr Furious says:

    I have Working Assets as my long distance carrier, and I am pretty damn sure they didn’t coooperate with the NSA (they ARE publishing Glenn Greenwald’s book…), but Qwest is the only major carrier to resist.

    Anybody with Verizon and the other big carriers should make their displeasure known with a switch.

    (P.S. I did ask WALD for a confirmation on this and their official policy on sharing data…I am awaiting their response.)

  39. 39
    JoeTx says:

    This sounds like a good lawsuit for the ACLU or the EFF to bring. Sue those companies who violated the GLB act by giving data to the NSA without property authority.

    There is already a class action suit against AT&T, guess it just got a big bigger in scope with Bellsouth and Verizon joining the fun

  40. 40
    Mr Furious says:

    Hilarious, DougJ…

    Where do you have Brian?

  41. 41
    JoeTx says:

    DougJ,

    You forgot

    2.5 – Bush really isn’t a conservative, he’s a liberal and liberals all hate america.

  42. 42
    srv says:

    The way these guys cave in to Bush, thats probably not far off from the truth. Bush either has a closet full of taps on tape, or some pretty damning pictures.

    Let’s say that most congresscritters use publically available cell phone networks. It’s assumed foreign powers monitor DC traffic. Think about what you could learn. With the right access, you can track a critter pretty much 24 hours a day.

    Why shouldn’t a domestic group collect the same info? Answer, it would be illegal. But what if you had the “right guys” in Ft. Meade? Or if Congressional phone networks where made/managed by the “right company”. Or their computer networks?

    Start looking at which companies own those contracts, and you just might get suspicious.

    How many guys write software/firmware for Diebold? All you need is right one.

  43. 43
    Mr Furious says:

    Never mind, DougJ, Andrew answered that in the NSA thread…

    Stage 0: Lost in Habitrail?

  44. 44
    Mr Furious says:

    Check that. It was the Jackson/kakistocracy thread…

  45. 45
    srv says:

    Anybody with Verizon and the other big carriers should make their displeasure known with a switch.

    Switch to who? What if every cell phone company outsources their billing overseas?

    Exactly who does Qwests billing? Assume it’s overseas. Then the NSA can just target them there. That’s probably why the NSA gave up with the local corporate lawyers.

  46. 46
    neil says:

    There’s a good chance that switching to Qwest now will get you more attention than you’d have gotten otherwise, unfortunately.

  47. 47
    Jill says:

    Only terrorists will use Qwest now!!!!

  48. 48
    DougJ says:

    2.5 – Bush really isn’t a conservative, he’s a liberal and liberals all hate america.

    There’s some kind of strange truth to that one — he’s not a conservative and he does hate America. Take the phrase “he’s a liberal and liberals all” out of there and it’s on the money.

  49. 49
    tBone says:

    The story is troubling though, isn’t it? Here’s more.

    Brian – Bob Barr was right then, and he’s right now. (A sentence I never thought I would type.)

    Paul Wartenberg Says:
    Now that it’s their own phone lines getting tapped, think Bush is going to lose enough people from that 31 percent to fall into 25-29 percent territory?

    This case deals only with phone records, not actual taps (so far). Not that that makes it OK, but we shouldn’t give Darrell another excuse to drag out the “dishonest lefties” line.

    DougJ – I say John bounces around between stages 2-5, depending on his mood at any given moment.

  50. 50
    DougJ says:

    Only terrorists will use Qwest now!

    I just wrote that into the Washington Post Q&A, but I didn’t get it in. I did get a “those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear” in though. The guy didn’t even blink.

  51. 51
    Pb says:

    DougJ,

    What about stage 5? RonB?

  52. 52
    Pb says:

    DougJ,

    I did get a “those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear” in though.

    I wonder how the Republicans will take that line of reasoning, as it would apply to future Democratic Congressional oversight of them… :)

  53. 53
    Jill says:

    DougJ…Dana Priest posted my Qwest and terorists comment in her chat…she thought it was funny.

  54. 54
    Gratefulcub says:

    “We’re not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans,”

    If they are not trolling through the data, how are they

    “strictly target(ing) al-Qaeda and their known affiliates.”

  55. 55
    Steve says:

    This case deals only with phone records, not actual taps (so far). Not that that makes it OK, but we shouldn’t give Darrell another excuse to drag out the “dishonest lefties” line.

    Well, right, but it kinda seems like either these records lead to wiretaps in some cases, or it’s a whole lot of nothing.

    I don’t expect the hardcore bed-wetters to have any problem with this program, though. It’s really a personal judgment call; we all want the government to keep an eye out for bad people and catch them (right?) but there’s a limit to how much we want to let the government snoop on all of us in order to accomplish that. Most people don’t want the government going through their trash. Most people don’t want the government going through their library records, or keeping a list of who they call. But there are some people who have no problem with any of this. I respect their opinion, but I think what they’re going to find out is that it’s simply not a majority position.

  56. 56
    DougJ says:

    DougJ…Dana Priest posted my Qwest and terorists comment in her chat…she thought it was funny.

    Good work! Did she know you were kidding?

  57. 57
    Mike in SLO says:

    4. Depression (I don’t care anymore, I’ll only post about the Steelers and Pirates until this blows over)

    Is that what’s up with the lack of John posts lately? I thought it was finals…

    Anybody with Verizon and the other big carriers should make their displeasure known with a switch.

