I Cast PRISMatic Sphere On All The Things

From the “Oh and by the way” Department:

The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.

The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.

Reaction has been both subtle and nuanced.

 

Taste the rainbow.  Data mine the rainbow.

Oh, and the tech companies supposedly involved are 100% flatly denying everything about this story, too.

[UPDATE]  Annnnnnd there’s apparently more.

The National Security Agency’s monitoring of Americans includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions, said people familiar with the agency’s activities.

So, outraged members of Congress will sunset the Patriot Act rather than renewing it with veto-proof margins, right?

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212 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Isn’t that the HuffPo headline every day?

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    And your position on this is?

  3. 3
    El Cid says:

    Context aside, that’s a really creepy photomanipulation.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    If this has been going on since 2007, I can’t even begin to imagine how many cat videos they have by now.

  5. 5
    PsiFighter37 says:

    I haven’t read much about this, except to see that the usual self-immolation on the Internet left is commencing on schedule.

    My initial thoughts are this: not a huge fan, but it IS LEGAL. Unlike Bush, who went ahead and conducted wiretapping without warrants from the FISA court, the Obama administration got the necessary approvals, and from what I can tell, are engaged in a shit-ton of data mining (they’re not even bothering with audio from the calls).

    All I can say is that, at least within the context of what laws are on the books, this is another big nothingburger.

    Fuck the media, AGAIN, for being a bunch of lazy-ass motherfuckers too stupid to do their homework. Or, you know, to have been alive and paying attention the past decade.

  6. 6
    whiskey says:

    They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

  7. 7
    Zandar says:

    Considering the tech companies like Apple are completely saying this doesn’t exist and they’ve never heard of it, I’m withholding judgment until further details are known.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    @whiskey:

    WTF?

  9. 9
    Mike G says:

    I can’t wait for all the overheated outrage from teatard hypocrites who thought the Patroit Act was Teh Awesome and anyone who questioned it should shut up or be labeled objectively-pro-terrist. They loved them some Big Brother Government intimidating their political enemies when it was neocon thugs wielding the reins. Of course they’ll deny they ever said such things.

  10. 10
    Bostondreams says:

    @Baud:

    I think Whiskey is saying they have every right to speak about this without charges, as king as its in Congress.

  11. 11
    dedc79 says:

    Fixed it for you:

    The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting porn that enable analysts to track a person’s sexual preferences.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @Bostondreams:

    If you’re saying that a member of Congress can disclose confidential information without being charged with a crime, that’s only true if it’s not a felony, which it may not be, but I don’t know.

    ETA: Never mind. I was confusing [privilege from arrest and speech and debate.

  13. 13
    mai naem says:

    That is one ugly dude up there. It’s like they used way more of Dumbya’s features than Obamas. Here’s the thing – I don’t give a shit. The more of this shit that they shovel out, the faster I roll to the “find him with a dead girl or a live adolescent boy, then I’ll care” attitude towards Obama. This is just some ugly shit, now, they’re just trying to throw as much mud on Obama’s so that his legacy becomes ugly. Fuckers.

  14. 14
    Socoolsofresh says:

    Ya, just because its legal, means that it is a nothingburger. Sure. Slavery was legal once. I guess that was a nothingburger too.

    Secretly written laws that allow what was once illegal, now becomes legal without letting anyone know. Oh hey, but now its legal, so its all good, right? We were doing all this collecting secretly, cause we knew people would get upset, but now its been leaked, against the governments will. Oh, sure, now trust us with what we were doing. And then some of you guys on here are like, sure! Already thought it was a nothingburger! How dare the media get upset about this!

  15. 15
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Does anyone else have the feeling that the genie has been let out of the bottle?

  16. 16
    Suffern ACE says:

    @PsiFighter37: psi, sorry. But if the presentation really does state that the purpose of the program is to get around FISA requirements, it is hardly reassuring that the NSA sticks to the rules and only monitors outside the US.

  17. 17

    So much “THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR RAND PAUL” today. Drone me naow please.

  18. 18
    Violet says:

    Caught a few minutes of NPR around noon. They were talking about the Verizon stuff that broke yesterday. Whoever they were interviewing was decidedly upset that the phone calls of the Members of Congress could have been monitored! Just imagine if they’d been making a super sekrit phone call! The horror!

    I know, security clearances and all, but it sure came across like “It’s fine for the little people. But when it affects me…” Asshats.

  19. 19
    different-church-lady says:

    No WordPress? Whew… we’re safe.

    Surprised they didn’t throw Nixon in there for the hat trick.

  20. 20
    gussie says:

    @Mike G: I can’t wait for the collective shrug from moonbat hypocrites who thought the Patroit Act was Teh Awful and anyone who supported it should shut up or be labeled objectively-anti-privacy. They hated them some Big Brother Government spying on their shameful pornography when it was neocon thugs wielding the reins. Of course they’ll deny they ever said such things.

    What I hate most about this (aside from, y’know, it happening) is that the only reason it might get any traction is because left and right (or at least ‘tiny fringe of left’ and right) can both agree to despise Obama about it. Divided by policy, united by mistrust–and the fact that the mistrust comes from very different places is just ‘eh, who cares?’

  21. 21
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    All the tech companies are saying is that the NSA doesn’t have access to their servers, so I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if all data sent to their servers was being cloned to an NSA server. That’s easier to keep secret from the IT guys, using a pull system rather than a direct access system.

  22. 22
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Oh, and the tech companies supposedly involved are 100% flatly denying everything about this story, too.

    Of course they are.

    Here’s a hypothetical, or perhaps a non-hypothetical: if you put in a monitoring system for the US government, then it’s a system that is itself conceivably hackable. If you put a catflap in your door, it doesn’t stop racoons from coming in.

  23. 23
    Calouste says:

    Have you looked at that slide? Your 13-year old niece/nephew can put something together that looks more convincing than this fake.

  24. 24
    Corner Stone says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    the Obama administration got the necessary approvals, and from what I can tell, are engaged in a shit-ton of data mining

    This is too funny given the context of your blase acceptance otherwise.
    “But was it legal?”
    That is now the defining question of this blogs culture.

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    @different-church-lady:

    They tried to get access to Word Press. Kept crashing their servers.

  26. 26
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    I was going to write a quick synopsis of the arguments we can expect from the usual anti-Liberty pro-spying apologists, but they got here before me.

    I suppose they haven’t gotten to “shut up you libtard” yet, though?

