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NSA Still Funded To Spy On US Phone Records 362

Posted by timothy
from the good-day-to-donate-to-the-eff dept.
Reader turp182 notes that the Amash Amendment (#100) to HR 2397 (DOD appropriations bill) failed to pass the House of Representatives, meaning it will not be added to the appropriations bill. turp182 writes "The amendment would have specifically defunded the bulk collection of American phone records." Americans can see how their representatives voted here.
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NSA Still Funded To Spy On US Phone Records

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:45AM (#44380261)

    Spy on everyone. Karma is a bitch, folks.

  • It's A Start (Score:5, Informative)

    by some old guy (674482) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:48AM (#44380295)

    Not bad for a first try to rein in rogue agency.

    We need to keep the pressure on, and support organizations and officials who think the principles of Constitutional government are more important than fear-mongering.

    If we don't, the fight is over. The terrorists and our fascist "protectors" have won.

    • Re:It's A Start (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:55AM (#44380377)

      Rogue? Seems complicit to me.

      What I wonder about right now are the NSA employees who - some surely being geeks who read Slashdot - are reading this comment. How do they sleep at night?

      Do they speak like so many mid-20th century "soldiers", absolving themselves because they're only following orders? Have they been brainwashed into thinking that there's suuuuuuch a threat from terrorists to the American Way Of Life that what they do is essential? Or do they just enjoy the power trip in a dying empire? At least one such NSA employee will be reading this, and their conscience will twinge, just for a second.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They're in a privileged position, and the vast majority will be lapping it up. It boosts their egos because they are legally above the law applied to everyone else. People in power very rarely want to give it up, they desire more.

        • I'd regard not being able to achieve unless I deceive those who put their trust in me to be a grand admission of failure. Maybe some people just have low standards for themselves? Even the dullest person can get things done with a bottomless pit of money and lies.

          • by cayenne8 (626475)

            I'd regard not being able to achieve unless I deceive those who put their trust in me to be a grand admission of failure. Maybe some people just have low standards for themselves? Even the dullest person can get things done with a bottomless pit of money and lies.

            I think it is much simpler than that....more of a case of "Whatever pays the bills".

            I mean, I'm 100% against this, but if they paid me enough money, I'd do it in a heartbeat without a backwards glance.

            Most people would for the right price I do

      • Re:It's A Start (Score:5, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:10AM (#44380557) Homepage Journal

        At least one such NSA employee will be reading this, and their conscience will twinge, just for a second.

        No, no it won't. Cognitive dissonance will prevent it. They have convinced themselves that they are good people on no basis whatsoever, and in order to protect that belief they will convince themselves that there is no way to achieve their goal but to ride roughshod over the constitution. Then they'll tell themselves that it's OK to violate the constitution as long as you're doing it to protect the constitution. Unfortunately, holding such a clearly contradictory belief is a kind of insanity.

        • Re:It's A Start (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DeathToBill (601486) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:22AM (#44380699) Journal
          Perhaps it did for one - his name was Edward Snowden.
          • by mrdogi (82975)

            Still is, last I heard.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Close, but not quite.

            While Snowden's actions should be commended for bringing this issue front and center, he wasn't an employee who saw what his company was doing and alerted the media (what most people think of with the term "Whistle-blower"). He had suspicions about what the US Government was doing, sought a job that would allow him to verify it, then went public with some proof (i.e. "investigative journalism").

            The level of "spying" being performed by governments, and private organisations, around the

          • Re:It's A Start (Score:5, Informative)

            by steelfood (895457) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @01:06PM (#44382923)

            More [wikipedia.org] than [wikipedia.org] one. [wikipedia.org] More [wikipedia.org] than [wikipedia.org] one. [wikipedia.org]

        • They have convinced themselves that they are good people on no basis whatsoever,

          All people do this, and I am continually amazed when people make comments like GP, wondering how someone can live with certain actions.

          Its as if they think the "big bads" of the 20th century (Mao, Stalin, et al) thought they were bad guys. Never underestimate the ability of humans to rationalize and justify their actions. Note that this means each person should be continually on guard for when they have convinced themselves that something abhorrent is actually justifiable.

          • They have convinced themselves that they are good people on no basis whatsoever,

            All people do this, and I am continually amazed when people make comments like GP, wondering how someone can live with certain actions.

            Oh, that's terribly defeatist. What makes you think it? It's certainly not been my observation at all.