    Does anyone know if you can get Qwest local or long distance from anywhere in the country? I thought you had to live in the states they covered. I hope I’m wrong, cause here in California we have Pacific Telephone & Telegraph, Pacific Bell, SBC, AT&T as our local carrier. I know there’s susposed to be competition, but I can’t seem to find it!

  58. 58
    Jill says:

    Gratefulclub…that’s for them to know and us to find out.

  59. 59

    Perry Como Says:

    Maybe we should be monitoring Congressional phone lines?

    It’s a great idea from a facist point of view. Not only do you get to monitor your enemies, but you get to monitor your friends too.

    “Mr. Senator, we understand you don’t support legislation x and we understand your concerns. By the way, why do you place so many calls to DC’s Happy Escort Service?”

    You know, that’s been nagging at me for a good while now. Remember back around 2002/03 there were stories about how the Republicans got ahold of private conversations and memos of the Democrats that detailed their agendas and PR activities, so that the GOP could beat them to the punch with their own PR spin/or provide immediate backlash against the Dems’ efforts? The explanations of how the Republicans got ahold of that info didn’t gibe well… if the GOP has been using this wiretapping stuff to track and access Democratic communications then that would explain a whole lot (and it would explain their eagerness to keep this all swept under the rug). Anybody remember that?

  60. 60
    DougJ says:

    Jill, let’s see if we can get them to take the “terrorists will all switch to Qwest” seriously tomorrow. They’re kind of irony-impaired over there though tomorrow is Vandehei who I think may be a little sharper than the others (not sure why Hamsher calls him “pool boy”).

  61. 61
    Darrell says:

    Jill Says:

    DougJ…Dana Priest posted my Qwest and terorists comment in her chat…she thought it was funny.

    You lefties are so predictable. Before your post, Powerline predicted lefties would sarcastically run around screaming about how all the terorists would switch to Qwest… Hilarious

  62. 62
    Jill says:

    DougJ…yes she knew I was kidding.

    Mike in SLO…Qwest only services 14 states…WA, OR, MN, ID, MT, WY, SD, ND, NE, UT, CO, AZ, NM, IA…I just checked.

  63. 63
    Chickenwing says:

    Why does Qwest hate America?

    They prolly already have all the Quest records.

  64. 64

    tBone Says:

    Paul Wartenberg Says:
    Now that it’s their own phone lines getting tapped, think Bush is going to lose enough people from that 31 percent to fall into 25-29 percent territory?

    This case deals only with phone records, not actual taps (so far).

    Well that’s the thing, isn’t it? So far? First it was that the NSA wasn’t using FISA to get warrants. Then it was that the wiretaps were including domestic calls as well as overseas. Now it’s that the phone companies are letting the NSA see who we call. At each point, more and more details come out about the illegal things being done with this program. When are we going to find out that there’s been wholly domestic phone calls that were wiretapped without any warrant on people not even remotely connected to any terror group?

  65. 65
    Mike in SLO says:

    Thanks Jill, you do quick work! :)

  66. 66
    Darrell says:

    Well, right, but it kinda seems like either these records lead to wiretaps in some cases, or it’s a whole lot of nothing.

    Yes, but if it’s purely domestic phone calls, that sort of pattern recognition used to actually listen in on a conversation would seem to require a warrant. Any evidence that’s not being done?

  67. 67
    Jill says:

    Oh, Darrell, you wrongies are so smart! And your lack of concern is what is predictable.

  68. 68
    tBone says:

    Well, right, but it kinda seems like either these records lead to wiretaps in some cases, or it’s a whole lot of nothing.

    Steve – not disagreeing with you. I just thought it was a useful distinction to point out because you know our resident Stage 1-ers would jump on it.

  69. 69
    Perry Como says:

    if the GOP has been using this wiretapping stuff to track and access Democratic communications then that would explain a whole lot (and it would explain their eagerness to keep this all swept under the rug). Anybody remember that?

    John Bolten apparently had a printout detailing the conversation of Gov. Richardson (D, NM). Let me say that again in a different way: The NSA wiretapped a conversation of a sitting governor.

    No “conservative” to date has addressed this point in a substantive way. Neither has the Liberal Media. Imagine if Clinton had tapped Gov. Bush’s conversations. Oh, wait. 9/11 changed everything.

  70. 70
    Steve says:

    Powerline:

    One, as A.J. Strata points out, the USA Today article identified Qwest as the one major carrier that declined the NSA’s request for cooperation. Presumably Qwest has now become the terrorists’ telecom company of choice. Way to go, USA Today!

    Now, did Powerline “predict lefties would sarcastically run around screaming about how all the terorists would switch to Qwest,” as Darrell suggests, or did they actually state that Qwest will now be the preferred telecom company for terrorists? I report, you decide.

  71. 71
    DougJ says:

    Darrell, if we’re predictable, it’s because the right is so predictable that spoofing them is too easy.

  72. 72
    searp says:

    I want to know why the hell that program is even secret. It doesn’t involve foreign spying, it doesn’t involve sources or methods that need to be protected, and the only people likely to benefit from knowing its capabilities are the American people.

    What right do they have to classify this program? What is the classification authority?

  73. 73
    DougJ says:

    Presumably Qwest has now become the terrorists’ telecom company of choice. Way to go, USA Today!

    Ha ha! Why did you even start this one, Darrell? You knew your homies at Strata and Atlas Shrugged would be saying this shit. And so did Jill and I.

    Snakes on a plane, motherfucker.

