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EFF Wins Release of Secret Court Opinion: NSA Surveillance Unconstitutional

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the stop-it dept.

Privacy 524

mspohr writes "For over a year, EFF has been fighting the government in federal court to force the public release of an 86-page opinion of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Issued in October 2011, the secret court's opinion found that surveillance conducted by the NSA under the FISA Amendments Act was unconstitutional and violated 'the spirit of' federal law."

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524 comments

Shut it down (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44637589)

Shut it down......Shut it all down NOW!!!

Congratulations are in order ... but ... (-1, Flamebait)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 8 months ago | (#44638131)

EFF Wins Release of Secret Court Opinion: NSA Surveillance Unconstitutional

Maybe my pessimism / cynicism have gone haywired, but I do not think this court ruling going to affect Obama administration's determination in construct the United Socialist Soviet States of America

NSA would not only still do whatever they do, in fact, I suspect that they would carry out EVEN MORE dastard projects to subvert (and also pervert ) the Constitutions in order to change the U.S. of A. into something akin to a dictatorial wolf which wears a layer of democratic skin

Impeach Obummer! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44637591)

Surprise, surprise. Obummer lies.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (-1, Troll)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 8 months ago | (#44637667)

DNFTT

Re:Impeach Obummer! (5, Insightful)

Red_Chaos1 (95148) | about 8 months ago | (#44637719)

How about we impeach brain dead idiots like yourself? I'm not a fan of Obama at this point, but this isn't all on him. Your boyscout Bush, and both major political parties have deep rooted ties to all of this shit.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (4, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#44637809)

Who's going to impeach him? Congress and the Senate are complicit in this, and they're the ones who have to impeach. Remember, they don't give two shits about the constitution or they'd never had passed the Bono Act or the PATRIOT Act.

Lets impeach congress next election. I want my country back.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 8 months ago | (#44638463)

It's not called impeachment when you're removing the entire ruling body. That's more of a revolution.

I'd wait until the military starts grumbling about it, or is deployed against us on our own soil (which will cause major strife within the lower ranks, at least). Right now, a revolution would be seen as undemocratic, too violent for what they've done. Which means they get to launch a military crackdown that the public will see as at least kind of justified.

Let's give the peaceful solutions some more time, or at least give the ruling body enough rope to hang themselves with. Because once the military is on our side, not theirs, the revolution won't be stopped by anything short of a nuclear attack of us, on ourselves. And I don't think they're willing to do that, because who wants to be emperor of the ash pile?

Re:Impeach Obummer! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44637833)

Translation: I can't refute the truth, time for a misdirection, But Bush!!!

Give it a rest already. Obama has been PRESIDENT for 5 years now, with party control of the Senate for all of that to boot. It could all end in a SINGLE day with a SINGLE executive order, it is ALL done via the executive branch.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44637879)

He has deep-rooted ties to something that happened 3 years after he left office?

Re:Impeach Obummer! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638229)

"WIRED first reported on such an eavesdropping installation in 2007 when a former AT&T technician provided documents outlining eavesdropping technology used by AT&T. Both the government and AT&T have declined to confirm the documents’ authenticity."

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/08/nsa-tapping-internet/

Re:Impeach Obummer! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638483)

So something that he only oversaw for 1 year vs the other president who extended it for 5 more years.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44637883)

People just like blaming Obama for apparatus that was setup under Bush's watch. That been he Repub's MO since they lost the election before the last.

Before you all get whipped in to a frenzy: Consider that Obama (Or rather his entire administration) gets his information from the NSA. That's their job. That's how the system works. Do you think that the NSA is going to supply him information that makes them look like out of control corrupt goons? Are they going to say "Hi Mr.President. We wiped our ass with the Constitution 548 times last month" No. They're going to portray their operation in a positive light, and insist that they are legally doing everything necessary to keep America safe.

