Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Privacy Government The Media United States Communications News

Whistleblower Claims NSA Spied On Everyone, Targeted Media 717

JCWDenton writes "Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice, who helped expose the NSA's warrantless wiretapping in December 2005, has now come forward with even more startling allegations. Tice told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday that the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Whistleblower Claims NSA Spied On Everyone, Targeted Media

Comments Filter:
  • Keith? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SputnikPanic ( 927985 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:13PM (#26562635)

    Why Keith Olbermann? Why not a less biased journalist? Any journalist at the Washington Post, Washington Times, etc would have been happy to get this information and run with it. Keith Olbermann's name brings with it a certain amount of partisan baggage.

  • Re:Lame (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geek ( 5680 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:18PM (#26562741)

    "Either way learning happens, and that's a good thing right?"

    Learning doesn't happen because it's all classified for one. Additionally, learning doesn't happen because it's mostly subjective to begin with, but add to that the obvious biases (Olberman is biased as it is but then take into account this whistleblower was FIRED and is obviously disgruntled about it) and you have nothing but a cesspool of name calling, propaganda and political positioning.

    There is nothing to be learned here, just people to blame.

  • Re:Lame (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:19PM (#26562771) Homepage Journal
    True, but in Sun Tzu's The Art of War [](as well as operation Ivy Bells []), large-scale things often depend on the use of many small guys to unwittingly do the dirty work. Our intelligence services have to justify their elephantine budgets somehow, but I wouldn't mind seeing them follow suit and announce 10% layoffs ;)
  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:32PM (#26562997)

    And, under the current law and the August 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review ruling, it is explicitly legal.

    The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 [], passed by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress, allows for foreign intelligence collection on non-US Persons without a warrant, no matter where the collection occurs. The longstanding Smith v. Maryland, 442 US 735 (1979) [], allows for the collection of communications metadata, i.e., "to" and "from" information, without a warrant. The FISC ruling [] explicitly finds legal such collection under the now-sunset Protect America Act [] and, thus, the current FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

    In order to determine which traffic content may be collected for foreign intelligence purposes, the traffic metadata must be examined. Even when a target in question is a specific non-US Person of foreign intelligence interest, traffic metadata must first be examined in order to target that person! Because examining traffic metadata was found explicitly legal and Constitutional three decades ago by the United States Supreme Court, doing so in order to target legitimate foreign intelligence collection is allowable under the law.

    The major issues for foreign SIGINT were twofold:

    - A lot of traffic is now digital versus analog, and cannot be targeted by aiming a directional antenna at a particular geographic locale. It is now traveling largely via things like fiber optic cables, intermixed with all manner of other communications. In order to target the collection, it is no longer a case of sitting on a Navy vessel offshore from some area of interest between individuals talking on two-way radios; it's finding that traffic in a sea of global digital communications.

    - Foreign communications of non-US Persons physically outside of the US was increasingly traveling through the US. Previously fair game for foreign intelligence collection throughout the history of such collection in the United States, it suddenly became off-limits without a warrant because it was incidentally routed through locations in the United States. Foreign intelligence collection on non-US Persons outside of the US does not require a warrant, and fundamentally still shouldn't simply because their traffic happens to enter the US.

    This was a case of changing technology necessitating an update to a law. A supermajority of both houses of Congress agreed.

    Unfortunately, this discussion is so mired in politics, personal grinding of axes, confusion about early NSA programs (like the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program, or TSP, which was not renewed after January 2007), and isolated examples of legitimate abuse or misconduct, that not many seem interested in having any real discussion about how foreign intelligence can be reasonably conducted in the digital age. Instead it is a sea of frantic arm-waving and breathless blogging about how the Constitution is being shredded, when the mechanisms of law and judicial oversight have explicitly established the activities as legal.

    Ironically, Tice's interview is spot-on. He says, "What was done was sort of an ability to look at the metadata ... and ferret that information to determine what communications would ultimately be collected," and adds, "we looked at organizations, just supposedly so that we would not target them."