  74. 74
    Darrell says:

    And your lack of concern is what is predictable

    Yes, because ANYONE who isn’t seething with righteous anger over this shredding of the constitution is a blind Bushbot heel-licker.

  75. 75
    Tim F. says:

    Darrell,

    Before I wrote my post I “predicted” that you and Powerline would defend the president. Am I psychic or just supernaturally intuitive? Who knows. Could be both :^)

  76. 76
    Jill says:

    Steve…I agree with your “reporting”. And, I was spoofing what the wrong side would say.

  77. 77
    Darrell says:

    Ha ha! Why did you even start this one, Darrell? You knew your homies at Strata and Atlas Shrugged would be saying this shit. And so did Jill and I.

    They predicted what you lefty ‘independent’ thinkers would do, and that is exactly what happened. Doubt me? then see Jill’s first post

  78. 78
    tBone says:

    Darrell – you use this word, sarcastically. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  79. 79
    Gratefulcub says:

    Any evidence that’s not being done?

    Evidence? There can be no evidence without an investigation, and every investigation has been squashed.

    So, we are back to the basics. You say ‘just trust them’ and I say, “Our system is designed so that I don’t have to trust them.”

    We need hearings. We need investigations. Your boys won’t do it. Hearings start in January, get your popcorn.

  80. 80
    Darrell says:

    Darrell,

    Before I wrote my post I “predicted” that you and Powerline would defend the president. Am I psychic

    Well, you could be from the future:). Difference being, Powerline predicted exact specifics of how your side would react and what they would say.

  81. 81
    Jill says:

    Darrell…(slowly so you can understand) my first post was a spoof of the conservative reaction.

  82. 82
    Gratefulcub says:

    Well, you could be from the future:). Difference being, Powerline predicted exact specifics of how your side would react and what they would say.

    Your defense for this program is two fold:
    1) There is no evidence they weren’t getting warrants after they mined the ill begotten data

    2) The rightie blogs predicted the left’s snarky jokes.

  83. 83
    DougJ says:

    Darrell, here’s what A.J. Strata said

    USA Today just tipped off the terrorist how to avoid detection and put the people in Qwest’s areas in danger because now it is known those areas have the least protection and should be targeted! What are these people THINKING! Someone needs to go to jail.

  84. 84
    Steve says:

    AJ Strata:

    And here is why this reporting is dangerous. Of course the leftwing nuts want to point out the brave groups ’speaking to power’, so they alert the terrorists to shift all their communications over to Qwest because Qwest is not partnering with the NSA to help find potential 9-11 terrorists here in the country:

    Again, is he “predicting lefties would sarcastically run around screaming about how all the terorists would switch to Qwest,” or is he saying the USA Today story is dangerous because it “alerts the terrorists to shift all their communications over to Qwest”? I report, you decide.

  85. 85
    Darrell says:

    Jill Says:

    Darrell…(slowly so you can understand) my first post was a spoof of the conservative reaction.

    Thanks for typing so slowly so that I could understand. Powerline knew full well the lefty comments would be sarcastic..I said so in my first post… that’s why their comment was tongue in cheek. They nailed your reaction to the tee, because the left’s mentality is so predictable

  86. 86
    Gratefulcub says:

    Difference being, Powerline predicted exact specifics of how your side would react and what they would say.

    Did they also predict that I would be angry? Then give them a cookie.

  87. 87
    Steve says:

    All along, DougJ thought he was spoofing the wingnuts. Ha ha, how wrong he was! The wingnuts were actually writing down PREDICTIONS OF WHAT THE SPOOFERS WOULD SAY. Brilliant people, those wingnuts.

  88. 88
    Gratefulcub says:

    potential 9-11 terrorists

    What exactly is a potential 9/11 terrorist? Someone that may ‘potentially’ travel back in time to 2001?

  89. 89
    Perry Como says:

    Darrell…(slowly so you can understand) my first post was a spoof of the conservative reaction.

    Jill – you use this word, conservative. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  90. 90
    Steve says:

    Powerline knew full well the lefty comments would be sarcastic..I said so in my first post… that’s why their comment was tongue in cheek.

    Just so we’re clear, Darrell, you think any actual, non-tongue in cheek suggestion that the terrorists are going to switch to Qwest would be absurd?

  91. 91
    DougJ says:

    Oh, I see: Darrell is saying that Powerline predicted that liberals would want to switch to Qwest, not that people like Jill and me would go around pretending to be righties concerned that terrorists would start using Qwest.

    An honest mistake on your part, Darrell. You’re just careless here and not moronic. I can accept that.

  92. 92
    Darrell says:

    Again, is he “predicting lefties would sarcastically run around screaming about how all the terorists would switch to Qwest,”

    Steve, you are quoting from another blog, not Powerline, which is who I cited. How honest of you. What Powerline posted was this:

    Presumably Qwest has now become the terrorists’ telecom company of choice. Way to go, USA Today!

    Now you can argue till you’re blue in the face that they weren’t being sarcastic, but please, at least quote the source which I cited

  93. 93
    Perry Como says:

    (apologies to tBone)

  94. 94
    ppGaz says:

    because the left’s mentality is so predictable

    Darrell nails it again! If there is ONE THING the right does better, it’s being NOT PREDICTABLE in the way it reacts to situations.

    Re-elect your GOP congressman, otherwise those PREDICTABLE DEMS will take over the House.

    Fuck Darrell, do you ever tire of saying completely stupid things.

