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Lawmakers Threaten Legal Basis of NSA Surveillance

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the please-don't-be-grandstanding dept.

Government 206

Nerval's Lobster writes "The author of the Patriot Act has warned that the legal justification for the NSA's wholesale domestic surveillance program will disappear next summer if the White House doesn't restrict the way the NSA uses its power. Section 215 of the Patriot Act will expire during the summer of 2015 and will not be renewed unless the White House changes the shocking scale of the surveillance programs for which the National Security Administration uses the authorization, according to James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), an original author of the Patriot Act and its two reauthorizations, stated Washington insider-news source The Hill. 'Unless Section 215 gets fixed, you, Mr. Cole, and the intelligence community will get absolutely nothing, because I am confident there are not the votes in this Congress to reauthorize it,' Sensenbrenner warned Deputy Attorney General James Cole during the Feb. 4 hearing. Provisions of Section 215, which allows the NSA to collect metadata about phone calls made within the U.S., give the government a 'very useful tool' to track connections among Americans that might be relevant to counterterrorism investigations, Cole told the House Judiciary Committee. The scale of the surveillance and lengths to which the NSA has pushed its limits was a "shock" according to Sensenbrenner, who also wrote the USA Freedom Act, a bill to restrict the scope of both Section 215 and the NSA programs, which has attracted 130 co-sponsors. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has sponsored a similar bill in the Senate."

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206 comments

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168315)

basis

Re:first (2, Insightful)

buswolley (591500) | about 3 months ago | (#46168343)

Screw Beta Slashdot. Stupid dumb asses.

Re:first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168401)

This x100.

Useful feedback? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168721)

I haven't read much useful feedback for the developers yet other than OMG BETA SUXORS! SCREW THE BETA!

I've seen it for the first time today, the design I don't mind. But one thing that frustrates me is not being able to click parent comments when I'm viewing "4 and higher".

What other problems are people having?

Re:Useful feedback? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168821)

Comments almost never load in Firefox 26.0 under windows 7, generally have to reload the page several times.

can't log in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168999)

I haven't been able to log in to Slashdot for a couple of months now with my markjhood2003 user id. I was hoping the beta would fix that, but no luck. It accepts my login, but I'm not logged in.

Re:first (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 3 months ago | (#46168423)

Vote up the Firehose stories http://slashdot.org/recent [slashdot.org]

MOD UP! (5, Insightful)

Anubis350 (772791) | about 3 months ago | (#46168621)

I'm willing to burn my not-inconsiderable karma on this, the beta really destroys the flow of what I actually come here for - the discussion! If it becomes mandatory it'll kill a site that has been my favorite place on the web for a long, long time

Re:MOD UP! (4, Insightful)

buswolley (591500) | about 3 months ago | (#46168673)

Exactly. ,p>Who gives a damn about karma if no one is here to enjoy it, Slashdot?

Listen to your users.

Re:MOD UP! (5, Insightful)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 3 months ago | (#46168829)

Dear Slashdot,

It's never too late to do the right thing. Please reconsider killing classic. It's instantly recognizable as Slashdot. A "trademark" of Slashdot if you will. It is a big reason why people come here to comment and lurk. It is loved. FFS, beta is the New Coke!

Re:MOD UP! (5, Insightful)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about 3 months ago | (#46169235)

Dear God this thread! DICE is killing a beloved brand if they go to this horrible new format. WE DO NOT WANT AND WILL NOT USE IT!!!

Re:first (3, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 3 months ago | (#46168683)

Has anyone tried to email the editors directly to see if the can talk some since into their DICE pointy haired boss's or maybe we could find the email of the DICE PHB responsible and we could slashdot his inbox...

Re:first (4, Interesting)

buswolley (591500) | about 3 months ago | (#46168713)

I'd like to participate in this article. Seems interesting. Instead Im wasting my time trying to make Dice realize that they are messing up

Re:first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168989)

Seems like these assholes want to compete with digg.com for users again (this time, for lack thereof). I'll sooner use mobile view than this shart.

