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CrispyQ
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our (p)Resident made regarding spying on citizens without warrants? This is worse than Watergate. This administration makes Nixon look like a boy scout!

 

Please consider writing to your senators & reps regarding this issue. It is past time to hold this administration accountable for the crimes they have committed.

 

You can get your congresspersons contact info here:

 

www.vote-smart.org

 

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Here's my letter which I sent to both senators & all seven reps:

 

December 19, 2005

 

 

Wayne Allard

521 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

 

 

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both. --- Benjamin Franklin

 

 

Dear Senator Allard,

 

I am disheartened and ed to have to write this letter to you. I am deeply troubled by recent admissions by President Bush that he has allowed the NSA to monitor certain U.S. citizens without any type of oversight or institutional checks and balances. Spying on the American people is in violation of the Constitution, specifically the 4th amendment, and that he has said he will continue to do so, is even more offensive. This man, who would be dictator, has run roughshod over our Constitution, going so far as to call it, "Just a Goddamned piece of paper."

 

This nation's Constitution is not a mere piece of paper for the Bush administration to cut to its desire - it is the law of the land, it is the fabric of this nation. I am appalled by the flagrant disregard this administration has shown for the very things which make this nation great. This administration is not above the law; to the contrary, they have sworn to uphold the law.

 

I urge you to look at this issue not as a Republican, but as an American. What President Bush has done is in direct contradiction of the U.S. Constitution. I realize that the war on terror requires some special tactics, but disregarding our Constitution is not one of them. I find it tragic and ironic that the president spends billions of dollars a month trying to bring democracy to Iraq all the while dismantling our democracy here at home. I urge you to please make a stand on the right side of this issue and that side is the side that the Constitution allows for.

 

I also ask that you move to have Mr. Bush impeached. This Congress has let him slide on horrible breaches throughout his tenure. I am asking you to hold him accountable and hold him accountable now. Every day, people are at risk in Baghdad and Biloxi on Mr. Bush's watch. This attack on the Constitution is the last straw. Please, speak out against this travesty against WE THE PEOPLE, who you were elected to represent.

 

Sincerely,

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I haven't read up on exactly what the President's policy is, but I'm usually in favor of more strict policing. I've been searched at the airport for weapons and had my car searched for drugs b efore. It's not really a big deal to me to have this stuff done, it just takes a minute if you cooperate with the police and I don't mind being searched once a year or so if it helps put drug dealers out of business and keeps people that want to blow me up off of airplanes.

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I haven't read up on exactly what the President's policy is, but I'm usually in favor of more strict policing. I've been searched at the airport for weapons and had my car searched for drugs b efore. It's not really a big deal to me to have this stuff done, it just takes a minute if you cooperate with the police and I don't mind being searched once a year or so if it helps put drug dealers out of business and keeps people that want to blow me up off of airplanes.

 

I understand what you are saying, but it isn't the point that you happened to be innocent, the point is you have a right to privacy.

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I haven't read up on exactly what the President's policy is, but I'm usually in favor of more strict policing. I've been searched at the airport for weapons and had my car searched for drugs b efore. It's not really a big deal to me to have this stuff done, it just takes a minute if you cooperate with the police and I don't mind being searched once a year or so if it helps put drug dealers out of business and keeps people that want to blow me up off of airplanes.

 

Amendment IV of the Constitution of the United States

 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches & 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.

 

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This issue is not about police activity, it is not about being tested for impaired driving, and it is not about drugs. It is about your government placing wiretaps on your phones without warrants. It is about peace activists – people speaking out against the war – being the targets of domestic spying. If we let this administration continue down this path, where will it end? Maybe it’s a generational thing, but coming of age right after the 60’s & in the heat of Watergate, I’m ed & afraid at how my government is stripping the citizens of this land of our liberties in the name of national security.

 

A FISA warrant takes a couple of hours to get. It’s not much of an inconvenience & the warrants can be issued retroactively, if need be. Bush & his advisors clearly knew it was illegal, so why did they take the risk? Either they believe they are above the law (!) or they believe they couldn’t get a warrant for the wiretaps. Who were they spying on? Who will be the next target? Animal activists? Environmentalists? University professors who teach evolution? Political opponents to the current administration & those that support them? Groups like Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine? Read the New York Times article (link below) & tell me you think the groups targeted qualify as terrorist organizations.