  95. 95
    Gratefulcub says:

    “Bush said he worried about the thousands of Gulf Coast residents now living in trailers. ‘Let’s just pray,’ he said, ‘there is no hurricane heading that way.’ “

    Finally, the man has a plan.

    I am going home to pray the NSA isn’t listening to my prayers.

  96. 96
    searp says:

    This program was improperly classified to keep it from the American public, period. We are all victims.

    NSA could have done it openly. It compromises nothing. The program was classified only to keep it from us, the citizenry of this country.

    Shameful, un-American activity of the type I have grown to expect from this President. He doesn’t even have the cojones to do what he thinks is necessary openly.

  97. 97
    DougJ says:

    It’s amazing how well the right-wing is able to predict what I will say when I spoof them.

  98. 98
    Steve says:

    Stop the ACLU:

    Since Qwest is the only company that refused to work with the government on the matter without a FISA warrant, we should be seeing a mass flocking of the paranoid left over to this company. That might not be such a good idea however. This leak may have just tipped some terrorist to exactly what communications in America are more vulnerable.

    But the righty blogs aren’t actually suggesting that the terrorists now know Qwest is safer to use. They’re just making tongue-in-cheek predictions.

  99. 99
    tBone says:

    Powerline knew full well the lefty comments would be sarcastic..I said so in my first post… that’s why their comment was tongue in cheek.

    Powerline:

    One, as A.J. Strata points out, the USA Today article identified Qwest as the one major carrier that declined the NSA’s request for cooperation. Presumably Qwest has now become the terrorists’ telecom company of choice. Way to go, USA Today!

    They must be using a special tongue-in-cheek tag that isn’t visible in my browser.

  100. 100
    LITBMueller says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how the NSA could possibly use this kind of data. We’re talking millions and millions and millions of calls. How the hell do you establish a pattern out of all that…especially when you’re looking for guys who are doing everything they can not to get caught!

  101. 101
    DougJ says:

    Darrell, I couldn’t tell the tone of Powerline but they certainly weren’t predicting that liberals would spoof the right by saying the terroirst would switch to Qwest.

    But suppose hypothetically that they did predict this (though they didn’t): doesn’t it make Strata et al. that much dumber for seriously writing things that Powerline thought so dumb that even saying them in jest is stupid?

  102. 102
    RSA says:

    On Republicans dealing with Bush:

    5.Acceptance (the moonbats are right—Bush is the worst president ever)

    For some, there’s Stage 6: Screw this, I’m changing parties. Of course, that means it’s no longer a Republican dealing with Bush.

  103. 103
    Perry Como says:

    1/3 of the way to the small world theory discussion.

  104. 104
    Jill says:

    Perry Como…since Jan ’01 there isn’t much that means what we think it means.

  105. 105
    Steve says:

    Steve, you are quoting from another blog, not Powerline, which is who I cited. How honest of you.

    Darrell, kindly review my 1:29 p.m. post.

    Now, note that there is a big block quote in the middle of my post.

    Now, note that before the big block quote, there is the word “Powerline,” followed by a colon. That indicates that I am quoting Powerline.

    Now, read the big block quote. Please note that it is, in fact, an actual quote from Powerline.

    Thanks for your cooperation.

  106. 106
    DougJ says:

    You know that PDB the president got: “Bin Laden determined to strike the United States”? Also tongue-in-cheek. It was just a message from Powerline predicting what the left would claim the president was told. That’s why Bush ignored it.

  107. 107
    Steve says:

    Oh, I get it. Light bulb!

    Darrell thinks that AJ Strata is a liberal blogger, and that Powerline was making fun of him.

    That’s pretty fuckin’ hilarious.

  108. 108
    Tim F. says:

    Before deciding whether this is the dumbest controversy that I have ever seen I need to have some idea what Darrell is actually arguing. It looks like Powerline did exactly what the spoofers predicted Bush defenders would do, which makes the spoofing spot on. But Powerline argued that if they made stupid arguments somebody would make fun of them for it, and then made the stupid argument anyway, and then got made fun of for it. Gosh, somebody hand them a medal.

    Alternatively Powerline predicted that liberals would choose Qwest as a telephone provider. In related news, nine out of ten drivers will go our of their way to choose the automobile that doesn’t have a car bomb in it.

    No I changed my mind, either way you cut it this is breaking new ground for stupid. If the brainiacs at Powerline don’t have anything more substantial to share it’s safe to say that they basically concede the point.

  109. 109
    Jill says:

    Yes, WMD in Iraq…tongue in cheek, No Child Left Behind…tongue in cheek, Clear Skies…tongue in cheek…

  110. 110
    DougJ says:

    Darrell thinks that AJ Strata is a liberal blogger, and that Powerline was making fun of him.

    That must be it.

  111. 111
    neil says:

    You know that PDB the president got: “Bin Laden determined to strike the United States”? Also tongue-in-cheek. It was just a message from Powerline predicting what the left would claim the president was told. That’s why Bush ignored it.

    I’ve never used a PotD so I get to do it now.

  112. 112
    Darrell says:

    Darrell, kindly review my 1:29 p.m. post.

    Now, note that there is a big block quote in the middle of my post.

    Now, note that before the big block quote, there is the word “Powerline,” followed by a colon. That indicates that I am quoting Powerline.

    Now, read the big block quote. Please note that it is, in fact, an actual quote from Powerline.

