Senate The 2nd Term of the Obama Administration: Facts, Opinions, and Discussions

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2008
    star 5
    No. Leave the conspiracy theories to the 9/11 wackos.
    Vaderize03 likes this.
  2. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    It's stuff like what the NSA has been doing that makes me scoff at those who say that what was depicted in films like The Bourne Ultimatum was or is unrealistic. Unrealistic? Only in the sense that they don't go far enough, rather than the other way around.

    Of course they've been doing stuff like that. I always figured they were. In a way, this controversy is a bit like finding one over the news that the Phoenix area gets hot in the summer. You don't say.

    What did people expect? Harsh language?
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jun 10, 2013
  3. shinjo_jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 5
    Yeah, I'm still confused as to why even many of the well-informed pundits and people I know were so surprised by this.
    Summer Dreamer likes this.
  4. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I suspect the both of you would sound very diffferent if there was a Republican president at the helm right now.

    To see a Democrat do this - and to see the lazy resignation with which his voters accept it - is deeply worrying. Means there's nobody left who will fight it.

    "We collectively wanted this." No, you don't. I don't. Because you bet they're listening in on Europeans, too... And can I vote for that guy? No.
    Adam of Nuchtern likes this.
  5. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    This country most assuredly asked for and approved of this. Not specifically, of course, but by voting for politicians that voted for it and then voting them back into office, and in our reactions to terrorist incidents.

    This is the kind of thing that's rooted in the public, not an administration.

    I don't approve of any of this myself, but I also think we should accept that terrorism exists and that we cannot possibly prevent it all. I don't think that kind of effort is helpful or productive. I'm willing to make the tradeoff to have more liberty for higher odds of terrorism happening in the United States. As Conor Friedersdorf put it, no one tries to completely stamp out deaths from heart attacks, guns, or anything else like that (even though all of those things kill far more people than terrorism).

    Most people aren't willing to say that, though, and most people would not back the President if a terrorist incident happened and he (or she) said that it wasn't stopped in part because we didn't have good enough intelligence on it because we believe people's liberties are more important than trying to stop all terrorism, or something along those lines.

    This isn't lazy resignation, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't assume as such. I'm far from lazy, and in fact I've thought about all this a lot. My conclusions just are different from yours.
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jun 11, 2013
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  6. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    But that's the rub. When you say "we asked for this?" I have to disagree. This is the part where sacrificing individual liberties for the sake of the collective "good" becomes dicey. Oh, I've wondered if they weren't doing extensive surveillance too. I like your deliberative thinking. But listen to your liberal side more......on this. :p
  7. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    If you believe in blowback, and I most certainly do, then less meddling worldwide would = less terrorism.

    So, if we meddled less we wouldn't have to settle for terrorism. There will always be terrorism, but you cannot tell me the last decade hasn't sown additional hatreds towards the U.S. It certainly has. The neocons and the libowarriors would tell us they hate our way of life. Yes, they do. But they hate us taking our way of life and smashing it onto their doorstep even more.
    Last edited by ShaneP, Jun 11, 2013
  8. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Yes, Shane, we asked for this. It's as straightforward as that. We didn't individually ask for it, but we collectively acquiesced over the years. Or did people think we were free of terrorist incidents by luck or methodology that somehow was clean?

    I've said before that we shouldn't be meddling in the business of other countries, and I think the public is coming around to that way of thinking. That's one mark in our favor.
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jun 11, 2013
  9. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    We haven't been free of terrorist events. 9/11 scale events, yes, but those are incredibly difficult to pull off. And how does snooping through everyones data narrow the focus of suspicious people? It doesn't.

    Julian Assange is right: this is throwing a huge fish net out to catch tons of fish, with the hopes the big tuna will be one of them. The Patriot Act was to monitor domestic communications with suspected terrorists overseas. It wasn't designed to be a catch-all, even the Business Monitoring provisions. It was supposed to be used when a suspected terrorist had communications with a domestic source. Then those domestic sources could be monitored. That's not what's happening.
  10. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    It's lazy. I looked, but I couldn't find a better word for it. Intellectually lazy.

    If a Khalifate was established in Northern America, would you just as readily proclaim "we collectively wanted this"? The fact that some beardies want it, doesn't make everyone want it, does it?

    Just like how the fact that some Americans want access to private data of people around the world doesn't make everyone want them to have it.

    The world did not collectively ask for PRISM. To wave it away with an argument that's singularly about Americans is tacit approval of global human rights infringement.
  11. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Excuse me, but it is not lazy, and I find it remarkably patronizing of you to suggest that it is.

    Yes, we did collectively ask for it by saying, in effect, "keep the bad guys away!" I'm referring to those of us in the United States, not elsewhere. I think you know that.

    And, yes, we do tacitly approve of human rights infringement. We do that by buying products that come from places with human rights abuses and by not caring about human rights in general, or at least when it doesn't actively affect us much.