            Its as if they think the "big bads" of the 20th century (Mao, Stalin, et al)

            Not sure why you slipped in that little list, but are you by any chance looking at this problem from quite far to the right? I've noticed a tendency of ideologues (rather than ethical pragmatists) to view everyone as evil hypocrites by nature, and to use that as an excuse for their worldview.

            • Re:It's A Start (Score:4, Interesting)

              by LordLimecat (1103839) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @11:30AM (#44381619)

              What makes you think it?

              The number of times I have seen someone admit that they were wrong (without pressure / coercion) pales in comparision to the number of times someone has been wrong but has continued defending themselves.

              It only takes a casual look around the world, and within one's own character, to realize this is true. Someone calls you out as wrong, the first instinct isnt "AM i wrong?", but "how can I refute him". This is part of human nature, and I havent really found anything to indicate that it isnt universal; though certainly some people are quite good at stuffing that defensive posture into the back of their mind and are more humble.

              Not sure why you slipped in that little list, but are you by any chance looking at this problem from quite far to the right? I've noticed a tendency of ideologues (rather than ethical pragmatists) to view everyone as evil hypocrites by nature, and to use that as an excuse for their worldview.

              I dont know if I'd say Im far right, because I can recognize that even "leftist" programs will accomplish some good (I just tend to think it not worth the cost), but yes, and its interesting you would say it like that. Im currently in a Poli Sci class, and there was a video on "realism" where the speaker described it as basically what you said-- a cynical worldview that everyone is NOT intrinsically good, but intrinsically self-interested and self-justifying. This idea seems to be foreign to a lot of folks I know that I assume to be more to the left-- certainly a number of students in the class appear to never have even thought of the world in those terms.

              Folks on the right appear cold and unsympathetic in public policy because (If I can generalize) they DO tend to view the world cynically, as a cold and hostile place. We dont want publicly funded social welfare programs because we see the potential for abuse as through the roof, and the spending as driven by idealism rather than grounded in the reality of both budget and human nature.

              Folks on the left (and this is how it seems to me) seem to want to assume the best; that cooperation is not only possible, but easily obtainable, and that we should not only aim for the stars, but actively work towards some ideal world that we surely can achieve. It appears to be a worldview that hopes and dreams that maybe a utopia that looks like communism could be possible, if only we could get rid of the elements that undermine it.

              Im not sure how relevant any of that is, but I hope you find it interesting, and if you want to offer any corrections on how I view the leftist mindset, I would appreciate it; I think the hardest thing about really dialoging "across the aisle" is the huge difficulty in really understanding where someone is coming from at a visceral level.

              • Re:It's A Start (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Hatta (162192) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @01:02PM (#44382885) Journal

                Someone calls you out as wrong, the first instinct isnt "AM i wrong?", but "how can I refute him".

                How else do you determine whether you are right or wrong except by attempting refutation? If someone publishes a mathematical proof, doesn't everyone immediately search for mistakes? If I can't refute your argument, then I'll happily admit I'm wrong. If I can refute your argument, what reason do I have to believe that I'm wrong?

                The important part is that you base your refutation in facts and logic, and not character assassination or misdirection.

                Im currently in a Poli Sci class, and there was a video on "realism" where the speaker described it as basically what you said-- a cynical worldview that everyone is NOT intrinsically good, but intrinsically self-interested and self-justifying. This idea seems to be foreign to a lot of folks I know that I assume to be more to the left-- certainly a number of students in the class appear to never have even thought of the world in those terms.

                Socialism is necessary not because everyone is good, but because everyone *is* self interested and self justifying. Without some sort of correcting mechanism(e.g. redistribution of wealth by the government), self-interest compounds upon self-interest, amplifying inequality and leading to atrocities that no one will admit are atrocities because of their self justifying nature.

                • by raymorris (2726007) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @02:54PM (#44384079)
                  >. How else do you determine whether you are right or wrong except by attempting refutation? If someone publishes a mathematical proof, doesn't everyone immediately search for mistakes? If I can't refute your argument, then I'll happily admit I'm wrong. If I can refute your argument, what reason do I have to believe that I'm wrong?

                  That works for math, some extent, because you can have objective, irrefutable proof. When someone says to me "you're being selfish", I can ALWAYS refute that and come up with some justification, no matter how right they are. The wise thing for me to do is to pause and ask "do they perhaps have a valid point?". "Am I indeed being selfish in some way?" Most of the time, they are at least half right, and my excuses don't change that fact.

