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NSA Data Mining Much Larger Than Reported 863

silassewell writes to tell us The New York Times is reporting that the "volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged." The NSA gained the cooperation of many American telecommunication companies after 9/11 to access streams of communication, both domestic and international, as a part of a presidentially approved program to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity.
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NSA Data Mining Much Larger Than Reported

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:37PM (#14334303)
    Land of the Free indeed. :-)

    I wonder ... how much longer are you people going to be living in your comfortable plastic bubble, continuing to claim that the US of A is the greatest and freest country in the world?
  • by mozumder ( 178398 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:37PM (#14334304)
    Please work to make the system secure, even from government intrusion.

    Governments come and go.. no need to drag yourself into their mess.
  • by humphrm ( 18130 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:42PM (#14334322) Homepage
    Given the way accounting worked in the early 2000's in corporate America, it was probably "cooperate and we won't look very deeply into your books..."

    Democracy is indeed in sad shape now, but fortunately democracy only truly dies behind closed doors over a long period of time. Ultimately the 22nd Amendment fixes that problem.

    (The rest of you can go look it up on Google. :)
  • by BlackTriangle ( 581416 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:47PM (#14334333)
    BY DEFINITION, the United States is the land of the free

    They're brainwashed from birth, especially during the school years, towards this belief.

    It DOES NOT matter what the United States does, BY DEFINITION to them, it is the land of the free

    Doesn't matter how little privacy they have

    Doesn't matter how much power their government has

    Doesn't matter how unfair their government is

    Doesn't matter how many foreign people they kill

    Doesn't matter how they crush and oppress their opponents, even those with democratic aspirations, in other countries

    It DOES NOT MATTER to them. They DO NOT CARE.

    Get in their way, and you WILL be crushed. This is the American dream at work. To crush your enemies, laugh at their corpses, and then smugly eat your Christmas turkey and talk about how moral you are.

  • How to cope? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sglider ( 648795 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:50PM (#14334341) Homepage Journal
    How can we as the American people cope with a President that doesn't even acknowledge [] that what he's doing is illegial? How can we further cope with a Congress that hasn't already 'stopped the presses' by calling for immediate hearings on the matter? I don't mean hearings next week, or next month. I want hearings now. This is a grave threat to our liberties, and I want it addressed right now.

    Of course, this President speaks [] about 'freedom []', but does 'freedom' include not being able to openly discuss laws and policies []?

    Oh, and the 'fanboy' contingent that believes that civil liberties must be curtailed in a time of conflict need not reply, because I'm not listening, and I doubt [] Thomas Jefferson would listen to it either.
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:50PM (#14334345) Homepage Journal
    Yes, you, the voter. You've allowed this to happen in every vote you made for an authoritarian politician -- I can name ONE that has followed their oath (Dr. Ron Paul of Texas [] )

    The telecommunications companies are regulated by Congress, illegally and unconstitutionally. Communication is speech. Speech is an inherent right all humans share and can not be infringed by any government.

    You give them the power to regulate, they'll make it their power to control in their favor. Initially that favor is only financial -- take care of their nepotism and cronies. Eventually they turn to "help the needy" when the regulations for the needy really only help the monopolies they've created. In the end, the control is about power -- absolute power over the minions.

    Don't don the tinfoil hat, it isn't necessary. Just see that every empire has its day, and the ones most responsible are those who elected, not those who were elected.

    I vote only for myself -- each and every line of each and every ballot. In my mind, I win. I picked the candidate best suited to represent my family and I.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:53PM (#14334351)
    The problem with all these intelligence programs is the "mission creep" of where they start with what seems like a good cause then morph into being used against constitutionally protected forms of expression such as peaceful dissent and opposing viewpoints. When a program is sold as anti-terrorism in nature as its sole purpose and is given broad lattitude to push the edges of the constitution and elinimate checks-and-balances protections it is a sobering and serious grant of power we are giving one branch of the government. But when it quickly becomes another general-use law enforcement tool used in mundane investigations it is very troublesome and scary.

    The "I have nothing to hide" argument rings hollow when intense surveilance is used as a political weapon.

    Until such time as the administration and intelligence agencies can exercise some self-restraint and accountability I will view all these warrantless intrusions with intense suspicion.

    We are a country of laws based on a strong and unique constitution. I would like it to remain that way.
  • Sharks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:00PM (#14334369) Journal
    There have been thousands of shark attacks [] over the years. I propose that we install cameras and other surveillance equipment in your bathroom, to prevent more unnecessary carnage. If you actually mind having your privacy invaded, it's probably because you hate America and sympathize with the sharks. What are you hiding?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:02PM (#14334377)
    As long as you haven't done anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about.

    And as long as you don't walk funny or wear all one color. And don't celebrate "weird" holidays. And you probably shouldn't visit those weird porn sites or read some of those really liberal sites. And you should eat meat, at least every now and then. Don't be militant about the vegetarian thing, you know? And you really should have a regular job. If you have a lot of free time to go to protests and stuff like that, you might get in the wrong crowd. And probably French is a better choice to learn at that community college than Arabic. Yeah, I know you like the falafel, but don't buy so much of it okay? At least pay cash (but small amounts so you don't raise suspicion) And when you finish thumbing through those books (you know the ones I'm talking about) at the bookstore or library, put them back on the shelf, okay? Actually, why are you going to the library? You've got money to buy books. Only certain types of people go to the library. And, it's okay to criticize the president, with your friends, but no need to put that stuff on your blog, you know? How about an American flag on there? Whatever you think about Iraq, just talk about how you support the troops. Sure you can support the troops but not the war, but you gotta watch how you say it. And I don't mean on your cell phone. Just don't talk about politics on the cell. Yeah I know about your depression, just try to go outside as much as you can, just fake it, whatever, it's safer when they see you come and go more often. No, the tattoo should be of the flag, or a heart, or something. Makes it easier when you're searched. Remember to say "Merry Christmas". I know, I know, but it's just a couple words. Have you considered tossing a bible into your pack in case you're searched? You should take off those pins.. they give the wrong impression. And those electronics books, you're not in school, people might think you're making something you shouldn't. If somebody asks, tell them your TV is being repaired. I think you'd look better without the beard. It's just a suggestion.