    The "we" here is those of us in the United States. If you are not an American, it doesn't include you.
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jun 11, 2013
  12. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    I think the fact the NSA has been collecting info from people overseas too, not just domestically, absolutely does mean they're included in the debate. So, we Americans could have wanted it en masse by an overwhleming majority, but the fact our NSA is dragging thousands of innocent people overseas into their dragnets makes it an issue of international scope.

    I believe Assange when he says the U.S. government wants to destroy privacy worldwide. I 100% believe that.

    So, the fight is joined then. Welcome to the spying party SuperWatto. :p

    By the way, the ACLU announced they're filing suit to stop the surveillance. Wish them luck but I don't think they stand a chance at this time.
    Last edited by ShaneP, Jun 11, 2013
  13. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    I'm fairly certain that if we care this little about our own privacy -- and we generally do -- then we care far, far less about everyone else's.
  14. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    I'm not talking about "us" caring about others privacy. I'm talking about the others caring about their own. This is no longer just about Americans caring about our privacy or lack thereof. This is about people around the world caring about it.
  15. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    Then don't use our internet!
    SuperWatto likes this.
  16. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    What kind of argument is that to defend the privacy rights of individuals? "Don't want to be spied on? Don't do anything wrong then!". That's what it sounds like. It's backwards.
  17. shinjo_jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 5
    When I say "we asked for this" I more meant that it was authorized under the Patriot Act and, logically, this program was foreseen. Some were outraged initially but most shrugged their shoulders and there wasn't a huge movement to stop it. The public was okay with taking vast steps to curb terrorism. I'd say the main obstacle to outrage over what the Patriot Act granted as that it was based around hypothetical, intangible programs like this that we didn't explicitly know about.

    Also, I don't think I'd have different feelings had Obama lost either election or it became public under Bush (who started it, I believe). This is a rather post-partisan issue in that there is no real indication where people are falling (other than the libertarian and pro-civil liberties people on the left).

    I'm not really supporting it or arguing against it. I'm pretty neutral at this point. Concerned but underwhelmed is the best description about my position. The underwhelming comes from that there's absolutely nothing I've done on the Internet that the government would be concerned about and the data was already accessible by the Internet companies that collect them (Google, Apple, Facebook). The liberal side of me sees this as a violation of my privacy but, again, I don't understand what I'm supposed to fear or be outraged about with the information the government now has.
    Valairy Scot and KnightWriter like this.
  18. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Very well said, shinjo.

    There's a long list of people in both parties who approved of this. It's hard to make it a partisan issue.
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jun 11, 2013
  19. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Sure, KW, Americans asked for it. And I'm fine with that. If y'all wanna be checking each other's Facebook messages, more power to ya.

    Just stay away from mine.

    But for some reason, you won't, and you're fine with that. Because you collectively wanted that.

    If that's not intellectually lazy, it's downright abusive.

    I think the possibilities are worrisome. I don't think any good come out of a government having this much access to people's private conversations. Where there is power, that power will be abused. It'd be much better if there were safeguards against this kind of intrusion. Even if only just in case.
    Last edited by SuperWatto, Jun 11, 2013
  20. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    I'm not fine with it. As I just said in the other thread, I am against it, and I would dismantle all of it, and so on and so forth. But I've also been paying attention from the beginning.

    I'm speaking, yet again, about us as a nation.

    Please do not mix me in with those who are in favor of these programs. I most emphatically am not in favor of them. I'm just amazed at the johnny-come-latelys out there in the country.
  21. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    I agree. But I don't know that much in the way of safeguards will be forthcoming.

    Underlying all of this-- everything-- is the fear by those in power that they will be blamed severely in the event of another terrorist attack, and that the other party will take advantage of such an incident to further their own ends.

    If the collective attitude on the part of most Americans to a terrorist attack was more rational and a bit more in touch with perspective (i.e. more people die in gunfire incidents every day, etc.), it would be super helpful to these issues. But, since it comes from specific (and sometimes known) people, it enrages a lot of Americans and makes us lose our collective minds.

    That last bit is why all these privacy violations are possible. Because no one wants to be blamed for another terrorist attack.
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jun 11, 2013
  22. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Oh, there's nothing to fear then! The government never makes mistakes. They never falsely identify people and unjustly accuse them or wrongly imprison them. They have a great record and would never expand what = criminal behavior.
  23. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Of course, and I could go on at great length about stuff I read earlier this year about vindictive prosecutors and an unfair legal system, and so on. Remember Aaron Schwartz? There are also a lot of people who are prosecuted for ridiculous law violations, laws that shouldn't exist.

    Not many people care about that either, but it also goes hand in hand with privacy violations, because it's more information that can be used against you.
  24. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    But that's the point. It doesn't matter that not many people care. Individual and minority protections should not be wholly bound by the "will of the people". What matters is that the Constitution and legal system is supposed to care when flawed humans fail to do so.
  25. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Maybe you can tell me how that's supposed to work in practice when things like the mid-term election of 2002 happened.

    Remember Max Cleland? He's only a triple amputee, having served in Vietnam. He was beaten by Saxy Chambliss in part because of ads that suggested Cleland was soft on terrorism. One ad had Cleland turning into Osama Bin Laden.