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#26197 - 07/05/13 06:41 PM Re: Snowden [Re: joemikeb]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Quote:
That was essentially what the German people told themselves as the Nazi party was establishing absolute control over every aspect of their lives.


Setting aside the offensiveness of your remark, you're totally wrong. What the German people were saying was, "As long as it's not me they're coming for…" There is zero equivalence to what I said.

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#26199 - 07/06/13 08:21 AM Re: Snowden [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: ryck
So, going back to dboh's original question, what do you suggest as a better alternative to avoid the development of terrorist groups and stop attacks before they occur?

I heard about the monitoring plan back during the Bush administration and while I was not happy with it, I was mollified by the constraints it was to operate under. To me that part is well thought out and okay. My concern then and now is the possibility (probability?) of leaks around the edges. That much power is seductive and almost irresistible. Bearing that in mind, I will attempt to address your question/assertion. How to guarantee the data will not be misused is another topic altogether.

First I think it important to realize that absolute safety is at best an illusion. We have never had absolute safety in this country and never will. How many died in the civil war? …how many presidents have been assassinated? …how many massacred in schools, post offices, office buildings? …how many shot down in drive by shootings? Few, if any, of these would have been prevented by the electronic surveillance system.

I wont say it is impossible to achieve a relatively safe environment in a free society, but historically that has primarily happened in small homogeneous societies and never in large heterogeneous populations such as we have in the United States. The Pax Romana created the appearance of a peaceful order in a large heterogenous society, but that was at the point of a sword and dissent resulted in imprisonment, slavery, or death. Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Stalin in the Soviet Union, and others have proved this technique still works — at least for a time. In all these cases the appearance of peace was at the cost of oppression for the bulk of society.

The best, maybe the only way of reducing foreign terrorist threats we face today is to address the policy issues that fuels the terrorists anger. The favoring of the rights of one group of people over another such as the rights of the Jews over the Palestinian Muslims and Christians. (I am not propounding the abandonment of the Israeli Jews rather equal treatment of the Israelis and Palestinians.)

Al Qaeda was initially formed in opposition to a dictatorial Egyptian regime that was being propped up by the United States as a barrier to protect the borders of Israel and of course "the friend of my enemy is my enemy". Certainly the hands off approach we have taken toward the current changes taking place in Egypt are IMO a step in the right direction.

The litany goes on an on but in the end much of the threat to this country from the Muslim extremists is a reaction to our support of various groups and regimes to protect our "friends" (and retain access to middle eastern sweet crude). The damage is already done and over generations the various groups have withdrawn into their philosophical bunkers, perhaps, just perhaps, if the U.S. was seen as consistently moving to a more balanced middle east policy we might reduce the production of more antagonists and move toward a safer position. However we must remember it took generations to get to this point and it will inevitably take even more generations to undo.

Of course that still leaves our own home grown terrorists like the bomber of the Morrow office building in Oklahoma City, the kids shooting up a school in Colorado, the out of control neighborhood patrol who sees a teenager in a hoodie as a violent threat, etc.

Anyone who believes humans can create a completely secure society is IMHO delusional. Risk is part of life and part of the cost of freedom.
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#26200 - 07/06/13 09:52 AM Re: Snowden [Re: dboh]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: dboh
Quote:
That was essentially what the German people told themselves as the Nazi party was establishing absolute control over every aspect of their lives.


Setting aside the offensiveness of your remark, you're totally wrong.

While I think I understand what you're trying to say, I couldn't disagree more with that sentence. First, I fail to see anything inherently offensive about tacit's remark. It was intended to point to the potentially extreme consequences of certain electoral/political choices, rather than to berate or blame someone personally. In that sense, the choice was appropriate imo.

And what you claim the German people said at the time they actually never did. What they did do was to allow certain measures to be taken via the ballot box, only to rationalize them after the fact with words like those you quote, words stolen from those who perished by those same measures. Perhaps the least judgmentally you can frame this is as 'Zeitgeist met Realpolitik'.
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#26204 - 07/07/13 04:09 AM Re: Snowden [Re: joemikeb]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Quote:
The best, maybe the only way of reducing foreign terrorist threats we face today is to address the policy issues that fuels the terrorists anger.


I think this is less likely than the absolute safety you say is impossible. (I think they both are, actually, but what I was hoping for was a way to minimize as much as possible the danger.) People are too enamored of their victimhood and will refuse to set aside the wrongs done to them.