    Just basically stay inside the bell curve, and you'll be fine!
  • Re:KGB (Score:4, Insightful)

    by harris s newman ( 714436 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:02PM (#14334378)
    George swore to uphold and protect the constitution of the USA. If he blatantly disregards law, he is in violation of his oath to be President. As such he should be impeached. Without an impeachment, the congress and supreme courts are giving up their power to the President, which would result in a dictatorship. I have already written my representatives the request to have an investigation into this issue, and hope others will follow my behavior.
  • Re: al-Qaida (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) * on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:12PM (#14334410)
    > Good thing to know that if downtown New York got bombed, and thousands of people died, nobody would want to know if someone was plotting another attack like that.

    Good to know that you don't think freedom is worth dying for.

    Too bad about all those who died for nothing over the centuries.

  • Re:al-Qaida (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kristoph ( 242780 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:13PM (#14334417)
    "Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security"....Benjamin Franklin

  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:15PM (#14334421) Homepage Journal
    That's not a funny joke, and it isn't limited to any particular country. The modification to make your telephone into a bugging device is actually quite trivial. In the absence of legal constraint, it is probably more reasonable to assume those techniques are being used as well.

    However, as regards the main topic, I've always worked from the premise that powers are abused. Therefore, I've always assumed that the power to tap email is probably being widely abused, and not just by the NSA. It's not the case that I'm doing anything of legitimate interest to legal authorities, but simply that I have an attitude of questioning authority, and they don't appreciate that.

    However, if I had any actual reason to be paranoid, then the situation would be very different, and I would obviously be much more discreet about what I put into my email. That's where you encounter the bogosity aspect of Dubya's claims of the necessity of this kind of illegal surveillance. Wannabe terrorists are not going to jeopardize their complicated plans by describing them in clear email. They aren't even going to expose their real communication channels. Insofar as they are going to use technical mechanisms at all, they are going to go out of their way to obfuscate both the message, the source, and the destination--all of which are trivially easy for anyone who is actually motivated to do so.

    No, there's only one aspect of this that has surprised me so far. That was when Dubya admitted he had done it. He obviously doesn't understand what "impeachable offense" means. He apparently thinks it is only related to a certain number of votes in Congress, but that's just the transient political status. What Dubya has confessed to doing is clearly a violation of the laws that he swore to defend.

  • by bstarrfield ( 761726 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:16PM (#14334426)

    This is probably one of the most important stories of the year... not to be too dramatic, but possibly the most important story in the last ten. The US government is conducting warrentless wiretaps on its citizens, collecting information in a vest unsupervised net.

    This news came to the fore the day before Christmas. And folks, it's on Slashdot Christmas Eve. How many people are paying attention to this? The New York Times is already in hot water for holding the initial story for a year. Now more and more facts are coming out, during a time when few people watch the news, Congress is out of session, and the president and his staff can be on vacation. It's on Slashdot, and I'm checking Slashdot as I'm watching Red Sleigh Down (South Park) on Comedy Central... how many Slashdot readers are looking at the site? No offesnse to the rest of the worl...

    Jesus, this story may damn well disappear into the *void that's American political memory.

    People, I pray that this story - the Orwellian degradation of our liberties, the expansion of the police state, the emergence of fascism as corporations and security institutions work together - does not fade away. Write your congressional representatives, write the paper, bug your friends and family, but don't ignore this issue.

    We've got to make

  • by sadler121 ( 735320 ) <> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:16PM (#14334428) Homepage
    The 22nd Amendment was a horriable amendment, it now makes the president unaccountable in his second term. REPEAL the 22nd Amendment, do NOT praise it. If the 22nd Amendment wasn't there, we might very well still have Clinton in office (would rather have Slick Willy in office then Dubya), hell, Regan could have had another term, that wouldn't have been so bad ether...
  • by Jesus 2.0 ( 701858 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:20PM (#14334437)
    What's the big deal. If you are doing nothing wrong who cares. If the president or the NSA wants to listen to me talk about my problems on the internet or on the telephone, with my friends and family, then have at it, maybe they have some good advice that can help me. If they can't help me, then maybe the least they have done is saved me, my wife, my kids, and everyone else from getting hurt and retain our right to bitch them out over everything they do.

    My civil liberties are not yours to give away, you spineless unamerican coward.

    In the words of Samuel Adams, "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
  • Re:al-Qaida (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ichin4 ( 878990 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:20PM (#14334442)

    The problem with the "After 9/11, everything is different" justification is that it admits no limits. Tell me, after 9/11, is there any civil liberty that you are not willing to sacrifice?

    Holding thousands of people indefinitely, without charge and without any judicial review? After 9/11, everything is different.

    Torturing hundreds of suspects, and outsourcing the torture of hundreds more? After 9/11, everything is different.

    Continuous monitoring and data-mining of essentially all communications? After 9/11, everything is different.

    Individually tracking the movement, communication, and transactions of every person in the U.S. After 9/11, everything is different.

    Keeping Americans in the dark about the details and sometimes even the existence of these actions being performed in their names? After 9/11, everything is different.

  • Re:How to cope? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Amiga Trombone ( 592952 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:26PM (#14334460)
    Of course, this President speaks about 'freedom', but does 'freedom' include not being able to openly discuss laws and policies?

    Of course not. Every time I hear this president use the word "freedom", it's in conjunction with a military invasion of another country.