Re:first (5, Insightful)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about 3 months ago | (#46169399)

The editors know... we made it clear in the beta announcement thread and at least one editor said he was going to bubble it to the top of the foodchain. This is a topdown order and going to straight-up KILL slashdot. I don't think DICE even cares, and apparently neither do the editors as their still drawing paychecks. This is some serious shit; I don't know how things went down but I'd like to think Taco had the integrity to leave when he knew which way the ship would be going -- maybe he had family concerns financially. But the others, I feel bad for them, but damn, goddamn indeed, they need to stage a revolt because the users of /. are about to if this shit is forced down our throats....

Re:first (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 3 months ago | (#46169009)

Screw Beta Slashdot. Stupid dumb asses.

Someone sold this to their bosses, so there is no way they can back down now. 2014, the death of slashdot.

So what if Congress doesn't reauthorize it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168329)

Obama has a pen and a phone, and he's not afraid to use them.

Re:So what if Congress doesn't reauthorize it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168403)

Executive is not accountable to the legislature. Separating the branches of government is starting to look like a bad idea in hindsight.

Re:So what if Congress doesn't reauthorize it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168573)

It's not a bad idea. Though the recent application of "we'll do what we want and either make laws retroactive or use prosecutorial digression not to go after those who helped us" is scary and only getting worse.

Re:So what if Congress doesn't reauthorize it? (4, Informative)

hermitdev (2792385) | about 3 months ago | (#46168597)

The executive branch is accountable to the legislative. The whole checks and balances thing. If Mr. President does decide to continue this surveillance on executive order, it could very well get him impeached (repubs are looking for a reason, and this is would be a damn good reason).

Re:So what if Congress doesn't reauthorize it? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168715)

That's it? Impeachment is the check that provides the balance? It's not effective if Congress isn't willing to use it. To impeach the first black would be racist!

Re:So what if Congress doesn't reauthorize it? (0)

flaming error (1041742) | about 3 months ago | (#46169321)

"To impeach the first black would be racist!"
That might not be far off, considering that nobody impeached Bush for doing the same things.

Re:So what if Congress doesn't reauthorize it? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 months ago | (#46168841)

Obama has a pen and a phone, and he's not afraid to use them.

The house has an impeachment power.

Re:So what if Congress doesn't reauthorize it? (2)

meglon (1001833) | about 3 months ago | (#46169403)

They just don't have anyone with enough brains to understand THEY HAVE TO HAVE A REAL REASON. Their base is even worse, comprised of complete fucking idiots and think they can impeach someone just because they disagree with him.

Article 2, Section 4:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Even more on point, you may want to go back to the Constitution and reread it if you're going to be basing your argument off it:

Article 1, Section 3:

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Fuck the beta (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168337)

"MOVIN’ ON UP" my ass

Re:Fuck the beta (4, Insightful)

buswolley (591500) | about 3 months ago | (#46168351)

http://slashdot.org/recent [slashdot.org] Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

no way to vote up (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46169011)

The beta doesn't seem to have any way to vote up comments or filter by score.

Re:Fuck the beta (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 3 months ago | (#46169149)

I did before I came here, every single one of the "beta sucks" stories, just posted a "beta sucks" /. journal, and sent them an email informing them that when classic is gone, so will I be.

I suspect all that will be left after classic is gone is APK, ethanol-fueled, the goatse guy, the GNAA guy, and that guy who wants you to clean his PC, Oh, and don't forget Bert, and the other two trolls Bilbo met.

Re:Fuck the beta (4, Insightful)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about 3 months ago | (#46169327)

If you took their survey you'll see they know most long-time /. users are outraged. The first question was something like, "Did you know, you can find the classic slashdot layout at a link at the bottom of the page" Answer: No. Next question, "did you find it?". Answer: No (it's buried in a text box). Next question, "Do you have any suggestions for improving the usability of the beta" Answer: Go back to classic Slashdot by default. Etc., etc., They know the beta's shit and don't care because they are going to use the site to phish irregular users into their "Business Intelligence" BS. They don't care to keep us here, they just want the name for the geek-chique with the managers that may think they're hip because they've heard of /. but never actually visited. I hope Taco made a mint on this and the other "editors" as well because they sold out hard -- I knew something was seriously wrong when he jumped ship after so many previous acquisitions....