A couple of years ago, I read Philip Roth's "Operation Shylock" which dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as of 1993. Sadly, nothing had changed even the tiniest since then. No reason for it to change even now.


Edited by dboh (07/07/13 04:10 AM)

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#26205 - 07/07/13 04:19 AM Re: Snowden [Re: alternaut]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
I took tacit's remark differently, and for that I apologize. However, Hitler wasn't some rosy-eyed optimistic kind of "Morning in Germany" candidate when he assumed power. People made a conscious decision to ignore the bits that should have offended them and instead focused on what would benefit them directly.

On the other hand, terrorism wasn't threatening the Germans the way Al Queda (and all of their offshoots) are threatening a number of countries. I don't see this as an equivalent situation.

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#26206 - 07/07/13 08:17 AM Re: Snowden [Re: dboh]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: dboh
People made a conscious decision to ignore the bits that should have offended them and instead focused on what would benefit them directly.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, the political choices made today aren't all that different from those made then. And don't forget that the most extreme and appalling Nazi ideas had yet to be disclosed when Germany elected them to power in the early 30s, and that included the decision to circumvent the German constitution, which was the basis of the Nazis' ultimate power grab in 1933.

As to the lack of terrorism of the Al-Qaeda variety in Germany at the time, you're right. But that kind of terrorism wasn't even necessary to make the German population incomparably much worse off than we are now, 9/11 and all. See the Weimar Republic to scratch that particular surface.

By the time the Nazis became a political force to be reckoned with, the choices were stark, and civic strength had been sapped by decades of widespread misery of which the Great Depression was only the latest installment. There wasn't so much a fear of being affected by it all, there was the certainty of long experience of worse to come that fed a fading of hope. 'We' experienced nothing like that, even if we lost loved ones in the fight against terrorism and lost our jobs since the crash of 2008. But we seem even more eager to throw away our freedoms to defend against a lesser threat, while sticking our heads ever deeper in the sand to 'avoid' the consequences.
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#26207 - 07/07/13 12:41 PM Re: Snowden [Re: alternaut]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: ryck
Yes, the total Federal budget is zero sum. However, there is such huge waste elsewhere that a proper allocation of those tax dollars could achieve both the reduction in deaths from terrorism and from poor food and drug inspection.

A good place to start would be the hundreds of millions handed out in tax benefits to giant corporations. It's the tax system that's "deeply, profoundly messed up". Corporations don't need welfare.


You aren't going to replace corporate welfare with surveillance, because surveillance *is* corporate welfare! Spending tens of billions of dollars to fight a "threat" that kills, on average, fewer than three people on American soil per year is corporate welfare.

If the Federal government spent $80 billion per year on private consultants and businesses designed to prevent, say, accidental electrocution in people's homes, that would probably be seen as a huge waste. And even more so if it, for example, required every homeowner to submit to the Federal government detailed plans of their houses and statistics on what they did while they were at home. But that would save more than one thousand TIMES more human lives.

Originally Posted By: ryck
The problem isn't about the ability to have surveillance, it's about not having sufficiently strong penalties, rigorously applied, that a person will think twice before they participate in such behavior. The same applies to your next argument.


There are 40,000 people inside the NSA, and untold tens of thousands of private contractors, who have access to the database compiled by PRISM. And that isn't including the tens of thousands of people who in theory shouldn't have access but do. (Snowden was a junior employee with limited security clearance. He wasn't "supposed" to have access to the information he leaked, but he did.)

Seriously thinking that people won't abuse this, no matter what penalties are in place, is naive.

Seriously thinking that a secretive organization with entrenched political power would actually apply penalties is as naive as thinking the Roman Catholic church would publicly warn people about pedophile priests.

Originally Posted By: ryck
No doubt about it, this is absolutely despicable and abhorrent behavior. But the answer isn't throwing out a valuable police tool because of a few renegade cops.


First, it isn't a "few" renegade cops. It's a pervasive problem in every police unit in every Western country that gathers this kind of surveillance.

Second, it has yet to be demonstrated that it is a police tool with any value.

Originally Posted By: ryck
I'm pretty sure that, when cell phones and other items, like plans, are seized during raids in places like Yemen, it's not illogical to assume they belonged to terrorists. Therefore, when the numbers that cell phone called are in America, it's not unreasonable to start looking closely at the person(s) with those numbers.