Recent information says, though, that the situation is bad. Their secret courts make them immune to oversight. We all know this is bad, but realistically it's very political problem that's going to to take a long time to fix. You all should know how long it will take to dig out an entrenched government institution, let alone one with near unlimited power and a secret budget.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#44637987)

People just like blaming Obama for apparatus that was setup under Bush's watch.

Well, if Obama ever wants to change that impression, he can start by firing people involved in unconstitutional activities.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (4, Interesting)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 8 months ago | (#44638277)

Agreed.

However, the problem I have with a lot of Obama critics is not that the content of their criticism is actually wrong, but rather feels disingenuous. Had Mitt won the presidency, I feel like a lot of these guys bitching about Obama would be standing right in line behind Mitt, who I believe would be doing basically the exact same thing as Obama*, charging that anyone who dared criticize that "great patriot Mitt Romney" was a terrorist-sympathizing traitor who should be rounded up and executed. I don't see Mitt having a fundamentally different stance on NSA wiretapping, the Patriot Act, or drone strikes (and I bet Benghazi would still have happened under his watch, too).

For those of you (us) who have managed to remain consistent with our criticisms of both parties, bravo.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (-1, Troll)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 8 months ago | (#44638335)

Had Mitt won the presidency, I feel like a lot of these guys bitching about Obama would be standing right in line behind Mit

Go fuck yourself. You are the problem with this country. You think every criticism of your dear fuhrer is party-based. Here's a fucking clue: Every Romney voter I know LIKES these programs.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (-1, Flamebait)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 8 months ago | (#44638379)

The fuck you say. Go fuck YOURSELF you cretinous moron, and read the full fucking post before you spew your mental diarrhea all over the internet.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (5, Insightful)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 8 months ago | (#44638359)

Also, while I won't share who I voted for (immaterial, and really, what's the point of a secret ballot if you tell everyone who you voted for?), I will say that when Obama was elected, I went along with it. People said "oh, he's going to bring Chicago rough-and-tumble bullying politics into the Presidency!" and I was thinking "Good!" Maybe Chicago style politics would have gotten us out of Iraq and Afghanistan sooner. Maybe Chicago-style politics would have closed Guantanomo, or repealed the Patriot Act. I'd love to see some of these career politicians dragged out by their proverbial short-and-curlies in front of everyone and dressed down for their selling-out-of-america. But no, we got just another Washington style politician, bought and paid for by moneyed interests.

Re: Impeach Obummer! (-1, Troll)

Badblackdog (1211452) | about 8 months ago | (#44638425)

I'll bet Bengazi would have been handled very differently, probably would not of happened at all if Mittens was POTUS. The various terror groups know Obama is full of hot air and does not follow up on attacks. The Syrian army crossed the red line again and nothing from Barry.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about 8 months ago | (#44638103)

It gets better when you realize when Obama said he wanted to create more oversight and then put the entire oversight under the NSA's leadership.

What most people don't realize is Obama is as much a republican as Reagan, Nixon, and both Bushes. His policies are in direct line with theirs.

What we need are term limits for congress critters so they can't become as corrupted, and for Congress to start revoking executive powers back out of the executive branch.

We didn't need the cabinets before World War II Why don't we eliminate them?

The last scary thought I shall leave with. What if J Edgar Hoover had the NSA's ability to spy on people?

Re:Impeach Obummer! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638293)

Nixon wasn't so bad. At least he had enough respect for the law and the citizens to break in at night. The NSA does it in broad daylight, and whenever confronted, they just give another explanation of why it is okay.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (5, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#44638361)

Nixon wasn't so bad. At least he had enough respect for the law and the citizens to break in at night.

And enough sense of shame to resign. The more recent politicians are quite literally shameless.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (5, Interesting)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 8 months ago | (#44638503)

The last scary thought I shall leave with. What if J Edgar Hoover had the NSA's ability to spy on people?

I'm not sure why you're assuming that Robert Mueller is any better. Maybe because he's better at secrecy and intimidation? Think about this for a minute: After Hoover's death, when all the stuff he did came out, Congress passed a law limiting the term of any FBI director to 10 years. Yet, recently, the law was ignored and Mueller's term extended [nytimes.com] Why? Well the excuse was that it was required for "continuity", but, is that really credible coming from a Democratically-controlled Senate debating the illegal extension of term for a Bush appointee. How?