  27. 27
    The Friendly Libertarian says:

    But remember, Glenn Greenwald said something mean once and argle bargle RACIST RACIST RACIST.

    Is that about right, Obots?

  28. 28
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @mai naem: It’s all about Obama, not about the substance of government spying the hell out of us? Christ on a crutch wake up.

  29. 29
    Corner Stone says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow: Shut up you libtard!

  30. 30
    ruemara says:

    Does it matter if it’s true or not? The only thing that does matter is if we hate who we are told to hate and believe what we are told to believe. Waiting for facts and details is a fool’s game and a sign that you’re ok with the status quo and easily led. We should rise up and overthrow this Orwellian state that has existed for over a decade under Obama with heckling. And very large puppets, net petitions and donations.

  31. 31
    Baud says:

    Interesting. It’s hasn’t been two days, and the “debate” has degenerated into random attacks on Obots…

    I think the national security apparatus will be just fine.

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    “Bracing evidence that discussion on all matters has moved to ‘but was it legal?'”

  33. 33

    Oh, man, the media must have nothing much to cover these days. I’m looking at this with the biggest side eye and “really?” face I can muster. Jane Fonda was wiretapped. Has Danny Glover found work since he hugged Hugo Chavez? My point is that this isn’t new and the media is just adding this to the AP investigation to paint themselves (and U.S. citizens) as pawns and martyrs for freedom of information and privacy…knowing daggone well they don’t respect privacy when they want to get a story. I’ve assumed that the government has been doing this for years. No big “GASP” from me. It’s more like, “Oh, you got caught. At least there’s that. But it’s not really being caught because it’s legally covered, even though I don’t like it.”

  34. 34
    Corner Stone says:

    @ruemara: What about drum circles? Surely they would help?
    Ok, who stole my pepper spray?!

  35. 35
    tybee says:

    @Baud:

    snort

  36. 36
    The Friendly Libertarian says:

    @Baud:

    Of course it will be.

    Whether they’re Republicrats or Demopublicans, they’re all pretty much the same ball of wax with a few exceptions like Ron Paul who have been warning you about this FOR YEARS.

    Welcome to the United So☭ialist States of America–where the government owns you, and you’re nothing but a serf.

  37. 37
    MikeJ says:

    So what you’re saying is the government is reading my Spock/Sherlock crossover slashfic?

    AN AUDIENCE!

  38. 38
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Zandar: ok. It would probably be against the law for them to acknowledge their participation in this program. I doubt having a bunch of reporters calling them would change that.

  39. 39

    @The Friendly Libertarian: Nah, you’d more likely get GG supported the bush war! But then again, so did our gracious blawg host and lots of other people.
    Glennnnn is just like any other person. Not always right, not always wrong.

  40. 40
    Baud says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    BWAHAHAHAHA!

    Ron Paul! He’ll get the NSA out of your email and into your wombs!

  41. 41
    Short Bus Bully says:

    So change the fucking laws of this land or STFU.

    The emo left is more annoying and just as damaging as the goddamn snake handlers and gay bashers they purport to oppose.

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:

    @MikeJ: I’m actually…interested to read more of this. You’ve intrigued me here, sir.

  43. 43
    different-church-lady says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    …with a few exceptions like Ron Paul who have been warning you about this FOR YEARS.

    And to think; for a few hours today I was wondering if I needed to worry about this.

  44. 44
    The Friendly Libertarian says:

    @Baud:

    Yes remember, what’s really important here is whether we can have consequence-free sex.

    Enjoy your bread and circuses (and free birth control), serf.

    Contraception and abortion are just another means of ruling class control (more diversions, the old Bread and Circuses trick updated for the sexual revolution).

  45. 45
    Violet says:

    @Corner Stone: Legal and ethical/the right thing to do are not the same thing. Asking if it’s legal is a reasonable question because it helps set up how people should go about dealing with it.

    If it’s legal, the law needs to be changed or challenged in court to result in a change. If it’s illegal, the people who did it need to be charged with breaking the law and face the consequences.

    Justice and the law are not the same thing.

  46. 46
    Corner Stone says:

    COME ON CHRIS HAYES! YOU FUCKING EMO PROG SUMBITCH ASS MOFO!

  47. 47
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: You would like to subscribe to his newsletter?

  48. 48
    mk3872 says:

    I guess that whole media outrage over “chilling effect” on sources leaking classified info was apparently a complete crock, I see

  49. 49
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: The way your meds are adjusted right now? I like it.

  50. 50
    Corner Stone says:

    @Violet: You misunderstand. Framing the debate by asking that question is an affront to what people of a certain ethical persuasion should accept. There have been lots of things that were “legal” that were driven from popular discourse.

  51. 51

    @mk3872: Most “chilling effect” arguments are. It’s just a form of projection.

  52. 52
    Baud says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    That is AWESOME! Thank you for stopping by.

  53. 53
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    Prismatic Sphere is a *protective* spell; if you want to cast something “on” other things, you want Prismatic Spray!
    (Two very large – and completely imaginary – paragraphs on why This Is Important, deleted)

  54. 54
    different-church-lady says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo:

    (Two very large – and completely imaginary – paragraphs on why This Is Important, deleted)

    It’s okay, we can retrieve them from the NSA’s servers.

  55. 55
    gussie says:

    @Short Bus Bully: This is the best thing I’ve read in a long time: “So change the fucking laws of this land or STFU.”

  56. 56
    Violet says:

    @Baud:

    Ron Paul! He’ll get the NSA out of your email and into your wombs!

    Men don’t have wombs. What do they care about wombs?

  57. 57
    Suffern ACE says:

    Well, granted. But the use was probably rare. The data only used in rare situations that happed a few thousand times a month.

  58. 58
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    My initial thoughts are this: not a huge fan, but it IS LEGAL.

    You know, this is a really pathetic and cowardly standard to live by. There has been so much horrible and awful shit that has been legally recognized at one point or another in this country that I can’t believe anyone would actually believe “legal” and “good” are the same thing.

    Sorry, folks, not getting on the ‘don’t care’ train here. Also not getting on the ‘this is obviously a big media conspiracy to discredit Obama’ train, because that’s an even stupider train. When ‘purity trolls’ (def. anyone with an opinion more left-wing than mine) complain about how this site supports Obama no matter what his administration does, this is exactly what they’re talking about.

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    @Violet:

    Egg-zackly!