You're confusing two different things: surveillance of Internet traffic and surveillance of phone records.

Also, you might be "pretty sure" that when cell phones are seized, the numbers attached to them are monitored, but do you actually have any knowledge of how terrorists conduct their business or how anti-terrorism works? Or do you just think that because it sounds plausible to you?

Terrorists don't dial up their buddies on T-Mobile. In remote parts of the world, they use satellite phones. Satellite phones in Yemen don't pass through Verizon's data center. Those calls aren't being tagged.

And what do you imagine is happening? Do you have this idea that Mr. Terrorist in Yemen is calling Betty and Sue Sleeper Agents in Norfolk on their home line? (Do people still have home lines?) If someone in Yemen calls an untraceable pay-as-you-go cell phone in Norfolk, how, exactly, is the NSA tagging my phone calls supposed to figure out who the supposed terrorist is talking to? What is it exactly that you believe is going on here?

Originally Posted By: ryck
Who said they didn't want oversight? Isn't the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), the President's Intelligence Oversight Board, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Department of Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Justice enough?


1. None of the things you just named is judicial oversight. They are legislative oversight. We in the US have judicial oversight of legislative powers to create a check against excess or unwarranted government intrusion.

2. The groups you name do not have direct oversight over the NSA, nor do they authorize, provide warrants for, evaluate probable cause on, or otherwise monitor individual acts of surveillance. The purpose of judicial oversight as enshrined in the Fourth Amendment is to ensure that every single act of surveillance is properly warranted and supported by probable cause.

3. The NSA is forbidden by law to perform surveillance on or gather information about American citizens on American soil, but that is exactly what they are doing.

Originally Posted By: ryck
Oh, c'mon, seriously? Are you for real? (The Devil made me do that grin) But, seriously, just how much oversight did you want?


I want every single individual act of surveillance to be authorized by a warrant, signed by a judge and supported by probable cause. That's what the Fourth Amendment requires.

I want the NSA barred from performing surveillance of American citizens on American soil, because that's what the law requires.

Originally Posted By: dboh
You're one out of four, so much for your assumptions. I have, however, read enough history and lived long enough to have a sense of the real pain caused by terrorism.


Have you also read enough history and lived long enough to have a sense of the real pain caused by excessive government surveillance?

Originally Posted By: alternaut
While I think I understand what you're trying to say, I couldn't disagree more with that sentence. First, I fail to see anything inherently offensive about tacit's remark. It was intended to point to the potentially extreme consequences of certain electoral/political choices, rather than to berate or blame someone personally. In that sense, the choice was appropriate imo.


That wasn't actually my remark. I have a policy of not comparing things to the Nazis. smile

Originally Posted By: dboh
On the other hand, terrorism wasn't threatening the Germans the way Al Queda (and all of their offshoots) are threatening a number of countries. I don't see this as an equivalent situation.


Actually, it was. Hitler used the fear of terrorism as part of his bid for power. After WWI, terrorism was a huge problem in Germany; we tend to think that terrorism is something new, but it's not. Hitler declared a "war on terror" to help push through a number of new laws, including laws that coordinated central oversight of local police units, limiting free speech and habeas corpus, suspending freedom of assembly, and loosening restrictions on wiretapping. These laws had a six-year "sunset clause" attached to them--if at the end of six years the terrorist threat had been eliminated, he assured people, then the new government powers would be rescinded.

Let's look at it a bit differently, though.

Some folks sincerely believe that the end of protecting people's lives from terror is worth the means of increased State and police power. But we don't think about the costs associated with increasing that power. Did you know that, statistically speaking, you are more likely to die by being accidentally shot by a police officer than you are to die by terrorist action?
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#26208 - 07/08/13 03:49 AM Re: Snowden [Re: tacit]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Quote:
we tend to think that terrorism is something new, but it's not.


As a matter of fact, terrorism's been pretty much a constant since the Roman Empire, as a book titled "Lessons in Terrorism" by Caleb Carr makes depressingly clear.

Perhaps my tolerance is higher than yours. I don't mind NSA keeping a list of my phone calls as a necessary part of thwarting a group of people who depend on the same communications system to plan their attacks. It's just not in the same league as cops kicking in a front door in the middle of the night or Governor Jim Rhodes ordering a tank to roll through Ohio State University in the wake of Kent State. Now, those are abuses of power.

