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As of October, FBI To Allow Warrantless Investigations 574

Posted by timothy
from the oh-that-pesky-4th-amendment dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Attorney General Michael Mukasey has agreed to allow Congressional hearings, but not to delay, the implementation of new FBI regulations that would allow them to spy on American citizens who are not suspected of any crime. As an editorial in the New York Times points out, this is a power that has a history of abuse. In times past, it was used to wiretap Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to spy on other civil rights and anti-war protesters." As Dekortage points out, "Several senators have formally complained that citizens could be investigated 'without any basis for suspicion,' which the Justice Department denies."
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As of October, FBI To Allow Warrantless Investigations

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  • That sucks D: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by B4light (1144317) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:37PM (#24712323)
    That sucks D:
    • Re:That sucks D: (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Daimanta (1140543) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:20PM (#24712909) Journal

      Bush was right: The consitution is just a damn piece of paper. Don't count on it to protect you. Don't count on the ammo box too, guns are useless against an army with tanks, snipers and airplanes. Keep voting Dems, Reps or the lot like it and you will sink deeper and deeper in shit untill you are stuck and can't get out. Because then you are fucked. And it won't be pretty.

      • ammo box (Score:5, Insightful)

        by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000 AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @08:56PM (#24714315)

        Don't count on the ammo box too, guns are useless against an army with tanks, snipers and airplanes.

        Tell that to the Chinese. At the Tiananmen Square protests the 38th Army [revcom.us], responsible for security in Beijing, and other local units refused to fire on demonstrators. So the People's Army had to send in the 27th Army [nytimes.com], based outside of Beijing. Chinese officials were afraid the army would split into warring factions because of this. It would be even worse in the US military. I don't know about you but I served in the US Army and just as happened in Viet Nam when soldiers fragged [wikipedia.org] officers and others when they gave bad orders, plenty of people in the US military would do the same if they were ordered to fire on people in the US.

        Falcon

        • by kisak (524062)
          Why not just vote out the republicans?
        • Re:ammo box (Score:4, Insightful)

          by StrategicIrony (1183007) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @05:53AM (#24717075)

          Oh bullshit.

          Rebellions are started by rabble-rousers. Usually a small group of people get together and cause a big fuss.

          In the past, a determined group of 50 people could march on a town-hall meeting and pretty much overpower the local authorities by force. This was the case in almost every society where rebellion was successful, be it revolutionary France, pre-renaissance Scotland, Hapsburg Austria, colonial America, etc.

          If a group of pissed off radicals with guns entered a US city, there would not be substantial resistance to shooting them down.

          You don't just suddenly get 40% of the population to take up arms against the country. It doesn't happen spontaneously. It's a bit of a grass-roots thing and our government is EXTREMELY good at rooting out grass-roots armed resistance.

          "the people of the US" in this sense is a misnomer. They wouldn't be out shooting Jane Soccer Mom... it would start with that crazy hippie who screams about freedom and those hackers who must have been up to no good.

          If they showed up on the steps of the capitol with weapons, what do you think would happen? If they weren't shot on site, they would be met by a well-trained force of anti-riot police bearing full body armor, riot shields, tear gas, mace and loaded weapons.

          One of the reasons for the riot police using so much "non-lethal" weaponry is that there far less resistance to shooting at protesters with that stuff, but it's enough to put down almost any crowd, as violent political protests in massively corrupt countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua, China, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and others have shown.

          You simply don't have a pissed off band of civilians having ANY success against a large group of trained combatants with specialized crowd dispersal devices COMBINED with tactical weapons advantages.

          I just don't see it happening.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rabbit994 (686936)

        Right, those Iraqis are doing a horrible job at killing American Soldiers using small arms and improved explosives.....

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by quanticle (843097)

          Its a completely different situation. First, American soldiers, by and large, don't know Arabic. This means that they're dependent on a relatively small pool of translators, which can be (and are) targeted for assassination and intimidation. Once its translators have been killed or scared off, the US Army is blind, deaf and dumb - making for a much easier target.