 

The Constitution of the United States is one of the finest documents ever written. Our founding fathers went to war & risked their lives for the opportunity to create this document & build a government based on it's principles. Get a copy, read it, learn it, love it, teach it to your children, but most of all, DEFEND IT! Don't fall for the tactic that if we concede our freedoms & liberties those in power can guarantee our safety. No one can do that. If we stand by & let this administration, or anyone for that matter, shred our Constitution in the name of national security, then Bin Laden wins, the terrorists win. Remember, this is the president who said:

 

“If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier... just so long as I'm the dictator.” (Bush’s first trip to DC as president-elect, Dec. 18, 2000)

 

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/politics/20fbi.html?ei=5065&en=0384c4fe8724565d&ex=1135746000&adxnnl=1&partner=MYWAY&adxnnlx=1135091028-3n4ZOjc6hXMb

 

snip…

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 - Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.

 

F.B.I. officials said Monday that their investigators had no interest in monitoring political or social activities and that any investigations that touched on advocacy groups were driven by evidence of criminal or violent activity at public protests and in other settings.

 

more…

But the documents, coming after the Bush administration's confirmation that President Bush had authorized some spying without warrants in fighting terrorism, prompted charges from civil rights advocates that the government had improperly blurred the line between terrorism and acts of civil disobedience and lawful protest.

 

One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

 

 

and more…

But the groups mentioned in the newly disclosed F.B.I. files questioned both the propriety of characterizing such investigations as related to "terrorism" and the necessity of diverting counterterrorism personnel from more pressing investigations.

 

"The fact that we're even mentioned in the F.B.I. files in connection with terrorism is really troubling," said Tom Wetterer, general counsel for Greenpeace. "There's no property damage or physical injury caused in our activities, and under any definition of terrorism, we'd take issue with that."

 

Jeff Kerr, general counsel for PETA, rejected the suggestion in some F.B.I. files that the animal rights group had financial ties to militant groups, and said he, too, was troubled by his group's inclusion in the files.

 

"It's shocking and it's outrageous," Mr. Kerr said. "And to me, it's an abuse of power by the F.B.I. when groups like Greenpeace and PETA are basically being punished for their social activism."

 

=====

 

BTW, Tyler, you make an excellent point!

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Amendment IV of the Constitution of the United States

 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches & 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.

 

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This issue ... is about your government placing wiretaps on your phones without warrants. It is about peace activists – people speaking out against the war – being the targets of domestic spying.[/b]

 

I think that it is reasonable to tap the phones of people who are a potential threat to my family. If they want to tap my phone too, then that wouldn't bother me

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I haven't read up on exactly what the President's policy is, but I'm usually in favor of more strict policing. I've been searched at the airport for weapons and had my car searched for drugs b efore. It's not really a big deal to me to have this stuff done, it just takes a minute if you cooperate with the police and I don't mind being searched once a year or so if it helps put drug dealers out of business and keeps people that want to blow me up off of airplanes.

 

I understand what you are saying, but it isn't the point that you happened to be innocent, the point is you have a right to privacy.

 

My right to not get blown up is more important to me than my right to privacy. I haven't felt violated when I've been searched in the past, and I think it's a small trade-off to make for more security. Sorry I just don't buy into the idea of the rugged American individualist who must have their privacy rights at all costs. I'm more collectivist. I'm willing to trade away some privacies for the security of the community as a whole

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My right to not get blown up is more important to me than my right to privacy. I haven't felt violated when I've been searched in the past, and I think it's a small trade-off to make for more security. Sorry I just don't buy into the idea of the rugged American individualist who must have their privacy rights at all costs. I'm more collectivist. I'm willing to trade away some privacies for the security of the community as a whole

 

I agree, though I am very skeptical of the current administration, so that tends to bend my beliefs a bit

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I'm usually in favor of more strict policing.

This statement makes me curious as to how much television you watch. There is a significant correlation between heavy television viewers and a their warped perception of the world that leads them to favor strict law enforcement. Granted, this warped preception if not limited to people who watch television, but my background is in media studies. The research of Dr. George Gerbner, Dr. Michael Morgan, and Dr. Nancy Signorielli has found that heavy viewers suffer from "Mean World Syndrome."

 

Favoring "more strict policing" does nothing to protect people "from the wholesale 'official' violence and state terrorism, from the disproportionate victimization of women and minorities, and from demographic and social conditions that are much more closely related to actual violence and crime."