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#26212 - 07/08/13 03:07 PM Re: Snowden [Re: dboh]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: dboh
As a matter of fact, terrorism's been pretty much a constant since the Roman Empire, as a book titled "Lessons in Terrorism" by Caleb Carr makes depressingly clear.

Perhaps my tolerance is higher than yours. I don't mind NSA keeping a list of my phone calls as a necessary part of thwarting a group of people who depend on the same communications system to plan their attacks. It's just not in the same league as cops kicking in a front door in the middle of the night or Governor Jim Rhodes ordering a tank to roll through Ohio State University in the wake of Kent State. Now, those are abuses of power.


Would you approve of the police passing new laws to ban private ownership of dogs? Hundreds of times more people die from dog bites every year than from terrorism attacks in the US.

And like I said, you're assuming the NSA monitoring your phone calls actually reduces terrorism. I say it doesn't.
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#26213 - 07/08/13 04:13 PM Re: Snowden [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: tacit
Would you approve of the police passing new laws to ban private ownership of dogs? Hundreds of times more people die from dog bites every year than from terrorism attacks in the US.

How can you equate the damage done by a "fait accompli" with that done by a fledgling "fait" that would love to become "accompli," and could, if it's not actively rooted out and stomped (although not necessarily by the methods under discussion in this thread)?


Edited by artie505 (07/08/13 06:58 PM)
Edit Reason: Cleanup
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In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#26215 - 07/09/13 05:51 AM Re: Snowden [Re: artie505]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
I also love the meme that if something can't be 100% fixed, it shouldn't be fixed at all.


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#26235 - 07/10/13 07:24 PM Re: Snowden [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: artie505
Originally Posted By: tacit
Would you approve of the police passing new laws to ban private ownership of dogs? Hundreds of times more people die from dog bites every year than from terrorism attacks in the US.

How can you equate the damage done by a "fait accompli" with that done by a fledgling "fait" that would love to become "accompli," and could, if it's not actively rooted out and stomped (although not necessarily by the methods under discussion in this thread)?


I'm not sure I understand the question.

There are people in this thread who believe it is OK to give up freedom in order to feel safer and save human lives.

More human lives are lost to dog bites than terrorism. Why not put every dog owner under surveillance, or ban dogs?

More human lives are lost (by five orders of magnitude!) to firearms than to terrorists. Why not put every gun owner under surveillance, or ban guns?

The answer is that what we are scared of has nothing to do with what is likely to kill us. We are not, as a nation, frightened of dogs or guns, even though they kill people, we are, as a nation, absolutely wetting-our-pants, having-hysterics, bawling-in-then ight-like-children frightened of terrorists, even though there are few of them, they rarely kill anyone, and we have fought them just fine without sacrificing our liberties.

I don't quite know why it is, but when it comes to terrorism, this nation has lost its mind. We go into such hysterics of panic over terrorism that we are willing to do anything--anything, including torture, destruction of our own freedom, expensive wars that bankrupt the countrym anything--to make ourselves believe we can be safe.

I don't understand the meme that we have to be 100% safe. We can't be. Nothing is 100% safe. Not owning a dog, not riding a car, not climbing a ladder, nothing. With everything else, we understand that and move on, like grown adults. But with terrorism? With terrorism we act like crying children, eager to give up everything we value in order to make the fear go away.

I seriously don't get it. We can actually fight terrorism without sacrificing our liberty or the law.

Food for thought:

From The Atlantic: The Irrationality of Giving Up This Much Liberty to Fight Terror.

From Salon: Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book! The new warrior cop is out of control.

From the Richmond Times Dispatch: Commit any felonies lately?

I seriously believe that in 20 or 30 years' time, we will look back at this period in US history with disgust and contempt, the way we look back on the McCarthy red scare or the WWII Japanese concentration camps. We will see it as a time when hysteria triumphed over sense, and when we became, temporarily, a nation of frightened little ninnies blindly throwing away everything we believe in because we got scared.
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#26263 - 07/17/13 04:35 AM Re: Snowden [Re: tacit]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Quote:
We go into such hysterics of panic over terrorism that we are willing to do anything--anything, including torture, destruction of our own freedom, expensive wars that bankrupt the countrym anything--to make ourselves believe we can be safe.


Lest you've misread my comments and think I'm fear-filled, I assure you I'm not in the least fearful. I just would prefer that other people not have to go through the pain of losing someone they care about in a terrorist attack. Lumping surveillance with torture is insulting.