During one of the recent hearings on spying, Holder was asked if the NSA was also tapping into private phone calls and emails of members of Congress. He basically refused to answer the question, offering to "address that in a different forum." In secret, in other words. And one NSA whistle blower mentioned how the program even targeted a certain senate candidate from Illinois [youtube.com] (yep, that one).

So we may now be in an even worse position, with a J. Edgar Hoover type leading the FBI, and with much better technology and a greatly expanded police and surveillance state.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638279)

People just like blaming Obama for apparatus that was setup under Bush's watch.

Oh, come on, this is not his first month in the Oval Office. People blame Obama for expanding on the apparatus established under Bush (and he did so quite actively).
When does he become responsible, anyway? After he leaves the office at the end of 8 years? It must be DURING his tenure as a president, and that's more than half over.

Do you think that the NSA is going to supply him information that makes them look like out of control corrupt goons?

No, but it'd be nice if he responded once the information comes to light. Ignoring incriminating revelations is same as supporting them.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (5, Insightful)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 8 months ago | (#44638389)

People just like blaming Obama for apparatus that was setup under Bush's watch.

How about blaming him for criticizing that apparatus during his campaign, promising to dismantle it, and then embracing and expanding it all after he was elected.

Getting really tired of the It's Okay When My Side Does It crowd.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (4, Insightful)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about 8 months ago | (#44638033)

Yes, it is all on him. Bush is gone forever. He'll be languishing in obscurity painting mediocre pictures for the rest of his life. Absolutely no power at this point, not even soft power like Carter has. Obama, on the other hand, is the head of the federal bureaucracy and has the power to stop this. But he doesn't. You make it sound like something Kafkaesque, where the system is so convoluted that not even the engineers can control it. It's not. This isn't some abuse that stopped when he was inaugurated; it's an ongoing abuse of power. Obama is responsible. It's why we elected him: to take fucking responsibility for the executive branch of the government. Yes, both parties are involved, but fuck them, they can wait their turn. It would be great the throw them out with the trash too, but we've got to start somewhere, and that somewhere might as well be the most high profile abuser of power. It makes no sense to keep hand-wringing about ``B-but Bush started it, so we can't blame Obama! Let's start with Congress! '' Impeachment is the strongest signal we can peacefully send, and that vote is a clear dividing line on who in Congress is for us and who is against us.

Let me try to predict your reply:

Wah Wah Bush is a war criminal don't bully Obama you stupid republican piece of shit!

Don't give me that fucking garbage, shove your partisan bullshit right up your ass.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (3, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 8 months ago | (#44638105)

Obama is responsible.... Impeachment is the strongest signal we can peacefully send, and that vote is a clear dividing line on who in Congress is for us and who is against us.

If you want Congress to impeach Obama over this, you should sign this [whitehouse.gov].

Re:Impeach Obummer! (5, Interesting)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about 8 months ago | (#44638149)

No, this is on him. Hes in the 2nd term of precidency. Its on him. He might not have started it, but he has the power to stop it, and instead chose to keep it going. Just like our occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, just like GITMO, just like the promised end of DEA raids on legal dispensaries. Spying got worse, still in Iraq and Afghanistan, GITMO still is open, DEA raids have gotten worse. The blame is justifiably on him.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (1, Troll)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 8 months ago | (#44638249)

He is the President of the country. Everything that the country does wrong, on purpose or by negligence is his fault. And that starts the day he took office. Even if he had only been president for a week, that is no excuse for allowing any branch of the government to break the law.

Re:Impeach Obummer! (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#44638255)

I'm not a fan of Obama at this point, but this isn't all on him.

Yes it is all on him.
He could have ended this with one stroke of the pen. He's had 6 years. How many time does he have to get re-elected before he owns this mess?
How many times do you intend to repeat that soggy old mantra of it being Bush's fault?