    That's the whole point. So here's an example of someone explaining more or less what is happening, namely, that traffic metadata is examined to determine whether or not it constitutes a foreign intelligence target, and that measures were undertaken to not intercept the content of communications of entities which are not legitima

  • by jdp ( 95845 ) <> on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:35PM (#26563059)
    Get FISA Right is collecting messages on FISA to give to President Obama. Our "asks" were just presented to Macon Phillips at a National Press Club event, and we're running a new video ad "Congratulations, President Obama, please get FISA right". If you'd like to add your opinion (or see the video), please check out Get FISA Right launches new pro-Constitution video on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and Comedy Channel [] on our blog.
  • Re:Lame (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:36PM (#26563087)
    He's a little more hands on than that. He was more than likely directly over the guys gathering the intel (usually their title is translator) where he would sit with a team of 8 I believe and the translators would listen where he instructed them to and write down everything said. He would then write up a report based on what they had translated and written down. Anonymous for obvious reasons.
  • Re:Well, duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:42PM (#26563185)

    Yeah real "liberal" media. You mean the New York Times and Judith Miller's breathless front page exposes on all that WMD in Iraq before the war? Or MSNBC's "Iraq Lowdown" with Lester Holt which was just shameless Bush cheerleading running up to the war?

    Come on, just because one media outlet isnt Fox News, it doesnt make them liberal.

  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) * <> on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:44PM (#26563219) Homepage Journal

        Monitoring journalists is actually a smart move, for an organization that wishes to gather intelligence.

        Journalists write about the news. They're sent out on great breaking stories, as well as little crappy ones. They may have one piece of a much bigger story, and never know about it.

        Think about this. A guy steals a car in New York. Not big news, right? But someone is bound to cover it. The police only have so much manpower to investigate things. Now, an investigative reporter finds that it's a little old lady, and wants to make it news. It's a fluff story, but maybe someone will have some sympathy for her.

        The reporter goes to some neighboring houses. They ask "did you see anything." "What can you tell me about the little old lady." Oh, she's nice, tends to her flowers every day, and has 14 cats. Big deal. That is, until you find that one of the neighbors was actually a person of interest.

        The neighbor of interest normally lives in California, but is now in New York. Another person of the same organization had flown into New York (found through the airline reservation systems). Another was stopped crossing the Canadian border because he had a forged passport. Documents in his bag indicate he was going to ... you got it, New York.

        I won't agree that it's nice that they record all my calls, emails, and movements. Their job isn't to be nice. Theirs, for the most part, is to gather intelligence. By monitoring journalists, that would put an extra 50,000 eyes and ears out there (according to ASNE []) every day. Add that to the more traditional resources, like other law enforcement agencies and their own agents, and now you get a much clearer picture.

        They can't depend on the news that does make it. Plenty of stories are written and rejected. The journalist trying to make the story about our little old lady, her 14 cats, and stolen car, will probably never see the light of day. It'll be superseded by any more interesting story.

        Do I know that any of this happens? No. But, it would make a lot of sense. I know my own news site is read on a regular basis by just about every intelligence agency there is. I know when I write a story about being flagged as a security risk at the airport, I'm not flagged again. Really, if they monitor everything I do, they're bored out of their minds, but they do know, I'm not a risk. I know if I look through my logs, I get a good glimpse of what they're willing to let me see (the occasional IP from their agency). I know that's not the whole story either. I just think of it as their way of saying "hi".


  • "this program" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Danny Rathjens ( 8471 ) <slashdot2@ra[ ] ['thj' in gap]> on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:50PM (#26563361)
    I always wondered about how when Gonzales, Bush, Hayden, Cheney were defending warrantless wiretaps on americans by saying "this program only eavesdrops on americans domestically if they are one end of a conversation with someone outside the U.S linked to Al Qaeda/terror" whether the "this program" implied that there were other programs that did not have that restriction.
  • by sweatyboatman ( 457800 ) <> on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:54PM (#26563457) Homepage Journal

    This would be the quote they excised:

    NBC Reporter: You don't have any information, for instance, that a very prominent journalist, Christiane Amanpour, might have been eavesdropped upon?