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#26264 - 07/17/13 10:35 AM Re: Snowden [Re: dboh]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: dboh
Quote:
We go into such hysterics of panic over terrorism that we are willing to do anything--anything, including torture, destruction of our own freedom, expensive wars that bankrupt the countrym anything--to make ourselves believe we can be safe.


Lest you've misread my comments and think I'm fear-filled, I assure you I'm not in the least fearful. I just would prefer that other people not have to go through the pain of losing someone they care about in a terrorist attack. Lumping surveillance with torture is insulting.


I would prefer that other people not have to go through the pain of losing someone they care about in a dog attack, which is a lot more likely. Should we put dog owners under surveillance? It will save more lives!

You still have not answered:

1. How surveillance saves lives. It didn't in the Boston bombing, and they were under active surveillance at the time AND the DHS and FBI had been tipped off that they might be planning an attack.

2. How the logic you use for terrorism does not also apply to dog attacks.

It sounds like what you're really saying is "I am ready to be placed under surveillance to make me feel like that might offer some imaginary protection."
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#26265 - 07/17/13 01:38 PM Re: Snowden [Re: dboh]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
Lumping surveillance with torture is insulting.

Why? In both cases, we're talking about our government having embraced policies which distinctly contradict the values we have historically elected it to protect.

To be insulted because some folks feel strongly that the two are deeply connected is a bit like being insulted if some folks lump segregation with lynching: sure, only one of the two results in violent death, but they're both expressions of racism.
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#26266 - 07/17/13 11:12 PM Re: Snowden [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: tacit
Originally Posted By: artie505
How can you equate the damage done by a "fait accompli" with that done by a fledgling "fait" that would love to become "accompli," and could, if it's not actively rooted out and stomped (although not necessarily by the methods under discussion in this thread)?

I'm not sure I understand the question.

You're addressing a threat in its infancy as if it's full-grown...ignoring its potential.

You seem to think terrorism is merely a passing inconvenience, perhaps even one that's already peaked, and I certainly hope you're right, but I think it's likely to be around for a long time...quite likely get worse, perhaps even far worse, and although I hate intrusions into my freedom, I can't offer up any realistic suggestions for dealing with it otherwise.

Further, I think you're underestimating terrorism's impact: It's easy, even accurate, to say "Statistically, it's not going to happen to you," but unlike other threats, its effects are pervasive...when it happens to any American it happens to many Americans.

And I don't agree with your equating the anti-terrorism effort with the Japanese internment and the McCarthy witch-hunt; neither was a reaction to a demonstrated threat, while the current effort is, at the very least, a reaction to a demonstrated capacity for mindless carnage.

(Your 2nd and 3rd linked articles were very scary reading; the intrusions they document minimize the one at issue here.)

PS: Speaking as the father of a daughter who has worn the scars of a dog-bite on her face for 39 years, since she was 3. frown
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#26267 - 07/18/13 03:33 AM Re: Snowden [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
You're addressing a threat in its infancy as if it's full-grown...ignoring its potential.

One could equally well apply those exact words to the views of those who discount concerns about the amount of freedom sacrificed by tolerating warrantless domestic surveillance.
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#26268 - 07/18/13 10:01 AM Re: Snowden [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: artie505
You seem to think terrorism is merely a passing inconvenience, perhaps even one that's already peaked, and I certainly hope you're right, but I think it's likely to be around for a long time...quite likely get worse, perhaps even far worse, ...


Quite the reverse. I think that terrorism is here to stay. We have, for a long time, considered ourselves immune from it; terrorism is what happens to other people in other places.

Now, all of a sudden, it's real, and we're scared #$!&.

We're so scared, in fact, that we have lost our collective minds. Now that we know terrorism is real, now that we've felt it hit us, we've gone crazy.

The United States of America has a two-century tradition of dealing with serious problems with courage and pride. We handled two World Wars stoically and with determination.

But now? Now we're acting like a bunch of frightened children. Now we are so scared, we are willing to sacrifice everything we've ever believed in to whoever promises to "protect" us. And that's sad, and sick.

Originally Posted By: artie505
...and although I hate intrusions into my freedom, I can't offer up any realistic suggestions for dealing with it otherwise.


That's the problem. That's the issue I keep trying to get the pro-surveillance folks to come to grips with.