He could have gone public, shut it all down with an executive order. Instead He lied. Then he lied about lying. Now he welcomes a "dialog" where in he will tell us polity and sympathetically to shut up, sit down, and watch tv like good little kids.

And useful idiots like you will lap it all up again just like you did the first time and the second time.
You lapped it up when he closed the embassies because of huge terror plots.
You just keep buying the same sack of horseshit over and over again.

You tell me: What will it take!???
When do you stop defending him?

Quick! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44637625)

Organize your tits! Sniff your crotch mustard! ;)

Farce royale (4, Interesting)

BSAtHome (455370) | about 8 months ago | (#44637649)

You at the other side of the pond have generated a farce beyond fantasy. Create secret court, abuse powers, secret court says "non", ignore, expand and repeat.

As a tech I'd say your system has found a resonance point where the loop-gain is so much greater than one that it might cause the earth's rotation to change....

Re:Farce royale (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 8 months ago | (#44638447)

You at the other side of the pond have generated a farce beyond fantasy

An amazing statement considering recent events in the UK with respect to the Snowden story. Hubris.

From TFA (5, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#44637659)

The documents showed that the problems were relatively small when compared with the vast scale of N.S.A. surveillance conducted from the United States on noncitizens abroad. The ruling estimated that the agency intercepts more than 250 million communications that way each year. And the N.S.A. fixed the problems to the courtâ(TM)s satisfaction, the documents showed.

Interesting...

I should have finished reading before posting (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#44637705)

But the documents also revealed further problems. In particular, Judge Bates portrayed the issue, which the N.S.A. had brought to the secret surveillance courtâ(TM)s attention after discovering that it had been happening for several years, as part of a broader pattern of misleading the oversight court about its domestic spying activities.

âoeThe Court is troubled that the governmentâ(TM)s revelations regarding N.S.A.â(TM)s acquisition of Internet transactions mark the third instance in less than three years in which the government has disclosed a substantial misrepresentation regarding the scope of a major collection program,â he wrote.

There need to be penalties. Someone should be brought up on charges.

Re:I should have finished reading before posting (5, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 8 months ago | (#44637721)

There need to be penalties. Someone should be brought up on charges.

Yeah well, he's in Russia, or so we are told :-)

Re:I should have finished reading before posting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638003)

No, the *someone* that should be brought up on charges is everyone who knew that it was going on and didn't bring it out into the open and put a stop to it.

It's called aiding and abetting treasonous acts.

Re:I should have finished reading before posting (4, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 8 months ago | (#44637999)

Someone should be brought up on charges.

If that's what you want, then sign the petition [whitehouse.gov]!

Re:I should have finished reading before posting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638207)

If that's what you want, then sign the petition!

Right, a petition TO the president asking HIM to resign. Even if petitions worked, this one would be optimistic indeed. You'd be lucky if Obama writes a response as to why he did all he did for your own good.

Let's also petition for a secret oversight committee that will review NSA's work and report to the NSA. Oh, wait, we already got that!

Re:From TFA (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#44638313)

And the N.S.A. fixed the problems to the courtâ(TM)s satisfaction, the documents showed.

We need an amendment to the constitution that says there is no such thing as a Secret Court, and no such thing as a court ordered GAG order.
The usefulness of gag orders for any legitimate purpose is long past.

Re:From TFA (5, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about 8 months ago | (#44638475)

Secret laws that citizens are obliged to follow, but forbidden to know, can be nothing but tools of tyranny.

Re:From TFA (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638497)

We do not need an amendment, there is no provision allowing for a Secret Court in the Federal Constitution and therefore can not be constitutionally valid. Why do we some how become ignorant to the point and continually forget if the authority or power is NOT EXPLICITLY granted to the Federal Government it doesn't exist. No branch of the Federal Government can grant itself new powers via the constitution as all their authorities & power is derived from it. It is our laziness, fear fullness, ignorance that we the people allow this ridiculous behavior to continue. Law is explicit and implicit, not assumed nor implied. Get off your rear end and educate yourself about common law principles and hold all your representatives in all branches accountable, take no bullshit from them.

