My Privates

I don’t know about you, but I am sick to death of the Bush Administration’s attempt to justify any and all illicit behavior by means of the “terrorist” defense. Look, let’s just lay our cards on the table, all right? We all want to protect our country, but we simply cannot afford to dismiss our constitutional rights as quaint colonial musings to do so. Let’s scrutinize the current debate about wiretapping, and then do a little hypothetical comparison afterwards.

Right now we’re being told that we need not worry about the intrusions into our privacy by way of electronic eavesdropping because the NSA is merely monitoring for terrorists.

Okay, now keeping that in mind let’s refresh ourselves on what the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Well gee-willakers! Contrary to what Bush says it looks like warrant-less wiretapping is illegal. Dammit. Well, maybe it’s okay since we’re battling terrorism, huh? ”˜Course, if that were true the amendment would probably make a provision for it. Umm, well, maybe it’s in a gray area. I mean, if it’s in a gray area then at least this only infringes on our rights a little bit. It would be bad if the wiretapping thing broke another law.

Well, it does. You see, Section 222 of the Communications Act of 1934 states “Every telecommunications carrier has a duty to protect the confidentiality of proprietary information of, and relating to, other telecommunications carriers, equipment manufacturers, and customers, including telecommunication carriers reselling telecommunications services provided by a telecommunications carrier.”

So not only has the administration violated and infringed upon the rights granted to us by the Fourth Amendment, they also placed the telecom companies, which so graciously and patriotically complied with the NSA’s demands, in a very actionable position. The telecoms illegally turned over private information to a government entity, and by doing so broke the law. Oops.

Of course, if you follow the news you’ve heard all of this ad nauseam. Yesterday USAToday revealed that in spite of Bush’s assurances to the contrary, the NSA has in fact been spying on domestic communications on a massive scale. Bush promptly responded by saying, yeah, okay you caught us. We do spy on domestic calls but we don’t really listen to what’s said. We just make notes on who you’re calling, and really, only criminals would get upset over that. Besides, we gotta fight terrorism, so don’t give us any lip.

Does my paraphrasing reveal bias? Damn. Sorry ”˜bout that. And people make fun of the line “but I didn’t inhale.”

Opponents claim that the administration’s actions are illegal and unconstitutional. Proponents claim that we need to fight terrorism, rights be dammed, and besides, only hippie commies bitch about “privacy,” because as we all know God-fearing Christians have nothing to hide.

Which very well may be true. Most of the time God-fearing Christians lead excruciatingly boring lives, so perhaps they really don’t have anything to hide. But mull this over Reverend Billy Bob:

What would you say if the administration suddenly claimed that it’s too dangerous to have all these guns floating around? That because terrorists could go to any gun show, pawn shop, or Wal-Mart and buy loads of weapons to use to kill Americans that we now need to register every ballistic weapon we own with the government, whether it be a deer rifle or a pellet gun or an AK-47 or a sling-shot. Ooo, that’d kinda suck, huh? Then you later found out that in addition to the compulsory registration retailers had covertly supplied the government with not only your name and your gun purchase, but your address, phone number, eye color, fingerprints, and bullet purchases.

That’s a little different huh? Not so hippie-ish now, right? We’re all in this together and we should all protect our constitutional rights against anyone who would take them away. I hate to admit this, but in the 2000 election I voted against Al Gore for one very simple reason: During the eighties he and his wife aggressively called for the censorship of musicians. Infringement of the First doesn’t fly with me, and neither does infringement of the second, third, fourth, or any of the amendments. Well, that’s not true. I’m not a big fan of the sixteenth, and the eighteenth really sucked, but everyday I thank God for the twenty-second.

Don’t let’em fool you with the “terrorist” excuse. I’m afraid that they’ve thrown that word around so frequently and indiscriminately that it’s become a useless term. If everything’s about terrorism then doesn’t that also mean that nothing’s about terrorism?

But don’t worry about me. I’m not overly concerned about any of this. I know that Bush will get what he wants. Shit, he better”¦he controls all three branches just like Palpatine. I get my shots in when I can. When I’m on the phone I like to randomly sprinkle terms like “dirty bomb,” “The Big Osama,” “Anthrax,” and “I kill people” throughout my conversations. I’ve also embedded search tags on this page so that anytime someone searches for “how to make bombs” this page turns up.

Hey, I got nothin’ better to do, and I’ve always been one to poke a stick in the eye of authority whether they needed it or not. And like James Madison once said, “You gotta fight for your right to party.”