    It's not a product intended for domestic consumption.
  • by MrSnivvel ( 210105 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:37PM (#14334490) Homepage

    And it has been around and known about for some time. Talk about late breaking news.

    Here are a couple of links about it. Hell, one of them is from Wikipedia...

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:38PM (#14334491)
    "The telecommunications companies are regulated by Congress, illegally and unconstitutionally."

    Selling time on a copper wire is commerce. If the wires used cross state lines, it's interstate commerce. Sounds consitutional to me.

    "Communication is speech."

    But communications mediums aren't. So long as they're not, say, giving different treatment to different communcations based on sender, recipient and/or content (e. g. by setting up the two-tiered Internet you're so vocally in favor of, which makes one doubt your commitmentment to your statements on free speech), the First Amendment doesn't touch on this.

    Communications aren't blocked or otherwise hindered; if the NSA did that, the "terrorists" would know they've been made. This isn't a First Amendment issue, it's a Fourth Amendment one.

    "Just see that every empire has its day, and the ones most responsible are those who elected, not those who were elected."

    So you're insisting the chicken came before the egg? How are unhappy voters supposed to oust politicians in districts that are jerrymandered into being uncompetitive?

    "I picked the candidate best suited to represent my family and I."

    Nobody else can speak for you, but you can speak for other members of your family? Do you make sure your wife also puts you down on her ballot?
  • by Stalyn ( 662 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:42PM (#14334502) Homepage Journal
    I'm not a cryptanalyst nor do I know much about cryptography however the logical choice for the NSA would be to sniff out heavily encrypted messages between domestic and foreign sources. The idea of plain-text dictionary search just seems too obvious. Rather look for encrypted traffic between say Saudi Arabia and some location inside the US. Then either attack the sources and compromise their machines or brute-force their encryption to see what they are talking about. I mean these people use cellphone detonator bombs so I would assume they are smart enough to at least PGP their emails.

    I'm sure 99% of what they break is not relevant to "terrorism" but they keep it anyway.
  • by yog ( 19073 ) * on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:45PM (#14334509) Homepage Journal
    All the America-bashers and Bush-bashers come out of the closet yet again to rant about how "America is not free" and similar slogans, without addressing the actual topic.

    Does no one on the Slashdot forum wish to discuss the national security issues which are behind the wiretapping, not to mention that other "scandal" regarding testing for radioactivity around Moslem sites?

    I do not favor giving up any of my rights unless there is a clear benefit and a timetable for restoring those rights. That's why I support the temporary extension of the Patriot Act rather than the permanent extension advocated by the Bush administration.

    Suppose someone out there is trying to smuggle a Soviet-era warhead into a major U.S. city. This scenario is probably realistic, given that the Russians have not accounted for all of their warheads and other nuclear material, not to mention the fanaticism and determination of the Muslim extremists. This is not a theoretical threat but a real one; if they *could* kill millions of people here, they *would*.

    Given this scenario, is it really so terrible and wrong and evil for the NSA to be using wiretapping and internet-tapping to try to gather intelligence? That seems rather mild by comparison to the catastrophe described above. Would you prefer to wait politely until some container ship floats into New York Harbor and takes away three million lives? Not me; I would rather be prepared and knowledgeable (and alive).

    That said, the major issue is that the U.S. intelligence community is not the world's best, and probably doesn't get the support it needs to do a first class job. Probably it can't, in such an open society. Israel's intelligence is probably the world's best and I have no idea how they do it, but if we get another warning about a 9/11-like attack from them I sure as hell hope we listen this time.

    The Bush Administration has made its share of blunders and I would like to see them cooperating a little more with Congress and friendly governments; Bush and his team have a go-it-alone attitude which was satisfying in the dark days after 9/11/2001 but which just doesn't work in the long term.

    Yes, anonymous coward, the U.S. is not a perfect country, but I doubt yours is either, wherever that may be. We have made mistakes, and no doubt we'll make plenty more. But we've also done great things and we're still groping and stumbling our way toward a better society and a more peaceful world.
  • by porkThreeWays ( 895269 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:46PM (#14334513)
    I'm an American. A young one at that (22). I grew up under Regan, Bush, and Clinton. During those 3 administrations I had pride in my country. Yeah, there were scandals and scuffs and this and that, but over all I still had pride in my country. Then came 9/11...

    It makes me so made that so many people died in 9/11 for nothing. I think if most of them saw the chain of events that happened after that it would make them sick. This administration has used their deaths to propel their agenda forward. If you oppose them, you are un-american (or so they'd have you believe). It's possibly the sickest thing I've ever seen. This whole administration is on the same level as Hitler. The fact they can send countless troops not only to their deaths, but many injured and may never walk or see or live a normal life again. It's just sick.

    They have undone 100 years of privacy laws in just a few short years in the name of "terrorism". Terrorism is like the fucking boogie man in this country. Completely intangable, yet we are being forced by Bush's regime to be constantly scared of it. Before 9/11 terrorism in this country was neglable. Since then, we've had no major attacks in this country. Yet I've had all my rights stripped because of this "threat" that has affect so few people personally. More people will die by morning of heart disease than 9/11 and the Iraq war combined (American deaths). Our priorties are all fucked up.

    The 24 hour news channels don't help. They scare everyone into thinking there's something to be afraid of. THERE ISN'T. Be afriad of dying because you don't take care of your body. Be afriad of dying in your SUV because of a rollover. Be afraid of dying from getting AIDS from unprotected sex. Don't be afriad of dying from terrorism.

    We are all dying a slow death anyway. Is living in this made up state of fear constantly really living? I sure as hell don't think it is. Our forefathers gave their lives for what? For an administration to come along and undo hundreds of years of work in an instant?

    Fuck you bush adminstration for scaring people. Fuck you 24 hour news channels for spreading the bullshit scare tactics. Fuck you Americans who lie back on your sofa being manipulated by these assholes.

    Bush is the real terrorist, and he's already won.
  • by runcible ( 306937 ) <runcible AT headnet DOT com> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:47PM (#14334515)
    The NSA does wholesale surveillance while the FBI does retail, so to speak. Is a wholesale surveillance organization going to be applied to like 500 people or whatever the original number was? C'mon, they could have used the FBI for that. Eschelon only really has value when you let it hoover as much data as it wants ...
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:49PM (#14334528)
    Remember when the idea of being able to go to a secret court, rather than an open court, to get a warrant was shocking?

    Now, we uphold the secret court as a just alternative to what the President is actually doing.
  • by AsiNisiMasa ( 910721 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:50PM (#14334530) Homepage
    He obviously doesn't understand what "impeachable offense" means.

    I think he (or his advisors) looked back at what happened to Nixon and realized that a coverup would be a bad move in the long run.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:51PM (#14334537) Homepage Journal
    "Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice"
    - Proverbs 16:8

    I have been told that the Hebrew word that is usually translated as "righteousness" has another, overlooked sense: "objectivity". It is one thing to say, for example, that giving alms to the poor is righteous. However what makes charity righteous is that objectively the needs of others sometimes exceeds their resources, while at the same time our resources may exceed our needs. The "unrighteous" handles the misfortunes of the needy through wishful thinking: they must be unlucky because they are bad. Indeed, it would be a wonderful world where the good are rich and the wicked are poor. However, a righteous person lives in the world as it is not as he wishes it to be.

    When I was young, we were taught that as part of our baptismal vows we had to "reject the glamour of evil." This is a curious choice of words. "Glamour" is an archaic English word which means a kind of magical illusion. It's saying the same thing: to live righteously, we must reject illusion that the world is place where good served by our indulging our infantile and selfish impulses.

    We most commonly act unrighteously out of unjustified fear. Fear of death and misfortune. What makes the fear unjustified is that objectively speaking these things inevitably must come to us. It is not our choice. But objectively it is our choice to live in freedom. Therefore what we should fear most is the loss of liberty.

    It's not that what the Bush adminstration is doing is wrong. Indeed the kind of analysis described in this article is very important in detecting an imminent terrorist attack. No, the problem is that they wish to do it outside any form of accountability. No man, and for that matter no government, can be righteous if he is not accountable to somebody who will look at his deeds with an independent and critical eye. It's not possible. That's why when we say somebody is "self-righteous", we of course understand that this means they are not righteous at all. "Self-righteous" means they're only righteous from their own self-serving point of view, a point of view that could not survive objective scrutiny.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:02AM (#14334577)
    Since 911, there hasn't been another.

    There have probably been nefarious terrorist plots throughout history. The "plot to cause large-scale death and terror" is a staple theme of Saturday-morning cartoons and Hollywood action movies. 9/11 didn't start it all. Surely there were always those who were more serious about it.

    Based on that, it could be more reasonable to point out that since World War II, large-scale foreign attacks on US soil were always foiled...until the GW Bush administration.
  • by publius_jr ( 808330 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:02AM (#14334579)
    Repeal 22 now, with a rush.
    Long live our king, the dumb King Bush!
  • by morcego ( 260031 ) * on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:06AM (#14334588)
    Humm, we didn't have any terrorists attack in Brazil since 9/11 either, but that doesn't mean it is because of the NSA actions.

    Do you know of any attack attempt that was stopped by NSA, Homeland Security or any of the other agencies ? Isn't it just as possible that the terrorists are not trying to attack the USA, maybe because the current state of terror is just what they wanted ?

    I mean, considering how important popular support is for a government, it is to be expected the moment they actually stopped an attack, they would brag about it, so I don't buy the "oh, they did stop, but it is a big secret" talk.
  • by Jesus 2.0 ( 701858 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:11AM (#14334608)
    Nothing wrong was done.


    Pick up a "Dummies Guide to American Government" so that you can understand that the President just doesn't launch secret programs without anyone else knowing about it.

    Point out the page on which "Dummies Guide to American Government" says that the President can order warrantless spying on Americans.

    Stop skimming the headlines of articles and don't get stuck in that "read once, repeat many" syndrome. Do the research. It's not like this is the first time a program like this was launched.

    Name another time that the President has ordered warrantless spying on Americans.

    When did slashdot become so Anti-American?

    When did defending the Bill of Rights become anti-American?

    How many of our operative's identities were uncovered and made public by the news media?

    I don't know, how many? And what does that have to do with the fact that the President has ordered warrantless spying on Americans?

    No one seems to be shouting TREASON and yet when SUPPORT is there for the president to use any means possible to find terrorists some people want to help the terrorists instead.

    Explain to me how not getting a warrant helps the terrorists. While doing so, keep in mind that the law allows you t retroactively get a warrant up to 72 hours after spying is initiated.

    Strange. I guess you just have to lose someone in a building due to a terrorist attack to appreciate what this administration is doing for you.

    To appreciate direct and unabashed violation of the Fourth Amendment? I'm afraid it will take a lot more than that for me to appreciate it.

    Stop saying that America is not Free and is such a "Horrible" place to live in.

    Exactly where did I say what you quote me as saying there?

    Are you nuts? Have you been outside of the US lately and I don't mean some layover between flights? It's crazy out there. Take a walk in your local park and be grateful that you don't have to dodge bullets or worry about your 5 year old daughter being raped.

    Explain to me exactly what my five year old daughter being raped has to do with the President ordering warrantless spying on Americans.

    Most importantly, if you decide to use your wonderful freedom of free speech, use it wisely. Don't spew forth nonsense. Sheep are stupid.

    They sure are.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:12AM (#14334612) []

    a. You support Bush in whatever he wants to do ...or...
    b. You are supporting the terrorists!