Accountability (5, Insightful)

PerformanceDude (1798324) | about 8 months ago | (#44637665)

So they got a court opinion that said it was unconstitutional, yet they just ignored it. Someone must be accountable for that! Aren't all US federal officers sworn to uphold the constitution of the United States of America - all the way up to the president? At the very least, someone should be tried for contempt of court. No matter the justification and possible reasons for the NSA program, they can't just ignore the highest law of the land. Or can they? It is a very slippery slope.

Re:Accountability (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#44637773)

The President. He's the Executive in Chief and the NSA reports to him as does the FBI and the CIA.

So with a Republican majority in the House, a barely tenable majority in the Senate and members of his own party calling BS. How long before you hear impeachment?

I can't wait to see the Sunday morning pundit shows. Damn too bad I'm not working in DC this summer it would be great to hang out in the gallery and watch.

Re:Accountability (3, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 8 months ago | (#44638053)

How long before you hear impeachment?

How about right now [whitehouse.gov]?

(By the way, you do realize the Republican pundit shows are just going to continue whining about Obamacare and other partisan but unimportant bullshit, right? Dealing with an issue like this is really up to us, the Actual Citizens, not the idiots on the radio.)

Re:Accountability (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 8 months ago | (#44637887)

So they got a court opinion that said it was unconstitutional, yet they just ignored it.

With one exception, a federal court can only do what Congress empowers it to do. If Congress doesn't give their secret court any teeth, that's the end of it.

Re:Accountability (3, Funny)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 8 months ago | (#44637899)

I've created a petition [whitehouse.gov] demanding that the administration to hold itself accountable (or that Congress should do so if the administration won't).

Re:Accountability (0)

jcr (53032) | about 8 months ago | (#44638509)

I know you're proud of your little petition, but how many times do you have to spam it?

Those online petitions mean precisely squat, as Obama demonstrated when he simply laughed off the one demanding that he quit harassment of medical marijuana users.

If you want your opinion to be counted, write to your congressman and senators. They won't read your letter, but their staff will keep a tally of for/against counts on any issue.

-jcr

Re:Accountability (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638431)

No. They got a court opinion that said it was unconstitutional, and within 60 days they had changed their procedures to remedy the constitutional defect- which was itself only very minor.

The court had no problem with the surveillance itself; it only took issue with the way that the NSA was minimizing the use or distribution of information collected incidentally about US persons (i.e., it wasn't really trying to).

okay so how is snowden NOT a whistleblower then? (0)

ebubna (765457) | about 8 months ago | (#44637671)

FFS

Re:okay so how is snowden NOT a whistleblower then (5, Interesting)

cbhacking (979169) | about 8 months ago | (#44637781)

The same way he "hasn't" been all along. When the lies are coming from the highest levels of the government, they can brand anybody they want as anything they like. One can only hope that the EFF is large and influential enough to cope with any fallout from this.

Looks like it might be time to donate again. There's something ridiculous about the need to buy decent government by donating to a charitable organization, but hey, they're doing better than most, and most of "us" (Slashdot readers) can probably afford it. Normally I'd suggest the option of doing it by way of the Humble Bundle, but currently they don't include that option...

Re:okay so how is snowden NOT a whistleblower then (1)

game kid (805301) | about 8 months ago | (#44638057)

Looks like it might be time to donate again. There's something ridiculous about the need to buy decent government by donating to a charitable organization, but hey, they're doing better than most, and most of "us" (Slashdot readers) can probably afford it. Normally I'd suggest the option of doing it by way of the Humble Bundle, but currently they don't include that option...

...probably because it would conflict with the interests of EA (see the Bundle's current front page).

Speaking of EA...WTF, Humble?