    NY Times Reporter: No, no I hadn't heard that.

    You mean, NBC removed a reference to their reporter irresponsibly making a wild unsubstantiated accusation? Cue the black helicopters! It's a conspiracy!

  • by Grym ( 725290 ) * on Thursday January 22, 2009 @02:57PM (#26563507)

    Gasp! They spied on everyone! No! My secrets!!!

    One aspect of this that many seem to forget is the potential for stock-market fraud that these illegal surveillance techniques could easily present. You joke like these things don't affect you, and maybe you have good reasons to think that. Maybe you don't buy into the psychology of a chilling effect of government surveillance. Maybe you're an upright citizen with nothing to hide and no enemies. Maybe you don't have any "secrets." But if you have any investments or savings at all, you should be concerned.

    Imagine the kind of profit one could have made by short-selling on financial stocks in the past 12 months. One or two illegally tapped phonecalls is all it likely would have taken to make billions while average investors lost their shirts. Do you really trust those in-charge (or even low-level personnel) to resist that kind of financial temptation?

    If the public doesn't aggressively push their representatives to investigate these very serious allegations then they deserve everything they get. Don't shake your fists at the heavens when your 401(k) or IRA is wiped out years from now (maybe already?) from such fraud as if it were some kind of act of God or natural disaster.


  • by DustoneGT ( 969310 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @03:12PM (#26563743)
    It's been common knowledge for years that intelligence agencies would enlist the help of foreign agencies (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, U.K.) to spy on US citizens because it's not illegal for them to spy on US citizens. In return we would spy on their citizens for them.
  • Re:Reactionary. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LihTox ( 754597 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @03:14PM (#26563797)

    It's possible that he tried to give his story to the major networks, but they wouldn't run it. (I have no idea if this is true, but I'm just throwing out the possibility.)

  • by anonymousJUGGERNAUT ( 909643 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @03:29PM (#26564073)
    but I guess I can't. I personally think Olbermann gets it right more often than O'Reilly and Hannity (and of course Limbaugh), but I also think that's more because "reality has a well-known liberal bias" as Steven Colbert famously said than because of any responsible action on Olbermann's part. He really does seem to react by reflex, and manufacture umbrage at every opportunity.
  • by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @03:40PM (#26564287) Journal

    People with access to all of your personal data and communications do not to go through law enforcement or the legal system in order to use that information to harass you, discriminate against you, or otherwise ruin your life.

    I'm a pretty decent law-abiding individual, but I have no doubt that if you dug through my past communications with friends, family, and colleagues you could find plenty of material that could easily be taken out of context or arranged to create a false context which would reflect very badly on me. Such information could potentially be used for things like denying me employment, alienating my friends/family, publicly shaming me, trying to blackmail me, etc.

    As an matter of protecting individuals from the potential issues listed above, as well as from a moral standpoint, I strongly object to my government spying on its own citizens. For all of those same reasons, I disagree with our government arbitrarily spying on the citizens of other countries. That type of surveillance should be strictly limited only to cases where there is good reason to believe that the targeted individuals are a threat.


  • Re:Can I get a Duh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @03:44PM (#26564351) Journal

    After working for 18 months on a CALEA [] project for a major telecom, and prior to that with an early Narus [] install, I say you're woefully underinformed.