    At Bush's inauguration, he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution says NOTHING about suspending ANY rights or portions of the Constitution just because the President says to.
  • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@ringofsatur n . c om> on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:20AM (#14334633) Homepage
    So does the anti-tiger rock in my pocket. I haven't been attacked by tigers since I started carrying it!

    If our security forces aren't accountable to us, how do we know whether they're doing what we want them to do?
  • Boiling this down. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:20AM (#14334634) Journal
    In other words, they didn't just tap the phones of a few people.

    They invaded the privacy of EVERY person in the country.

    Rather than provide leadership and encourage us to cooperate with each other as a society, they've chosen the route of paranoia, secrecy, and tyranny.
  • Re:Use what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by laughingcoyote ( 762272 ) <barghesthowl&excite,com> on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:42AM (#14334702) Journal

    well... are you really trying to hide something from the government? i mean, i have a healthy paranoia but it's not of the federal government, it of corperations and scam artists. seriously, what do you have to hide?

    Don't tell me someone is spewing that garbage again. Oh, someone is. Don't we learn anything? Ever?

    What do I have to hide? The details of my private life. Period. Whether or not I'm doing anything illegal, I don't want a camera in my living room, nor my bedroom, nor my bathroom. If the police can develop probable cause to believe I've committed a crime, and need to search one of those rooms, or all of them, they can go before a judge, get a warrant, and search away. But until then, they can stay out.

    Same applies to your communications. Would you be entirely comfortable with your speech over the phone if you knew someone was always listening? I don't want someone tapping into my phones. Once again, if they'd like to go get a warrant, tap away-and until then, stay out.

    "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" has been used by totalitarian regimes to justify their actions this world over. And yet, it keeps on getting said, by people just like you.

    How about we turn that around? The US government is supposed to work in a means that is as transparent as possible to the American people, as it should be. If they've got nothing to hide, they can quit taking so damn many of their actions in secret. They can tell us why hundreds of people are detained without a trial at one of our military bases. They can tell us why they're intercepting communications without telling us-and surely, they can tell us what good that's done so far.

    After all, if they've got nothing to hide, they've got nothing to fear from us having a look.

  • Re:How to cope? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Liam Slider ( 908600 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:45AM (#14334714)

    It's not just the left that's pissed off at this you twit. Many in Bush's own party are outraged over this. And then there are those of us who are not right-wing or left-wing. We're pissed off too. Most of the People, period, are just plain angry. President Bush has very strongly violated the Constitution, and stated that he will do so again and again, that there is nothing wrong with it, and that he can basically do whatever he fucking feels like because he's the President and the country is "under threat."

    That, my friend, is how dictators get started. Forget impeachment, we should try him for treason against the American People in a court of law and have him executed when found guilty. He has overstepped that much.

  • by Derling Whirvish ( 636322 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:46AM (#14334718) Journal
    Remember this guy doesn't answer to the voter

    He answered to the voters in 2004 (though apparantly not to you -- remember that you are not everybody) and the voters told him to keep doing what he was doing for another four years. In 2008, you can decide who you want to run the next four years. You are not five years old anymore. All the cookies are not for you.

  • by Liam Slider ( 908600 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:47AM (#14334720)
    You mean when you commit the crime of perjury in a court of law, on an issue very relevant to the case.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:49AM (#14334729)
    Does anyone remember what happened Sept 11, 2001?
    Yep. Terrorists flew airplanes into buildings killing 3,000+ US civilians. What do you remember?

    Yeah, there has been a lot of "unauthorized" spying, but it looks to be pretty specific (e.g., Mosques... where large Muslim populations ostensibly would have privacy to worship).
    So ... unauthorized spying is okay with you ... as long as you aren't the one being spied upon?

    First they came for the ...
    You know the rest.

    The United States was attacked and continues to be targeted for major future terror attacks.
    More people die on the highways than have ever been killed by terrorists in ANY year in the US.

    And, like it or not, the community most likely to cultivate, plan, and escalate this activity is Muslim.
    No. You're confusing the part for the whole.

    Because the terrorists were Muslims ...
    Does not make Muslims terrorists.

    Many people have cats as pets ...
    But not everyone who has a pet has a cat.

    And, a country so viciously attacked would be naive, maybe even stupid to allow unfettered large gatherings where this planning could go on with no observation.
    You are taking your previous logical fallacy and extending it to contradict one of our basic rights in our Constitution.

    I cringe to think spying may go on, and may be necessary, but it isn't the same world as five years ago.
    Actually, it is exactly the same as it was 5 years ago. The only difference is that YOU have had certain items forcibly displayed to YOU.

    Israel has had to deal with suicide bombers for years longer.

    As for those complaining about the abridgement of their rights and rampant government interference I would ask you, have you or anyone you know observed or experienced serious interference in your life (lives)?
    Yes. I know Muslims who have been threatened by overzealous "patriots" here.

    I haven't, and I don't know anyone who has.
    That's great. You might want to re-read the bit I wrote about how it is YOU who hasn't seen things that have existed for others for years.

    I may not be happy the world is a bit more wrapped around the axle these days, but I am happy to live in a country that has enough freedom that you can print the president's face on toilet paper.
    That's great. Meaningless, but great.

    When members of Congress cannot even discuss the meetings the President calls with their lawyers ... that's okay as long as I can buy toilet paper.