          Second, there's the lack of cultural knowledge. Even if all American soldiers spoke perfect Arabic and perfect Kurdish, they'd still have a har

      • Re:That sucks D: (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @09:28PM (#24714533) Homepage Journal

        Guns and homemade bombs worked pretty good against an army with tanks, snipers and airplanes in Algeria, Viet Nam, Afghanistan (twice), and in Iraq. So yeah, let's imagine a scenario where the Feds try to impose some sort of dictatorship... you'd have an army of 500,000 active duty soldiers trying to suppress an technologically sophisticated and armed citizenry with 80 million rifles and god knows what sort of homemade contraptions. Good luck. Government by the consent of the governed is a statement of fact, not an ideal.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by quanticle (843097)

          As I posted above, all the situations you linked to involved troops of a foreign occupier, fighting far from home, against an intensely motivated, nationalistic home army. A better analogy would be the US Civil War, where, despite the guerrilla-like tactics of the South, the North won through the brute power of its military-industrial complex.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by BoberFett (127537)

            Idiot. Who do you think provides the supplies that drive the US war machine? If the US government declared war on the populous, who is going to pay the taxes to support the military? Or supply their food? Or manufacture the weapons and ammo?

    • Re:That sucks D: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Firehed (942385) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:40PM (#24713113) Homepage

      Yes, and just in time for the election, too. Big surprise.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BronsCon (927697)

      Yes, it does. Now we only have until October to organize and take back our country.

      Time to stock up on ammo, my friends. :)

  • by ksd1337 (1029386) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:37PM (#24712325)
    We should start encrypting all our data, no matter how "unsuspicious" or "ordinary" it may be. Everything from conversations between family and friends to financial records (though you should be already encrypting the latter anyway.)
    • by Linux_ho (205887) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:50PM (#24712535) Homepage
      Oh, you say you're not a criminal? Why are you using encryption if you have nothing to hide, citizen? Prepare to be boarded.
      • by furball (2853) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:58PM (#24712619) Journal

        I am a criminal. That's why I use encryption. Same reason I have a gun.

      • by lymond01 (314120) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:04PM (#24712711)

        Oh, you say you're not a criminal? Why are you using encryption if you have nothing to hide, citizen? Prepare to be boarded.

        You do not chase me because I run. I run because you chase me.

      • by samcan (1349105) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:10PM (#24712771)

        Oooh, do we get to have a discussion about the formation of the Constitution and how this totally violates the Bill of Rights and how scared the citizens were of a big national government and that's why we first had the Articles of Confederation which were weak like a bad cup of coffee and now we have the Constitution which is sooooooooo being violated?!

        Phew. That many 'ands' in a sentence is annoying.

        IMHO (which, by the way, is never humble :-) ), our government was not intended to be a large overreaching government. Control was supposed to be retained by the people. Under the original Articles of Confederation, the U.S. government was more like an informal gathering, a club, per se. This didn't work out totally, as it was seen that a few uprisings, such as the Shays' Rebellion, could destroy the confederation.

        The States sent delegates to fix the Articles, which the delegates ended up scrapping and instead creating the Constitution. However, I believe that some of this animosity towards large behemoths carried over. Look at the Bill of Rights, which were added after the Constitution was ratified. They in many instances reserve power to the people, and to the States. The federal government is thus limited in what it can do.

        Even though the Bill of Rights was ratified after the Constitution was ratified, from what I understand, some States made the implied passage of the Bill of Rights a condition to their ratification of the Constitution.

        • by Original Replica (908688) on Friday August 22, 2008 @07:11PM (#24713449) Journal
          do we get to have a discussion about the formation of the Constitution and how this totally violates the Bill of Rights

          I wonder at what point the act of precisely pointing out how certain government actions are illegal, will become an illegal act? Everyone knows that the Founding Fathers employed terrorist tactics (for warfare at the time shooting from behind a tree instead of from a straight line in a field was the equivalent of using civilians for cover in today's warfare) So endorsing a return to their ideas of Rights is an implicit endorsement of fighting your government with terrorist tactics. It's not that far a stretch considering that asymetric warfare will be the only way to unseat the power elite in America should we as a society ever feel the need to do so. Voting between two brands of big government and centralized wealth, is a poor substitute for the kind of freedom this country was originally designed for. So at some point in the tightening of the DHS fist of security, accurately citing history will be a form of inciting terrorist acts.