    Steve, that you had earlier quoted Powerline upthread, doesn’t explain why, in a post directed at me, you were quoting from another blog I never cited. Must be a ‘reality based’ thing or something

  113. 113
    neil says:

    From Powerline,

    Two, it’s obvious that what the NSA does with this vast amount of data is to run it through computers, looking for suspicious patterns, especially involving known or suspected terrorist phone numbers.

    Reaction 1: Really? Computers?

    Reaction 2: Oh, so it’s like the Da Vinci Code.

  114. 114
    DougJ says:

    Darrell: Powerline links to the other blogs we quoted from. It looked like Powerline was possibly making fun of them, but it was a conservative blog, not a liberal one.

  115. 115
    Steve says:

    To tell you the truth, the argument that “now the terrorists know to use Qwest” is actually a much better argument than anything the wingnuts came up with for why the leak of the original NSA program damaged national security.

    MR. BIDEN: Thank you very much. General, how has this revelation damaged the program?

    I’m almost confused by it but, I mean, it seems to presuppose that these very sophisticated Al Qaida folks didn’t think we were intercepting their phone calls.

    GONZALES: …I think, based on my experience, it is true – you would assume that the enemy is presuming that we are engaged in some kind of surveillance.

    But if they’re not reminded about it all the time in the newspapers and in stories, they sometimes forget.

    Like I said, the current argument is much better, tongue in cheek or not. Incidentally, the crowd at the Judiciary Committee hearing actually laughed out loud when Gonzales said “they sometimes forget.” Maybe he should have gotten that gig instead of Stephen Colbert.

  116. 116
    Steve says:

    The question, I guess, Darrell, is whether you still want to claim Powerline was making a “tongue in cheek prediction” even though you see several righty blogs actually making the exact same statement in a clearly serious manner, or would you prefer to revise and extend your remarks like the other Senators do.

  117. 117
    Perry Como says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how the NSA could possibly use this kind of data. We’re talking millions and millions and millions of calls. How the hell do you establish a pattern out of all that…especially when you’re looking for guys who are doing everything they can not to get caught!

    LITBMueller, stop teasing. We have another 200 posts to go. Here’s a warm up: http://ninjarobotmonkey.blogsp.....d-nsa.html

  118. 118
    Brian says:

    I think we should commend Qwest for their stand, and give them our business (even though the company will be gone in short order, bought up by a bigger fish).

    Whaddya think of this new ad campaign?

  119. 119
    Darrell says:

    actually a much better argument than anything the wingnuts came up with for why the leak of the original NSA program damaged national security.

    Because, as every good lefty knows, the leakers who violated their secrecy oath, telling the NY Times details on a secret program involving national security.. why they’re noble truth tellers exposing war criminal Bush’s shredding of the constitution

  120. 120
    DougJ says:

    Okay, Brian may be a spoof, because that’s just what I would do when I spoofed — try to come over and out-stupid Darrell when Darrell got on a roll.

  121. 121
    Perry Como says:

    Whaddya think of this new ad campaign?

    That’s great. Everytime I look out my window I’ll note the hole in the skyline and think just how fucking funny Confederate Yankee is.

  122. 122
    tBone says:

    Perry Como says:
    (apologies to tBone)

    My name is tBone Montoya. You nicked my joke. Prepare to die.

  123. 123
    Jill says:

    “Because, as every good lefty knows, the leakers who violated their secrecy oath, telling the NY Times details on a secret program involving national security.. why they’re noble truth tellers exposing war criminal Bush’s shredding of the constitution”

    Tongue in cheek, Darrell?

  124. 124
    Gratefulcub says:

    Anyone tired of arguing with Darrell that wants to know why this is illegal (outside of common sense), check out Glenn Greenwald’s site.

  125. 125
    Ancient Purple says:

    This leak may have just tipped some terrorist to exactly what communications in America are more vulnerable.

    Right. Because they were smart enough to coordinate smashing planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, but they weren’t smart enough to get a calling card from a vending machine and use the pay phone at the 7-11.

  126. 126
    Steve says:

    I find that offensive in the extreme, Brian. I can be good-natured about a lot of this stuff but you don’t take the gravesite of 3,000 people and dress it up as some kind of gag.

  127. 127
    Perry Como says:

    My name is tBone Montoya. You nicked my joke. Prepare to die.

    Coming up with original material is Hard Work(TM). Ask the Ben Domenech’s of the Right.

  128. 128
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    Because, as every good lefty knows, the leakers who violated their secrecy oath, telling the NY Times details on a secret program involving national security.. why they’re noble truth tellers exposing war criminal Bush’s shredding of the constitution

    Actually, it’s the leakers who upheld their oath to defend and protect the Constitution. They can use that defense, but some others aren’t so lucky–the Fourth Amendment doesn’t say anything about there being a right to out CIA agents for partisan political gain…

  129. 129
    Gratefulcub says:

    My name is tBone Montoya.

    Let’s remove the Rodents of Unusual Size from Washington

  130. 130
    Pb says:

    Ancient Purple,

    they weren’t smart enough to get a calling card from a vending machine and use the pay phone at the 7-11

    7-11 changed everything…

  131. 131
    Gratefulcub says:

    the Fourth Amendment doesn’t say anything about there being a right to out CIA agents for partisan political gain…

    No, but the 187th Amemdment, enacted through secret Executive Order does.

  132. 132

    Isn’t Powerlineblog a spoof site?