                  The second half of your post is a great example. No matter how many times socialism fails, you can ignore the facts and "refute" the conclusion by reasoning abstractly within your own world of ideas, by mental masturbation. By the same token, no matter what success socialist regimes may have, I can refute your conclusion by pointing to their many failures. If I were wiser, I'd instead look to see what I can learn from your point of view. I might say "though your method of achieving the goal has always failed, perhaps the goal itself is worth pursuing". Indeed, that's often the case - leftists have lofty goals, worthy goals, but little to no knowledge of what actually works and what doesn't, what can actually be accomplished and how. Conservatives look at what actually works and end up with "let's stick with doing what has always worked". Better that they look at where each other have a good point they are making. Putting their viewpoints together, you get "let's dream big dreams, then figure out how to actually accomplish some of them".

                  Rather than refuting each other all day, how about I look for the nuggets of gold in your ideas, and you look for where what I am saying makes sense. Then we can learn from each other and work together to implement your dreamy ideals in a way that actually works in the real world.
      • by Mitsoid (837831)

        I would argue the media organizations have overblown the terrorism angle so they can have 24/7 terror news coverage. Just yesterday with the spanish train derailment the radio broadcaster said "another train derailment happened a decade ago in Madrid, Spain, 350 miles from this trains location, it was connected to a terrorist attack. Authorities have claimed this incident, however, looks like an accident."

        Why bring up a terrorist attack a decade and 300+ miles away? I doubt they are even on the same track,

        • I would argue the media organizations have overblown the terrorism angle so they can have 24/7 terror news coverage. Just yesterday with the spanish train derailment the radio broadcaster said "another train derailment happened a decade ago in Madrid, Spain, 350 miles from this trains location, it was connected to a terrorist attack. Authorities have claimed this incident, however, looks like an accident."

          Why bring up a terrorist attack a decade and 300+ miles away? I doubt they are even on the same track, run by the same company, or in any other way related -- except by being trains in the same country.

          You apparently don't read a lot of news - the only tie-in is that it's a train in the same country, and that's all the media thinks they need. My response, however, is for what you wrote below.

          The public becomes afraid, and the public forces the government to do something.

          The Patriot Act was largely unread by our representatives, and the People were fighting against it tooth and nail. This wasn't caused by the population saying, "Woe is me, come and save me grandaddy government!" it was the political cronies leveraging a horrible disaster in order to claim more power than they were e

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        How do they sleep at night?
        Considering what they are allowed to read at work and how 'free' they feel to read at home i.e. compartmentalized.
        This news will come as funding = legality. That feeling of retroactive telecom immunity vs say starting a next gen Church Committee.
      • by emil (695) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:31AM (#44380855) Homepage

        Having acquired these powers over decades, no amount of voter insistence will be effective in removing them.

        What needs to happen now is at the state level - the legislatures must be convinced to grant themselves greater oversight and control over federal activities.

        Article. V. - The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

        Our representative democracy was designed in an era where (horse-drawn) transportation was problematic, and the decisions of a few were practical. These conditions no longer exist, and the few are now too easily swayed by money and power. More people need to participate in federal decisions if we wish to (re)establish the consent of the governed.

      • Re:It's A Start (Score:5, Interesting)

        by asylumx (881307) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:35AM (#44380921)
        Given that Pelosi and Boehner both voted against this bill, I'd say this is a much bigger problem than most of the others we've talked about around slashdot. When those two agree, you know something is severely wrong with the world.
        • by Dynedain (141758)

          Those two agree in substance on everything (she's my rep). They only don't agree on the surface when there's a party-driven political battle at stake.

      • Re:It's A Start (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:38AM (#44380947) Journal

        People in the "defense" industry typically respond with "I sleep just fine on a giant pile of money" or a slight variation of it, I'd expect the same from NSA stooges.

      • Re:It's A Start (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 25, 2013 @11:12AM (#44381337)

        I don't think, at least in their mind, there's any moral issue at all.

        People in all law enforcement branches have the following two facts constantly being reinforced in their minds:

        1. They're trying to catch bad guys.

        2. No matter what they do, sometimes the bad guys get away.

        Imagine working in such an environment. You're only human, so naturally you begin to think, "If only I had a little more power, I could do so much good with it."

        So you make a grab for a little more power, and guess what? It does help to nab a few more bad guys. But it's still not enough. So you start to grab for a little more, then a little more, then a little more. There's nothing wrong with it, because you have the best intentions, right?