Surveillance.

Does.

Not.

Make.

Us.

Safer.


Surveillance does not make us safer. It does not stop terrorism. The 9/11 hijackers were un an FBI watch list at the time of the attack. The Boston bombers were under ACTIVE surveillance at the time of their attack.

Common sense says that if we listen to what everyone says, we can stop people from plotting to do bad things. That's incredibly emotionally reassuring. It comforts us.

But common sense is also what tells us the world is flat.

We need evidence-based measures, not platitudes and things that sound good. We need to try things, then step back and assess rationally, not emotionally, whether or not they work. We don't need people who are running surveillance to say "oh, yes, it totally works, but I refuse to tell you why or how."

We see, time after time after time after time, two things:

1. Massive surveillance leads to abuse. Always. Always. No exceptions, no matter how strong the laws against abuse are. There is no nation anywhere in the world, whether it's a democracy or a dictatorship, that has implemented sweeping surveillance without it being abused.

2. Massive surveillance does not stop terrorism. It doesn't, and people who think it does aren't paying attention. The Boston bombers were under active surveillance at the time of their attack.

Originally Posted By: artie505
Further, I think you're underestimating terrorism's impact: It's easy, even accurate, to say "Statistically, it's not going to happen to you," but unlike other threats, its effects are pervasive...when it happens to any American it happens to many Americans.


Oh, believe me, I'm not.

Terrorists want to make us afraid. And they succeed. In a very real sense, the war on terror is already over. We lost.

We aren't afraid of car crashes, but we are afraid of terrorists, because terrorists have manipulated our psyche. It's done. We lost. We're sacrificing our own values because we are such a terrified nation of ninnies now. We are so scared, we will do anything to make the fear go away.

Frightened people do not make good choices.

Originally Posted By: artie505
And I don't agree with your equating the anti-terrorism effort with the Japanese internment and the McCarthy witch-hunt; neither was a reaction to a demonstrated threat, while the current effort is, at the very least, a reaction to a demonstrated capacity for mindless carnage.


The threat is irrelevant. What matters is the fear. The McCarthy witch hunts, the Japanese internment camps, and the NSA surveillance have one thing in common: they happened when the nation went out of its mind with fear.

Frightened people do not make good choices.
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#26269 - 07/18/13 10:47 AM Re: Snowden [Re: tacit]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: tacit
[quote=artie505]More human lives are lost to dog bites than terrorism. Why not put every dog owner under surveillance, or ban dogs?

I'm not sure how you connect surveillance with dog bites but I would agree that, in this curious example, surveillance is inappropriate. As a person who has owned dogs continuously for fifty years, I can state that any dog owners I've known never had secret phone calls or emails with plans to have their dogs bite anyone.

However, the dog bite issue is being addressed in many jurisdictions with legislation up to and including bans on certain breeds.

Originally Posted By: tacit
More human lives are lost (by five orders of magnitude!) to firearms than to terrorists. Why not put every gun owner under surveillance, or ban guns?

Okay...two things here, ban guns and surveillance. We all know that a general ban is just not going to happen, but definitely there are people for whom gun ownership should not be allowed. It has nothing to do with terrorism, but because some are not stable enough to be allowed a weapon.

Should some gun owners be under surveillance? Absolutely. The bulk of them are in the various paramilitary groups sprinkled around the country.

Originally Posted By: tacit
...we are, as a nation, absolutely wetting-our-pants, having-hysterics, bawling-in-the-night-like-children frightened of terrorists...

Originally Posted By: tacit
Now, all of a sudden, it's real, and we're scared #$!&.

Originally Posted By: tacit
Now we're acting like a bunch of frightened children. Now we are so scared, we are willing to sacrifice everything we've ever believed in to whoever promises to "protect" us. And that's sad, and sick.

Please.....the only hysteria is this kind of ranting. I think the people of Boston, in their extraordinary response to the marathon bombing, spoke loudly and clearly to terrorists about whether they're instilling fear.

Originally Posted By: tacit
....even though there are few of them, they rarely kill anyone...

I think the people of Boston and Oklahoma City would disagree with that. Terrorists are terrorists, whether homegrown or imported.

Originally Posted By: tacit
I don't understand the meme that we have to be 100% safe.

And I don't understand why you mention it. No one in this thread has made that suggestion.

Originally Posted By: tacit

Interesting....and even frightening....but hardly germane.

