True Threat to Freedom
Informed Opinion

Naples, FL

#1 Dec 28, 2012
Forget how many rounds a magazine is allowed to hold - this is your freedom being given away:

Senate Votes Down Warrantless Wiretapping Reform

The Senate rejected three attempts Thursday to add oversight and privacy safeguards to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendments that authorize the warrantless wiretapping program begun under President George W. Bush.

The program, which the Bush administration started without congressional authorization shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, collects intelligence on Americans. Critics, including NSA whistle-blowers, have demonstrated that law-abiding Americans' communications are getting caught up in a vast, electronic dragnet of phone calls and emails.

The vote against the amendments dealt a blow to civil liberties advocates, who have argued that Congress should curb the scope of the wiretapping program or at least disclose key information about how it is being used. President Barack Obama has said he will sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, went so far as to compare the NSA to the British officials who used broad royal writs to invade colonists' homes prior to the American Revolution, eventually prompting the passage of the Fourth Amendment with its prohibition on unreasonable government searches.

"It is never okay, never okay for government officials to use a general warrant to deliberately invade the privacy of a law-abiding American," Wyden said. "It wasn’t okay for constables and customs officials to do it in colonial days, and it’s not okay for the National Security Agency to do it today."

The senators mounting an argument against reauthorizing the warrantless wiretapping program without reforms were hobbled -- perhaps ironically -- by the central fact that it is shrouded in secrecy.

Since 2008, when Congress passed the original version of the clunkily-named Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act to retroactively legalize the Bush administration program. The secret court that oversees the warrantless wiretapping program has found the government was violating Fourth Amendment prohibitions against spying on Americans without a warrant.

The details of that and other rulings about how FISA laws are actually being interpreted remain secret.

But Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) responded that disclosing even limited information to the public would be "the beginning of opening up other things down the road.... then I think there is a real danger in beginning to open up any of those opinions."

A separate amendment offered by Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian Republican from Kentucky, would have added a statement to the bill meant to protect Americans from Fourth Amendment violations caused by third party data collectors. Paul's amendment went down 79 to 12.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate majority whip, said "The concept of secret law is anathema to a democracy," Durbin said. By allowing the government to work backward from searches on foreign targets, he argued, "the reality is this legislation permits targeting an innocent American in the United States."
Oh my

Young Harris, GA

#2 Dec 28, 2012
If you got nothing to hide,
what's the worry,
it's all in a good cause,
fighting Terrorism,
now who defines Terrorism.

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/times...
...After the attacks of Sept. 11, members of the Bush administration were highly critical of the FISA restrictions. Portions of the Patriot Act, enacted in 2001, expanded FISAs reach to cover terrorism suspects as well as agents of foreign countries. But when President Bush ordered an expanded program of surveillance by the National Security Agency, he decided to bypass the FISA process entirely. When news of these warrantless wiretaps was revealed by The New York Times in 2005, administration officials argued that working within FISA would have been too cumbersome.

The 2005 disclosure set off a national debate over the limits of executive power and the balance between national security and civil liberties. The arguments continued over the next three years, as Congress sought to forge a new legal framework for domestic surveillance.

In the midst of the presidential campaign in 2008, Congress overhauled FISA to expand the governments power to conduct surveillance without warrants. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 brought federal statutes into closer alignment with what the Bush administration had been secretly doing. The legislation essentially legalized certain aspects of the program. As a senator then, Barack Obama voted in favor of the new law, despite objections from many of his supporters. President Obamas administration now relies heavily on such surveillance in its fight against Al Qaeda.
Bored

Jefferson, GA

#3 Dec 28, 2012
Boring.
Informed Opinion

La Fayette, GA

#4 Dec 28, 2012
Bored wrote:
Boring.
Hey, missed you. Thanks for contributing.