        That's what's happened. The NSA has simply grabbed for more power, a little at a time, all in the name of trying to catch the bad guys. No one is telling them, "This steps over the line." The only results of their power grab, at least that they can see, is that they're more effective at doing a good thing.

        So yes, it is possible that a decent, honest person could have no moral qualms about working at the NSA and recording all the communications of all Americans.

        It doesn't mean they're right, of course. There are some lines they shouldn't cross. The problem is that all they can see are the reasons to cross those lines, never the reasons not to.

      • Re:It's A Start (Score:4, Interesting)

        by robthebloke (1308483) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @12:22PM (#44382383)

        How do they sleep at night?

        Can't speak for those at the NSA, but I grew up next to GCHQ, and knew a few people who worked there. Whenever the topic of GCHQ came up in conversation, it was pretty apparent that no one actually knew what they were doing. They are given small tasks from those higher up, but they have no idea what it's for, or why they're doing it. Someone might be writing speech regonition software, someone else might be processing some telephone numbers into a database, someone else might be writing some GPS software. No one is allowed to talk about their work to anyone else, and so no one gets the big picture as to what's actually happening. Individually the component libraries are innocent enough, but they turn positively orwellian when they are merged into a single tool (which is something the IT serfs will never see)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not bad for a first try to rein in rogue agency.

      Just wait until the tech sector starts sending in the lobbyists in droves. Right about now, the implications are starting to hit home in Silicon Valley. All those government contracts in foreign countries are about to go bye-bye, along with a pretty good percentage of private contracts.

    • by Xicor (2738029)
      they werent really trying. everyone knew it was going to fail. congress LIKES the NSA, they would never actually get rid of it. this was an attempt to save face, and it looks like they succeeded in doing so.
    • by cphilo (768807)
      It IS a start. I live in Kansas, a deeply red state. I called my representative on this, and he actually voted "Aye" to reduce the funding. I was shocked, but pleased. He is what you can do, as a lowly, unimportant citizen. Look at the list. http://politics.nytimes.com/congress/votes/113/house/1/412 [nytimes.com] . If your representative voted "NO" then he voted that the NSA should continue to spy on everyone. Vote him out. He is probably deep in the pocket of the Corporations/Military or deeply believes that the NSA ac
  • by intermodal (534361) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:49AM (#44380303) Homepage Journal

    It's shameful. My district borders on two of my previous districts, and both of those districts voted aye. Both of those representatives are men I voted for in prior elections, and proudly so. My current congressman, on the other hand, has brought disgrace upon himself by voting against this amendment. To be fair, I voted against him...

    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:45AM (#44381017) Homepage

      John Culberson (Republican with TeaParty)- Texas 7th district - had this to say about why he voted against the Amash amendment but instead voted for the Pompeo amendment.

      voted for the Pompeo (Nugent) Amendment instead of the Amash Amendment because it protects the privacy of American citizens. The Pompeo (Nugent) Amendment prohibits the NSA from targeting U.S. persons and protects the content of our phone calls from the NSA. Specifically, the Pompeo (Nugent) Amendment prohibits the NSA from listening to phone calls of American citizens without a court ordered search warrant. It protects our privacy and protects our Constitutional rights without destroying the NSA’s ability to track terrorists, as I believe the Amash Amendment would have done. The consequence of the Amash Amendment would be to prevent the collection and analysis of ALL bulk data in America — not just the data of American citizens. This would protect the data of terrorists who are operating sleeper cells in this country and make us vulnerable to future terrorist attacks. The Amash amendment would do nothing to reform the NSA surveillance program and would do nothing to ensure that the privacy of American citizens is protected. The NSA has successfully stopped several domestic terrorist attacks, and we need to continue tracking and stopping terrorists while at the same time protecting the privacy and Constitutional rights of American citizens.

      http://culberson.house.gov/protecting-your-right-to-privacy/ [house.gov]

  • Of Course (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Of course it failed. What, you actually thought it might pass? It was obviously a hollow effort by some politicians to appear to be on the side of American privacy while knowing full well that nothing would change and the government would continue to have the ability to do what it's been doing. No surprise there.