    Narus Key Features

            * Total network view across the world's largest IP networks that includes both deep traffic inspection and full correlation of Layer 2 and Layer 7 information across all links and elements
            * Industry-leading packet processing performance that supports network speeds up to OC-192/10G off the wire and uses a distributed architecture to scale so it can process multi-petabytes of data
            * Carrier-class scalability and reliability with over 2.7 petabytes of IP traffic processed at a single customer, driving 100 billion packet records per day (greater than 7 terabytes) to upstream security applications
            * Full traffic correlation across every link and element on the network
            * Entropy-based security algorithms, provide unprecedented early detection of sophisticated anomalies such as low volume and polymorphic worms
            * Next generation traffic analysis with advanced algorithms for real-time security, intercept and traffic classification and mitigation

  • by darkmeridian ( 119044 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (gnauhc.mailliw)> on Thursday January 22, 2009 @03:45PM (#26564371) Homepage

    You mean Monica Goodling? [] She graduated from the Regent University Law School, which was very low tier compared to what the Department of Justice normally hires. The school's sole distinction seems to be its founding by Pat Robertson, and it identifies itself as "America's Pre-eminent Christian University."

    Goodling had blue drapes put over a nude statute of lady Justice. She was then assigned the task of screening candidates, and she made employment recommendations based on political affiliation, and amongst other things, refused to hire a candidate because she thought he was a liberal Democrat. Goodling also denied a woman a job due to rumors about her sexual orientation. It turns out that the DOJ is not allowed to run partisan hiring schemes. She was forced to resign in 2007.

  • Re: "Commies" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mhollis ( 727905 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:23PM (#26565065) Journal

    Does it really matter if people were "commies"?

    Its just a political ideology, and just like the rest of them, it has good points and bad points. Discriminating, or ruining peoples lives in this case, against people because you don't personally like their opinion is wrong.

    Communism, at the time, was equated with Nazism. The US government, driven by hysteria on the part of a few blowhards whose sole purpose is to win re-election by sowing fear (gee, that sounds familiar) worked to make belief in any political ideology short of "Democracy" (we have never had that on a national level in the United States) illegal. As a member of a union I was forced to join (by nature of my work) I had to, in the 1990s sign a paper indicating that I was not a member of the Communist Party or any organization allied with Communism. Everyone who joins a union today still has to sign such a statement.

    Frankly, when I signed that statement, I realized it was a direct violation of my rights as a citizen to associate with whom I wish and to believe in what I prefer to believe in.

    As a part of our "campaign against godless Communism," Congress even went as far as to have a new motto imprinted on all of our money: "In God We Trust" and they also changed the Pledge of Allegiance to include under God after "One nation" and before "Indivisible."

    These latter measures, designed to oppose Communism, have been "reinterpreted" by part of he political spectrum as proof that the United States is a "Christian nation" which I understand means "theocracy."

    But it did matter if people were "commies." They lost their jobs [] and were forced to find other work, usually for a lot less pay. The blacklist didn't end until the 1960s and was a list of people "convicted" mostly on hearsay evidence with no trial.

    The creepy thing about Bush is that he was using the same techniques Nixon used against journalists and others perceived to be "enemies." Everyone knows today that Nixon was extremely paranoid. I don't think Bush is paranoid like Nixon, he is just mean, like his mother.

    And, with the President of the United States allowed to incarcerate anyone who he declares to be an "enemy combatant," your hatred of Bush, his policies, wars and Constitutional abuse makes you not anti-American as much as an "enemy combatant."

    And I use that term, based on the Bush Administration's definition of "returned to the battlefield" applied to released inmates of Gitmo: Anyone who wrote an article or whose lawyer wrote an article or spoke out to describe their captivity was considered having "returned to the battlefield." So, I am assuming you spoke out about your dislike of the past administration.

    How does it feel to be an "enemy combatant?"

  • Re:Reactionary. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:39PM (#26565321) Journal

    Sometimes, I swear to god, Fox News is just going for civil war. Those people seriously need to STFU. Partisan bias, partisan criticisms, and partisan opinions are all fine and to be expected in democracy, but Fox News is purely vitriolic partisan propaganda.