Re:Fuck the beta (1)

dknj (441802) | about 3 months ago | (#46168749)

Just want to add, this is not the voice of the truely concerned slashdot users. But likely being done to detract attention from the more sensible posts about classic slashdot. If posts like these are going to dominate the comments then the true reason for the other slashdot site will be silenced.

Re:Fuck the beta (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 3 months ago | (#46169173)

No, what he said echoes my sentiments. Going from a 19th century mansion to a Habitat for Humanity house is NOT "moving up." It's a shame Dice wants slashdot dead. I'll miss it.

Re:Fuck the beta (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46169027)

AND WHY THE FUCK ARE TFSs ABRIDGED??? IS 100 WORDS TOO MUCH TO PAY ATTENTION TO THESE DAYS?!?!?!
i know caps are like yelling slashdot. that is precicely what i'm doing as you are pissing me off with your innane bullshit. leave the classic page alone or i'll go start anonydot... with hookers and blackjack!

Beta kills children (4, Insightful)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 3 months ago | (#46168341)

Yesterday, I had a child. My dear son. Today I found him dead. He left a suicide note: "The only reason for my death is Slashdot Beta."

Also I had a daughter a few days ago. But then I also found her dead. This time she had been murdered. The autopsy came back: She had been mauled by Slashdot Beta.

This must end!! Think of the children! Kill the Beta!

Re:Beta kills children (3, Insightful)

richlv (778496) | about 3 months ago | (#46168429)

well, slashdot... this is now up to the "funny" level - i mean, 90% of comments being about suckiness of beta :)

get a geek to tell designers and coders how it should be. and give him/her the right to kill... ok, throw out of the building anybody suggesting stuff like the "beta".

Re:Beta kills children (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168539)

Something on the internet was different than it was yesterday, basement neckbeards in full spittin'-mad revolt between handfuls of Fritos shoved in face, news at 11.

Yawn. Nobody cares what you think. If Slashdot didn't die the LAST three or four times they revamped the site (no matter how much everyone knew it would), it sure as hell won't die with this one.

Unless you're willing to put your money where your mouth is and just shut up and leave, the next version of Slashdot will see the same stupid whining again, and it won't die THEN, either. Seriously, what are you planning on accomplishing? Showing teh evilz your displeasure by... driving more traffic to the site? Showing all the sane people that the crotchety old guard will finally leave after this? You seriously, honestly expect even a single thing to change with TEH WHINING OF A WHOLE INTARTENTZ?!??!? Just. Leave. If you seriously believe they're that evil and heartless, then you already know snarky posts like this won't do shit. The only thing that will is if you just leave. So leave already. Don't reply, don't log in, don't visit, don't comment, don't post, don't read, don't AC, don't do anything anymore. Leave. Stop wasting your time making up stupid shit that any even competent nerd will simply roll their eyes at, LEAVE.

Re:Beta kills children (3)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 3 months ago | (#46168603)

Hello sir,

Thank you for your concerns! I am not sure if you read my post. My dear son - and also my daughter - they both died! The Slashdot Beta was clearly at fault! It was confirmed scientifically by autopsy and also by investigation of the suicide note my dear son left.

Please, I want no other children to get hurt by the Beta. If even this has small chance of working - it will be worth it.

Thank you, I hope you understand my urgent pleas!

Won't someone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168743)

please think of the children?!
say no to slashdot beta!

And this is why (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 months ago | (#46168357)

And this is why it can be smart to put time limits on bills, even if you think they are a good idea at the time. In that sense, the original authors of the Patriot Act were smart.

Re:And this is why (1)

Omega Hacker (6676) | about 3 months ago | (#46168493)

Agreed. Automatic expiration of laws help weed out old crap, and force lawmakers to *actively* support reauthorization of any bill and thus face any fallout over bills that might have seemed good at the time (no, I do *not* think the "patriot" act was a good thing at a time, but a lot of morons did) but have since proved to be a bad idea. Bonus: if lawmakers were required (after radically re-arranging the congressional rules) to re-up every single bill, we'd have a *LOT FEWER* bills in total. As long as they are not given the "out" of letting their underlings ([tenured] staff) re-up old stuff, they simply have a finite amount of time to both re-up and develop new bills.