    I think you're a little bit confused about "freedom".
  • Let's be real here (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NixLuver ( 693391 ) <> on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:50AM (#14334731) Homepage Journal
    There's a lot of legalistic horseshit flowing back and forth over this entire brouhaha, but it's a fairly simple thing to analyze. Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams, et al, would have supported a strong personal right to privacy if they were alive today to discuss it for the same reason that they supported the second amendment. The second amendment was written in so that the people would be able to defend themselves from their own government. Private communication would be protected *for the same reason*, and no other.
  • by mordors9 ( 665662 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @12:56AM (#14334753)
    This was modded insightful. Let's see you were proud of your country during the Reagan years.... you were born in 1984... so you were conscious of such things before age 5 (Reagan was out in Jan 89). Of course the people murdered in the World Trade Center died for nothing. Terrorists killed them. They weren't warriors fighting for their some reason on the battlefield. They were ordinary citizens going about their business when they were killed for little if any good reason. They were killed because we support Israel's right to exist. You can throw in some other reaons, they don't like the fact that we are sinful, exporting our evil ways through out the world. But the main reason is Palestine. None of this was Bush's agenda prior to 9/11. He had little if any interest in foreign policy. He wanted to work on domestic issues. Remember his first goal was to work with Teddy Kennedy to solve education. The Patriot Act passed with bipartisan support and the vast majority of the American people supported it. You say you have had "all your rights stripped". Unless you are in a prison camp somewhere this statement is simply moronic. What can't you do now that you could before? This constant refrain that this is like Hitler is a bit insulting to the victimes of the Holocaust, it seems to me. I hadn't seen 6-7 million of our countrymen being rounded up and burned to death because of their religion. Oh but you might have had you bag checked at the airport, BFD. You want to compare that to being burned in an oven. There was no terrorism prior to 9/11? They tried to blow it up 10 years before remember. Then we had the incident at Okalahoma City. I think a Google search could instruct you on several others. Not to mention the ones outside our borders (USS Cole, the African Embassies,.....) As we have discovered, most administrations have played fast and loose with the rules. Is Bush's worse than some others, perhaps. But can you compare it with Clinton and Reno's adventures in sending in the storm troopers to burn up women and children at Waco, Ruby Ridge, the "rescue" of Elian Gonzalez to return him to Cuba after his Mother gave her life to get him here. Well I guess I will give it up now. I am sure by now you are insightful +5 and this is headed to troll or flamebait.
  • by FireballX301 ( 766274 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @01:00AM (#14334761) Journal
    The Preamble, and thus mission statement, of the Constitution of the Government of the United States of America, is as follows, emphasis mine.

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Actions taken by the current government undermine this mission statement and, on that line of reasoning, are not American.

    It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that YOUR liberties are maintained. Not the states, not your nanny, YOU. Simply because you cannot defend your rights without the approval of the government doesn't mean we must surrender our rights as such. Such is one of the problems with majoritarian rule - people raised to think such as the parent, may soon form the majority. A great example would be Nazi Germany after Hitler was appointed Chancellor.

    I doubt very much that people who claim to 'hate America' hate the system of government. Rather, they hate the government that is currently in place due to it's UNAMERICAN breaches of liberty. Telling them simply to leave the country rather than attempt to improve upon it in their eyes is anti-democratic and, again, unamerican.

    And on a final note, just because things 'balance out' in the end doesn't mean the people who were arrested, had their basic human rights removed, and otherwise got the losing side of the stick were given justice.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Sunday December 25, 2005 @01:03AM (#14334778)
    Since you're acting as one, why not one more?
    If you were shouting across the street about your plans and a cop overhears it, its fair game. The same goes for Cellphones or any kind of transmission over radio. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy.
    But ... if tapping a phone is the same as listening to someone shouting something across the street ... why do the cops need warrants for phone taps at all?

    Why was a secret court setup to approve those warrants specifically for the government?
  • by keraneuology ( 760918 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @01:15AM (#14334817) Journal
    If you were shouting across the street about your plans and a cop overhears it, its fair game. The same goes for Cellphones or any kind of transmission over radio. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

    Incorrect. The standard by which "shouting across the street" is not afforded a reasonable expectation of privacy clearly does not apply when considering the prohibition of using a scanner to intercept cellular communications. As written in Bartnicki v. Vopper the US Supreme Court recognizes that US Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 119 is valid:

    any person who:
    (a)intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication;

    (yadda yadda yadda... you can read the rest for yourself).

    The interception of a cellular communication is, in fact, subject to a warrant specifically because it is designed and intended to be used as person-to-person communications unless specifically used otherwise - dialing into a group party line, for example.

    Heres a little conundrum to go with this debate. Its also been revealed that administration has authorized the monitoring of mosques, homes of foreign nationals, homes of americans with terrorist connections, and other possible targets for radiation associated with a nuclear weapon. No break ins, no entering the property, just passive radiation detection. How should the 4th ammendment relate to this.

    I have no objections: in my book parking across the street with a geiger counter does not reasonably constitute a search; furthermore it is a reasonable and expected function of the government to monitor air quality. This is entirely different than the use of thermal imaging which was used to detect grow-lights within residential homes: a practice which was prudently struck down by the Supreme Court (a rare correct decision).

  • by Keith McClary ( 14340 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @01:20AM (#14334827)
    Further the right of the people extends to the citizens of the united states, not citizens of other nations or foreign agents operating on U.S. soil.

    You say that non-citizens such as people with immigrant status, foreign students or workers or tourists do not have these rights? Please give us the benefit of your Judicial wisdom. I don't think that the US or most Western countries have a separate body of law for legally resident non-citizens.
  • by nbahi15 ( 163501 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @01:22AM (#14334835) Homepage

    In this country, with two choices for president, can anything really be decided by election with such low voter turnout? Maybe what the voters said was "None of the above."

  • This sort of large scale analysis of interpersonal communications is exactly what the European Parliament has just passed into law []. The Bush Administration may actually be doing it, but at least they're keeping it secret and pretending they aren't. At least they know it's shameful and immoral, and counter to the ideals of a free society.

  • Re:Modern USA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kpharmer ( 452893 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @01:37AM (#14334883)
    > Sure, Bush has shown he's capable of seriously overstepping his bounds, raping the Constitution,
    > and being a very naughty boy who needs to be punished....but the Democrats hardly had a Utopia going.