    The funny thing is I could do a find and replace on that part of your post from "Fox News" to "MSNBC" and the rest of it would still be true. Personally I can't take either one of them seriously. Can't take CNN seriously either but that's not because they are hyper-partisan -- it's because they managed to find the airtime to cover Britney Spears while our country is involved in two wars......

  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:44PM (#26565403) Homepage Journal
    Thanks for jumping on the cheeky, sarcastic tail end of my post while missing the point of my comment.

    In case you missed it, the point was to counter arguments that the whistleblower was too low in the food chain to make such speculations. And that's the point. The higher-ups make the plans and tell the underlings nothing more than the underlings have to know. Sometimes underlings eventually put 2 and 2 together while all they were told to do was "just listen to person x at time y".

    Paraphrasing Sun Tsu in The Art of War: "Tell your soldier only the immediate, specific task - e.g. "go to point x and kill guy y" so that he knows only the specific task and not the ulterior motive behind it so that he cannot betray too much information if captured(and possibly tortured) by the enemy. Even today, to gain access to classified information one must have (1) the appropriate clearance and (2) the need-to-know.

    But to answer you, I believe that has much more to do with poor and inefficient allocation of the resources that they do have. When you have the FBI monitoring nonviolent protest groups and the joke that is, heh, the Department of so-called "Homeland Security" sucking up massive amounts of funds for meaingless security theater, then you know nothing productive is being done in the wake of 9/11(which itself was dubious).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:50PM (#26565485)

    Such a large fishnet would inevitably yield *way* more "false positives"

    Wow. You are being very optimistic.

    I work for a very large ISP. We recently started using a new system for auditing our agents' calls. You see in the past all calls audio was recorded, then archived in a sound file in case we needed it for some reason (legal, etc.)
    Now we run this really slick speech-to-text software we bought from a 3rd party company (which I won't name). It can convert speech to text in about 36 languages, if you want to pay for all the modules. We use English and Spanish only, but that's 99.99 of our customer base.
    The software can transcribe the audio to text in real-time, and then it archives in a database.

    I can search every call (we handle over 100,000 inbound calls per day just at the primary center) we have ever recorded, let's say, for the word "Fuck" and get results in about 3 seconds.
    It even does all kinds of intelligent context matching, etc. Really slick. Hell, it'll even detect decibal pattern/fluctuation so I call pull any call in the last 3 years where one of our agents started getting upset.

    This company that makes it sells the stripped-down, reduced funtionality version to private enterprise like us. They sell the REAL version to people like the NSA.

    Don't fool yourself, in about an hour I could easily identify every conversation on a phone in the USA since 9/11 with the word 'bomb' in it, and eliminate 99% of the false posisitives in minutes. A little more effort and I could tell you every person who had an Arabic accent that said 'Bomb' since 9/11. Then cross-reference that data with a little more, and boom. I could easily pick one or two specific calls out of the whole mass of data.

    This stuff is so cool it's absolutely scary. Anything that can be transcribed to text can be data mined in such a fashion, from phone calls, emails, SMS/text messages, URL lookups, unencrypted form data (web sites postings, logins), etc.

    Moral of the story-
    #1. if you're gonna talk about anything not 100% legal, better use an encrypted voice channel, or record to audio format & compress/encrypt for transport.
    #2. there's no such thing as "too much data" to be able to mine it all.

  • Re:Reactionary. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Renegade Iconoclast ( 1415775 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:55PM (#26565561)

    While Bush might not have (directly) aided our foreign enemies, he has aided and abetted enemies of the constitution, and attempted to undermine our entire Democracy. An enemy of the constitution and Democracy itself is by definition an enemy of the United States.

    This is not empty rhetoric, in fact he filled the entire government with people who "believe" in so-called unitary executive, which is very much a monarch. While you may have an argument he has not violated the letter of the law, he has indeed violated the spirit, in a treasonous manner.

    I only support the death penalty in 2 cases: treason, and war crimes. I disagree with your assessment, and assert that Bush/Cheney committed both, and now that Bush is out of office, I'm a lot less afraid to say so, too.