    • Re:Of Course (Score:5, Insightful)

      by swan5566 (1771176) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:31AM (#44380851)
      The amendment vote was 205-217. That's not losing by too much.
      • Re:Of Course (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jfengel (409917) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @11:23AM (#44381521) Homepage Journal

        That's true, but you need to take the tally with a grain of salt. Everybody knows what the outcome will be before the vote is taken, so they each get to plan their votes according to what they think will get them re-elected. You could switch your vote when it's actually taken, but lying to the party whip is a good way to get yourself shut out of important meetings.

        There were probably some who would have switched votes each direction if the tally were taken entirely in secret. I can't really say whether it would have gotten closer or further from passing, though I suspect the whips could take a stab at it.

  • So, not only do I have to turn javascript on for that last link but I have to know my rep's name since it's not sorted by name. Also, I don't think Karen Bass is a male black teenager so I think the pictures might have been a bit screwed up. Is it their twitter profile pics or something?
  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:53AM (#44380355)
    If they defund the NSA's programs, they'll just use all those stolen credit card numbers and intercepted banking logins from their data logs to fund it.
  • NSA sez... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:53AM (#44380359) Homepage Journal

    I'll know who you called this Summer.

    but I still can't sort out my own emails

    • by khr (708262)

      but I still can't sort out my own emails

      That's probably by design, for their own security... That way the courts can't force them to reveal it.

  • System works! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:53AM (#44380361)
    Representative government system at work, flawless as ever. Not like some godawful Egyptian generals, who are causing turmoil just because of some "spirit of the law" and other unholy gibberish.

    Ah, Gibson, Sterling and other cyberpunk masters, you were truly prophetic back in your time.
    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      Ah, Gibson, Sterling and other cyberpunk masters, you were truly prophetic back in your time.

      Hardly; Heinlein predicted this shit in the early 60's.

  • The problem with the house is all the Jury Maundering.

    Because of the majority, they will work to keep a hold of their majority, so they keep districts, where their threat of power isn't the other side, but people in your power who will claim you are not far enough into their camp. And because your district with a shape to hold your parties interest, means you can't even once vote across party lines.

    In the House democracy has failed, in the area that is normal people, most direct say.

  • 113th congress (Score:5, Informative)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @09:58AM (#44380409) Homepage Journal

    113th congress is the worst in history, which is sadly impressive given how bad the 112th was.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_the_113th_United_States_Congress [wikipedia.org]

    There have been a total 13 bills make it into law so far this Congress... and the ones that have made it into law are about items such as "Freedom to Fish".

    It's at a complete stand still folks. You're representatives have finally dropped to the point they aren't even pretending to represent interests of voters over the interests of their corporate donors.

    How bad does it have to get before something is done?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, them doing nothing is probably better, otherwise they will screw things up even more.

    • Re:113th congress (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:27AM (#44380771)

      There have been a total 13 bills make it into law so far this Congress... and the ones that have made it into law are about items such as "Freedom to Fish".

      Clearly you and I have different opinions on what qualifies as "worst" Congress. Considering all the harm they've been causing, them being completely ineffective in getting anything done is a marked improvement over what we've seen in previous years.

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      While I agree totally with your point about the utter incompetence of the 113th Congress, this is an odd time to be pointing that out. This is probably the first and only time in their whole session where they made a good attempt at getting something productive and important done. They only came 7 votes shy of the goal, and it was frankly the first significant bipartisan effort I've seen in Congress since the Republicans took it over in 2010. Seriously, don't harsh all over the first tiny ray of sunshine we

    • by edawstwin (242027)
      I'd prefer a system in which every other year - let's say even years - are for passing laws and odd years are only for repealing laws.
  • We have been doing this for a long time now. I don't see why having this data is a big deal. They are sitting on phone records that they are largely never going to use.
    • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:08AM (#44380533) Journal

      Does the name COINTELPRO mean anything to you? Decades ago the government used illegal surveillance to attempt to quash the civil rights movement. What assurances do we have that they won't do this again? Why should we believe they have good intentions at all when they cannot comply with the 4th amendment?

      • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:30AM (#44380843)

        Does the name COINTELPRO mean anything to you? Decades ago the government used illegal surveillance to attempt to quash the civil rights movement. What assurances do we have that they won't do this again? Why should we believe they have good intentions at all when they cannot comply with the 4th amendment?

        Exactly -this is why it is a big deal arekin (GP). When the government pretty much knows everything about everyone - then there is no more ability to effectively and democratically reform society for the better, right injustices, fight to change the status quo etc. For example try and organize a rally, information drive, any form of community organization against or for [insert cause]. If it upsets those in power you will be picked up/harassed/fired/detained before any of your emails/chats/phone calls to organize democratically allowed protest even hit anyones inbox. This is not speculation, all these police state things have already happened. One recent example: if you care to look into the details of one particular movement called "Occupy" that threatened the heart of power and money by asking for those in wall street that broke laws to actually be punished for their crimes.