Originally Posted By: tacit
I seriously believe that in 20 or 30 years' time, we will look back at this period in US history with disgust and contempt, the way we look back on the McCarthy red scare or the WWII Japanese concentration camps. We will see it as a time when hysteria triumphed over sense, and when we became, temporarily, a nation of frightened little ninnies blindly throwing away everything we believe in because we got scared.

Hopefully we will look back at this time as the disgraceful period when some citizens looked upon the actions of traitors as heroism.


Edited by ryck (07/18/13 12:25 PM)
Edit Reason: Superfluous words
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#26272 - 07/18/13 10:04 PM Re: Snowden [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Now, there's a "Catch 22" for you!
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#26283 - 07/20/13 11:07 PM Re: Snowden [Re: ryck]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: ryck

Hopefully we will look back at this time as the disgraceful period when some citizens looked upon the actions of traitors as heroism.


I totally agree...

...oh, sorry, you meant Snowden is a "traitor"?

Well, there's another similarity with McCarthyism and Japanese internment camps, then. People howling with blind, childish terror during both of those embarrassing debacles were quick to throw around the word "traitor" too.

I have a question, though.

How come the heads of government agencies that break the law and violate the Constitution aren't considered traitors? Didn't they take oaths to obey the law and enforce the Constitution?
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#26289 - 07/22/13 03:26 PM Re: Snowden [Re: tacit]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: tacit
I totally agree...

...oh, sorry, you meant Snowden is a "traitor"?

Yes. When a person reveals their country's secrets to foreign powers while seeking refuge from them, they have betrayed their country and fellow citizens. Surely you're not suggesting he's a hero.

Originally Posted By: tacit
Well, there's another similarity with McCarthyism and Japanese internment camps, then. People howling with blind, childish terror during both of those embarrassing debacles were quick to throw around the word "traitor" too.

Where are you hanging out that you should be seeing all these people "howling with blind childish terror"? I don't see any where I am in Canada and, this past weekend when I visited the U.S., I didn't see any there. All I see are a lot of regular people going about their regular daily activities.

Originally Posted By: tacit
How come the heads of government agencies that break the law and violate the Constitution aren't considered traitors? Didn't they take oaths to obey the law and enforce the Constitution?

I don't know. Did some of them provide foreign nations with U.S. government secrets, or did they simply not carry out their functions very well? It's seems to me there's a bit of space between treason and poor job performance.
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#26301 - 07/24/13 02:15 PM Re: Snowden [Re: ryck]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: ryck

Yes. When a person reveals their country's secrets to foreign powers while seeking refuge from them, they have betrayed their country and fellow citizens. Surely you're not suggesting he's a hero.


He didn't reveal his country's secrets to foreign powers; he revealed his country's illegal practices to his country's citizens. Bit of a difference.


Originally Posted By: ryck

I don't know. Did some of them provide foreign nations with U.S. government secrets, or did they simply not carry out their functions very well? It's seems to me there's a bit of space between treason and poor job performance.


They. Broke. The. Law.

The law forbids the NSA from gathering data on US citizens on US soil, full stop. It is a Federal crime for the NSA, its employees, or its contractors to do so.

I do not understand why this is difficult to understand.

I will say it again, because nobody seems to register it.

It is a Federal crime for the NSA, its employees, or its contractors to gather surveillance on US citizens on US soil.

A US citizen who reveals to the US public that a government agency is engaging in widespread criminal activity is not a traitor.

I do not understand the point you are making. Are you saying you believe the NSA should be permitted to violate Federal law with impunity? Is that really what you believe?
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#26330 - 07/31/13 11:18 AM Re: Snowden [Re: ryck]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: ryck
The reference to numbers was simply to point out the fallacy in what Snowden wants people to believe - that he could spy on anyone at anytime without control. He even suggested that he could spy on the President.

It seems to me that, given the possible numbers if this program was out of control, 10,000 out of 1.1 billion is sticking to the necessary number. [...] hardly the picture being painted where all citizens must worry about every email and phone call.

- NSA’s XKeyscore program has nearly limitless access to all Internet activity.
Metadata, schmetadata: just enter their email or IP address on this digital request form, and anybody's data is (y)ours too...

- Warrantless Cellphone Tracking Is Upheld.
Just call it 'business data', and it's (y)ours.

And where were those safeguards again? shocked
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