 

Those favoring law enforcement tend to believe that "violent criminals" are out there posing a threat to them and their family, which ingores almost all research on violence, crime and general aggression indicating that people are not innately violent, and hostility arises from the social environment. Stricter law enforcement measures do not result in a reduction in violence. Studies have found in some cases there is likely to be an increase in violent behavior when police are given more power.

 

When reviewing research on violence it is important to understand what is being measured. Research from the law enforcement point of view may superficially show a decrease in "lawlessness," but this distracts from the official and institutional violence that has a much greater impact on people's lives.

 

Law enforcement is about maintaining the status quo, as opposed to creating a safe and just society.

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Will, it is obvious that we are both strongly committed to this issue & neither of us will capitulate to the other's point of view.

 

While I do not understand your perspective & I am very saddened by your statements, I respect your views & hope that we can 'agree to disagree.'

 

Peace to you & your family.

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My right to not get blown up is more important to me than my right to privacy. I haven't felt violated when I've been searched in the past, and I think it's a small trade-off to make for more security. Sorry I just don't buy into the idea of the rugged American individualist who must have their privacy rights at all costs. I'm more collectivist. I'm willing to trade away some privacies for the security of the community as a whole

This is a twisted view of collectivism. Collectivism in not synonymous with the Orwellian Big Brother approach that you seem to favor. What you are suggesting is closer to totalitarianism. Collective action and privacy are compatible concepts. In fact, spying on other indicates the lack of a belief in the possibility of collective cohesion.

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I am not sure about the actual mechanics or likelihood of it working, but in theory if I could give up my privacy in exchange for 0% crime, then I'd do it. But in reality, I don't think that surveilence would be done ethically if it was done nationally / globally. It would be exploited in various ways, and it wouldn't actually be used in a good way.

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Law enforcement is about maintaining the status quo, as opposed to creating a safe and just society.

 

Your words are true. Maintain the status quo.

 

Daniel, have you read Thom Hartmann's book, "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight"? It is a wonderful read, although, I will admit, Thom is better at evaluating what we should have been doing & what we should be doing, rather than how to fix the situation we are in now.

 

I wonder what it is about our species that seems to intrinsically value growth over sustainability? Why is it that we cannot seem to evolve beyond any type of social model based on growth? Is it that our own DNA drives us, reproductively, & limits our ability to see any model beyond growth? Will we ever overcome our DNA programming?

 

Will we ever evolve? Will we survive the programming of our own destruction?

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I am not sure about the actual mechanics or likelihood of it working, but in theory if I could give up my privacy in exchange for 0% crime, then I'd do it. But in reality, I don't think that surveillance would be done ethically if it was done nationally / globally. It would be exploited in various ways, and it wouldn't actually be used in a good way.

 

Ok Richard, this is an extreme example, but go with me here, ok?

 

Would you be willing to become a part of the Borg collective to live an existence that did not include crime? Are you willing to sacrifice your individuality, your freedom of definition of self, for a crime free environment? Are you willing to become so . . . conventional, simply to live a crime free life? Conventional would include eating meat, eating dairy, not questioning authority. Is this a life worthy of being crime free?

 

Arghhh!!!! Not me!! Resistance may be futile, but FUTILE is my middle name!!

 

If it is ok with you, then fine. You will encounter no judgement from me. But think about it. Please, think about it -- deeply.

 

"This above all: to thine own self be true."

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The trouble is that I don't agree with the law, and don't trust the people who would be watching / listening, and it ultimately won't work to do it. My proposal was that in theory, privacy is not as important as safety, although like I said, in reality this isn't the trade that you'd be making and it is unrealistic to think that you can actually have a 100% surveilence law. I don't think that what I said has anything to do with individuality, eating meat, or freedom etc.

 

I think people treasure 'privacy' way too much, and think of it as a 'right'. All a right is in my opinion is just something that people want and think they deserve. It isn't factual, it's just what people want. People are embarrassed or ashamed of activities they do, and they don't like to think they're being watched while they're doing them. But in the theoretical situation, it's not like they'd be arrested for it. If laws were reasonable, and the surveilence was used to prevent actual crimes, and to catch criminals, I think that would in theory be a good trade for the lack of privacy experienced when you go to the toilet, or masturbate etc. I don't think that removes freedom. The only freedom it removes is breaking the law and getting away with it, which shouldn't be a freedom people have if the laws are good int he first place. For instance, you shouldn't be able to steal, murder, rape etc. That's not removing freedom, that's just busting bad guys. And surveilance doesn't prevent you using the toilet or masturbating either. But like I said, the laws are incorrect, people would be busted for stupid crap, and the situation would be exploited; the people watching and listening would use the information for things other than law enforcement, so it's bogus and not something to actually consider.