  60. 60
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Frankly, I think “data mining” as a means to do much of anything is overrated. The torrent of utter crap is more than enough to hide the actual nuggets, no matter how much computing power you throw at it. Sturgeon’s Law is for reals, and it definitely applies to the Intertubes.

  61. 61
    Burnspbesq says:

    The cell phone metadata thing made me queasy. This makes me want to vomit.

    What part of “general warrant” are you having trouble understanding, y’all? This is no different, in any meaningful respect, than what the British Army was doing in the 1750s.

  62. 62
    Nerdlinger says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: Yeah, how’s that revolution working out for ya?

  63. 63
    Thomas F says:

    Shorter Zandar: “Blindly believe the for-profit institutions we normally scrutinize in all other situations…because OBAMA!”

    Zandar, you are stone-cold stupid and an embarrassment to this blog.

  64. 64
    Zandar says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo: Maybe you do. I always used P-sphere offensively to hit as many things as possible with all 7 color effects at once.

  65. 65
    Baud says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Wait, so no one can have a legitimate opinion that they don’t find the surveillance troubling?

  66. 66
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Calouste:

    Your 13-year old niece/nephew can put something together that looks more convincing than this fake.

    Oh, please: that’s right on the money for Official Government Powerpoint style.

  67. 67
    JWL says:

    Somewhere Admiral Poindexter is chuckling.

    ERIC SCHMITT
    N.Y. Times
    Published: August 1, 2003

    WASHINGTON; The official who oversaw a plan for the Pentagon to run a terrorist futures-trading market is resigning under pressure, a senior Defense Department official said today.

    John M. Poindexter, a retired rear admiral who was President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser, is stepping down “within a few weeks,” the defense official said, after the disclosure of a proposal that outraged lawmakers and embarrassed senior Pentagon officials. The plan was to create an online trading parlor that would have rewarded investors who forecast terrorist attacks, assassinations and coups.

    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld did not personally fire Admiral Poindexter, but the defense official said that Mr. Rumsfeld agreed that the admiral had become too much of a political lightning rod and that it was time for him to go.

    “It’s fair to say that the secretary understood what Admiral Poindexter understands, which is that it’s difficult for any work that he might be associated with to receive a dispassionate hearing,” said the official, who spoke to reporters at the Pentagon today on the condition of not being named…

  68. 68
    Violet says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: You have to know if it’s legal to deal with it. If it’s legal, change the law. If it’s not, arrest and prosecute those who broke the law. Asking if it’s legal is the starting point, not the end.

  69. 69
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @dedc79: So finally the FBI figured out how to be able to view porn at work and not get fired for it. Thus our mighty civilization advances.

  70. 70
    Felanius Kootea says:

    So how do we get the law changed?

  71. 71
    Patricia Kayden says:

    So let us see which Congress critters will advocate the repealing of the Patriot Act. That’s how you handle the government overreach (if there has been any actual overreach).

  72. 72
    muddy says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    Yes remember, what’s really important here is whether we can have consequence-free sex.

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. I’m sorry.

  73. 73
    aimai says:

    @Baud: That’s the best thing I’ll read about this all week.

  74. 74
    Emma says:

    So I see the Republican ratf$uckers who are leaking all the classified information have already accomplished half their mission as the liberals turn on the President. Congrats guys, you’re doing the work of the enemy again.

  75. 75
    Bruce S says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    I’m sorry but anyone who buys into Ron “Gold Standard” Paul, who thinks the US is “socialist”, compares US citizens to “serfs” and uses a hammer and sickle as emblematic of our country is just a total fucking nutcase. Beneath contempt really. If you actually believe that shit, you are borderline insane and probably need professional help. You’re hallucinating. You don’t know the difference between real and imagined oppression. It’s insulting to people who actually have to deal with dictatorial and totalitarian governments.

  76. 76
    The Friendly Libertarian says:

    @muddy:

    It’s a distraction. Free birth control, casual sex, etc, it’s Bread and Circuses to distract us from the crimes of the government. Haven’t you ever read Brave New World?

  77. 77
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Baud:

    I didn’t say that and I didn’t intend to say that. What I’m pointing out is that there are multiple people here dismissing it because they think it’s a personal attack on Obama or the media’s trying to get even with him or some bullshit.

    And ‘it’s OK if it’s not illegal’ IS a stupid opinion, even if you think this particular case isn’t a big deal.

  78. 78
    gbear says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: Are you sending your posts from a re-education camp? You sound so unfulfilled.

  79. 79
    Burnspbesq says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    But remember, Glenn Greenwald said something mean once and argle bargle RACIST RACIST RACIST.

    No, you third-rate troll. Unlike you, some of us are capable of dealing with nuance and gray areas.

    Friendly libertarian is an oxymoron, and you are lacking in oxy.

  80. 80
    different-church-lady says:

    @Violet:

    You have to know if it’s legal to deal with it.

    I dunno about the rest of you, but I find myself quite capable of simultaneously addressing both the legal and ethical aspects of this on completely independent tracks

  81. 81
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: Don’t you have your dream home in Somalia to build? High time you got to the FREEDOM of fighting your neighbor to the death for a cup water like REAL man and not taking that public utility water like a serf.

  82. 82
    The Friendly Libertarian says:

    @Bruce S:

    The Soviet Union used to call people who correctly pointed out that their society was a vicious decaying tyranny were called “insane” too, and those that were unfortunate enough to live there received “psychiatric help” all right–forcibly thrown into insane asylums and medicated.

    This country is rapidly moving in that direction as noted by sentiments such as yours.

  83. 83
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Emma:

    Oh, fuck your loyalty test. If I disagree with something the administration does, I have a goddamn right to say so. Jesus Christ, Obama’s a grown-up, he can handle people criticizing him on a blog.

  84. 84
    Baud says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Fair enough. But just because the underlying issue is legitimate doesn’t mean some people won’t use it to make personal attacks on Obama. I think someone would have to be living in a hole for the last five years not to have seen that.

  85. 85
    NickT says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    Just remember that your idea of consequence-free sex is going to have you walking round the neighborhood explaining yourself ever time you move.

  86. 86
    NickT says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    Just remember that your idea of consequence-free sex is going to have you walking round the neighborhood explaining yourself ever time you move.

  87. 87
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    @PsiFighter37:
    My initial thoughts are this: not a huge fan, but it IS LEGAL.

    You know, this is a really pathetic and cowardly standard to live by.

    And to go all Godwin on it, what the Nazis did was also LEGAL and indeed compulsory.