          Paranoia is my new litmus test for predictive accuracy.
        • by witherstaff (713820) on Friday August 22, 2008 @07:25PM (#24713583) Homepage

          Man, you sound like the southern states - I thought we took care of state rights with that little civil war of Northern Aggression? Some say Lincoln was the father of big government. [cnn.com] Big Business won [lewrockwell.com], state's rights lost, and further rights have kept slipping ever since.

          The founders really didn't want an all powerful central government - good intentions and paving the way have taken care of the original design.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zrq (794138)

        I'm from the UK so I don't know that much about the American legal system. However, a crazy though just occurred to me ...

        So does that mean that the law guarantees the right to use encryption ?

    • by oldspewey (1303305) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:51PM (#24712551)

      How do I encrypt a conversation with my family? Use pig latin?

      "iHay oneyHay! owHay asWay ourYay ayDay?"

      When the FBI talks about spying they mean spying. They aren't going to stop at snooping your email. They're going to bug your phone. They're going to snoop your physical mail. They're going to go through your banking records. If you raise sufficient attention (say by encrypting your trivial email) they may even park a black van down the street with a bunch of electronic equipment in the back.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KovaaK (1347019)

        If you raise sufficient attention (say by encrypting your trivial email) they may even park a black van down the street with a bunch of electronic equipment in the back.

        That's the goal, I'd imagine. If we get them to waste enough resources on spying on ordinary citizens, we hope they will realize that it is hopeless.

        In reality, they would probably come to the conclusion that they need to profile people better before they decide to spend such resources.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Goblez (928516)
          Or we'll end up paying for more pointless Government bureaucracy while more hard-to-fire government employees laugh at how easy their job is spying on Joe Schmoe and their own personal soap opera of his life.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Sponge Bath (413667)

        asWay ourYay ayDay

        I'm sorry sir, that name is on the do not fly list.
        If you feel this is an error, feel free to petition the DHS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      We should start encrypting all our data, no matter how "unsuspicious" or "ordinary" it may be.

      |Y8N oxLk- K7)m91= EVq:P !8/| yYS#O tue|# 7EmO pH=V kh8c
      7m(C PP}Q| ;j1b 6`@| $|{HolY -#v[1
      =q`ltEO ~%srt HGW1S

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DamnStupidElf (649844)

      When is https://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] going to be anything more than a redirect to http://slashdot.org [slashdot.org]? How many subscriptions would pay for the beefier hardware to support SSL for most of the users?

  • by Drakin020 (980931) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:38PM (#24712333)

    Nothing.

    That's right, nothing.

    No one will do a single thing about it as long as they can watch their TV shows.

    People need to stand up and defend their rights, but unless it derails their daily lives, nothing will change. ....I hate being so negative...But you know it's true. :-/

    • by The Moof (859402) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:44PM (#24712435)
      That's becuase everyone I talk to thinks "I don't do anything illegal, why should I care."

      Which, as anyone here will tell you, is a terrible argument.
    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:47PM (#24712473)

      No one will do a single thing about it as long as they can watch their TV shows.

      He said, posting on slashdot.

      But seriously, what do you want to happen? Would you like everyone to rise up in an armed revolt? The last time something like that happened, we were left with the bloodiest war in US history, and that was before the advent of a lot of the modern weapons of war. Write to their congressmen? I wrote to Harry Reid while I lived in Nevada, and what I got back was a form letter that looked like it could have been written by a white house aide!

      Get involved in your local party politics; grassroots efforts are the only peaceful way to pull this off, and changing from within the system seems to be the best method. Or get involved and try to grow a third party to where they can take a seat in congress.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Drakin020 (980931)

        But seriously, what do you want to happen? Would you like everyone to rise up in an armed revolt?

        If a mass protest couldn't pull it off, then yeah...I wouldn't mind seeing that. Heaven forbid we take back what is ours right?

        • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:11PM (#24712789)
          Seriously, there is no good way for an armed revolt to be pulled off right now. It took over 100 years for the Civil War to be recovered from, and those guys thought 100 / minute was pretty sweet. We've got van mounted miniguns that can shoot thousands of bullets per minute and are completely mobile. Terrorist actions could win the fight in theory, but in reality it's much harder to fight as a terrorist because the collateral damage turns the population against you. I just don't see any way an armed revolt could work given the realities of today's military.
          • by sleigher (961421) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:28PM (#24713001)
            Except that if things really ever got to that point it is likely the country would be split and the military would also have splinter factions that support the revolution. Remember that the military is just a bunch of 'us'. I would expect most of the military to support the Union but there would certainly be access to commanders and weapons. Obviously this is an extreme example.
          • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday August 22, 2008 @08:22PM (#24714109)

            Terrorist actions could win the fight in theory, but in reality it's much harder to fight as a terrorist because the collateral damage turns the population against you. I just don't see any way an armed revolt could work given the realities of today's military.