    What? Almost all of your points are crazy-rush-limbaugh talking points:
        - economy? it was great under clinton
        - nanny state? guess what? FEMA actually worked under Clinton
        - foreign adventures? guess what? Clinton was given no flexibility in trying to stop genocide by
          the far right (who attacked him relentlessly). And was generally successful.
        - wako? so a couple of hundred died accidently - that was a shame. but also a tiny incident.
        - perjury? first off, what kind of people would have even asked that question? secondly,
          it's a shame that clinton didn't just say "fuck you", third, besides Hillary and some crotch-obsessed
          conservatives nobody else really gives a damn.

    So, aside from Hillary and the wacko cult everyone else did great. Now compare that to:
        - 30k-100k dead in Iraq, unknown numbers of injured
        - 2k dead, 20k+ injured americans in Iraq
        - a completely ruined reputation with the rest of the world
        - *unknown* numbers of people arrested for being terrorists then sent to secret detention centers to be tortured!
        - billions of dollars wasted on a war that will undoubtably be lost in the end
        - loss of civil rights for americans
        - destruction of previously well-run government departments (FEMA, etc)
        - insane tax-cutting and defense spending that has resulted in a federal deficit being financed by the chinese
        - willfully breaking the congressional legislation that requires congressional approval for wiretaping. Then lying about it. Several times.

    The conservatives in the US were very hot to impeach Clinton over that blowjob. Now, what about an impeachment over something that *really* affects our lives?
  • Re:Use what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by laughingcoyote ( 762272 ) <barghesthowl&excite,com> on Sunday December 25, 2005 @01:39AM (#14334890) Journal

    im just saying that i dont think the government would be interested in what you have to say to your friends and family.

    Then they shouldn't be monitoring it. There, isn't that simple?

    as for the totalitarians, the difference there is that if you say something about the government they come and take you away to God knows where and do God knows what to you.

    Eventually, yes. But generally at the beginning, they find a way to get the monitoring apparatus into place, and convince you that it's for your own good, and that you have nothing to fear from it.

    personally, i dont care if they know that i talk about stuff with my brother even when i bash the cops for being bastards for thier rediculous traffic ticketing tactics.

    Don't care about your privacy? Let's see if you do or not. Thus far, no one's answered this challenge, let's see if you'll be the first.

    In your next post, please include: Your real name, your home and work/school physical address, your home, work/school, and cell phone numbers, all email addresses you use (with no obfuscation), all instant messenger or other communications you use, a link to a recent photograph of yourself, and the license numbers of all vehicles you own.

    If you just found the thought of posting all that information to strangers profoundly uncomfortable-then you value your privacy, even though you ridicule others who do. If not, come on then, prove it.

    too be fair, they have caught a bunch of terrorists and not just alleged ones, ones tried in public courts.

    Really? They've been remarkably silent about it. Let's see a link to a case where a suspect tried in a real court was caught using the PATRIOT Act?

    as for secrecy around detentions, do you think they want to draw attention to their arrests and (possibly) alert their terrorist buddies?

    Don't know-and don't care. Secret detention without charge, counsel, or trial is illegal-regardless of what the detainer does or does not want to do.

    it has done good so far, terrorists are on the run now. overall though, i think you are being a little arrogant to think they would want to monitor you.

    "A little arrogant"? Then let me ask you, smart guy-I'm "arrogant" to believe they want to monitor massive volumes of communication, when you JUST SAW a press report that that's exactly what they're doing? I don't know if they're monitoring -me- specifically, and again, I don't really care. They shouldn't be monitoring any US citizen without a warrant. Ever. Period.

  • by SpaceLifeForm ( 228190 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @02:06AM (#14334962)
    You got it. The current disruption to the U.S. is exactly what the "terrorists" wanted. There is only the need to wait and see if the bush administration can fuck up things even worse.

    However, if TPTB are controlling both the government and the terrorists, then what has happened so far is what I would expect - No further "attacks".

    There is no reason for further attacks because the bush administration is doing a fine job at screwing up the U.S., by doing whatever they want, like ignoring the law for example.

    No further attacks unless they need to scare and confuse the U.S. Congress into doing something really stupid, like making the Patriot act permanent.

    So, if the U.S. Congress fails to make it permanent, then there will likely be some kind of terrorist "event", just to scare everyone and see if they can get congress to panic. Then bush will go around blaming the lack of the act as to why the "terrorist event" was able to occur, and to put the pressure on congress to reconsider. Most people would not see the fallacy in that argument.

    Instead of extending the Patriot act, they should concentrate on the bush administration.

    There are clues there that will lead to the "terrorists".

    It is no surprise that Bin Laden has not been caught, they may need him again to scare congress.

  • Re:CLINTONIAN SEX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Liam Slider ( 908600 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @02:20AM (#14335017)
    True, but he lied about it to a judge, which is a crime.
    They asked him it during a sexual harrassment trial...where his sexual history, particularly his on the fucking job sexual history is actually relevant to the other words, they actually had a right to ask him. Hell, they had a legal obligation to ask him that question. And he lied, under oath, in court, which is a criminal offense. Quite a serious one.
  • by Keith McClary ( 14340 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @02:29AM (#14335042)
    Wow, now that is a serious new conspiracy theory: The terrs had inside help, from as high as the White House itself.

    Hmmm, I am a little bit more of a realist than that - don't think so - infinitely improbable - but a nice conspiracy theory, worthy of the super market tabloids...