  133. 133
    Lee says:

    “If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” -Samuel Adams

    For all of you apologists, I’ll sum it up for you:

    Crouch and lick

  134. 134
    JoeTx says:

    Perry Como thats INCONSIVABLE

  135. 135
    Tom in Texas says:

    Good Lord (sorry fundies) if you people are actually going to let Darrell derail this conversation into whether or not the wingnuts were predicting the moonie’s thoughts or just being predictable themselves, rather than whether or not the NSA should be monitoring every conversation we have, than maybe he’s doing his job better than you think. Force him to actually talk about the issue at hand — he can’t make a coherent argument there.

  136. 136
    Gratefulcub says:

    he can’t make a coherent argument there.

  137. 137
    Brian says:

    My name is tBone Montoya

    I though you were tBone Burnette all this time, and was just about to tell you how much I love your music (except for that “O Brother, Where ar’t Thou” soundtrack).

  138. 138
    Pb says:

    Tom in Texas,

    Force him to actually talk about the issue at hand—he can’t make a coherent argument there.

    He can’t make a coherent argument about anything, but that hasn’t stopped him yet–so what’s the point?

  139. 139
    LITBMueller says:

    Perry, that blogger is talking about when you already know that one caller is a terrorist. This program is taking in all the phone calls in the country (minus our heroes, Qwest), and looking for patterns.

    For what? To see if terrorists check their horoscopes over the phone each morning? What patterns could they find this way? If I was a terrorist, I’d use a payphone, but that’s just me, and I watched a lot of Miami Vice when I was a kid. ;)

  140. 140
    JoeTx says:

    Right. Because they were smart enough to coordinate smashing planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, but they weren’t smart enough to get a calling card from a vending machine and use the pay phone at the 7-11.

    There way past that now, their out there using those “Internets”. Geesh, I hope that word doesn’t stick around longer than Bush, opps, no wait, that could be his legacy, he invented the word “Internets”, who would have thunk it!

  141. 141
    Par R says:

    Aside from the fact that the broad outlines of this were described in the NYT and other media in the not too distant past, what’s the big deal. All, and I mean virtually ALL of the data are currently being collected by at least one other government agency. Today’s article does not allege that any calls are listened in on. Indeed, as USA Today describes it, the program seems like a thoroughly innocuous database of the same information that appears on your phone bill, but with your name, address and other personal information removed. Given that another government agency — the IRS — maintains information on American citizens’ employment, banking, investments, mortgages, charitable contributions and even any declared medical expenses, this hardly seems like a major assault on personal liberty.

  142. 142
    Tuslagi says:

    As usual, truth is an unknown option for the spoiled brat frat boy.

    The next time the Republican patriots pick a nugget out of Falwell’s ass crack to be their candidate, it would be nice if they chose one that was a little brighter and didn’t stink quite so much.

  143. 143
    tBone says:

    except for that “O Brother, Where ar’t Thou” soundtrack

    It’s OK to like it – George Clooney wasn’t really singing, you know.

  144. 144
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Ah, now we’ve shifted to the “this is old news – let’s move on” defense.

    And the lefties are predictable?

  145. 145
    JoeTx says:

    Par R Says:

    Aside from the fact that the broad outlines of this were described in the NYT and other media in the not too distant past, what’s the big deal. All, and I mean virtually ALL of the data are currently being collected by at least one other government agency. Today’s article does not allege that any calls are listened in on. Indeed, as USA Today describes it, the program seems like a thoroughly innocuous database of the same information that appears on your phone bill, but with your name, address and other personal information removed. Given that another government agency — the IRS — maintains information on American citizens’ employment, banking, investments, mortgages, charitable contributions and even any declared medical expenses, this hardly seems like a major assault on personal liberty.

    I guess you missed the part about it being illegal, even by the revised standards of FISA and Patriot Act II and the fact the even the AG wouldn’t provide cover to Qwest.

    This administration refuses to submit their spying programs to the light of day the courts would provide, there are absolutely NO checks and balances to these programs, does this not bother you?

  146. 146
    Gratefulcub says:

    ParR,

    I am willing to accept that maybe it isn’t a big deal. Maybe this is a program that is very useful, and doesn’t really infringe on civil liberties.

    But,

    It IS illegal. Check out Glenn Greenwalds site for a legaleze explanation. The NSA program we already knew about IS illegal.

    They should have gone to congress and asked for legislation to allow these practices. Instead they ignored the law. That is unacceptable to me.

    There is no reason this needs to be classified. There is no reason that the original NSA program needs such super duper classification. Except to hide if from the public, not the terrorists.

  147. 147
    Perry Como says:

    Crap, I forgot all about the Par R’s of the Right. The ones that can justify the encroachment of Federal government without understanding the underlying issues.

    LITBMueller, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_world_network

    I’m a data viz geek in my free time, so small world theory is something that I play with on occassion. It is a very powerful tool in the right hands. It may have some usefulness in detecting patterns of terrorists (debatable), but it would be invaluable in creating a dossier on political enemies.

    If this was occurring in the 90s, the black helicopter crowd would be going nuts (Limbaugh, et al). But 9/11 changed everything. Like the Constitution and the need for limited government.

  148. 148
    Steve says:

    All, and I mean virtually ALL of the data are currently being collected by at least one other government agency.

    Seems rather surprising, then, that the NSA is going to all the trouble of working out these arrangements with the phone companies, when they could simply walk down the hall and get the same information. It’s almost enough to make you think that Par isn’t really being straight with us.