            Which is presumably why the vast power of the United States military, supported by numerous allied nations, subdued Iraq and established a secure replacement government so quickly. Oh, wait, they still haven't quite done that, have they?

            You seem to be confusing terrorism with asymmetric warfare. The two concepts, while often encountered together, are quite different.

            You are also assuming that all that military and security power would willingly turn against its own people if it really came to the crunch. That seems unlikely, and it would only take a relatively small amount of resistance in military units or intelligence organisations to cause a great deal of damage. After all, that is why these groups take security so seriously when confronting other foes.

            The really sad thing is that the US government (and those of many other nations) have basically talked themselves into the current madness by overreacting to a small number of isolated but high profile events, developing a culture of fear, and giving absurdy disproportionate emphasis and resources to vaguely defined goals that are somehow supposed to prevent any further high profile bad events. In other words, the terrorists have won, because now the government is doing their job for them and forcing people to change their behaviour out of fear. Meanwhile, orders of magnitude more innocent lives have been lost in the resulting conflicts than ever were in the original attacks. Even worse, orders of magnitude more damage has been done by wasting time, money and public awareness on assorted wars on abstract nouns instead of basic things like making roads safer, curing illnesses, heating the homes of the elderly in winter, and improving the education and opportunities of our kids so they don't go on to become bored and disillusioned enough to explore lives of crime in the first place, any of which alone would do more to improve the health and happiness of the nations than any military action or national security effort ever could.

          • Seriously, there is no good way for an armed revolt to be pulled off right now...

            How is this different from any other point in history? The Zulu nation overthrew the Brits in Africa, even thought the Zulu nation was armed with spears and arrows and the Brits were armed with guns. Japanese martial arts (well, at least some of them) were invented as a way for peasant farmers, who were essentially unarmed, to defend themselves against sword-wielding, armored samurai and ronin. In virtually every uprising in history, a relatively poorly armed militia took on a technologically superior a

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Zen_Sorcere (1303425)
          Sadly, things will have to get a whole lot worse before the people of 'merica will remember their rights are actually theirs, and not something the government should be able to strip away.

          How many marches and protests did we have regarding the war in Iraq? What did Cheney say when asked what he thought about all the protesters? He said, "So?" (that may be a direct quote or a paraphrase, I honestly cannot recall. But it was certainly the gist of what he said).

          So we find ourselves at a point where the

      • by no1home (1271260) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:52PM (#24713239)

        Ah, TV... truly the opiate of the masses!

        Get involved in your local party politics; grassroots efforts are the only peaceful way to pull this off, and changing from within the system seems to be the best method. Or get involved and try to grow a third party to where they can take a seat in congress.

        I agree entirely: people need to get out there and get involved. When the system is breaking, fix it from within, not through violence.

        That said, it seems that politicians become corrupt or unable to fight the corruption after joining the ranks of other politicians. Say you become a Congressman. You have a plan, and there is no compromise! Ya, sure. You realize that, to get anything done, you have to compromise, you have to trade favors. Not long after, you find compromise to be easy. A little longer still, and you become compromised yourself. Now, you are part of the problem. I don't say this to discourage (OK, maybe I say it because I'm discouraged), but to show the limits of what can happen. For a political uprising to work, it must truly be an uprising, involving all walks of life in this (US) country. Not a few disgruntled partisans, not one minority, but universal.

        Back to my agreeing with your statement, this means the grass roots efforts must involve people from the suburbs, the inner cities, and the country-side; it must involve the blue collar and white collar workers; it must involve the many religions and the non-believers.

        Failing that, then yes, it must involve guns. I hope it never comes to that. I fear that it might.

    • People need to stand up and defend their rights, but unless it derails their daily lives, nothing will change. ....I hate being so negative...But you know it's true. :-/

      Just so you all know, posting indignant posts on slashdot doesn't count as defending your rights. Preaching to the converted != protest.
    • Trends shape history (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Brain-Fu (1274756) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:54PM (#24712573) Homepage Journal

      History is not made by individuals. History is made by trends. Specific individuals who are surfing at the leading edge of a trend may get the spotlight, and hence the credit, but really it was the trend that made the change, not the person.