Re:okay so how is snowden NOT a whistleblower then (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 8 months ago | (#44637973)

Nobody has ruled on if he is a whisleblower or not. The executive branch does not have the authority to determine that. Snowden undeniably released classified information. That makes it the Executive Branch's job to change him with releasing classified information, which they have done. The next step in the process is for Snowden to present his case to the Judicial Branch that the protections reserved for whistleblowers apply to him. We will see if that ever happens.

Re:okay so how is snowden NOT a whistleblower then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638393)

Honestly, because the law gives explicit exemption to whistleblower protections when the topic is national security.

Now they're gonna get it... (5, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 8 months ago | (#44637707)

They'll be put on Double Secret Probation.

Re:Now they're gonna get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638099)

What about dodecatuple secret probation?

Okay so the Chief FISA judge called BS but.. (4, Funny)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#44637739)

How exactly does it get out of the FISA court into the Supreme Court and would Roberts have to recuse himself because he appointed most of the FISA judges?

Time for more popcorn.

Re:Okay so the Chief FISA judge called BS but.. (1)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#44637855)

would Roberts have to recuse himself because he appointed most of the FISA judges?

... and because he is a douche bag.

Re:Okay so the Chief FISA judge called BS but.. (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#44637905)

They all are, Alito is the big douche but then you have Kagen who IMO should never have been put up for
the nomination. I worry about Judge Kennedy though, he keeps falling off his damn bike and he seems
to be the most reasonable of the whole bunch.

Re:Okay so the Chief FISA judge called BS but.. (5, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | about 8 months ago | (#44638167)

Previous NSA whistleblowers (Thomas Drake, et alia) have stated that the NSA investigated SC justices before they were confirmed.

Re:Okay so the Chief FISA judge called BS but.. (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 8 months ago | (#44638043)

Supreme Court Justices don't have to recuse themselves. They should, but the normal rules that govern other judges don't apply. Ultimately for better or for worse, they're appointed for life, so until they die or resign, there's basically nothing that can be done about them.

Which is why douches like Roberts, Scalia and Thomas are such a problem, none of them have any particularly firm commitment to the rule of law, only to continuing their ideologies, regardless of constitutionality.

Tipping point (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44637831)

This is legitimate prejudice for starting a revolution.
Your government and leading class has to learn how democracy gets done.
Everyone shall have this very definition of democracy hardwired in their brains for the centuries to come.

The evil doers will have to admit it painfully for best results, fear has to change sides.

The world is watching you USA.

Re:Tipping point (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 8 months ago | (#44638079)

Revolution isn't the answer. The answer is to stop voting for candidates that are promising to destroy the government and fail to even pretend to have plans to improve the situation. Ultimately, unless Grover Norquist is tried for sedition, along with the various GOP candidates that signed his fealty pledge, there's going to be no particular legitimacy for a large number of legislators.

Re:Tipping point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638321)

Society has taken a wrong turn. It's not about a leading party or the senators, it's a whole part of the population who can't even imagine an alternative to the generalized corruption, wars on oil, wars on drugs, police state, racism, religion, banking system, because they are not negligible number and they profit from this.

Those will never change, those will never forget the taste of the precious they shouldn't ever have possessed.

As long as being a politician will be a privilege instead of an heavy load to drag for the greater good you will get malevolent people run for office.
Your elections system has to be changed, money banished, billion dollar big data powered campaigns shouldn't exist.

Votes only change the civilization when you can get exceptional people elected and you don't seem to have any available.
So for now you have to pass a threat to the next politicians to come: be trusty or be not.

Re:Tipping point (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 8 months ago | (#44638353)

Wide swaths of your government from top to bottom is repeatedly ignoring your constitution in order to act against the people of your country. Revolution is most certainly an acceptable answer.

Re:Tipping point (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#44638375)

We have 2 political parties in this country.
They dictate the issues.
The write the rules governing how you create a party, how you get on a ballet.
Nearly everyone in the media belongs to one of the two parties. The parties control the message.
You basically can not vote for anyone if they do not belong to one of the parties. You can write in a name, but the fact of the matter is it's nearly impossible to co-ordinate a write-in voting effort.