  88. 88
    NickT says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow:

    So, did your yellow star arrive in the mail yet? When are you going to be shipped off to the FEMA death camps exactly?

  89. 89
    different-church-lady says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow: You know who else spied on the internet? Hitler.

  90. 90
    Yatsuno says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: So my rights as an individual end when I choose to have sex where, when, and with whom I choose? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    You keep using that word. I dinna think it means what you think it means.

  91. 91
    celticdragonchick says:

    @JWL:

    John M. Poindexter, a retired rear admiral who was President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser, is stepping down “within a few weeks,” the defense official said, after the disclosure of a proposal that outraged lawmakers and embarrassed senior Pentagon officials. The plan was to create an online trading parlor that would have rewarded investors who forecast terrorist attacks, assassinations and coups.

    Using statistical market forces as predictive tools has been successful elsewhere, but I guess we didn’t want it for terror forecasting.

  92. 92
    gussie says:

    @different-church-lady: I’m not even sure, to be honest, what ‘is it legal?’ really means.

    It doesn’t mean ‘violates my reading of law,’ obviously. So, what? It means, ‘how would the Supreme Court rule?’ It means, ‘someone has standing, and national security isn’t invoked, and violating it comes with certain hefty punishments?’

    I’m not a lawyer, but my ignorant suspicion that that many of my fellow non-lawyers think that either something’s legal or it’s illegal. I don’t know about that. Waterboarding (for example) seems, to me, clearly illegal. But if you do something illegal, and you admit to doing it, and there’s no legal penalty, what does it mean to say that it’s illegal?

  93. 93
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: If people don’t like it (and I don’t like the FISA crap now either, even if it’s codified), fine. But at least distinguish there’s a difference.

    Of course, for all the people who shout to the skies about how to be nuanced, there’s BOTH SIDES DO IT, OBAMA SOLD US OUT!!111, and other things of the like.

    I’m not defending the law, which sucks. But frankly, it’s not like it’s SOMETHING NEW. It’s just the goddamn outrage of the week, now that we’re running out of juice on Benghazi, no one cares about the leaks anymore except for the Village, and the IRS stuff is just devolving into hearings on how much was spent on conferences – which has zero to do with the original complaint.

  94. 94
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Emma:

    Has the Obama administration sanctioned a massive dragnet, collecting cell phone data, emails, etc. with no probable cause?
    It has? Well then, you might want to open a big can of STFU because this conduct is, to me, indefensible.

  95. 95
    Emma says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: So, what are you doing other than criticizing? Because that is the law of the land and the only one who can change it is CONGRESS.

  96. 96
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Baud:

    But just because the underlying issue is legitimate doesn’t mean some people won’t use it to make personal attacks on Obama.

    Sure, I agree with that totally. But this blog has a nasty habit of going right for the jugular when it comes to criticisms of Obama. I hate surveillance and data mining of innocent people. I hated it when Bush did it, I hate it now, and I hate it when Facebook and Google do it too.

  97. 97
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @Burnspbesq:

    What part of “general warrant” are you having trouble understanding, y’all? This is no different, in any meaningful respect, than what the British Army was doing in the 1750s.

    There is one meaningful difference, which is that British general warrants were served physically. But in terms of information stolen, this may be even worse.

  98. 98
    The Friendly Libertarian says:

    @Yatsuno:

    It is a distraction from your government tyrannizing you.

    It’s just revealed the federal government has been spying on you, and all you care about is whether or not you can pleasure your crotch? Jesus Christ! Get some perspective!

  99. 99
    Violet says:

    @different-church-lady: If you want it to change, you need to know what levers to push. If someone broke the law, then start screaming for them to be prosecuted. Put pressure on your Congressional reps and the White House and so forth. If they didn’t, then the pressure is for the law to be changed.

    You can scream all you want on this blog, your Facebook page, at your Congressperson, wherever, but if you’re telling people that whoever did this broke the law, and they did not, you’re not going to get very far at getting the change you want. And vice versa.

  100. 100
    NickT says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    Was that in the newsletters that Ron Paul neither wrote, nor edited, nor saw – but still used for swindling the rubes out of their hard-earned cash in return for gold-buggery and paranoid droolings about evil negroes?

  101. 101
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: Bread and circuses is Rome. Get your allusions right.

  102. 102
    different-church-lady says:

    @gussie: The founding fathers were smart enough to put a mechanism in place to deal with such puzzlements.

    Unfortunately the country has gotten far more complicated since then. But all that has done is slow the process down, not eliminate it.

    Frankly I find the ethical questions far more interesting than the legal.

  103. 103
    Lolis says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    Haha. Good one. Consequence-free sex? Pat Robertson, is that you?

  104. 104
    Emma says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: How much time have you spent pushing Congress to change the law? Because if you haven’t all you are is a whiner in some blog.

  105. 105
    Linnaeus says:

    I think Scott Lemieux’s piece on this over at the American Prospect gets the analysis more or less right. I also think he’s correct when he writes that this kind of surveillance isn’t going away any time soon.

  106. 106
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:and yet Mr TRUE American, you’re in the middle of Soviet Socialist Republics of America taking that sweet, sweet government cheese of socialized roads instead off in Northern Alaska fighting bears with a knife for your salmon dinner like a true man does. You’re not insane dude, you’re merely a hypocrite and a blow hard.

  107. 107
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Emma:

    Of course all I’m doing is criticizing. What, do you think I’m a congressman in disguise? Aren’t people allowed to just complain about things they don’t like anymore?

  108. 108
    Bruce S says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    You’ve only proved my point. You’re a flaming lunatic totally disconnected from reality. Sorry. Thankfully it’s not my problem. The decision to get professional psychiatric help is up to you. Don’t want my tax dollars wasted on helping libertarians connect to the real world any more than they do. There is no Gestapo or NKVD out to get you – which news I hope doesn’t rain on your paranoia and ruin your day.

  109. 109
    Baud says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    But this blog has a nasty habit of going right for the jugular when it comes to criticisms of Obama.

    Speaking for myself, I’ve seen the exact opposite happen too many times for too long. (It’s why I’m no longer at GOS.) I personally try not to be overly reactive, especially when the issue is a legitimate one, but I’m sympathetic to those who sometimes lash out.

  110. 110
    Nerdlinger says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: You don’t get laid much, do you?

  111. 111
    different-church-lady says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    It’s just revealed the federal government has been spying on you, and all you care about is whether or not you can pleasure your crotch?

    You’re not very bright, are you?