  • by huckamania ( 533052 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @05:51PM (#26566377) Journal

    You are almost right. This type of data collection can not be used for real time or predictive analysis. What it can do is allow the NSA to roll back the clock, so to speak.

    Master terrorist A controls terrorists B, C and D who independently control their own teams. Thug Z, who belongs to C's team, gets noticed or caught or commits a terrorist act. The NSA can now look at all of the communication that Z has ever had, which leads them to Z's team members and eventually to C, the team leader. The NSA then repeats the process with C until they get A, the master terrorist. This leads them to B and D and their teams.

    Note that at no point is there a need to look at the content of any communications. It merely is a way to track connections. If you look closely at some of the recent cases involving terrorists in this country you will see evidence that this ability to roll back communications exists and is being used.

    I am 100% certain that the NSA has run this program past their lawyers and 99.9% certain that it has received congressional approval. One thing about the NSA is that they are fanatics about locking down their own systems and a rogue program would be noticed very quickly.

  • Re:First? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 22, 2009 @06:10PM (#26566637)

    "Don't be ridiculous. The NSA isn't monitoring your private communications, Mr. Rowland...uh, I mean anonymous coward."

    Who needs the NSA when we have Google and the Internet in general. ;)

    For example, Initial profile of elrous0

    elrous0, who is a subscriber to Slashdot has made (so far) 13 posts to Slashdot on Jan 22 and 10 posts on Jan 21 (impressive, I hope your boss doesn't read Slashdot ;)

    elrous0 doesn't like Google... [] ... which is unfortunate as Google likes you ;) [] ... elrous0 shows a willingness to commit a political Thought Crime in a Slashdot forum... [] ... tut-tut ;)

    Also by employing the concepts of traffic analysis, a sub-domain of signals intelligence... [] ... We can then see elrous0 communicates on Slashdot during the times of someone on the East coast of America.

    Plus while the link cannot yet be confirmed, elrous0 was likely at The University of Kentucky between at least August 20th 2004 and 03-05-2008
    assuming is your email address. (Thank Google for that link ;) ... of course, this link isn't yet confirmed, but we wait for confirmation of your location, through any post we can find linking elrous0 with Kentucky ;)
    (Which incidentally also fits with the idea of someone living on the East coast of America ;)

    While I'm joking, this 20 minute Google for fun, does illustrate a point about the growing information on all of us.

    Plus if the NSA was really profiling you, then as you are a subscriber to Slashdot, then your credit card records (which very commonly get sold by credit card companies) are likely to link you to your Slashdot posts (and other forum subscriptions).

    Also is you are/were in Kentucky, then you are lucky, because if you were in for example, Australia or England, then some time in 2009, (if not already), they would be able to profile each of your posts every day (almost in real time as you make them), building up an ever more detailed list of your interests and dislikes. Of course they probably wouldn't profile your posts in real time, unless initial profiles of you, indicate you are likely to take part in potential opposition to political views. In which case, they will want to watch you more closely, just in case you take part in more political opposition such as organizing a rally etc..

    George Orwell's instruction manual is becoming ever more useful ;)

  • Re:Reactionary. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @06:17PM (#26566785)

    You appear to be conflating conservative with Republican, but the two are not interchangeable, particularly with respect to the administration that just left office. There are plenty of conservatives that took issue with the warrantless wiretapping because it represented exactly the sort of governmental encroachment into private life that their ideology opposes.

    That mainstream Republicans who support things like domestic surveillance, offensive war, and micromanagement of the economy call themselves "conservative" (why? because many of them are also prudes like what we saw in the Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction"?) is one of the best examples of Newspeak in our times. It's destroyed the meaning that this word "conservative" once had; now it means whatever is convenient for the speaker depending on who is speaking and whom they are addressing.