      The net effect of current trends is a lot of corruption in our government, plainly visible to the public, with a large collective yawn in response.

      Sitting around shouting that people need to stand up and do something will not, in and of itself, create a trend of people standing up and doing something.

      For that we will need something bigger. And more painful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hoi Polloi (522990)

      In the Soviet Union they...oh wait, it is happening here.

    • Worrying about what other people are doing about it will only go so far. What are you doing about it? Posting on Slashdot - or preaching to the choir - doesn't count as an affirmative action.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@NoSPaM.mac.com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:38PM (#24712335) Journal

    The FBI can decide whatever they want as far as their regulations are concerned, but if it gets to court, any evidence they gather illegally is useless.

    It's not that hard to get a warrant, and if they're too fucking lazy to call up a judge and explain why they think a warrant is needed, they're endangering the public.

    -jcr

    • COINTELPRO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionaryNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:45PM (#24712453) Journal

      Who says they need to take anything before a judge? Look at what they did with COINTELPRO. [wikipedia.org] Infiltration, psychological warfare, legal harassment, and extralegal violence were all considered acceptable tactics.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jcr (53032)

        Who says they need to take anything before a judge?

        You've got a point. Of course, Hoover didn't have quite the nerve to harass MLK on his own authority alone, and Bobbie Kennedy authorized the FBIs illegal surveillance of King and other civil rights leaders.

        -jcr

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:48PM (#24712503)

      they're endangering the public

      I think you've just hit upon what government doesn't ever want you to realize:

      It is government itself that is the biggest threat to you, your family, and your freedom.

      this is a power that has a history of abuse (from the summary)

      Correction: The power itself is the abuse. How can a special "right" to bypass justice itself NOT be abuse? The concept of guilty before proven innocent -- in whatever slimy manifestation it appears -- is an attack on human rights before the discussion even started.

  • WWJD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colmore (56499) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:39PM (#24712355) Journal

    I think if you told Thomas Jefferson that the United States would be up to this sort of thing, someone would have gotten a musket ball to the chest.

  • whoopie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:41PM (#24712385)

    How is this any different from how they're operating now? What does it matter that they're no longer going to breaking a law they never paid any attention to in the first place? Karl Rove tells Congress to take their subpoena, shine it up real nice, turn it sideways and shove it right up their collective asses. Consequences? So far, none. Will there ever be? Doubtful. Will it be any different for the FBI? Doubtful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      Consequences? So far, none. Will there ever be? Doubtful. Will it be any different for the FBI? Doubtful.

      Actually, yes, there will be. Remember the FBI under Hoover? It got pretty bad (the fucker had dirt on everyone.) Eventually Congress had to reign in the FBI ... many of those wisely-placed restrictions were eventually removed. This is a pendulum, but it's gonna get worse before it gets better.
    • Re:whoopie (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Rob the Bold (788862) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:54PM (#24712589)

      How is this any different from how they're operating now? What does it matter that they're no longer going to breaking a law they never paid any attention to in the first place?

      So it works like this:

      Step 1: Do whatever you want to do.

      Step 2: When Congress or the people complain, ignore or deny Step 1.

      Step 3: Announce that you will do whatever it is you started in Step 1.

      Step 4: What's the point in complaining, they're already doing it?

      I'm sure there's profit in there somewhere.

  • by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdot@@@jawtheshark...com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:42PM (#24712403) Homepage Journal

    Fascist America, in 10 easy steps [guardian.co.uk]

    My history teacher pointed those out in 1997 and he wasn't thinking of the USA back then. I thought: come on, it can't be that easy! However, seeing what happens in the USA, I humbly have to retract that opinion.