  112. 112
    Emma says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: You are also a citizen. Complaining is fun and blows off steam. The hard lift is to do something about it. And that goes through Congress.

  113. 113
    NickT says:

    @Nerdlinger:

    He has consequence-free sex with his lily-white right hand at least once a week. Twice if there are pictures of Paris Hilton involved.

  114. 114
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Considering what was determined to be legal in the aftermath of the 2008 collapse of the economy, I find questions of legality a joke.

  115. 115
    different-church-lady says:

    @Bruce S:

    You’re a flaming lunatic totally disconnected from reality troll, in the original sense of the term, and an effective one at that.

    Fixed.

  116. 116
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Burnspbesq:

    What part of “general warrant” are you having trouble understanding, y’all?

    That’s about it.

  117. 117
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Nerdlinger: Who can concentrate on getting laid with the government watching your every move? Exhibitionists, I guess…

  118. 118
    ericblair says:

    @Emma:

    So I see the Republican ratf$uckers who are leaking all the classified information have already accomplished half their mission as the liberals turn on the President. Congrats guys, you’re doing the work of the enemy again.

    I really doubt this is intended as an attack on Obama, since it’s completely obvious that all three branches of government have been up to their eyeballs in surveillance since 9/11, and any goopers in Congress trying to make hay out of it are going to see a bunch of inconvenient quotes and votes of theirs a few minutes later. Congress can get off their asses and repeal the Patriot Act any time now, although I’m not holding my breath.

  119. 119
    TooManyJens says:

    @Violet: Forget it Violet, it’s BalloonJuiceTown. The only thing 90% of the people are doing in threads like this is trying to get everyone properly pigeonholed as a firebagger or an Obot. You’re making sense, but it doesn’t matter.

    This place is fucking stupid when it comes to talking about the national security state.

  120. 120
    Corner Stone says:

    @Emma:

    How much time have you spent pushing Congress to change the law?

    How much time have you spent pushing Congress to protect and expand the law?
    Because otherwise you’re just a defacto authoritarian blowhard. You need to really get in there and push for those laws you care about!

  121. 121
    gussie says:

    @different-church-lady: So … waterboarding? Legal or il? Or still in the slowed-down process?

  122. 122
    The Friendly Libertarian says:

    @Bruce S:

    Really? The crackdown on Occupy didn’t remind you of the Gestapo or NKVD? How about the increasing militarization of the FBI, CIA, and even local and State police? What about the Boston Lockdown? Get your head out of the sand. The Police State is here.

    Hail Obama! Our Great Leader! ☭

    Anyone who criticizes the Great Leader Obama is a Trots—er, I mean racist!

  123. 123
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    That’s the best part about living here in the good ol’ US of A; insane people don’t have to get any help at all! Shit, look at the insane teapartiers and you detached-from-reality glibertarians, you all get to let your freak flags fly because of FREEDOM!

    Please let us know when you are forced into ‘therapy’ by our evil government.

  124. 124
    Yatsuno says:

    @different-church-lady: I’m calling either performance art or 15 year old in the basement. I have never heard a libertarian ever argue against personal body autonomy. I’m thinking shamed Republican as a strong second. Also. Too.

  125. 125
    different-church-lady says:

    @gussie: I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

    Unethical as all fuck? I don’t need a sheepskin to figure that out.

  126. 126
    Emma says:

    @ericblair: The Goopers, as you call them, know right well that if you keep the outrage machine oiled and drumming, the MSM will pick it up because God forbid that they do any real work, and slowly but surely all the low-information independents will slip into “where there’s hear there’s fire” mode. Nuance need not apply. And everything the president does will be funneled through that.

    See, Clinton, William Jefferson.

  127. 127
    Baud says:

    From the article:

    The PRISM program is not a dragnet, exactly. From inside a company’s data stream the NSA is capable of pulling out anything it likes, but under current rules the agency does not try to collect it all.

    WTF does that mean? They’re routing all Internet traffic for shits and giggles?

  128. 128
    The Friendly Libertarian says:

    @Yatsuno:

    It’s a secondary issue, that’s all I’m saying. And bodily atonomy is not the same thing as “government funded birth control and abortion”.

  129. 129
    Corner Stone says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: The question of “legality” is what we’ve all been asked to determine and comment on. But it’s the least important part of this equation, IMO.
    “But was it legal?”

  130. 130
    NickT says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    That you, pokeyblow?

  131. 131
    different-church-lady says:

    @Yatsuno: We’re clearly seeing the limits of Poe’s law here. Just too much high-wire clever for it to be earnest.

    I grew up in a family of wise-asses. I know the patois.

  132. 132
    Mino says:

    @JWL: I could totes see that as a new bubble.

  133. 133
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: That was the other thread.

  134. 134
    Hal says:

    Personally I find this blog much more even handed than some other like Daily Kos, where diary entries with the photoshop above have been de rigueur since before Obama was even elected.

    Degenerating into a Obots vs argument is tiresome and something I hoped would have faded by now. I am allowed to not give a fuck without it meaning I’m personally blowing the President police academy style under the podium. At this point, I would at least like to hear some in depth information before I decide this is the biggest scandal evah!

    Also, fuck the media. You don’t want people thinking conspiracy? Great, then try doing you’re journalism thing 24/7 regardless who’s in the WH, without labeling everything a scandal based on the suggestions from whatever Republican cadre you’ve booked on the Sunday morning talk fest.

    Half this shit is a direct result of the gleaming tower of truth that is American Journalism selling the country on a couple of bullshit wars based on fabricated information. Plus, suddenly being horrified by a program in place since the Bush years does look a wee bit suspect, but oh well, the media says they are here to protect me and I must obey.

  135. 135
    Yatsuno says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: And now you’re backpedaling. But hey, never give up the good fight.

  136. 136
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @NickT:

    Pure WIN.

  137. 137
    NickT says:

    @Yatsuno:

    I am thinking pokeyblow. This sort of babbling nonsense is just his style.

  138. 138
    NickT says:

    @Yatsuno:

    I am thinking pokeyblow. This sort of babbling nonsense is just his style.

  139. 139
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: That’s it. I’m calling shenanigans.

  140. 140
    Emma says:

    @Corner Stone: If you think I will even talk to you you’re nuttier than you play it.

  141. 141
    Chyron HR says:

    @Corner Stone:

    But it’s the least important part of this equation, IMO.