Wait”¦that was the Beastie Boys, wasn’t it? Oh, well. Same difference.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry I’m going to be a pain in the ass here.

    It is a gross mischaracterization to call the easedropping by NSA as domestic spying. All phone calls are international. And it is not just obviously illegal or there wouldn’t be a huge discussion about this.

    The USAToday article is horrible journalism (At least if you want to call it that). It is the creation of a database with no names or listening to conversations. It is also legal. So says the Supreme Court in 1997 (I’ll look for the name of the case).

    As for the rest I don’t know. Maybe I’ll wade through your angry diatribe (I even looked that one up in the dictionary) later. Right now you are just too angry. Get momma to give ya a hug.

    Otherwise Lots of Love (or is it Laugh out Loud? Whatever).

    Pronaus

    PS I read the rest of it and liked it, and ah . . . Damn the man!

  2. Mark A. says:

    Glad you liked the rest of it…sorry you didn’t like the first of it. You probably won’t like this much either:

    “All phone calls are international?” If I call someone down the street from me I have not called someone outside of my country, hence I made a domestic call as opposed an international one. All phone calls are not international, and in fact in this case international/domestic makes an enormous difference. First off, Bush blatantly assured us that the wiretaps only affected those calls in which one party lived internationally. Traditionally the courts ignored international wiretaps. Indeed, in 2000 the the Court found that the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement did not apply to searches conducted on foreign nationals overseas. Unfortunately as we all found out these wiretaps were not conducted on international calls (calls either beginning or ending in a country other than our own) but on domestic ones.

    The courts do take an interest in domestic wiretapping. In fact they’re ruled several times on the legality and of it, and for some reason I can’t find where SCOTUS ruled on a wiretapping case in 1997 which supports your claim. You can go here for all the cases reviewed by SCOTUS in 1997. I looked through them all, and unless my sleepy eyes missed it, I didn’t find a case which legitimizes warrantless, domestic wiretaps. I also looked through several cases from ’98 & ’96, just in case you got the year wrong. No luck. Again, it’s very possible I missed it, so if you find the case I’d love to read it.

    I did find this quote from Justice Ginsburg in the 1997 case of CHANDLER et al. v. MILLER, GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA, et al. “We reiterate, too, that where the risk to public safety is substantial and real, blanket suspicionless searches calibrated to the risk may rank as “reasonable”–for example, searches now routine at airports and at entrances to courts and other official buildings. See Von Raab, 489 U.S., at 674 -676, and n. 3. But where, as in this case, public safety is not genuinely in jeopardy, the Fourth Amendment precludes the suspicionless search, no matter how conveniently arranged.”

    Now, I’m sure it’s a matter of opinion the degree to which terrorist telephone activity jeopardized our safety, but I’m sure you know exactly where I fall on the opinion scale.

    The administration points to the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (AUMF) in response to the wiretapping nonsense. Oddly, the Patriot Act enhanced large portions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which provided the administration with perfectly legal and unambiguous channels to wiretap anyone they chose. They shouldn’t even need to reference AUMF. Using the more nimble FISA provisions the Attorney General and the President no longer had to wait on a Federal or state judge to issue a warrant enabling them to wiretap. After the Patriot Act they only needed to seek permission from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which is not subject to public scrutiny.

    So, why didn’t they do that? Why didn’t they go through the legal channels that they created? By all rights the Patriot Act and FISA provided a quick and easy way for the administration to receive warrants to do”¦well, pretty much whatever they wanted to do.

    Anyway”¦it’s illegal, dammit. If lying about getting a blowjob is illegal, then this sure as shit is. It all boils down to blowjobs.

    Like the name. Either you’re a 1) somehow kin to Athena and Hermes; b) the entrance to the main chamber of the Parthenon; 3) a vagina or vestibule of the vagina.

  3. Anniina says:

    Yeah Mark, I’m with you on this 100%. Great arguments, well supported with evidence 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t always think that you read carefully. Especially when you get in a lather. Of course it could be that I don’t express myself very well.

    My understanding of the NSA tapping is that the calls have to be international to be monitored. Otherwise the call must be dropped and there is serious jail time that comes from misusing that information. This makes me a bit uncomfortable but if it is an international call it bothers me less. If the people are not American citizens it doesn’t bother me at all. If the call is domestic, I got a problem with it being tapped without a warrent.