Our government is controlled by a single party. They appear to be 2 parties, but in reality they both act the same. They have slightly differing goals but they trade and make deals to get what they want in every bill. They are effectively the same party with 2 differing internal factions that argue over details. The Patriot act DID get passed after all... So did Obamacare... It's all a show.

Prison for praise is not worth thinking
Sin is still in and our ballots are shrinking
So unleash the dogs - the only solution
Forgive and forget, fuck no
I'm talking about a revolution

Prison for praise - the obvious answer
Once had power mad - living disaster
Don't fuck with me 'cos I'm on a freedom train
That bears no name - this time
I'm voting with a bullet

Bonus points if you know who wrote that without using Google ;-)

Re:Constitution-worship (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638045)

I wish more politicians actually worshiped the constitution; then nonsense such as this would be far less likely to happen.

But clearly the problem with my thinking is that the constitution is worth anything at all. Why not just ignore it as we please? That definitely sounds like a good idea. The article writer is such a genius!

Re:Constitution-worship (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 8 months ago | (#44638127)

I wish more politicians actually worshiped the constitution;

There is nothing that can't be made worse by adding religion.

Consider many of the people who worship the Bible; or the 'Religion of Peace'

Re:Constitution-worship (3, Insightful)

jpublic (3023069) | about 8 months ago | (#44638077)

Our sometimes flagrant disregard of the Constitution has not produced chaos or totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped us to grow and prosper.

We're slipping towards a police state and he says this nonsense? Yes, just ignore the damn thing; we've done so in the past, so it's okay!

Re:Constitution-worship (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638175)

What a load of BS. A NYT writer makes an opinion that the government should IGNORE the parts of the Constitution he doesn't like and uphold the parts he does like. You either agree with him, or his new rules allow him to take all your possessions and toss you in jail forever without trial.

This is your typical liberal thinking. They KNOW their ideas are failures and will never pass the general public, especially as amendments to the Constitution. So instead of that tedious debating ideas and winning support and votes for their ideas, what we need to do instead is ignore the people and popular opinion and FORCE their views on the rest of the country under threat of force.

Here's the real reason for this opinion piece, even though he didn't mention it. The 2nd amendment is written too clearly and every SCOTUS hearing of it has upheld it and he knows he can NEVER amendmend the Constitution to get rid of it the legal way, so its time to just ignore the laws and toss it out. You will notice he conviently mentioned the first amendment needs to be kept around out of "respect" but not so much the rest of them.

Re:Constitution-worship (0)

jpublic (3023069) | about 8 months ago | (#44638197)

This has nothing to do with liberals or conservatives (many of both of them want to violate the constitution), but just plain stupidity.

Re:Constitution-worship (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#44638305)

A NYT writer makes an opinion that the government should IGNORE the parts of the Constitution he doesn't like and uphold the parts he does like. ... This is your typical liberal thinking.

The author of that op-ed is a conservative. You were saying?

Re:Constitution-worship (2, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | about 8 months ago | (#44638193)

Whenever these stories come out, I am uncomfortably reminded of conservative constitution-worship.

Be grateful.

Conservative constitution-worship helps protect you from them.

On the other hand liberals are open-minded enough that they can interpret the constitution as a living document so they're free to pretty much do as they please, like assassinating American citizens without due process, using the NSA to spy on Americans, targeting political opponents with the IRS, etc.

Because hey, the constitution is just a piece of paper and you're not a slave to constitution-worship, so who gives a f*ck about rights?

Re:Constitution-worship (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#44638251)

Whenever these stories come out, I am uncomfortably reminded of conservative constitution-worship.

Why? The point here is that the Constitution has been ignored. With more genuine fealty to it, we wouldn't have this problem. If ever there was an example of why the Constitution should be obeyed, and the dangers of conveniently ignoring the parts someone doesn't like, this is it.

Re:Constitution-worship (4, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about 8 months ago | (#44638467)

Sure... throw the constitution over board to gain "fiscal stability". Somehow reminds me Hitler's ascension to power.