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America is nothing more than suits and ties built upon a false foundation.

 

fuck the president, and fuck America.

 

And I agree!

 

 

BTW, that false foundation is that corporations have personhood rights. Through the mistaken header notes of a court clerk, in Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad in 1886, corporate personhood rights wrongly came into being & those rights have prevailed & perverted our government ever since.

 

 

How is it these multi-national behemoths that cannot die, but can cut off a part of themselves to become a new entity, can change their citizenship with the filing of a paper, do not need clean water, do not need clean air, do not need safe food sources, do not need health care, do not need child care, do not need jobs, yet have so much influence in our society? It is because they have wrongly been granted personhood rights that allow them to usurp the laws of the land that should apply only to living & breathing persons, not to artificial persons of our creation.

 

Corporations were created to serve us, not the other way around. Arghhh!! Corporate personhood is the issue of my life. Check out the link in my signature for more info.

 

Curtsey & steps off soap box.

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Richard, I think you are wise to not trust those in charge. But then again, I grew up in a time of “Question Authority” & I carry that basic world view with me today.

 

I think rights are a social agreement to what actions can & cannot be done to defined individuals/groups of people. Obviously, those rights & the groups they apply to can & will change as the current leadership/circumstances change.

 

I also think one reason humans treasure privacy is because we are such an individualistic species. I also think there are always going to be those who want to exploit individuals/groups/societal rules to advance their own cause. I don't know that we will ever overcome that. Arghhh!!!

 

It would be nice to have a society that doesn’t cultivate the types that exploit others, but I’m not sure with a totally individualistic species that is possible. It may be a weakness of our evolution as a species, a limitation of our DNA.

 

Oh hell, what do I know? I’m just rambling & I am highly influenced by my sci fi readings. All I know now is that we don’t seem able to score well in the ‘plays well with others’ category & it seems to be a problem since the beginning of our existence & hasn’t gotten any better. Why is that?

 

I have no answers. I’m not sure anyone does.

 

I'm tired & going to bed. Peace to you & peace to Topher.

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I wonder what it is about our species that seems to intrinsically value growth over sustainability? Why is it that we cannot seem to evolve beyond any type of social model based on growth? Is it that our own DNA drives us, reproductively, & limits our ability to see any model beyond growth? Will we ever overcome our DNA programming?

 

Will we ever evolve? Will we survive the programming of our own destruction?

No, our DNA has nothing to do with it. We are not robots, biologically determined to act one way or another. If you are interested in some of the research on human nature and social conditioning read The Brighter Side of Human Nature by Alfie Kohn.

 

Like other beliefs about the intrinsic unsavoriness of our species, such an assumption about aggression can also be explained in terms of the responsibility it lifts from our shoulders ("Yeah, I punched him out, but when somebody insults you, it's just human nature to fly off the handle"), in terms of images presented to us by the mass media, and in terms of the powerful interests who are benefited by just such an assumption. The last of these may be the most troubling for us to consider, but it seems plausible that citizens would be more likely to accept the need for intervention abroad and draconian "antiterrorist" measures if they have first been persuaded that these tactics are required to cope with people's innately violent instincts. Similarly, in light of aggression on the part of other citizens, such a view helps to divert attention from actions of the policy makers themselves and from oppressive economic and social conditions that might be identified as contributors to such violence, focusing our gaze instead on a biological "reality" to which one must be resigned.

--Alfie Kohn, Brighter Side of Human Nature, p. 58

Wow, I just found this and I am shocked at how Kohn said almost the exact samething as Gerbner et al. But, of course, all the research agrees on this point.

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Oh, I know we're not programmed like robots, but we seem to fall into the same old patterns, throughout our history. It seems we never evolve socially. It is very frustrating to see the same egos in charge causing the same problems over & over again. When the masses have finally had enough they revolt, things improve, only to start the cycle over again.

 

I'm just frustrated with human nature. We have such potential if we would simply tap into it.

 

Thanks for the book recommendation. I will check it out.

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