Happy New Year !
A lopside story

Dahlonega, GA

#5 Dec 28, 2012
Informed Opinion wrote:
Forget how many rounds a magazine is allowed to hold - this is your freedom being given away:
Senate Votes Down Warrantless Wiretapping Reform
The Senate rejected three attempts Thursday to add oversight and privacy safeguards to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendments that authorize the warrantless wiretapping program begun under President George W. Bush.
The program, which the Bush administration started without congressional authorization shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, collects intelligence on Americans. Critics, including NSA whistle-blowers, have demonstrated that law-abiding Americans' communications are getting caught up in a vast, electronic dragnet of phone calls and emails.
The vote against the amendments dealt a blow to civil liberties advocates, who have argued that Congress should curb the scope of the wiretapping program or at least disclose key information about how it is being used. President Barack Obama has said he will sign the bill when it reaches his desk.
Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, went so far as to compare the NSA to the British officials who used broad royal writs to invade colonists' homes prior to the American Revolution, eventually prompting the passage of the Fourth Amendment with its prohibition on unreasonable government searches.
"It is never okay, never okay for government officials to use a general warrant to deliberately invade the privacy of a law-abiding American," Wyden said. "It wasn’t okay for constables and customs officials to do it in colonial days, and it’s not okay for the National Security Agency to do it today."
The senators mounting an argument against reauthorizing the warrantless wiretapping program without reforms were hobbled -- perhaps ironically -- by the central fact that it is shrouded in secrecy.
Since 2008, when Congress passed the original version of the clunkily-named Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act to retroactively legalize the Bush administration program. The secret court that oversees the warrantless wiretapping program has found the government was violating Fourth Amendment prohibitions against spying on Americans without a warrant.
The details of that and other rulings about how FISA laws are actually being interpreted remain secret.
But Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) responded that disclosing even limited information to the public would be "the beginning of opening up other things down the road.... then I think there is a real danger in beginning to open up any of those opinions."
A separate amendment offered by Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian Republican from Kentucky, would have added a statement to the bill meant to protect Americans from Fourth Amendment violations caused by third party data collectors. Paul's amendment went down 79 to 12.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate majority whip, said "The concept of secret law is anathema to a democracy," Durbin said. By allowing the government to work backward from searches on foreign targets, he argued, "the reality is this legislation permits targeting an innocent American in the United States."
The article, like Obama, blames Bush for everything. Last time I looked, the Senate is controlled by the Democrats. Ergo, it is the Democrats that chose to keep warrantless wiretapping.
Just Mike

Perry, GA

#7 Dec 28, 2012
Informed Opinion wrote:
Forget how many rounds a magazine is allowed to hold - this is your freedom being given away:
Good points, IO... but the "magazine/wiretap" is kinda apples/oranges, eh?

I am caught a bit in the middle on the wiretap issue, since both sides arguments are strong...

1- am I willing to give up some personal freedoms to be better protected? Sure- since I have nothing to hide and there ARE terrorists out to get me (or maybe I'm just paranoid and need {to increase my} medication).

2- where is the line to be drawn regarding rights granted by our constitution... as pointed out by "Oh My"? I can't imagine how angry and violated I'd feel being falsely accused/investigated by Homeland Security.

I suppose this could be considered the "rights of the many" (to feel safe and protected) as compared to the rights of the few, or individual. Ultimately, BOTH need to be considered... but striking such balance means compromise, which is never totally "fair" to either side.

If Homeland Security couldn't prove that these measures have, in fact, actually saved lives then I don't believe Congress would have extended them. I guess it comes down to trust and faith that they will minimize "abuse" of their authority.

I'm gonna go take a hit of anti-anxiety medication now to help me "believe" in our govt's capacity to manage its powers responsibly. Ahhhh... that's better... Govt iz God... uh, good I mean...
My Two Senses

Dahlonega, GA

#8 Dec 28, 2012
Both the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and the ranking member, Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, also advocated renewing the law for another five years without any changes. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also demanded action.

FISA, this is an important piece of legislation as imperfect as it is, it is necessary to protect us from the evil in this world, Reid said on the Senate floor last week, in an unsuccessful attempt to re-up the bill before Christmas.

But Christmas is not more important than this legislation, Reid continued.I hope Im not offending anyone, but it isnt.

No one should think the targets are U.S. persons, said Feinstein on Thursday.Thirteen members of the intelligence committee who have voted on this do not believe this is a problem.

However, here's a great article
http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/17/who-does-th...

It's about the hollow-point ammunition that various Federal Government agencies are buying. The Geneva Convention does not allow their use on the battle field in time of war.
Oh my

Young Harris, GA

#9 Dec 28, 2012
My Two Senses wrote:
However, here's a great article
http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/17/who-does-th...
It's about the hollow-point ammunition that various Federal Government agencies are buying. The Geneva Convention does not allow their use on the battle field in time of war.
Here's the opening paragrapgh from the article you referenced...

Security Administration (SSA) confirms that it is purchasing 174 thousand rounds of hollow point bullets to be delivered to 41 locations in major cities across the U.S. No one has yet said what the purpose of these purchases is, though we are led to believe that they will be used only in an emergency to counteract and control civil unrest. Those against whom the hollow point bullets are to be used those causing the civil unrest must be American citizens; since the SSA has never been used overseas to help foreign countries maintain control of their citizens.
..........
While the article mentions that SSA is purchasing 174,000 rounds of ammo, it does not mention any of the following:

The length of time this purchase covers.

The size of the last purchase.

The number of personel covered by the pruchase.

Is this ammo also used for training and qualifing.