        Allowing the surveillance state means any slippery sloped we are now on with just continue to get worse, no leaders in our community can take charge to organize others to resist/complain/pushback against [insert cause]. History has given us enough examples now to know that if we do not reject the surveillance state we now find ourselves living in, then we really do deserve everything that is coming...

        • by Arker (91948) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:55AM (#44381127) Homepage

          It's interesting someone brought up COINTELPRO. The contrast between COINTELPRO and Watergate is instructive. Watergate took down one President who had gone too far - NOT in acting against, and lying to, the American people, but in acting against the other powerful faction in DC. That got reported and everyone has heard of it.

          COINTELPRO was much, much worse, it was decades of continuous criminal action. But it was targeted at the people, rather than against a faction of the ruling class. Mainstream media has studiously ignored it more than not, many people have never even heard of it, and those who have mostly have no real idea what it involved.

          The rot in this country isnt new, it's been rotting for quite awhile now, it's just that we are finally reaching the point where average folks can no longer avoid being aware of it.

      • Decades ago the government used illegal surveillance to attempt to quash the civil rights movement. What assurances do we have that they won't do this again?

        Perhaps you missed the FBI's work on the financial blockade against OWS?

      • by Nyder (754090) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @12:37PM (#44382601) Journal

        Does the name COINTELPRO mean anything to you? Decades ago the government used illegal surveillance to attempt to quash the civil rights movement. What assurances do we have that they won't do this again? Why should we believe they have good intentions at all when they cannot comply with the 4th amendment?

        http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/national_world/2013/07/07/tea-party-only-one-of-irs-targets.html [dispatch.com]
        http://www.hannity.com/article/irs-targets-political-candidates/17710 [hannity.com]
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/irs-targets-conservative-groups/ [washingtonpost.com]

        Seems they already started.

  • I just called my representative to express my displeasure. The young woman who answered had an obvious prepared response about how Rep. Sinema has been working to protect the Fourth Amendment and this was a hard decision...but it didn't sound like her heart was in it.

    That this amendment failed is a bad sign, that Congress would rather stand with the spymasters than with the citizenry. But there may still be a glimmer of hope for us to push hard enough to un-fuck ourselves.

    It does make me wonder, though, wha

    • You representative is probably a typical politician, so here's the list of dirt they have on him/her.
      - affair with interns
      - hiring prostitutes
      - taking bribes from government contractors
      - getting top donors cushy political appointments (like ambassadorships)
      - manipulating the Justice system to get friends out of jail
      - insider trading. While still not illegal, is morally wrong
      - etc.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        A typical politician may respond well to the positive reinforcement too:
        - find the one member of the press who knows of the intern thing
        - State jobs via Federal and private "government" contractors to take back to the electorate
        - getting family members cushy jobs
        - insider trading, legal now for staff :)
        - Elite educational places found, huge fees altered to free scholarships.
        - Offshore "trusts" permanently hidden from any US tax efforts
        - etc.
        For this gen insider trading seems to work well.
  • War not over yet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wjcofkc (964165) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:08AM (#44380531)
    We may have lost this battle, but the war has barely begun. I would like to point out that when looking up your representatives, don't just maneuver to call and chew out those who voted against our liberties, call those who voted for us and praise them in a show of support.

    I would also like to take a moment to sincerely apologize to the tin foil hat crowd: I have made fun of you in the past, only now I am sorry I was too blind to really listen. You were right all along.
    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      You were right all along.

      You don't know the half of it.

    • I would also like to take a moment to sincerely apologize to the tin foil hat crowd: I have made fun of you in the past, only now I am sorry I was too blind to really listen. You were right all along.

      Reminds me of my favorite Heinlein quote:

      "Being right too soon is socially unacceptable."

  • by scarboni888 (1122993) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:15AM (#44380601)

    And they want to be heard!

    Darnit.