    Right, because True Greenwaldian Firepups know that the real issue here is Obama’s so(I don’t know what the alt-code is for a hammer & sickle)ialist lockdown of Boston. I guess.

  142. 142
    Scott S. says:

    Friendly Libertarian = Sociopathic Republican.

  143. 143
    Yatsuno says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I grew up in a family of wise-asses. I know the patois

    Moi aussi. That and the IRS gig has given me an amazingly accurate bullshit detector.

  144. 144
    Burnspbesq says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Who can concentrate on getting laid with the government watching your every move

    Put a towel over the camera on your laptop, and put your phone in a drawer.

  145. 145
    gussie says:

    @different-church-lady: Sure, I’m with you on that. I just think that we laypeople get stuck on ‘is it legal?’ as if it means more than it perhaps does. For example, as of right now, by any definition that makes sense (to me, at least), it’s legal for the government to waterboard people, to sexually humiliate them, to torture them by a number of methods, to pluck them from their country and lock them up for decades without charging them with a crime, etc. That’s all legal. Maybe at some point, it won’t be. Now it is.

    With this, people are basing opinions on ‘is it legal?’ Right now? Today? Who knows? Nobody, really: except that it’s all perfectly legal until the last court says it’s not, if the people in power have the power to keep doing it. When telecom companies were engaged in Bush era wiretapping, it sure as hell looked illegal, so Congress passed a law making it retroactive legal.

    All I’m saying is, I’m not sure that ‘is it legal?’ is as meaningful a question as people assume.

  146. 146
    Yatsuno says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: He didn’t even start out subtle. But the “gubmint abortion BAD!!!” threw his hand.

  147. 147
    Corner Stone says:

    @Emma: HAHAHAHA!
    Oh, mercy.
    Thanks

  148. 148
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @different-church-lady:

    You’re not very bright, are you?

    Somehow Paulista shitstain here doesn’t quite get that vaginal probes are a privacy violation.

  149. 149
    different-church-lady says:

    @Burnspbesq:

    put your phone in a drawer.

    Is that what you kids are calling it nowadays?

  150. 150
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @gussie:

    All I’m saying is, I’m not sure that ‘is it legal?’ is as meaningful a question as people assume.

    It is a good starting point. Follow up questions can include: If so, why? What can we do about it? If not, why the fuck is it happening? What can we do about it? And so on.

  151. 151
  152. 152
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    It’s a secondary issue, that’s all I’m saying. And bodily atonomy is not the same thing as “government funded birth control and abortion”.

    Yatsuno is a gay man. I’m pretty sure that birth control and abortion are not high on his list of personal must-haves.

    But, hey, I guess the government stepping in and telling you who you’re not allowed to have sex with isn’t nearly as oppressive as having them record your cell phone number, amirite? Why would people be at all upset about the government controlling their sex life?

  153. 153
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Why would people be at all upset about the government controlling their sex life?

    How would FL have any idea about that?

  154. 154
    NickT says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yatsuno is a gay man. I’m pretty sure that birth control and abortion are not high on his list of personal must-haves.

    That just proves he hates liberteh and rejects freedumb. It’s Reds and circuses all the way down also too!

    (And that’s my best shot at a Bendy Glibertarian impression)

  155. 155
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    No kidding, this is a huge tell as this vile sack of neo-feudalist Christianist shit is coming from.

    Tumbrel ride for this one. Nothing close about the call.

  156. 156
    Mike in NC says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: Need to dial it down just a notch, dude.

  157. 157
    NickT says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    He gets his tumbril ride only after he pays over his gold coins. No free riders!

  158. 158
    different-church-lady says:

    @gussie:

    All I’m saying is, I’m not sure that ‘is it legal?’ is as meaningful a question as people assume.

    Agreed. Which is why I don’t find that framework very interesting (until we get to the point where we start talking about overturning elections, that is).

    As many others have pointed out, some truly horrible things have been legal in this country. Including the really really obvious (as in you don’t have to go overseas to the Reichland to find it) one, which I will not bring up because it will put the thread in a food processor and send it down every rabbit hole within a hundred square acres.

    Ethically, some calls are easy. Some aren’t. I get frustrated with people who try to pretend that every one is blindingly obvious.

  159. 159
    gussie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yes, but with most of these things, when you ask ‘is it legal?’ you’ll get more than one opinion. The people doing it say, ‘absolutely, yes.’ Which makes it hard to ask the rest of your questions.

    I’m not saying it’s a bad question to ask. And if nobody claims it’s illegal (as it the case here, in think) or nobody claims it’s legal, that clarifies matter. I just think it’s not quite so all-powerful as we assume.

    Of course, I also think that the answer to ‘what are we going to do about it?’ is, in almost every case, ‘complain.’ God knows when the Bush administration did stuff I’m pretty sure is illegal, I didn’t man the barricades.

  160. 160
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Emma:

    I think of CS as the BJ pinata; smack the stupid thing all you want to but don’t talk to it because people will think you are crazy.

  161. 161
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    It’s just revealed the federal government has been spying on you, and all you care about is whether or not you can pleasure your crotch? Jesus Christ! Get some perspective!

    Government violates my autonomy and privacy just as surely by decide how I can pleasure my crotch as by spying on me. I loathe both violations. Why don’t you?

  162. 162
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Darth Sidious: This turn of events is unfortunate. We must accelerate our plans. Begin landing your troops.
    Nute Gunray: My lord! Is that… legal?
    Darth Sidious: I will make it legal.

  163. 163
    magurakurin says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    Yes remember, what’s really important here is whether we can I will ever have consequence-free sex.

    maybe someday, maybe someday.

  164. 164
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    @Emma:

    Of course all I’m doing is criticizing. What, do you think I’m a congressman in disguise? Aren’t people allowed to just complain about things they don’t like anymore?

    Not if the forum is Balloon-Juice, and the thing being complained of is something Obama has had a part in.

    BTW, if you want to do something useful, please donate to the ACLU. If they didn’t exist, we’d have descended into tyranny long ago.

  165. 165
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Baud:

    It would seem there is a bit shortage at NSA, and they’re tapping the tubes to get their supply of bits replenished.

    I guess.

  166. 166
    mikefromArlington says:

    Ahh….the polygraphs will be flying!

    GenDyn has an opening ts/sci w/full scope poly at NSA dealing with…you guessed it…telephone records…coincidence? I think not.

    Betcha it’s some disgruntled employee that got canned and wanted some payback. This should be an easy catch.