    1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy: 9/11 Terrorists, enemy combatants and unspoken Islam
    2. Create a gulag: Two words... Guantanamo Bay
    3. Develop a thug caste: Not yet, I think so at least.
    4. Set up an internal surveillance system: See article
    5. Harass citizens' groups: Again, see article and peaceful oriented groups have already been infiltrated. Okay, my source is Roger Moore so a grain of salt the size of Canada is needed.
    6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release: This goes along with Guantanamo. However, non-fly lists are in those lines....
    7. Target key individuals: Is most certainly happening....
    8. Control the press: Conglomerates do this... Don't even bother. Real historic dictatorships couldn't do this as well as capitalistic US.
    9. Dissent equals treason: If you're not with us, you're against us.... I have to say no more.
    10. Suspend the rule of law: Habeas corpus is gone, more laws have followed and more will follow.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      [quote]my source is Roger Moore[/quote] You've got the inside scoop from James Bond ?!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jawtheshark (198669) *
        Fuck... That's what happens if you watch Moonraker on DVD... I meant Michael Moore. Sorry about that!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      >Again, see article and peaceful oriented groups have already been infiltrated. Okay, my source is Roger Moore so a grain of salt the size of Canada is needed.

      Here's a MSM source about the military spying on Quakers [msn.com]. In the Pentagon's favor, they admitted it was a mistake and said they'd purged nonviolent protest groups from their database. On the other hand, that was after they got caught.

  • What.The.FUCK (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maynard (3337) <j,maynard,gelinas&gmail,com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:43PM (#24712417) Journal

    You can partially thank Obama's FISA vote for this. While this is not - specifically - a function of FISA, the loosening of surveillance regulations it implied.

    And they said, "We don't spy on Americans."

    Right.

    This is how it's supposed to work:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution [wikipedia.org]

    Looks like we won't get that back without a bit of organized political action. I still recommend General Strikes. Shut the economy down and let the elites twist. Talk about a class war. Yeah, and they fucking won.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      With that view, you can thank **McCain** for not voting to help prevent this! What a coward!

      And, as you yourself point out, Obama's FISA vote doesn't actually have anything to do with this upcoming FBI surveillance ability.

      So, WTF with mentioning Obama?

      Also, are you an idiot? The FISA bill that Obama signed made the concession that previous violators would not be convicted, in exchange for tightening the powers of the president. So, if anything, that bill is the exact OPPOSITE of empowering government to

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shiftless (410350)

      Looks like we won't get that back without a bit of organized political action. I still recommend General Strikes. Shut the economy down and let the elites twist.

      Sounds good until you realize that the average American household has $8,000 worth of credit card debt--not to mention mortgages, car loans, etc. Most Americans are one or two paychecks away from financial ruin. Americans in general are too spineless, and dependent on the "system", to ever revolt against it.

  • Nice guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:48PM (#24712487)
    Attorney General Michael Mukasey has agreed to allow Congressional hearings

    That's big of him. He'll "allow" Congress to hold hearings? Who wears the pants in this family, anyways?
  • Sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KovaaK (1347019) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:53PM (#24712571) Journal

    From the last link about senators complaining:

    Among their fears: Americans could be targeted in part based on their race, ethnicity or religion

    and

    Citing remarks earlier by Mukasey about the new rules, the spokesman said an investigation would not be opened based solely on a person's race, ethnicity or religion.

    That isn't the problem. I'm glad that they are attempting to slow it down and stop it, but why does it have to boil down to racism for them to stop it? Why can't they just say "this is completely against what the founders of our country intended"...?

    • Re:Sigh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:48PM (#24713193)
      Why can't they just say "this is completely against what the founders of our country intended"...?

      Because the Founders are long dead and cannot speak for themselves. We the People, who were supposed to stand in their stead, have forgotten that.
  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:54PM (#24712575) Homepage
    All of these new police powers never seem to come with more accountability or independent oversight.
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:06PM (#24712727) Journal

    Raise your hands, everyone who is surprised by this...

    yeah, that's what I thought.

    We need the old USSR back. As odd as this seems, there was actually a sense of competition going on back then -- competition for goodness. I remember mocking the USSR for having secret courts, secret laws, secret prisons. Now WE have those things. I think that at least in part it's because we no longer have competition to compare and contrast our government's behavior to, so people are less apt to associate this kind of totalitarian behavior with The Evil Empire. As a result, we become The Evil Empire.

    I'm not cheering for Russia as it stomps around in Georgia, mind you, but an odd side-effect of it might be that we start acting like the USA, rather than Trashcanistan.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't think that actually works. The worst abuses of freedom in US history happened during the Cold War, after all. Remember J. Edgar Hoover? COINTELPRO? McCarthy? Spying on civil rights activists?