The article also states:
"No one has yet said what the purpose of these purchases is, though we are led to believe that they will be used only in an emergency to counteract and control civil unrest."

Which begs the question, if no one has yet said what the purpose of the purchase is, why is the author led to believe that the purpose is to "counteract and control civil unrest".
Informed Opinion

Bonita Springs, FL

#10 Dec 29, 2012
A lopside story wrote:
<quoted text>The article, like Obama, blames Bush for everything. Last time I looked, the Senate is controlled by the Democrats. Ergo, it is the Democrats that chose to keep warrantless wiretapping.
You are 100% right.

We have a government that consists of right wing democrats and far right wing batshit crazy republicans.

Obama is simply Bush- with a brain. That's why every presidential election is rigged to provide choice between right wing business prostitutes and far right wing business prostitutes, and it was so humorous to see people call Obama a liberal.

Both sides love to accrue all the power and take all the rights away from Americans that they can.

But hey, who gives a darn about the right to privacy, "warrantless" searches, and "secret" courts made up of "unidentified" judges, reaching "undisclosed" decisions ?

If your never looked at Internet pornography, or web sites the government doesn't approve, or communicated with your friends that you disapproved of any government policy or official, you have nothing to hide.

None of us have anything we wouldn't want Bush, Obama, the local party leaders, or our next door neighbor to know.

Do we ?
Informed Opinion

Bonita Springs, FL

#11 Dec 29, 2012
Just Mike wrote:
<quoted text>Good points, IO... but the "magazine/wiretap" is kinda apples/oranges, eh?

I am caught a bit in the middle on the wiretap issue, since both sides arguments are strong...

1- am I willing to give up some personal freedoms to be better protected? Sure- since I have nothing to hide and there ARE terrorists out to get me (or maybe I'm just paranoid and need {to increase my} medication).

2- where is the line to be drawn regarding rights granted by our constitution... as pointed out by "Oh My"? I can't imagine how angry and violated I'd feel being falsely accused/investigated by Homeland Security.

I suppose this could be considered the "rights of the many" (to feel safe and protected) as compared to the rights of the few, or individual. Ultimately, BOTH need to be considered... but striking such balance means compromise, which is never totally "fair" to either side.

If Homeland Security couldn't prove that these measures have, in fact, actually saved lives then I don't believe Congress would have extended them. I guess it comes down to trust and faith that they will minimize "abuse" of their authority.

I'm gonna go take a hit of anti-anxiety medication now to help me "believe" in our govt's capacity to manage its powers responsibly. Ahhhh... that's better... Govt iz God... uh, good I mean...
You have a far far better chance of being struck by lightening while sitting in your living room watching football that being killed by a terrorist.

It's like the famous "elephant whistle" analogy that lawyers use-

Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, questioned whether the voting rights rule was trying to do something that may not really be needed anymore, comparing it to an “elephant whistle.”

“You know, I have this whistle to keep away the elephants,” Roberts said rhetorically.“Well, there are no elephants, so it must work.”

Fear merchants have used terrorism as a device to get Americans to surrender their rights for years. Hey, fear sells.

Giving up precious rights to avoid what will not happen anyway - just seems a huge price to pay for no reason.

The people who claim they need their firearms to protect their rights, are the very same people who gleefully surrender those very same rights in return for protection from boogeyman.

God loves irony.
Informed Opinion

Bonita Springs, FL

#12 Dec 29, 2012
My Two Senses wrote:
Both the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and the ranking member, Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, also advocated renewing the law for another five years without any changes. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also demanded action.

“FISA, this is an important piece of legislation as imperfect as it is, it is necessary to protect us from the evil in this world,” Reid said on the Senate floor last week, in an unsuccessful attempt to re-up the bill before Christmas.

“But Christmas is not more important than this legislation,” Reid continued.“I hope I’m not offending anyone, but it isn’t.”

“No one should think the targets are U.S. persons,” said Feinstein on Thursday.“Thirteen members of the intelligence committee who have voted on this do not believe this is a problem.”

However, here's a great article
http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/17/who-does-th...

It's about the hollow-point ammunition that various Federal Government agencies are buying. The Geneva Convention does not allow their use on the battle field in time of war.
It is amazing how people on one side who accused Obama of being a crazed, communist, Muslim Kenyan,
and accused Reid and Feinstein of being fellow socialist travelers with a secret desire to destroy all our rights and freedoms,(with the help of the World Government - United Nations,

have absolutely no objection to throwing all these same rights and freedoms in the trash,

as long as some politician,( we know we can trust them- don't we?), says it helps protect them from a danger that statistically doesn't rate 30 seconds of worry.

It is so intellectually inconsistent and nonsensical that, if irony wasn't amusing, it would make any rational man cry.

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