Accountability (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44637939)

There appears to be no accountability is the US Government any more.
Laws are only for the “little people” Taxes are only for the “little people”. Profits are only for the “real people”
Private profit, public bailouts. Money is free speech.
The question is, “What can we do?” Gerrymandering has made even our votes almost useless.
Any ideas?

Re:Accountability (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638341)

Thoreau had one—Civil Disobedience—that Ghandi and MLK both had a lot of time for.

Reaching for weapons won't accomplish anything but the death of innocents and justification of the NSA 'because, security, riots, terrorism'. But if we just refuse to accede to any NSA demand, as an organized movement, then we'll win. Of course, it'll take time, and some of us will go to prison, and some of us will die. So we are probably too spineless and worthless to do what the hippies did and protest; so I guess we deserve what we are getting, and the far worse we are going to get.

What, you wanted this to be easy? You wanted this to be quick? You wanted SOMEONE ELSE to solve the problem for you?

not much of a secret is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44637953)

and since when does a court rule on the "spirit" of the law.
what a lame ass story.

Violated the Spirit (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44637997)

Don't worry, they didn't actually violate a law. It was the 'spirit' of the law that was violated.

Move along people, nothing to see here.

Re:Violated the Spirit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638337)

The Constitution is the highest law of the land, nothing can supersede it short of an amendment. "Need a warrant" part of the Constitution is quite strait forward and no room for misinterpretation.

Spirit vs letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44638295)

So the question is around the notion of "spirit" vs "letter"

The only thing related to privacy and the constitution is the 4th amendment. Now we can talk about all of the exceptions to this that the Supreme Court has allowed but the only interesting one is the notion of "in plain view"

Can this be taken to mean that if it use HTTP vs HTTPS it is in plain view and anyone can have a field day.

Can this be taken that if if route my traffic across any network that people can see it is in plain view and they can do with it what they want?

At the end of the day the current state of my country makes me sad but but another thing that has always made me sad is the limited privacy protections put forward by the constitution and bill or rights. The to have them even more limited by the courts is just one blow after another.

at the end of the day the lawyers are going to have fun

Hypothetical (3, Interesting)

Esion Modnar (632431) | about 8 months ago | (#44638403)

If the Supreme Court ruled that some Government activity was unconstitutional, and the Government (including executive and legislative branches) just shrugged and continued said activity, what then? Or what if Congress voted to impeach the President, but he ignored this action, what then? Who enforces on the enforcers? Would this be the tipping point to civil war?

So they ratted themselves out (0)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#44638469)

So, they found out that the system they set up didn't work like it should. But instead of covering it up, they took the data to the FISA court, who agreed (vociferously) that they screwed up and they couldn't just forget about it - they had to expunge the data and change how they collected the data in the first place (you know, the stuff they do as part of national defense). And they did.

Holy shit, this is about as close to a non-story as you can get. But hey, go crazy. I'm buying stock in tin foil.

The shit is about to hit the fan (4, Interesting)

mendax (114116) | about 8 months ago | (#44638499)

To quote one of my favorite movie characters, "The shit is about to hit the fan and I want to be here to see it." (Dr. Lazarus in "Outland" in case you're curious.)

The publication of this court ruling is going to make it much easier for a federal judge and subsequent appellate judges to slam the NSA down hard. I'm not certain about the law on this but it might also make it possible to send certain NSA officials to prison. My prediction: Heads at the NSA are about to roll and I will not be surprised if one of them is Gen. Alexander. Because he is a serving general and this shit happened on active duty, he could be courtmartialed, be stripped of rank, and lose his pension, a just punishment I believe for such a grave violation of the people's civil rights.

Unfortunately, the heads will not be literally be rolling on the floor, and perhaps that's a good thing. It's nice to contemplate, however. It would have made one hell of a great game of pool on a diabolical billiard table. General Alexander's head would be the cue ball. Some people more evil than myself might possess the belief that a certain other person's [wikipedia.org] head should be the 8-ball but I'm not one of them. But it's hilarious to visualize!

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