    Honestly though, who didn’t think the gov was prying into all sorts of data. Me personally, I could care less. At least this way there’s no speculation into how utterly boring my online life is. Now, if I were a cheating fool or partaking in some borderline criminal activities I too would flip.

  167. 167
    JWL says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    No, I don’t think that’s it by a long shot.

    I believe Bush, Rumsfeld, Obama, Biden (i.e., the apparatchiks of either party) simply don’t want its implementation publicly acknowledged.

    They’ve no problem whatsoever with the collection of any information, by any means necessary.

    The only thing they resent is being queried about their conclusions drawn from the culled information; and questions concerning their subsequent courses of action.

  168. 168
    mikefromArlington says:

    Ahh….the polygraphs will be flying!

    GenDyn has an opening ts sci w/full scope poly at NSA dealing with…you guessed it…telephone records…coincidence? I think not.

    Betcha it’s some disgruntled employee that got canned and wanted some payback. This should be an easy catch.

    Honestly though, who didn’t think the gov was prying into all sorts of data. Me personally, I could care less. At least this way there’s no speculation into how utterly boring my online life is. Now, if I were a cheating fool or partaking in some borderline criminal activities I too would flip.

  169. 169
    different-church-lady says:

    @Baud: It’s not a dump truck. It’s a series of tubes.

  170. 170
    Baud says:

    @different-church-lady:

    You’re on a roll today. Performing for the NSA suits you. :)

  171. 171
    different-church-lady says:

    @Baud:

    Performing for the NSA suits you.

    They always tip big.

  172. 172
    magurakurin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    actually, Bread and Circuses is a Star Trek episode. An awesome one, too.

  173. 173
    Corner Stone says:

    @mikefromArlington:

    Me personally, I could care less. At least this way there’s no speculation into how utterly boring my online life is. Now, if I were a cheating fool or partaking in some borderline criminal activities I too would flip.

    That’s comforting to know. Now give me your email passwords so I can confirm that. And your bank account password and online credit card account passwords as well.
    Why wouldn’t you? You’ve got nothing to hide. I promise I won’t abuse my access.

  174. 174
    different-church-lady says:

    @mikefromArlington:

    Me personally, I could care less.

    You could?

  175. 175
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: Get his pr0n site log-ins while you are at it.

  176. 176
    Darkrose says:

    @MikeJ: Would you like your internets delivered to your home or work address?

  177. 177
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone:

    And your bank account password and online credit card account passwords as well.

    Dude, it’s the 21st century: you can look those up on any search engine.

  178. 178
    Narcissus says:

    Is this new? I can remember being young and outraged about Total Information Awareness and ECHELON and kinds of shit and people treating me like an idiot and conspiracy theorist for believing it. And now it’s a big deal? Now people give a shit?

    no I’m not bitter

  179. 179
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @dedc79: win. drinks on me while you celebrate with your internets

  180. 180
    RaflW says:

    Instead of the bullshit ‘issue’ of Dronz watching you in your hot tub, as TeaPartiers have been all het up on, how about giving a shit about the massive intrusion of 12 years of unbridled Patriot Act domestic spying?

  181. 181
    Fred Fnord says:

    @Zandar: FYI, Apple et al are legally required to deny that this is occurring, assuming it follows the same rules as e.g. a security letter. If they acknowledge it, there are some really serious legal penalties.

  182. 182
    RaflW says:

    @Narcissus: Didn’t Frontline do a show a while back that showed a massive trunk line going from an ATT computer switching center right over to a Federal (semi)secret site?

    Wasn’t it obvious a few years ago that all our internet traditions are freely available to any US spook who wanted it?

  183. 183
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @MikeJ: So what you’re saying is the government is reading my Spock/Sherlock crossover slashfic?

    RULE 34 MOTHERFUCKER, DO YOU SPEAK IT

  184. 184
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Short Bus Bully: Emo left my ass, more like entitled libertarian trolls, screaming down anyone who calls them a racist because PW00FF!! of everything the PATRIOT ACT promised to do and DFH’s and Mooooslims knew it was doing just vindicates their racism against Obama because SHUT UP THAT’S WHY.

  185. 185
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady: Sadly, this sounds less reductio and less absurdum with each new example.

    “You know who else collaborated with powerful corporate entities to thwart personal privacy on the largest possible scale?” (It’s so silly! Ha ha ha!)

  186. 186
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: Contraception and abortion are just another means of ruling class control (more diversions, the old Bread and Circuses trick updated for the sexual revolution).

    AAAAAAAAAAAnd we’re done here, folks.

  187. 187
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian: But you haven’t read Brave New World because apparently you have no fucking idea what happens in the novella or any notion of what it’s criticizing or what it means.

    Aldous Huxley FTW, btw he was closely related to a very famous 19th century US preacher who went town to town giving lectures on Agnosticism … and people back then listened.

  188. 188
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Burnspbesq: Probably low in NO (nitrous oxide). Has a big role in energy levels/immune system/mood.

  189. 189
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything:

    “You know who else collaborated with powerful corporate entities to thwart personal privacy existence on the largest possible scale?”

    See what I did there?

  190. 190
    kindness says:

    You know what issue we are gonna face now? We’ll find ourselves agreeing with what some conservatives say. I already have. But I can’t bring myself to join with them because they were fine with it all when it was bush43 running around tapping everything. Some weren’t. Most were fine with it ’cause bush43’s boys told them to ‘Trust Us’. And so they did. So the moral outrage they incessantly bleat now is disingenuous. They may be annoyed that a Democrat is ordering it but they see a tool to hurt Obama. Of course they are gonna grab for it. Fox never apologizes for it’s hypocrisy. The right won’t start now.

    So the key is to be clear about making it know how wrong/bad these programs are to our vision of the government we want without acting like we are going to bring down the house. It’s gonna be a tightrope walk.

  191. 191
    srv says:

    I’d support impeachment for O and imprisonment for W, but if PRISM really only has $20M in operating costs per year, it has to be the most cost effective bang-for-buck IT project in the history of the Federal Gov’t.

    So I’m torn. But then the Nazi’s did keep the trains running on time.

  192. 192
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow: I’m calling your bluff, firebagger. I give plenty money to the ACLU

  193. 193
    chopper says:

    hillary would never have pulled this sort of thing as president.

  194. 194
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady: Yeah. I see what you did there.

    And you’re right. We don’t have death camps.

    Thanks, different-church-lady, I feel GREAT now!