  • I did my part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yevoc (1389497) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:15AM (#44380607)
    Now that we all know we're being surveilled, I can understand why others may not make similar posts, but I'm going to risk it and say it anyway. I read the previous slashdot article on the amendment. I immediately called my representative. He voted YES! Even if the ship sinks, I still feel very good about this moment. The system may be dysfunctional, but at least some of us are still doing the right thing. The worst thing we can do is succumb to despair. It may take some really tough times to happen, but we WILL eventually emerge on the other side with a better system. It's what life always manages to do, no matter how dark the times become.
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:16AM (#44380619)

    And let them know how you feel about it.
    http://politics.nytimes.com/congress/votes/113/house/1/412 [nytimes.com]

  • by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:16AM (#44380621) Journal

    This will never pass for one simple reason. The same people who have access to the information and can use these intimate details of someone's life for personal or political gain, are the same ones who are voting on the funding of the same program. Why would the government shut it down, when they can use this to blackmail anyone they want? If had access to all this information and was a sociopathic politician, I would NEVER give the program up.

    Remember the Petraeus scandal? Do you really think it was a coincidence that 1 month after Benghazi, the CIA director is found out to be having an affair? The United States is entering a phase known as the post-constitutional republic, where the rule of law is disregarded by the people who are "more equal than others". The Rule of Law offers no protection, because the same people who are supposed to enforce the law are the ones breaking the law.

    Fortunately, the Founding Fathers gave the American People two amendments which are their best attempt at protecting the people from the post-constitutional republic. The 1st, allowing the people to speak about what is happening. And the 2nd, allowing people to defend themselves from a tyrannical government. Once the 1st and 2nd Amendment have been 100% usurped, it is time to start learning Chinese.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:16AM (#44380627)

    217-205.

    My representative, who voted for crap like CISPA even voted against this.

    All that is needed is to change 7 votes.

  • Doesn't he usually oppose everything that involves spending money? Isn't he supposed to be the great champion of civil liberties and The American Way (TM)? Surely, we should be able to count on him to vote to defund the NSA, shouldn't we?
  • Next Election (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sahuxley (2617397) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:34AM (#44380895)
    I see 217 people that need to lose their jobs in the next election.
  • by denmarkw00t (892627) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @10:35AM (#44380911) Homepage Journal

    It would have been a great symbolic win, but the President would have vetoed it no question, and I doubt we could ever get a super majority, even if we could get it passed in the first place.

  • by deep44 (891922) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @12:24PM (#44382425)
    Our elected officials have failed us.
  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @12:59PM (#44382857)
    It's probably better the amendment didn't pass and give folks the idea the problem was taken care of.
  • by moeinvt (851793) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @02:10PM (#44383595)

    In one of Snowden's early public statements he said that one of his primary motivations was to inform the people of what the government was doing so that we could have a public discussion about it.

    Does anyone think this vote would have happened without his actions?

    In addition, ACLU has filed a new lawsuit against the NSA. An earlier lawsuit had been shot down on the grounds that they didn't have legal standing to sue because nobody could prove that they had been directly affected. Of course the proof could only come from government which refused to provide it. Now that we know more about what the NSA is doing, e.g. collecting data on ALL Verizon customers, the government might finally have to argue their case before a court and try to convince people that their actions are consistent with The Constitution.

    Cheers to Edward Snowden, William Binney and alll of the other whistleblowers who have risked so much to reveal government malfeasance.

  • As a Canadian (Score:4, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @02:22PM (#44383733) Homepage Journal

    As a Canadian I don't enjoy any protection from the spying because I'm not a Canadian citizen.

    So let me be amongst the many who say "Fuck the United States."

    This is precisely the kind of behaviour that leads to hatred of and terrorism against the US.

  • by boorack (1345877) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @03:16PM (#44384285)

    Congress rejected this bill "very narrowly" (205-217) with 12 abstains. They split themselves into good cops and bad cops almost evenly. How convenient...

    Something tells me this was carefully staged political reality show intended to convince people that they still have "some choice", yet it "didn't work out this time". Which is a big lie. They were all complicit in keeping NSA money flowing, they just chose among themselves who will act "good guy" and who will be "bad guy" in this episode.

    Once again, there is no functioning democracy in the US these days. US government has gone full retard with spying everyone everywhere, setting up inconvenient folks [facebook.com] and even killing inconvenient journalists [yahoo.com] with enough audacity to warn others that it can happen to them [youtube.com] (at least this is how I interpret Richard Clarke's statement).

    Your government chose to do bad, bad things that happen to be profitable for them and as their misconducts are becoming more and more blatant, they chose more and more opressions instead of less wrongdoings. Don't expect things to improve anytime soon, it's propably too late.

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone

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