    It's pretty clear that the NeoCons were hoping for some kind of incident that would give them public support for their "New American Century" plan. Warnings about potential threats were ignored or suppressed. They probably didn't anticipate anything of the magnitude of 9/11, but once it happened, they took the ball and ran.
  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @02:31AM (#14335046) Homepage
    free speech is only one civil liberty. In fact, it's such a minor one

    You may think it's a minor one, but that doesn't make it so. Without the right to free speech we would have no (legal) way to organize, document government abuses, or hold politicians accountable for their actions. In short, free speech is what makes all of the other freedoms enforceable, and is therefore one of the most important of our civil liberties.

  • by phalse phace ( 454635 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @03:02AM (#14335113)
    Oh, I don't know... Maybe the Fourth Amendment [] to the Constitution?

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • by Reality Master 201 ( 578873 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @03:18AM (#14335150) Journal
    First, let's just note that the program caught ENTIRELY DOMESTIC communications [].

    Second, stop beating the shit out of that straw man. Nobody is saying that the government isn't or shouldn't be wiretapping. We have laws, however, that govern how it's done. Those weren't followed. That's against the law.

    The rest of your post is just a bunch of crap to distract from what utter bullshit the premise is and how intellectually dishonest you are.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) * on Sunday December 25, 2005 @03:58AM (#14335244)
    > In short, there's absolutely nothing anybody can do about him. There are no effective safeguards and no meaningful counterbalances for this kind of situation.

    There's a weak check on it in the form of next year's congressional elections. Most of the legislature is up for re-election, and legislators need to CTA with the local voters. So for the past few months Republican legislators have been increasingly willing to break ranks with a president who much of the public sees as having gone too far. Look at how poorly the legislature supported the administration's agenda this past week.

    OTOH, Bush's ratings are on the rebound; it seems that Americans are quicker to be outraged by high gasoline prices than by a government that has run off the rails.

    On the third hand, I don't think there have been any new polls since the privacy invasions became front-page news, so maybe it's too soon to write off the US public. There have been several revelations in the past 10 days or so: the Pentagon is spying on such "threatening" peace groups as the Quakers, NSA is spying on citizens, and just yesterday word came out that someone has been sniffing mosques and other Muslim meeting places for radation. The next opinion poll should tell us whether the public cares about invasions of privacy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 25, 2005 @04:07AM (#14335267)
    "The USA has undisputed military dominance over the rest of the world. We spend way more, we have way more nukes, we are better at killing than any other country on Earth. This means we are in a better position to stop killing."

    Best idea ever. The only people that can stand up to a military like ours are people who hate us so much that they will undertake suicide attacks. So if we could just stop pissing people off that badly... we'd be as safe as anyone is ever going to get in this world. So let's start by... oh I don't know... not sponsoring terrorism in their countries, and not sponsoring the downfall of their governments, and not arming their warlords, and not interfering in their economies, and not taking sides in their wars, and not supporting their 2000-year-old religious enemies (cough, ISRAEL, cough).
  • by pinkocommie ( 696223 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @05:34AM (#14335382)
    A particularly poignant adage "People get the government they deserve" and another "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance"
  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @05:37AM (#14335392) Homepage Journal
    Are you trying to write a parody there? What you are describing is called "the Press", and they still have the legal requirements to do the job you described. What is lacking now is the will. Or if you prefer to look at it from the other perspective, they have simply sold their souls for convenience and a bit of job security.
  • Re:CLINTONIAN SEX (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zeno_2 ( 518291 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @06:36AM (#14335464)
    I read a bumper sticker the other day... "When Clinton Lied, Nobody Died"

    Sums it up nicely i think.
  • by CaymanIslandCarpedie ( 868408 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @08:34AM (#14335650) Journal
    I'd love to believe the US system of government had enough checks and balances

    Yeah, it was designed that way but over the years a two-party system has arisen that tends to remove many of those checks and balances. Here [] is a quote from George Washington about ANY party system (let alone a two party system). Give it a read its amazing how topical it is today and how he seemed to have an amazing grasp on what would happen.

    Sadly, today if the same party controls both congress and executive there is effectivly no checks and balances and when each of the branches is controled by a different party the partisanship means nothing really gets done except finger pointing (though the second is better I guess).

    Now not to say better/worse or should/shouldn't but it certainly isn't comforting to me that when congress and president were differnt parties the president was impeached basically for getting a blow job and now when they are the same party it isn't even discussed in the face of domestic spying, setting aside Geneva convetions, unlimited imprisionment without charges, torture, pre-emptive wars, etc, etc.

    Obviously, "activist judge" is a dirty word today but I'm a HUGE fan of this. Almost anything the courts do can be undone by the other branches, but when one party controls both other branches the judicuary is the last chance we have for checks and balances. So I say give me more activist judges! They are required to maintain any checks and balances in our current situation. If judges get out of hand, congress can pass new laws on those points to over-ride the judges but that requires passing those laws (bringing whatever topic it is out in the open for discussion and actually having to put thier names down as voting for it).
  • by Derling Whirvish ( 636322 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @02:28PM (#14336481) Journal
    If there had been a complete statewide recount, we'd have a differenet president today.

    And if Santa Claus were real I'd have a lot more presents under the tree today. "Ifs" mean nothing. No one asked for a "complete statewide recount" at the time. Gore only asked for a recount in heavily Democrat-controlled districts, a scenario under which he would have lost even had he had his way in the court. Woulda-shoulda-coulda.

  • by Just Another Perl Ha ( 7483 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @03:24PM (#14336662) Journal
    Yeah... right...

    If the NYT were the bastion of liberal danger that you believe them to be, they would have published this story back when they first got ahold of it... last year BEFORE the election.

    No... the NYT editors are quite complicit in this whole deal.
  • by Gooba42 ( 603597 ) <> on Monday December 26, 2005 @01:54AM (#14338454)
    My intention was to highlight the ideals we purportedly follow. The 14th amendment as quoted says "citizens" a much more specific term which limits the scope markedly from what the Declaration set out for us.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.