  195. 195
    Emma says:

    @srv: You might get the first one but the usual suspects will present an united front to protect W. That’s the way the village rolls.

  196. 196
    Bruce S says:

    @The Friendly Libertarian:

    You barely qualify as an idiot. Read some history, take a cold shower and get back to me. Or maybe the issue is graduating from high school – who knows. If you truly believe what we’re living in is a Gestapo state – or getting very close to one – you’re mentally impaired. I really can’t take this crap any more seriously than that. You’re a joke. But not funny.

  197. 197
    RaflW says:

    @TooManyJens:

    The only thing 90% of the people are doing in threads like this is trying to get everyone properly pigeonholed as a firebagger or an Obot.

    Funny, I’m up thru comment 119 (yours), and I’ve seem maybe three people whine about fantom Obot stuff.

    I do not get the frequent “oh noes, here come the Obot/firebag” stuff. Maybe it happened five years ago, maybe it happend five days ago, but rarely when I’m actually reading this blog. Which is often but not quite daily.

  198. 198
    Gian says:

    so how long before the MPAA and RIAA start filing their freedom of information act requests to chase some pirates?

  199. 199
    mclaren says:

    A friend of mine sent me a bitter email: “And I thought my vote for Obama was a vote against the Patriot Act.”

    He spiraled into despair when I pointed out that our current vice president, Joe Biden, is the original author of the precursor to the USA Patiot Act, the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995, which forms the core of the USA Patriot Act — and Biden boasts about his authorship. He points to the USA Patriot Act and chortles, “That’s my bill!”

    Months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of “terrorism” that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detention of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review.* The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode “constitutional and statutory due process protections” and would “authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations.”

    Biden himself draws parallels between his 1995 bill and its 2001 cousin. “I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill,” he said when the Patriot Act was being debated, according to the New Republic, which described him as “the Democratic Party’s de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism.”

    Source: “Joe Biden’s pro-RIAA, pro-FBI tech voting record,” CNET, 23 August 2008.

  200. 200
    JWL says:

    “So, outraged members of Congress will sunset the Patriot Act rather than renewing it with veto-proof margins, right?”.

    Claude Rains would know what to do.

  201. 201
    Mandalay says:

    @Zandar:

    Considering the tech companies like Apple are completely saying this doesn’t exist and they’ve never heard of it, I’m withholding judgment until further details are known.

    Well this is what Apple said:

    An Apple spokesman said: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers and any agency requesting customer data must get a court order,” he said.

    How about Google?….

    Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully.

    Microsoft?….

    We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so

    And Yahoo?…

    Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.

    Er….Facebook?….

    When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinise any such request for compliance with all applicable laws

    All of these statements are non-denial denials, written by lawyers. You could drive a truck through the holes in them. Still “withholding judgment”?

  202. 202
    Corner Stone says:

    ILLmatic For The People!

  203. 203
    Terry Ott says:

    @Socoolsofresh:

    Amen. You said ‘zactly right. My view: Government is not to be trusted, because it is made up of too many people whom I would not trust to run my little business.

    BIG government, especially when operating in the shadows, is not to be trusted AND one’s first instinct should be to resist it until one knows what it is doing and why and how it is being done.

    This is not a “party affiliation” thing, it is instead a Power Elite vs. Regular People Like Us thing. The dealer is messing with the cards under the table, and it’s high time we demanded the casino put a 24/7/365 camera under there with a big flat screen above the gaming table.

  204. 204
    Nixon's Ghost says:

    If the president does it it’s not illegal.

  205. 205
    postmodernprimate says:

    Every person casually papering over this as “no big deal” is giving this about .00001 seconds of thought. The issue isn’t whether the NSA has a right to access online communication. It does. The issue is that it claims to only target specific online communication when it has probable cause and will always get approval from the FISC. OK, fine. Then why does it need complete internet communication records on everyone, everyday in advance to collect until a court approved target comes along? How about having the NSA request the specific data they say is all they need which would be far simpler and also allay fears of mass surveillance on American citizens which is claimed to be an absurd notion.

  206. 206
    Keith G says:

    Yes the law is bad, but a president could decide not to use these troublesome procedures. That is, if he felt they were troublesome. After all The Obama administration’s refusal to defend DOMA is a celebrated decision. It was bad law. Here is, for all intents and purposes, a bad process. Don’t do it Mr President. Just say “No”.

    Engage the citizens now, Mr. President. Ask them, “Do you want a government that does these very serious things? Do you want this level of surveillance as a regular part of what your government does?”

    I know it’s okay if Obama does it, but still….

  207. 207
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Keith G: “Yes the law is bad, but a president could decide not to use these troublesome procedures.”

    Yup. Better to leave those powers to the next Republican president since everyone trusts that party to do the right thing. Obama ‘abusing’ these powers wouldn’t have anything to do with him not being able to rescind the powers and could even be him doing so to infuriate the right (and left!), drawing attention to something that would be impossible for him to change all by himself.

    But that would be 11th dimensional chess and everyone knows that Obama sucks at that!

  208. 208
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Oh boy, if you thought this story is a disaster for our country then those of you who are outraged are going to be even more outraged when you read what else Obama is up to!

    Man your keyboards!

  209. 209
    Xenos says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: The one way to end the Afghanistan war was to put Obama in charge of it, and the same thing may apply to the national security state. But I doubt it. Those guys are almost as burrowed in as the KGB is in the modern Russian government. Tied in with media, cross ownership with the oil companies… the corporate forms are different, but the picture is the same.

  210. 210
    Keith G says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: So, I guess you are saying that it would be bad form for this president. To deny use of this process while at the same time coming to the American people and say “This is a horrible idea and this must change. Join with me in asking Congress to limit the powers as they will undoubtedly lead to abuse.”

  211. 211
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Xenos:

    Obama said that he needed to be pushed by his supporters for change to happen. Something this big isn’t something that he could change on his own, that’s for damned sure. Congress gave the Presidency these powers and the only way that they will take them away from a President is if they perceive that it is being abused. Obama has always had the right infuriated at him and the far left is right there with them. Combine the ‘power’ of those two extremes on something and it just might be enough to change something.

    Keep raising hell lefties! As I see it, it serves two purposes; one is to push Congress into action to curb the power that they gave the President and the other is to give me something to laugh at.

    Sorry about that last one, I just happen to like laughing at the extreme left. They are sooooo funny!

    @Keith G:

    See above. :)

  212. 212
    kindness says:

    @srv:

    I’d support impeachment for O

    Moron.

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