That is the stupidest idea I've ever read on /. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168685)

It may make sense to have an automatic expiration on bills like the PATRIOT ACT, but as a general rule for law that would result in complete chaos. Good God, we would never get anything done if we had to rehash out **EVERYTHING** every 5, 10 or 20 years.

It's bad enough when it comes to the damn Federal Budget every damn year.

And the demonization we've seen of "Obamacare", that would become the general rule. Nothing would ever have time to be fully implemented, given a run and known. It would be hell an order of magnitude beyond where we find ourselves today.

Re:That is the stupidest idea I've ever read on /. (4, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 months ago | (#46168939)

It may make sense to have an automatic expiration on bills like the PATRIOT ACT, but as a general rule for law that would result in complete chaos.

Actually: I would favor a constitutional requirement, that every new tax, revenue bill, regulation, OR grant of rights to any government entity has to be written so that the bill must be re-authorized or automatically expire by the house a minimum of three times, no sooner than 2 years after the original bill was passed, no longer than 6 years, AND at least 3 of the required re-authorizations separated by a minimum of 14 months.

That way, if the current session of congress does something stupid --- the NEXT congress has to continue to support it after the next two elections, OR the default is that the new experimental law goes away.

Re:And this is why (4, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 months ago | (#46168745)

That's only useful in a specific case, though, where one piece of legislation is the sole authorization for a government action. That's pretty rare (to the point where I doubt this is even such a case).

For everything else, having an expiration date means that the actual state of the law would change even more than it does now, so everybody has to spend more money and work even harder just to make sure that they're still in compliance with the newly-revised rules that are subtly different that the previous rules, because the politicians wanted to look like they were actively improving things.

Similarly, the increased volatility of the law means that legal precedent is also more volatile, so the cost of a court case gets worse as there's more room to argue about how a rule's expiration affects previous judgments. While a criminal case is waiting for the court to settle, the legality of the alleged crime could even change, especially if it's politically beneficial for the legislators to override the judicial branch.

Mandatory expiration dates for legislation fall into the large category of "ideas that cause more problems than they solve".

Re:And this is why (4, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 3 months ago | (#46169083)

> Mandatory expiration dates for legislation fall into the large category of "ideas that cause more problems than they solve".

By raw numbers, perhaps. But the problems that they solve are so large and pervasive that they're worth considering. The sheer bulk of existing legal codes, dating back to the Constitution itself, makes sensible analysis of existing law infeasible for even a reasonable legal researcher.

Re:And this is why (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 months ago | (#46168899)

That said, the alleged impermanence of a bill can be used as a way of justifying something we would normally object to, and renewals of those bills are lower pressure because they aren't changing the law.

Re:And this is why (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#46168677)

And this is why it can be smart to put time limits on bills, even if you think they are a good idea at the time. In that sense, the original authors of the Patriot Act were smart.

This will be something like the third re-authorization [wikipedia.org] . (It expired piecemeal, making it easier to re-authorize it piecemeal).

We not only need sunset into bills, we need to require an ever increasing majority to re-authorize these laws.
(As well as (nearly) unanimous consent to lower those requirements.)

You can bet that at the time grows near, there will be an "incident" that just "happens" to come along which will have the usual useful idiots demanding more protection, and tighter scrutiny. The drumbeat of fear will be revved up again. Someone will put forth minor meaningless tweaks and tell us the problem is solved. Opponents will be vilified and demonized in the press, mistresses will surface. You name it. Its not like we haven't seen this before.

And we need to enact penalties for judges that fail to uphold their oath of office.

Re:And this is why (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about 3 months ago | (#46169065)

I have some serious doubts that the "drumbeat of fear" ever really existed in the first place. Opinion polls are worthless and depending on who shapes the questions can be spun by both sides of the argument. It would be great if the polling firms were required to provide the detailed methodologies being used to reach their conclusions. Using relatively small sample sizes and then extrapolating and applying the results against 350 million citizens requires some details to test the accuracy of the results.

Re:And this is why (1)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#46169119)

The fear hasn't existed for a long time.
The drums of fear are still being pounded hard and loud. Just read a few of the administration's fear talk about why we have to have continued data gathering.

Re:And this is why (1)

rk (6314) | about 3 months ago | (#46168737)

I have thought that some kind of third legislative branch, whose only power was to rescind laws older than 2 or 3 years, would be a useful check and balance on the current system, which seems only capable of expanding the size of the law. This branch too, would probably need some checks and balances.