    On the USATODAY story:
    The National Security Agency has been secretly **collecting the phone call records** of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
    The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans ”” most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime. **This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations.** But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews

    I think it is pretty clear from the article that this is not tapping of the phones. This is legal. And I will spend some time looking for the SCOTUS case, but not tonight ’cause i’m weak. The case is not about tapping, but the use of phone records for advertisement or something or other like that. The NY Times broke the story in December around Christmas, the appropriate members of congress were briefed, nobody raised a huge huff about it.

    Bush and his peeps have done a horrible job explaning what they are doing. They have done a horrible job following procedures, at least as portrayed by the media. Hey grill the guy whom Bush nominated to head the CIA since he was in charge of the NSA and get some answers fine by me.

    I don’t know why you brought up cocksucking. Unless it is to give you some validity for attacking Bush. Attack away, you don’t need any permission or validation or whatever the hell this comment was suppost to give you. it doesn’t boils down to cocksucking.

    And generally speaking, lying about cocksucking isn’t against the law. But if someday you find yourself being sued in a court of law for sexual harassment and in your deposition opposing counsel asks you if your some one (other than your wife and in a subservient position) is sucking your cock it is illegal along with any other lie you choose to tell. It’s called purgery or something like that. Should the man be impeached for it. He got punished in the courts for it so everybody should just let it go. i wonder if he was working for the american people while she was sucking his cock. you have got to love the multi tasking that man could do. Yet another reason his was on of the greatest presidents of these fine United States of America.

    I like the name too. it made me laugh, but I wish you would have made everybody else look up the definition themselves.

    Pronaus

    PS I’m sure I should edit this, but miscommunication is the soul of social interaction!

    And remember I’m just your favorite warthog faced baffoon

  5. Mark A. says:

    You said:

    “My understanding of the NSA tapping is that the calls have to be international to be monitored. Otherwise the call must be dropped and there is serious jail time that comes from misusing that information. This makes me a bit uncomfortable but if it is an international call it bothers me less. If the people are not American citizens it doesn’t bother me at all. If the call is domestic, I got a problem with it being tapped without a warrent.[sic]”

    That’s the thing”¦I’ve followed the story of this since it broke, and the whole time the administration has told us they only wiretapped international calls. But that’s not what’s been happening. And even according to you, that’s bad. And I do understand that they’re not actually listening in on the calls (as far as we know); they’re only cataloging the origin and terminating location of each call, but if you’d read the language of FISA and even the Telecommunications Act of 1996 you’d see that even that small of an intrusion without a warrant constitutes a transgression of the law.

    I hope you’re not just arguing for the sake arguing.

    And as I’ve told my friend Flood (you may know him, you’ve got the same IP) Bill should’ve just told Ken Starr “Look, where I put ”˜lil Wille is my business and no one else’s.” He stepped into a pile of shit the moment he asked for the definition of the word “is.”

    When in Rome”¦

  6. Anonymous says:

    No the “IS” just made him look guilty and like an idiot. And that is still legal and fine (especially because it is funny). It is when he hinders a court case against him . . . (which was another stupid waste of time, money, news coverage, etc.)

    I comes down to this; he should have bone a decent looking chick that never lived in a trailer park.

    As for the IP I think that should be priveledged information! I makes it so much more fun for me. Isn’t there some law for that? You will be hearing from my lawyer (the rat faced piece of filth) And now you have wasted a very good nom de plume (did I spell it right?).

    And you only act like Romans when you lack the power to enforce your own will

    Pronaus

    PS And what if i were just playing devils advocate (or possibly just fucking with you)? I have still learned a lot from this exchange.

  7. Mark A. says:

    Hey, as I said before, you gettin’ me in a tizzy makes me write and that’s a good thing.

    Sorry. Unless you start bouncing your IP address I’ll always see your footprint. I guess that’s kinda cheating on my part, because you have no real way of knowing if it’s me writing on this end. I could have contracted this out.

    Oh, I haven’t ruined anything. Stephen King still uses the Richard Bachman. And even after the world discovered the true identities of Locke and Demosthenes Peter and Val still used them on occasion. (And you spelled it right…but I had to look it up to make sure)

  8. Anonymous says:

    To go on into overkill.

    I know that Leigh is writing all of this stuff for you.

    Your probably right about the nom. I doubt anyone has really returned to the old posts to check up on what else has been said.

    By the by Verizon and Bell South has declared that they never cooperated with the NSA to create a database, and Bell South has gone so far as to demand a retraction of the story.

    Pronaus

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