    I personally do not like and do not support either major party, for they are both worshippers of the status quo and their own entrenched power, but I will say that at least the Democrats are more open about their dream of an ever-expanding government. That doesn't make the Democrats any better, of course, it just means that they use a different tactic. They use the idea of a government that does many things for you that you should be doing for yourself as a seductive lure to weaken our resolve and compromise our principles. The effect is the same, however, for both parties and both tactics and it is our collective weakness, lack of resolve, and screwed-up priorities that makes this whole thing work. A healthy, joyous, complete person with a firm grasp of what is and is not important (freedom vs. security, for example) would never be tempted by the offerings of either party.

  • by aleph42 ( 1082389 ) * on Thursday January 22, 2009 @07:43PM (#26568025)

    First, there is specialised hardware to handle that kind of amount of data. Someone in the thread is apparently trying to sell a Narus, and I'm sure there are a ton more.

    Second, you don't need to store or even process all the information; remember when the NSA were saying that listening to every phone call was impossible. Well, they could (and iirc did) simply build a graph where two people were the more connected the more time they spent together on the phone. Then, when someone was suspected of terrorism (or being an anti-war activist), they could just ask the computer who were the first, second and third level aquintances of that guy; which is plenty scary already.

    And of course, that's just a simple, simple example: there is a whole science devoted to that kind of data anilysis.

  • Re:Reactionary. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @07:45PM (#26568055)

    From what I gather, though, at least the Democrats want everyone to go to school, so they can learn to think for themselves.

    If that's what you believe the public school system is for, I'd like to introduce you to a man named John Taylor Gatto. I know of two works of his which will disabuse you of this notion if you will only read them. The first is an essay called The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher [] and the second is a full book called The Underground History of American Education []. Both are quite eye-opening. The only caution I will give is that you may feel a temptation to become angry when you read these works; that will help nothing and no one, particularly you. The better approach is to understand that "if they really understood what they were doing, they wouldn't."

  • Lame mods. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ostracus ( 1354233 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @09:29PM (#26569091) Journal

    "People don't often get tired of voicing their actual opinions."

    Haven't been modded down much, have you?

  • by plnix0 ( 807376 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @12:58AM (#26570675) Homepage

    The conservatives you mention. By your definition they haven't had anyone to vote for in the last 100 years or so.

    Seriously, if you're a conservative of that stripe...who do you vote for?

    Ron Paul. But your point is well made that we need more like-minded candidates to run for office.

    And another thing. Conservatives such as the people you describe need to *SPEAK UP* and get represented. Although I usually vote Democrat, I would happily consider people of that mind set. Anything that marginalizes the neocons is good, IMHO.

    All I can say is pay attention, study, observe. Opportunities may arise for you to do so. Educate yourself on issues of liberty, (Austrian) economics, history, the state, ethics, money, natural law, etc. while at the same time keeping up with the latest important news. The number of us who are realizing that our struggle is not left vs. right or Republican vs. Democrat, but people vs. the state are increasing. We know that we need not choose to be anti-liberty statists on one position in order to oppose the state on another position, and that the government is not a tool to use against those with whom we disagree socially, religiously, or academically, as many are wont to do.

  • Re:Well, duh (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:45AM (#26571647)

    Correlation != Causation. Besides, you have nowhere proved that GDP is a direct indicator of the welfare of an economy. So, your argument is entirely baseless from the outset.

    Also, how is Austrian Economic Theory loony? It simply studies economics based upon the individual actors in an economy, as opposed to viewing it on the macro-scale with generalizing equations.

    And if it's so loony, why is the law of marginal utility so well received? It was created by the founder of the Austrian School proper, Carl Menger.

  • Re:Reactionary. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mmdog ( 34909 ) * on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:16PM (#26578919)
    Welcome to the club. I officially switched my party affiliation to Libertarian this year. Personally I think at this point in our history as a nation the greatest threat to the average citizen is the Federal government. Republican or Democrat really doesn't matter, all either party wants to do is consolidate as much power to tax and control the populace as they possibly can.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson