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JediAthos
07-10-2008, 10:44 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush signed a law on Thursday overhauling the rules for eavesdropping on terrorism suspects but immediately met a civil liberties challenge calling it a threat to Americans' privacy.
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"This law will protect the liberties of our citizens while maintaining the vital flow of intelligence," Bush said at a White House ceremony to mark a rare legislative victory for the president during his last year in office.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in Manhattan federal court as Bush signed the measure and called for the law to be voided as a violation of constitutional speech and privacy protections.

"Spying on Americans without warrants or judicial approval is an abuse of government power, and that's exactly what this law allows," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in announcing the suit.

The action was filed on behalf of human-rights groups, journalists, labor organizations and others who say they fear the law will allow the U.S. government to monitor their activities, including compiling of critical reports on the United States.

Bush quickly signed the bill a day after Congress gave it final approval, with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama dropping earlier opposition to vote for passage. Obama's Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, has supported the bill but was absent for Wednesday's vote.

The bill authorizes U.S. intelligence agencies to eavesdrop without court approval on foreign targets believed to be outside the United States.

The administration says the measure will allow it to swiftly track terrorists. But the suit charges the law permits warrantless surveillance of phone calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens who may have legal and legitimate reasons for contacting people targeted by government spying.

The bill seeks to minimize such eavesdropping on Americans, but the suit says the safeguards are inadequate.

The law lets government "conduct intrusive surveillance without ever telling a court who it intends to surveil, what phone lines and e-mail addresses it intends to monitor, where its surveillance targets are located, or why it's conducting the surveillance," said ACLU national security director Jameel Jaffer, the lead attorney in the suit.

The most contentious issue in negotiations over the bill was a provision that grants liability protection to telecommunication companies that took part in a warrantless domestic spying program Bush began after the September 11 attacks.

The law shields those firms from billions of dollars in potential damages from privacy lawsuits.

McCain criticized Obama's vote in favor of the law as an inconsistency, and ACLU Legislative Director Caroline Fredrickson called it "very disappointing."

The Democrat's campaign had earlier said he would support efforts to block legislation with a telecommunications immunity provision, but Obama voted for the overall bill Bush signed after casting a losing vote to strip the immunity provision.

"Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I've chosen to support the current compromise," Obama said on his campaign Web site.

(Additional reporting by Edith Honan in New York; Editing by David Alexander and David Wiessler)

(Source: Reuters via Yahoo.com)


Anyone else think this bill President Bush just signed is a load of crap?

Litofsky
07-10-2008, 10:55 PM
In response to both of the main Presidential Candidates signing them, I think I'll stick with a message I picked up from The Jungle: Both parties have the same agenda, just disguised under different names and acts.

Shame on Barack Obama and John McCain for voting for the bill, which stomps on our right to privacy. What's worse is that people are still willing to flock towards the [two candidates]. Despicable (of course, I understand voting for someone just because you like some of [his] views, and not all of them). :disaprove

Personally, this is yet another reason for me to detest our Congress. They work a ridiculously short amount of time (the last I remember was 20% of all work days last year, but I might be a bit off), and still earn upwards of $160,000. A great way to reward the citizens, no?

In case you couldn't tell, I'm opposed to such an act.

Arcesious
07-10-2008, 11:37 PM
The thing we need to be looking at is in their eyes: Why did they pass this bill? I have a hunch that the whole situation with Iran and whatnot has a lot to do with this. I want privacy, of course, but it's also important to have security. And these days, security is getting harder than ever to maintain. As much as I don't want my privacy invaded, we may thank them later for snooping on us to keep us safe. Yeah, I'm paranoid, but I make it my duty to never let down my guard; and for good reason. Which would rather sleep easier without: Your personnal life being private from everyone else, or your safety? This bill admittedly seems overbearing, but I think it's important for everyone's safety that someone keeps an eye on the 'suspicious' people.

Litofsky
07-10-2008, 11:42 PM
The thing we need to be looking at is in their eyes: Why did they pass this bill? I have a hunch that the whole situation with Iran and whatnot has a lot to do with this. I want privacy, of course, but it's also important to have security. And these days, security is getting harder than ever to maintain. As much as I don't want my privacy invaded, we may thank them later for snooping on us to keep us safe. Yeah, I'm paranoid, but I make it my duty to never let down my guard; and for good reason. Which would rather sleep easier without: Your personnal life being private from everyone else, or your safety? This bill admittedly seems overbearing, but I think it's important for everyone's safety that someone keeps an eye on the 'suspicious' people.

There's a difference from a government protecting citizens from a logical threat and taking the necessary precautions, but this seems to have gone too far. I sleep fairly well (my schedule is still off, but I get a good nine to ten hours during the summer :)), and I might sleep even better if I knew that my government wasn't listening into my e-mails and phone conversations, and legally, to boot!

I do understand the need for security, but not at such a rate that the very rights of our citizens are violated! It's like the movie I, Robot, with the Robots taking control of Humanity to protect it (which did have a rather good point, if I may add. I would entrust most humans with my longevity), except it's humans dominating humans.

But this might just be me going on a tirade. The point remains, however, that the President and the Senate believes that our security trumps our right to privacy. And, to me, there's something inherently wrong with that.

Arcesious
07-10-2008, 11:52 PM
Please don't tackle me mercilessly like a football pileup on this, but;

I seriously value my life (IE, living) more than my privacy. Who cares if some random FBI people or whatever read our emails and listen in on our phone calls? Does it really matter than much in comparison to being safe and happy? I beleive that there are times that extreme measures must be taken in order to preserve security. The world is so F***ed up right now that I would rather be safe than sorry. So what if someone gets to snoop on me? It's not really going to hurt anything, if proper regulations and laws about this are made. I've got nothing to hide. I'm perfectly fine with the idea of a Federal agent spying on me. I can still just as easily live my life and not worry about it, whilst the 'bad guys' get caught.

Rev7
07-10-2008, 11:57 PM
I pretty much agree with you Arc. Yes I do want privacy; however, I don't think that is always an option. What is there to worry about if you aren't doing something wrong?

Litofsky
07-11-2008, 12:00 AM
I understand wanting protection-- that's the agenda on most stable governments, isn't it (keeping the citizens content and safe)? However, when [the] government has the ability to read my personal information about things, it's an invasion of privacy.

Please don't misconstrue my feelings on this, however. If a case is presented before a judge, with reasonable evidence, a wire-tap should be granted, and the government gets their information from there. Don't invade my privacy because you want your citizens to be 'safe.'

So, to clarify, a wire-tap by a judge is alright to me (although, it would make sense for more than one judge to have to sign it. That way, you would prevent getting one hard-liner to sign off on everything...). But when the government makes wire-taps legal, that bothers me.

Arcesious
07-11-2008, 12:02 AM
Exactly why I said that it's important that special regulations and laws about 'invasion of privacy for security reasons' are made.

Rev7
07-11-2008, 12:08 AM
Please don't get me wrong. I think that it is an invasion of privacy. I know that I want my personal information safe. Even out of the hands of a Federal Agent, to some extent, because who know what they are doing. They too are human and abuse their power sometimes. That matters to me a lot. Who knows what could happen. I do agree with Arcesious, to some extent, though. I guess that I don't really quite know what to think about this. This is something that is very important. I just don't know what the future holds. There will be attacks on America on in the future though. I think that it inevitable. Whether or not this could make us safer, I don't know...

tk102
07-11-2008, 12:44 AM
Ah all that precious American data to sift through. Might be more cost effective to contract that out to a private corporation or two, don't you think? I mean it worked to cut costs in our War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq didn't it?

What? It's legal right?

(The above is just encourage forethought before letting a genie like this out of the bottle.)

* * * *

Actually from what I've understood the new law will protect the telecoms from civil suits but would not provide immunity to criminal cases for past acts of eavesdropping. In addition, it does not provide immunity to public officials. In theory the next president could encourage his Attorney General to take aim at the current administration officials who authorized the warrantless wiretapping for the past 3 years.
http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20080702.html

Achilles
07-11-2008, 01:15 AM
I want privacy, of course, but it's also important to have security."Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

And these days, security is getting harder than ever to maintain. Really? Why is that?

As much as I don't want my privacy invaded, we may thank them later for snooping on us to keep us safe. Yeah, I'm paranoid, but I make it my duty to never let down my guard; and for good reason. Which would rather sleep easier without: Your personnal life being private from everyone else, or your safety?And who will keep us safe from our government?

This bill admittedly seems overbearing, but I think it's important for everyone's safety that someone keeps an eye on the 'suspicious' people.That's fine. There's been a process for that for years. The President finds someone suspicious? He goes to a FISA court, shows that he has probable cause, and gets a warrant. Then he goes the phone company, shows them the warrant and gets the phone tap. All secret-like.

Except Bush doesn't want to have to go to a FISA court and show probable cause. He wants to be able to tap anyone, anytime without oversight. And now he can do that legally. So I'll repeat my earlier question: without any kind of oversight whatsoever, who will protect us from our government? Think about it.

It's not really going to hurt anything, if proper regulations and laws about this are made.You miss the point: the proper laws and regulations are what they voted to get rid of.

I've got nothing to hide.Neither do I, but I still want to know that someone has to show probable cause before they are allowed to spy on me.

My closing comments (http://youtube.com/watch?v=dfZhCB457Gs)

Q
07-11-2008, 01:28 AM
This is one those rare occasions when I'm actually rooting for the ACLU.

Politics really does make strange bedfellows.

Rev7
07-11-2008, 01:52 AM
My closing comments (http://youtube.com/watch?v=dfZhCB457Gs)
I wouldn't want that to happen to me either. :/

Web Rider
07-11-2008, 03:11 AM
Ah, congress, you prove once again that you are not worth the money we pay you. Given we could make our own laws without you, I would be first to propose that you are paid nothing.

In any case, the passing of this was expected, and I am glad the ACLU jumped on it. Security can bite me, I can secure myself. I would rather have my freedoms than know that I'm safe from some guy in a cave who thinks up an evil plot once every 10 years. I've got a greater chance to die in a car accident than from a terrorist attack.

And that is exactly what people who value security over liberty fail to understand. The world is a dangerous place, disease, murder, natural disasters, and a whole variety of things that are likly to blindside you when you aren't looking. And that's when something bad will ALWAYS happen, without exception, without regard to security, something bad will happen when you least expect it. No amount of security will protect you from it or change the outcome.

More TSA agents on planes will only add more casualties to the plane when it crashes. Warrantless wiretapping will only make our agencies hands full with the mind-numbing garbage the average american sends every day than focus on the important stuff.

Studies had shown that only 2% of the requests for warranted wiretapping ever get turned down, I believe 2% was around 10,000 requests. That's some 490,000 warrants for wiretapping that were approved annually. I think that's a pretty good approval rate if you ask me. I highly doubt that those 2% unapproved seriously hampered investigations. It's not like anything is stopping them from asking for it again anyway.

Q
07-11-2008, 03:29 AM
Ah, congress, you prove once again that you are not worth the money we pay you.QFT
Given we could make our own laws without you, I would be first to propose that you are paid nothing.I say we could go farther than that. We now possess the technology to make direct democracy a reality and render Congress obsolete. Think of the tax dollars it would save. Of course the common people would have become better informed which would require an impartial news source, but then their vote would actually count for something.

And, of course, here in reality, I know that this will never happen. :(

Achilles
07-11-2008, 03:55 AM
I say we could go farther than that. We now possess the technology to make direct democracy a reality and render Congress obsolete. I'll take a pass on mob rule, but thanks for the offer.

Of course the common people would have become better informed which would require an impartial news source, but then their vote would actually count for something.The votes of common people would mean something now if we had a well-informed citizenry that actually cared enough about their fate to vote in the first place.

And an impartial news source isn't even necessary; all we need is an open forum and our ability to reason. Blaming the media for our situation is like blaming McDonald's for making us fat.

And, of course, here in reality, I know that this will never happen. :(Unfortunately, I suspect that you are right.

Q
07-11-2008, 04:29 AM
I'll take a pass on mob rule, but thanks for the offer.And I prefer the mob, especially a well-informed mob, to the elite, even if said elite is elected. IMO, we're not given much of a choice at election time anymore, as the candidates always seem to end up serving the government's interests instead of the people's. ;)
The votes of common people would mean something now if we had a well-informed citizenry that actually cared enough about their fate to vote in the first place.Agreed. That and honest politicians (snicker) who'll actually do while they're in office what they say they're going to do while they're running for office.
And an impartial news source isn't even necessary; all we need is an open forum and our ability to reason.Perhaps not, but it would be nice to be able to watch or read the news without first having to run it through primary, secondary and tertiary political BS filters to make it safe to consume. Your forum would have to get it's information from somewhere, wouldn't it?

mur'phon
07-11-2008, 08:23 AM
Just curious, how would one go about making an impartial news source? After all, we are all biased one way or another.

Q
07-11-2008, 09:01 AM
By reporting the facts without attaching the politically slanted editorial commentary. Professional journalists are not supposed to show bias.

*Don*
07-11-2008, 09:32 AM
I seriously value my life (IE, living) more than my privacy.

That's understandable...

Who cares if some random FBI people or whatever read our emails and listen in on our phone calls? Does it really matter than much in comparison to being safe and happy?

It really depends on two specific factors: race/ethnicity and citizenship status. For a normal American citizen who was born and raised here, being monitored by the government would probably not be a big deal.
However, in the case of my neighbors who are muslim immigrants from India who run the local mosque, it would be percieved as a case of racism. When they are singled out in an entire community, they feel that they are being targeted for no reason other than the simple fact that they are muslims.

I beleive that there are times that extreme measures must be taken in order to preserve security. The world is so F***ed up right now that I would rather be safe than sorry. So what if someone gets to snoop on me? It's not really going to hurt anything, if proper regulations and laws about this are made. I've got nothing to hide. I'm perfectly fine with the idea of a Federal agent spying on me. I can still just as easily live my life and not worry about it, whilst the 'bad guys' get caught.

Normally, I'd agree with you, but the problem is that the government hardly ever spies on the right people. They usually spy on a large group of people knowing very well that most of them aren't terrorists. In the end, they arrest maybe 5% of that large group. Although they have caught the terrorists, the other 95% have been wronged for no reason.

Hence, I support Achilles in his view that the president should have probable cause before he wiretaps a person's home.

Samuel Dravis
07-11-2008, 10:20 AM
I am extremely displeased with the candidates on their votes for this law.

mur'phon
07-11-2008, 10:24 AM
By reporting the facts without attaching the politically slanted editorial commentary. Professional journalists are not supposed to show bias.

Yet they do anyway, which is why I prefer them to state their bias rather than pretending they aren't. I'm not saying you can't have more neutral news sources than those we allready have, but a news source is only as unbiased as its journalists.

Q
07-11-2008, 10:43 AM
Yet they do anyway, which is why I prefer them to state their bias rather than pretending they aren't.Yet when they do so it ceases to be news and becomes propaganda, and the journalists become about as credible Joseph Goebbels. When one can no longer be certain if they're being told facts or lies, the news becomes worthless.

mur'phon
07-11-2008, 10:51 AM
Huh? I'm note sure how it works in the U.S, but here it's ilegal to report lies. By bias, I'm not talking about manipulating the facts themselves, rather how they/which of them are presented.

Q
07-11-2008, 10:57 AM
As far as I'm concerned, slanted facts are the same thing as lies. In my experience the most skillful of liars are the ones who learn how to slant the truth to their advantage.

Sorry I wasn't more clear on that. :)

Achilles
07-11-2008, 11:00 AM
And I prefer the mob, especially a well-informed mob, to the elite, even if said elite is elected. Nope, sorry, I'll still pass.

Mobs are fickle. What you're describing sounds like something that's only a hop, skip, and a jump away from anarchy, if not outright anarchy itself.

IMO, we're not given much of a choice at election time anymore, as the candidates always seem to end up serving the government's interests instead of the people's. ;) Again, who's fault is that?

Agreed. That and honest politicians (snicker) who'll actually do while they're in office what they say they're going to do while they're running for office.My point was that well-informed citizens that vote are the ultimate checks and balances. How did we get to where we are? A mixture of uninformed (or poorly-informed) citizens that vote and informed citizens that don't vote.

Your forum would have to get it's information from somewhere, wouldn't it?Indeed. Are you positing that "the media" is the only possible source of information?

Or for that matter, aren't we all capable of reading something and being able to distinguish what is fact and what is opinion? Critical reading is a skill. If everyone was taught how to do it, then everyone would be able to do it.

Litofsky
07-11-2008, 12:09 PM
I am extremely displeased with the candidates on their votes for this law. Quote for truth. I think that I mentioned that earlier in the thread. Wouldn't it be great if we actually had leader that would lead instead of rule?

My point was that well-informed citizens that vote are the ultimate checks and balances. How did we get to where we are? A mixture of uninformed (or poorly-informed) citizens that vote and informed citizens that don't vote.

If I remember correctly, America's turnouts are around 40%, though other 'Western' countries have nearly double that (I believe that Australia has about 95% voter turnout. After all, it's one step away from being mandatory ;)).


Or for that matter, aren't we all capable of reading something and being able to distinguish what is fact and what is opinion? Critical reading is a skill. If everyone was taught how to do it, then everyone would be able to do it.

That wouldn't be a problem, except most people [that I know] cannot distinguish fact from opinion (or, at least, the line between the two is blurred). If people would take things at face value (and, by that, I mean without prejudices based on previous experiences), we'd be a much happier, much safer world.

Arcesious
07-11-2008, 12:20 PM
Well I guess you're right Achilles...

Achilles
07-11-2008, 12:25 PM
If I remember correctly, America's turnouts are around 40%, though other 'Western' countries have nearly double that (I believe that Australia has about 95% voter turnout. After all, it's one step away from being mandatory ;)).40% of registered voters or 40% of adults eligible to vote? The latter scenario would be sad. The former would be even sadder (IMO).

That wouldn't be a problem, except most people [that I know] cannot distinguish fact from opinion (or, at least, the line between the two is blurred).I've encountered that a few times myself. I still think this is largely because people aren't taught how to differentiate. Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe people are taught how to think critically but choose not to. I hope that isn't the case.

tk102
07-11-2008, 12:27 PM
I am extremely displeased with the candidates on their votes for this law.

Yet remember prior to yesterday, we had the NSA doing as they pleased under orders from the White House. Would we prefer that Congress not pass anything, furthering a Constitutional stalemate?

This law still establishes FISA courts as the sole authority that can grant wiretaps. It has loosened its regulations but it hasn't reliquinshed its authority. Court orders are still required to legitimize surveillance of American citizens including those overseas.

I'm not happy with the newly passed legislation, mostly because Bush seems overjoyed by it, but I still carry the hope that the loopholes in the new law will used by a future administration to prosecute those private and public persons who authorized illegally wiretapping under the previous FISA law.

Arcesious
07-11-2008, 12:37 PM
I've encountered that a few times myself. I still think this is largely because people aren't taught how to differentiate. Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe people are taught how to think critically but choose not to. I hope that isn't the case.

Beleive me, all the problems of the world can be a huge headache. Some people would just rather stay out of it and not worry about it. Then again, some people just don't care enough to check things out for themselves.

Samuel Dravis
07-11-2008, 05:11 PM
Yet remember prior to yesterday, we had the NSA doing as they pleased under orders from the White House. Would we prefer that Congress not pass anything, furthering a Constitutional stalemate?From what I understand, the NSA's 'doing as they pleased' (at least in respect to warrantless wiretaps) was illegal yesterday and is still illegal today. If the telcos participated in illegal actions then the people that are affected should be able to show their grievances through civil means, i.e. civil lawsuits. Telcos are fully aware of what they do and also have lawyers on hand to tell them what they are required to do. Simply because a G-man comes up to me and says it's fine to publish copyrighted material doesn't excuse my doing so, particularly when I am perfectly capable of making sure it is actually ok. I, for example, have access to certain private information about other people. Now, a G-man says "Hand it over, it's important to stop TERRORISM!!1" So I just hand it over, no second thought? Hell no. People are responsible for their actions and should be held so- both criminally and civilly.

I really don't care about a constitutional stalemate. If the telcos' actions were illegal then they should get what's coming to them, whether the President likes it or not. If a stalemate results in justice, then I'm all for it.

Obama's previous statements on filibustering were purely fluff, as he only said he would support a filibuster on the law in the exact state it was when he released that statement. Any change to the law and he wouldn't be lying-- and of course, there was change. Who could have predicted it? Technically he didn't lie. He seems to have shown an unremarkable lack of integrity.

This law still establishes FISA courts as the sole authority that can grant wiretaps. It has loosened its regulations but it hasn't relinquished its authority. Court orders are still required to legitimize surveillance of American citizens including those overseas.Great. What I see is that it was illegal before, and they did it anyway. And now I should be glad that it's illegal in this new law? Well, since when did they start caring about legality just because Congress passed a new law? Congress passed the previous FISA law and they violated that one seemingly without qualm. What I want is the rule of law. To date, the law has been changing to fit the (distinctly questionable) actions, not the other way around.

I'd rather: the government actually follow the law, and THEN, (and only then) if it PROVEN to show that we are missing things with it being too strict, should it be modified to lesser strictness. Note, of course, this course of action is purely hypothetical. It hasn't been tested on this subject, anyway.

I'm not happy with the newly passed legislation, mostly because Bush seems overjoyed by it, but I still carry the hope that the loopholes in the new law will used by a future administration to prosecute those private and public persons who authorized illegally wiretapping under the previous FISA law.Yes, there's a silver lining, but I'd much rather have no clouds whatsoever.

Litofsky
07-11-2008, 05:21 PM
40% of registered voters or 40% of adults eligible to vote? The latter scenario would be sad. The former would be even sadder (IMO).

I'm afraid that I don't remember. Of course, both situations are sad. Voting is an act of rebellion ('rebellion,' in this context, means you telling your government that you're sick of them, and want a change), if the people realize it or not (at least, that's my opinion of voting).

Not voting shows both apathy (which has its hand in destroying civilizations) or laziness (which also has a part in destroying civilizations). It bothers me immensely [when someone doesn't vote].

I've encountered that a few times myself. I still think this is largely because people aren't taught how to differentiate. Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe people are taught how to think critically but choose not to. I hope that isn't the case.

I think that people's parents have a great part in it (i.g., I want you, my offspring, to follow my views. No questions asked). That's not always so, but in the cases I've encountered, it is. Either way, thinking critically is a key way to survive in the world. Open-mindedness and thinking with a level-head is another good way to keep calm in tough situations.

Q
07-11-2008, 08:37 PM
My point was that well-informed citizens that vote are the ultimate checks and balances. How did we get to where we are? A mixture of uninformed (or poorly-informed) citizens that vote and informed citizens that don't vote.
And my point was that the voters are usually limited to a choice between bad and just as bad. That's not much of a choice. ;)

Achilles
07-11-2008, 08:46 PM
And my point was that the voters are usually limited to a choice between bad and just as bad. That's not much of a choice. ;)And my point was that the situation you're describing wouldn't be allowable if people were paying attention (and voting).

Going back to my McDonald's analogy; you can complain about the menu or you can choose to cook for yourself.

Q
07-11-2008, 09:34 PM
How would that produce better candidates? Just curious.

TKA-001
07-11-2008, 10:09 PM
I think Web Rider's post states my views for me pretty nicely.

Litofsky
07-11-2008, 10:25 PM
How would that produce better candidates? Just curious.

Run yourself. That's not a joke, to be sure. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Gandhi

El Sitherino
07-11-2008, 11:11 PM
Any person who would give up their freedom for security does not belong in the US nor any respectable (*hack*) country.

The idea that we want to wage war to promote "freedom" yet we deny our very citizens many of these freedoms proves this government and the majority of the American people are emotionally unstable children who need to be re-educated on civil liberties and what it means to be a human being. We should be free to make safe and effective choices, without fear of retribution by money/power-hungry scum.

Litofsky
07-11-2008, 11:28 PM
Any person who would give up their freedom for security does not belong in the US nor any respectable (*hack*) country.

Respectful is different from influential. ;)

The idea that we want to wage war to promote "freedom" yet we deny our very citizens many of these freedoms proves this government and the majority of the American people are emotionally unstable children who need to be re-educated on civil liberties and what it means to be a human being. We should be free to make safe and effective choices, without fear of retribution by money/power-hungry scum.

War is the antithesis of freedom (we're destroying another nation for an ideal. Why does that sound familiar?). We're killing in the name of freedom, which is just ironic. Of course, that's my opinion.

Either way, this whole business bothers me. The world is, more and more, starting to sound like Britain from "V for Vendetta." Of course, no one cares about that. Why would you? We've got "Halo" and "Call of Duty."

Achilles
07-11-2008, 11:30 PM
How would that produce better candidates? Just curious. Really?

It would produce better candidates because people would actually be paying attention (i.e. well-informed citizenry) and therefore would recall their elected representatives (i.e. voting public) if they didn't represent (there's that word again) the interests of their constituencies. In other words, it would send the message that you'd better do what we send you there to do or we'll yank your chain and no funny stuff cuz we're watching.

...which isn't happening now.

Or to keep things simple: why are there so many McDonald's? Because people keep buying what they are selling. If people didn't buy what they sold, they would have to figure out what the people did want and sell that or go out of business. We keep getting "cheeseburger or chicken sandwich" because that's what we keep buying.

Litofsky
07-11-2008, 11:37 PM
Or to keep things simple: why are there so many McDonald's? Because people keep buying what they are selling. If people didn't buy what they sold, they would have to figure out what the people did want and sell that or go out of business. We keep getting "cheeseburger or chicken sandwich" because that's what we keep buying.

People are willing to pay for a service-- most will pay for McDonalds, and, therefore, it won't go out of business for quite some time. It's the same with our Government/Congress-- we're willing to pay them extravagant amounts of money (and power! You mustn't forger the power), and they do near squat for us. I draw this conclusion from the fact that both major Presidential Candidates voted for the bill mentioned at the beginning of the thread.

Either way, I maintain my "run yourself" stance. Be the change you want to see. :)

Achilles
07-11-2008, 11:41 PM
People are willing to pay for a service-- most will pay for McDonalds, and, therefore, it won't go out of business for quite some time. It's the same with our Government/Congress-- we're willing to pay them extravagant amounts of money (and power! You mustn't forger the power), and they do near squat for us. I draw this conclusion from the fact that both major Presidential Candidates voted for the bill mentioned at the beginning of the thread.You're going to base your opinion of an entire body of government (dozens and dozens of individual elected officials that may or may not be working hard to "be the change" they want to see) on one vote?

Keep in mind that 30+ Senators voted against the measure.

Q
07-11-2008, 11:49 PM
Really?

It would produce better candidates because people would actually be paying attention (i.e. well-informed citizenry) and therefore would recall their elected representatives (i.e. voting public) if they didn't represent (there's that word again) the interests of their constituencies. In other words, it would send the message that you'd better do what we send you there to do or we'll yank your chain and no funny stuff cuz we're watching.

...which isn't happening now.

Or to keep things simple: why are there so many McDonald's? Because people keep buying what they are selling. If people didn't buy what they sold, they would have to figure out what the people did want and sell that or go out of business. We keep getting "cheeseburger or chicken sandwich" because that's what we keep buying.Thank you for explaining. I agree that our system of government would actually work if the citizenry paid attention all of the time instead of just during elections.

El Sitherino
07-11-2008, 11:52 PM
Respectful is different from influential. ;)



War is the antithesis of freedom (we're destroying another nation for an ideal. Why does that sound familiar?). We're killing in the name of freedom, which is just ironic. Of course, that's my opinion.
Okay. However none of that disproves my point that such legislation as this is absurd and unconstitutional. As well it completely counters any arguement the US government makes when it claims it wishes freedom.

Thank you for explaining. I agree that our system of government would actually work if the citizenry paid attention all of the time instead of just during elections.

Judging from the general consensus of the American populace, attention is hardly even paid during elections. They simply hear the things they want, such as "fags don't marry", "war is good for the economy", or "let's look into alternative fuel, like coal"

Litofsky
07-11-2008, 11:54 PM
You're going to base your opinion of an entire body of government (dozens and dozens of individual elected officials that may or may not be working hard to "be the change" they want to see) on one vote?

Keep in mind that 30+ Senators voted against the measure.

I wasn't aware that many Senators voted against it. However, the ones that are planning to run for, arguably, the most powerful position in the United States both supported it (however, a bit of credit to Obama-- he attempted to resist, though he folded in the end...).

But I guess I'm not in a situation to change it right now. I'm just another citizen, trying to stay well informed. Hopefully I'll be able to change something... someday...*

*But isn't that the goal of everyone, at some point in their life? To make their mark on History. Let's see if anyone knows who Chester Arthur is now. :p

Okay. However none of that disproves my point that such legislation as this is absurd and unconstitutional. As well it completely counters any arguement the US government makes when it claims it wishes freedom.

The legislation is absurd and unconstitutional-- just not enough of our elected officials thought so. To top it off, the USA's government gets to claim that it is in the name of "security."

Achilles
07-12-2008, 12:10 AM
I wasn't aware that many Senators voted against it. However, the ones that are planning to run for, arguably, the most powerful position in the United States both supported it (however, a bit of credit to Obama-- he attempted to resist, though he folded in the end...).
Whoops, my memory failed me (http://senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=2&vote=00168), it was only 28 that voted against it, not 30+. I should have double-checked before I posted. My apologies.

And FWIW, despite what several sources have said, McCain chose not to vote on this issue. Whether that is better or worse than Obama's decision to vote for it is up to you to decide.

Obama hasn't been very explicit with rationale, which I find to be disheartening considering that a huge part of the reason I've supported him is his Constitutional bona fides. Taken at face value, I'm not very impressed with his decision. :(

Litofsky
07-12-2008, 12:23 AM
Whoops, my memory failed me (http://senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=2&vote=00168), it was only 28 that voted against it, not 30+. I should have double-checked before I posted. My apologies.

No worries.

And FWIW, despite what several sources have said, McCain chose not to vote on this issue. Whether that is better or worse than Obama's decision to vote for it is up to you to decide.

I take it as a step in the wrong direction (for Obama, that is. I'm not interested in McCain for this discussion). "Change" is a rather broad term... :(

EDIT: Upon looking further into Achilles' link, I found this: "Clinton (D-NY), Nay." Apparently, Hillary voted it down (or tried to). I just think that is interesting...

Obama hasn't been very explicit with rationale, which I find to be disheartening considering that a huge part of the reason I've supported him is his Constitutional bona fides. Taken at face value, I'm not very impressed with his decision. :(

Obama has been rather awkward lately (or, from the information I've seen recently). Apparently, he supports ethanol more than nuclear power (and, from what I've been taught, nuclear power is far safer, cleaner, and more efficient than ethanol.

Anyways, I'll be looking forward to Presidential Debates. :) I want to see some political hot-air.

Arcesious
07-12-2008, 12:29 AM
I think we've complained enough about other people not paying attention, and only hearing what they want to hear. The question is- How do you get the majority of Americans to pay attention and seriously and critically think about what they're voting for?

Litofsky
07-12-2008, 12:33 AM
I think we've complained enough about other people not paying attention, and only hearing what they want to hear. The question is- How do you get the majority of Americans to pay attention and seriously and critically think about what they're voting for?

Well, I know the answer to the opposite of your question ("How do we get Americans to stop paying attention?"): Keep 'em busy. Think about that one. ;)

As for getting attention, you'd need to control the media, the entertainment systems, and most other aspects of social life. After that, you'd be able to influence people a great deal. The new question is now, "Is it like that already?" and if no so, "How does one achieve this?"

Arcesious
07-12-2008, 12:39 AM
I really have no idea how to do it then, but, at this rate, things like this must be done somehow.

Looking on the CNN website, I find quite a bit more stuff happens besides what I see in the 1-2 hours I devote to watching CNN every day... Wow... A lot of it... Not suprising at all... But very disappointing.

Achilles
07-12-2008, 12:47 AM
I think we've complained enough about other people not paying attention, and only hearing what they want to hear. The question is- How do you get the majority of Americans to pay attention and seriously and critically think about what they're voting for?I had a couple of interesting experiences during the primary season, the most eye-opening of which I'll share, however you may or may not find it as fascinating as I did.

I headed up to a local restaurant to enjoy some diner while watching one of the debates (no access to television at home so...). I asked the bartender to change one of the tv's to CNN and settled in. Not only did the people sitting on the same side of the bar stop watching their games and start paying attention to the debate, but some of the people that were sitting at the row of tables behind me moved to the bar also so that they could hear what was being said.

I was actually a little shocked by this and have thought about it a lot since then. I don't know if I've come to anything that I would feel comfortable calling a conclusion, but my hypothesis is that more people would care if someone would just put it on their radar. For whatever that's worth.

Arcesious
07-12-2008, 01:22 AM
Ah.. that makes sense... It's that whole: 'Because those guys are watching it, it must be interesting, so I'll watch it too' kind of thing...

That might just work... If a lot of people start watching news channels more often, and others see them watching those channels, perhaps they'll check it out for themselves...