      The whole problem is that nobody is willing to take the long view. People in government are willing to do anything to defeat the enemy of the day, and damn what consequences it has afterwards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PPH (736903)

      McCarthy was right. The Communists sought to undermine our government and system of civil rights. It appears as though they have won the war.

      "We have met the enemy, and he is us." -- Pogo

  • I hope ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:17PM (#24712869)
    ... any of you that get the chance ask Obama/McCain what they intend to do about this if elected.
  • Ob. Bash (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:20PM (#24712907)
    Stormrider: I should bomb something
    Stormrider: ...and it's off the cuff remarks like that that are the reason I don't log chats
    Stormrider: Just in case the FBI ever needs anything on me
    Elzie_Ann: I'm sure they can just get it from someone who DOES log chats.
    *** FBI has joined #gamecubecafe
    FBI: We saw it anyway.
    *** FBI has quit IRC (Quit: )
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:50PM (#24713231)
    The FBI is a law enforcement agency, not an foreign or even a domestic intelligence gathering agency. What is the point of gathering information in an unconstitutional manner when it will ultimately be of ZERO use in securing a conviction? If the defense attorney can show that warrantless spying or other unconstitutional methods generated the initial leads then everything else which follows from that, even if gathered legitimately, can be thrown out of court on the basis that none of it would have ever been obtained if not for the initial unconstitutional leads. With no evidence of any wrongdoing (because everything was thrown out) there is no case against the defendant.
  • by Froeschle (943753) on Friday August 22, 2008 @07:07PM (#24713413)
    The terrorists have won.
  • Not the only place (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Iowan41 (1139959) on Friday August 22, 2008 @07:41PM (#24713741)
    California supreme court decides that the 1st Amendment doesn't apply in their State. Federal District court in Oregon and the 9th Circus decide that the people of Oregon do not have the right to petition for redress of grievances and vote on laws passed by their legislature - which is the procedure in Oregon's constitution. Don't forget VAAPCON and the FBI files, when the Clinton's used the FBI and the IRS to intimidate political opponents.
  • In Soviet Union... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phr1 (211689) on Friday August 22, 2008 @07:58PM (#24713917)
    oh, wait. :(
  • Trapped (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Derosian (943622) on Friday August 22, 2008 @08:00PM (#24713925) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone else feel like there is no solution to the growing problem of American apathy?

    If I use peaceful means, no one cares.
    If I use violent means, people become martyrs and I am vilified.

    Sometimes I feel like there is no solution to the current government's problem short of a revolution which will occur far down the road, long after I am gone, and that is rather frustrating.
  • IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
    The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. â" That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, â" That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. â" Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing A

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @10:15PM (#24714791) Homepage Journal

    Should we just abolish the FBI? I mean, is there anything the FBI does that actually makes you feel safer than the threat posed by the FBI itself?

  • So much for (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rossz (67331) <ogre AT geekbiker DOT net> on Friday August 22, 2008 @11:49PM (#24715461) Homepage Journal

    So much for the Democratic majority putting a stop to government abuses as they promised. I'm sure the DailyKos crowd will denounce Bush for this. He deserves lots of blame, but the Democrats deserve contempt. They have the numbers to push through almost anything they want. From where I'm sitting, however, nothing has changed. The government is still violating the Constitution, my Rights no longer matter, the people in power are still enjoying their pork (pork spending has, in fact, increased with the Democratic majority).

    Fuck the Democrats. Fuck the Republicans. The government needs an enema.

  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @01:30AM (#24716025)

    In 2000, I was investigated by the FBI after calling Janet Reno "the enemy I swore an oath to defend the Constitution against" in an email to my father and cousin. Within three days of my sending the email, they had interviewed numerous co-workers and convinced my housemate to keep tabs on my whereabouts so they could interview me. Interestingly, the printed copy of my email contained only what I had written; the parts of the conversation I had quoted were blacked out.

    This was a few months before the name "Carnivore" started appearing in the news. The FBI swore up and down that Carnivore was only used to monitor suspected criminals. But I have no involvement in any kind of criminal activity (beyond the usual file sharing and moonshining, which I'm sure they know about so I don't mind saying it) and yet I was under surveillance. We are ALL under surveillance, and have been for a long time.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin

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