  149. 149
    LITBMueller says:

    Interesting stuff, Perry, and beyond my “raised on an Apple IIe” skills! :)

    I just put up a diary over at DKos – I think this program was linked directly to that January NY Times story about the FBI hunting down a “flood” of dead end leads from the NSA. The agents were given phone numbers, email addresses, etc. – precisely the type of data that is collected pursuant to the contracts between NSA and the phone companies.

    At the time, the NY Times story was written in the context o the “terrorist surveilance” program, but, to me, it defies belief that enough people in the US were making as many calls to suspected terrorists overseas that it would lead to the FBI chasing down as many leads as are described in the NY Times article.

    Could be that the best we might be able to say about the program is that it has been incredibly unsuccessul!

  150. 150
    Gratefulcub says:

    Could be that the best we might be able to say about the program is that it has been incredibly unsuccessul!

    Sshhhh. If you let the terrorists know that we are chasing our tails with illegally obtained information, they will win.

  151. 151
    Par R says:

    Re Steve’s comment, as with the regulations governing the IRS, disclosures of this personal nature are not supposed to be disclosed publically or to other parts of the government. Of course, many private/personal tax data have been leaked to friendly media by Congressional staffers and members over the years when it suited their purposes; as a result, there are now some relatively effective controls over release of personal IRS tax data to Congress.

  152. 152
    LITBMueller says:

    Dammit…why do I hate America? I’m such a douchebag… (Balloon Juice Word of the Day).

  153. 153
    Perry Como says:

    Anyone leaking information about illegal government activities should be sent to Bright Light.

  154. 154
    Steve says:

    Soooooooo which agency is it that already has “virtually all” of this information, and what regulation prohibits them from disclosing it to the NSA? You’ve made me quite curious.

  155. 155
    Gratefulcub says:

    Par R,
    What are your thoughts about the illegality of the NSA programs?

  156. 156
    Par R says:

    Steve, I believe you are an attorney, so you can probably find the specific cite faster than I can. However, here’s a paper that discusses many of the issues and challenges relative to assuring the confidentiality of IRS data.

  157. 157
    Perry Como says:

    Jeez. Where are all of the administration sycophants? Still waiting for the talking points to be issued? Defend this program as being useful, necessary and totally legal! Otherwise we’ll never get to 300.

  158. 158
    Pooh says:

    Tim F., you should have closed the comments after this one:

    Before deciding whether this is the dumbest controversy that I have ever seen I need to have some idea what Darrell is actually arguing. It looks like Powerline did exactly what the spoofers predicted Bush defenders would do, which makes the spoofing spot on. But Powerline argued that if they made stupid arguments somebody would make fun of them for it, and then made the stupid argument anyway, and then got made fun of for it. Gosh, somebody hand them a medal.

    Alternatively Powerline predicted that liberals would choose Qwest as a telephone provider. In related news, nine out of ten drivers will go our of their way to choose the automobile that doesn’t have a car bomb in it.

    No I changed my mind, either way you cut it this is breaking new ground for stupid. If the brainiacs at Powerline don’t have anything more substantial to share it’s safe to say that they basically concede the point.

    I think the kids describe the above as “shutting the motherfucker down”

    Screw the two previous invocations, PoTD. The bar has been raised.

    MARS, bitches…

  159. 159
    Steve says:

    Let me get this straight, Par. When you said

    All, and I mean virtually ALL of the data are currently being collected by at least one other government agency.

    you had no idea which government agency you were referring to?

    Because I’m pretty sure the IRS doesn’t have records of all my phone calls.

  160. 160
    Perry Como says:

    Bruce Schneier weighs in:

    Note that this database does not just contain phone calls that either originate or terminate outside the U.S. This database is mostly domestic calls: calls we all make everyday.

    AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth are all providing this information to the NSA. Only Quest has refused.

    Judicial oversight is a security system, and unchecked military and police power is a security threat.

    Come on you partisan twits. Defend it. I need a good laugh.

  161. 161
    Mr Furious says:

    Because I’m pretty sure the IRS doesn’t have records of all my phone calls.

    Didn’t you hear? That’s under the purview of the Department of Agriculture now as part of their GWOT mandate…

  162. 162
    Par R says:

    Steve, here’s exactly what I said in my initial post:

    Given that another government agency — the IRS — maintains information on American citizens’ employment, banking, investments, mortgages, charitable contributions and even any declared medical expenses, this hardly seems like a major assault on personal liberty.

    I never referred to your records of phone calls, but rather to a whole litany of information of at least as personal a nature as locations of phone calls.

  163. 163
    tBone says:

    Jeez. Where are all of the administration sycophants?

    They’ve all jumped to Stage 4.

  164. 164
    Bone-In RibEye says:

    But Powerline argued that if they made stupid arguments somebody would make fun of them for it, and then made the stupid argument anyway, and then got made fun of for it. Gosh, somebody hand them a medal.

    Didn’t Alphonso Jackson use this same defense earlier this week?

  165. 165
    Jill says:

    Could this be the tipping point of the final 31%?

  166. 166
    Steve says:

    Par, you didn’t quote the part of your post I referenced.

    Aside from the fact that the broad outlines of this were described in the NYT and other media in the not too distant past, what’s the big deal. All, and I mean virtually ALL of the data are currently being collected by at least one other government agency.