Achilles
07-12-2008, 01:32 AM
That might just work... If a lot of people start watching news channels more often, and others see them watching those channels, perhaps they'll check it out for themselves...I think that if that's the way we decide to take it, then we absolutely must work toward creating a better media like Qliveur suggested earlier because the infotainment we call "journalism" now isn't going to be good enough to get us there.

Unfortunately, I personally think that a continued reliance on one-way relationships (your tv, newspaper, radio, books, etc can't hear you when you disagree with what comes out of them) isn't the answer though. Burn your tv in your yard. Subscribe to a political blog. Annoy your friends with this stuff until they become interested themselves. As Litofsky says, "Be the change you want to see in the world" :)

Arcesious
07-12-2008, 01:39 AM
I definitly don't want to lose my TV (my precious! lol.)

There's a quote somewhere... Something about people who listen all their lives but never do anything. I don't want to be one of those people. You can learn much from listening, but actions can oftentimes speak louder than words.

I wonder- do people always listen, but never do anything? Or do they always say something, and others never listen?

mur'phon
07-12-2008, 07:16 AM
But I guess I'm not in a situation to change it right now. I'm just another citizen, trying to stay well informed. Hopefully I'll be able to change something... someday...*

Bad Litofsky, you are (almost) always in a position to help change what you think need changing. Be the change etc:D

"How does one achieve this?"

By providing news yourself, be the change:D

I wonder- do people always listen, but never do anything? Or do they always say something, and others never listen?

Tell me, how much have you done to change things for the better?

And if you want a diferent news source, try www.economist.com

Arcesious
07-12-2008, 07:58 AM
I admit that I'm always left wondering exactly how I could change things. Wondering what the best way to devote resources would be. I certianly don't like it when someone is playing the game of guilt with me about donating money to something though. I doubt anyone does. Is it wrong for me to blame the world for its problems, when I have not done anything to interfere with the current order of things? I don't really know, when I really think about it. I kind of hate to admit that kind of thing, but I guess it is true... Am I a selfish human being, or am I just under pressure of circumstances? Well, I did kind of preech about how many people listen but don't do anything. It's not like I'm any better. It's a wierd feeling. I don't really feel 'selfish', per se, but I want to feel guilty for not doing anything, yet I can't feel guilty about all of this, which is a really bad feeling. Odd...

edit: The link doesn't work for me

mur'phon
07-12-2008, 08:23 AM
I admit that I'm always left wondering exactly how I could change things. Wondering what the best way to devote resources would be.

Then pherhaps you should give yourself a deadline, and use some of the vacation to figure out what kind of improving you want to support, then find out which of the groups working on "your" improving you want to devote your rescources to.

Am I a selfish human being, or am I just under pressure of circumstances?

I'd say you are as selfish as the average Joe, do you feel proving me wrong?:D

Well, I did kind of preech about how many people listen but don't do anything. It's not like I'm any better.

Theres the answer to your question.

It's a wierd feeling. I don't really feel 'selfish', per se, but I want to feel guilty for not doing anything, yet I can't feel guilty about all of this, which is a really bad feeling.

Screw guilt, don't be a "guilt slave", If you can't find another reason to do something, you can feel bad with my blessing:)

The link doesn't work for me

Now it does:D

Litofsky
07-12-2008, 02:02 PM
Unfortunately, I personally think that a continued reliance on one-way relationships (your tv, newspaper, radio, books, etc can't hear you when you disagree with what comes out of them) isn't the answer though. Burn your tv in your yard. Subscribe to a political blog. Annoy your friends with this stuff until they become interested themselves. As Litofsky says, "Be the change you want to see in the world" :)

1) I constantly ask my friends about politics. Most can't name ten Presidents (I think that naming five, or even ten! out of forty-three men would be easy enough. Apparently not...). Besides that, I ask them about other things (one such question I asked at school was, "Who do you support, and why? Most answers were "[from my conservative friends] McCain because he's pro-life," and "[from my liberal friends] Obama because he's [anti-war] or [pro-choice]")

2) "Be the change you want to see in the world" is a Gandhi quote. I'd say that he's one of the top ten people that changed the world in both this century, but in the millennium. Now, I think I want to make it my signature. :p

tk102
07-12-2008, 03:09 PM
I'd say that [Gandhi]'s one of the top ten people that changed the world in both this century, but in the millennium. You mean the last century and the last millenium. :p The History channel puts him at #17.(link) (http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n2/History_n2/index_n2/30_1.html)
... resume thread ...

Litofsky
07-12-2008, 03:49 PM
You mean the last century and the last millenium. :p The History channel puts him at #17.(link) (http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n2/History_n2/index_n2/30_1.html)
... resume thread ...

Yes, I meant the previous century and millennium . Thanks for the link.

As for the topic, does anyone else have anything to say as as to their opinions on the matter? Basically, (a majority of) Congress and the President voted more power to the Executive Office in the form wire-taps. Or do I have that wrong?