    Now, if all you meant by that is that the IRS has a lot of our personal data, so why should we complain if a different agency keeps track of our phone calls, then ok, I understand the argument you’re making. But when you said “All, and I mean virtually ALL of the data are currently being collected,” gosh, I sure thought you meant the data that’s being collected by this NSA program. Please clarify.

  167. 167
    ppGaz says:

    Could this be the tipping point of the final 31%?

    Well, let me introduce to my friend Ron, a guy I see every day at work. Known him for 14 years. Solid guy, Republican, voted for GWB twice.

    Today, ron: “These guys have gone too far. They keep telling us to trust them, but we have less and less reason to believe them any more.”

  168. 168
    Davebo says:

    Jill, could turn a few % points I guess.

    Ironically the republicans in congress, by rubber stamping anything this administration ordered them to, may well have rubber stamped their own eviction notices.

  169. 169
    Gratefulcub says:

    Ironically the republicans in congress, by rubber stamping anything this administration ordered them to, may well have rubber stamped their own eviction notices.

    They know that too. Watch them run away from Bush, starting with oppossition to this NSA program. All of a sudden the solid 31% has cover to change their mind and become a solid 25%.

    We are heading into the 20s. I find it scary. Don’t get me wrong, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, but a crisis in government for 2 and a half years is not something I look forward to.

  170. 170
    HyperIon says:

    I posted this on the HUD sec thread by mistake. I’d link to it but haven’t figured out how yet so……

    Over the last several years, it seems like every entity I do business with has enclosed a “privacy policy” in a bill. I have not paid too much attention to them…lots of fine print and legalese.

    But now I am very curious about what they agree not to do: is it only that they will not sell my name and address?

    BTW I am a Qwest customer. And I’m thinking I’ll continue to be one. But now I have to dig out their privacy policy!

  171. 171
    JoeTx says:

    Republican mindset…

    The Iraq war doesn’t affect me, my sons and daughters are not fighting and there is no draft.

    The Iraq war doesn’t affect me, I’m not paying for it, because George Bush lowered my taxes and the cost is borrowed and will be paid back by future generations.

    High gas prices don’t affect me, if I can afford a Mercedes, whats a few more dollars per tank of gas.

    Who cares if the government takes money away from education and decreases spending on Pell Grants to allow lower income classes to attend college, my money can buy the best education from private schools.

    Cronyism and scandals don’t affect me, because I am feeding at the tax dollar trought too.

    Cronyism and scandals don’t affect me, hey, its just politics as usual, what can I do? Just don’t take away my Desparate Housewives and American Idol.

    Health care is becoming unaffordable for many in the middle and lower classes and we have among the highest rates of infant mortality in the world, but that doesn’t affect me, because my money can buy the best health care available.

    Making abortion illegal doesn’t affect me, because I can afford to go to another state or country if me or my daughter has an unwanted pregnancy.

    Illegal spying doesn’t affect me, just don’t take away my guns and hunting stuff.

    Whatever your complaining about, its Clintons fault.

  172. 172
    Halffasthero says:

    Alternatively Powerline predicted that liberals would choose Qwest as a telephone provider. In related news, nine out of ten drivers will go our of their way to choose the automobile that doesn’t have a car bomb in it.

    I agree with the above poster. Those words pretty much slam the door on any profundity regarding this debacle that could be shared. I cannot add anything to it.

  173. 173
    ppGaz says:

    Illegal spying doesn’t affect me, just don’t take away my guns and hunting stuff.

    Whatever your complaining about, its Clintons fault.

    But you see, Joe, the libruls are more scary because, you know, they have this Predictable Mindset.

    For example, did you ever ask a librul whether the earth is flat or round? Every one of them will say “round” without actually knowing for sure, just because the rest of them do.

    But your righties, they’ll hesitate … aren’t sure. Not so fast. Like, did things happen on the earth millions of years ago? Really? Were you there?

    See? Libruls are knee-jerk, whatever is the party line.

    Not the righties. They are like people from Missouri: Show Me.

  174. 174
    Pb says:

    Gratefulcub,

    We are heading into the 20s. I find it scary. Don’t get me wrong, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, but a crisis in government for 2 and a half years is not something I look forward to.

    I’d rather look at it as an opportunity to end to the crisis in non-government that we’ve had for the past 6 years or so.

  175. 175
    Andrew says:

    Illegal spying doesn’t affect me

    Actually, I think that is some sort of daddy complex going on. Darrell, Brian, et al. probably feel safe and special knowing that Great Leader is looking into their otherwise trivially interesting lives. This may be stage -2 or -3.

  176. 176
    JoeTx says:

    Actually, I think that is some sort of daddy complex going on.

    George Bush is our Papa Smirf!

  177. 177
    My Truth Hurts says:

    [quote=Par R Says]
    Steve, here’s exactly what I said in my initial post:

    Given that another government agency — the IRS — maintains information on American citizens’ employment, banking, investments, mortgages, charitable contributions and even any declared medical expenses, this hardly seems like a major assault on personal liberty.
    I never referred to your records of phone calls, but rather to a whole litany of information of at least as personal a nature as locations of phone calls.[/quote]

    That personal information doesn’t include tracking my movements and phone calls [i]as they happen.[/i]

  178. 178
    Perry Como says:

    J. Edgar Hoover is wetting his panties over this program.

  179. 179
    DennyK says:

    Apparently, some people can’t tell the difference between collecting data and wiretapping.

    In my case, I would rather have the government collect my data (as would 63% of all Americans), than collect my remains comrade.

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