Re:And this is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46169025)

No, they weren't "smart". If they were "smart", they never would have given explicit permission for such massive abuse, especially without judicial oversight. This abuse was entirely predictable. They were less than completely stupid because some of them did demand some sort of limit, in the face of the wave of jingoistic sentiment occurring in the wake of 9/11.

The obvious thing to do now, is not to revise it: it's to *block* revisions, pointing out that the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security cannot be trusted, they've proven they can't be trusted, and there's no reason to ever think they *can* be trusted.

Empty threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168397)

>James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.)

A laughably empty threat. The Republican bloc is unlikely to do anything that would curb military or intelligence related activities.

Re:Empty threat (3, Funny)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 3 months ago | (#46168469)

The Republican bloc is unlikely to do anything that would curb military or intelligence related activities.

Unless there's a Democrat running those intelligence related activities. Then there's actually a good chance.

Reminds me of that time when Slashdot hired a gang of meth-addled rhesus monkeys to redesign their site.

Re:Empty threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168665)

Reminds me of that time when Slashdot hired a gang of meth-addled rhesus monkeys to redesign their site.

Oh, come on now. I thought /. was supposed to be a 'judgement free zone' when it came to Simian Addiction Disorder.

Re:Empty threat (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 3 months ago | (#46169093)

The Republican bloc is unlikely to do anything that would curb military or intelligence related activities.

Unless there's a Democrat running those intelligence related activities. Then there's actually a good chance.

No. Unfettered spying ^B^B^B^B^B^B intelligence gathering is the most bipartisan issue there is. Repubs and Democrats have both controlled houses of Congress with the other party in the White House. Have they actually done anything, even to score political points? No. No, they haven't. Will they? No. No, they won't. And no, voting Ron Paul won't fix it either -- sorry guys. Basing the whole thing on the promise and integrity of one guy doesn't work if there's no one to hold him accountable. Until Congress is willing to do its job, this won't get fixed.

Re:Empty threat (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#46168561)

You apparently don't pay much attention to defense matters. You should look into the "peace dividend" in the 1990s, and the current defense sequestration cuts [usatoday.com] .

Re:Empty threat (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#46168563)

The Republican bloc is unlikely to do anything that would curb military or intelligence related activities.

You haven't been paying attention. The Republicans are up in arms over this, with the RNC calling the NSAs activities straight up unconstitutional and calling for their end with no mention of terrorism nor other weasel wording.

Re:Empty threat (2)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 3 months ago | (#46168791)

Sadly, they're only up in arms about it because it's democrats doing it. The same would be true the other way around.

No one actually seems to care about the freedom aspect of this whole situation.

Re:Empty threat (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#46168723)

>James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.)

A laughably empty threat. The Republican bloc is unlikely to do anything that would curb military or intelligence related activities.

The two prior extensions were pushed through by Democrats [wikipedia.org] . After 8 years, its time to stop blaming Republicans.

On Saturday, February 27, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law legislation that would temporarily extend for one year three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act that had been set to expire:
Authorize court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones.
Allow court-approved seizure of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.
Permit surveillance against a so-called lone wolf, a non-U.S. citizen engaged in terrorism who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.

Its useful divisive idiots like you that keep trying to make this a partisan issue rather than getting you own party to actually READ the constitution.

Indeed (4, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#46168871)

There is no good side of the aisle any longer, no matter where on the political spectrum you find yourself.

Admitting your side is wrong, too, is the first step.

James Sensenbrenner Jr. (0)

HairyNevus (992803) | about 3 months ago | (#46168415)

Would it be too much to ask of Wisconsin's 5th district to not re-elect this asshole? Probably...we couldn't get MN's 5th congressional district to stop electing Bachmann.

Re:James Sensenbrenner Jr. (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#46168775)

What about all the other Democrats that pushed through the last reauthorization?

The scale of the surveillance and lengths to which the NSA has pushed its limits was a "shock" according to Sensenbrenner, who also wrote the USA Freedom Act, a bill to restrict the scope of both Section 215 and the NSA programs, which has attracted 130 co-sponsors.

The author of the Patriot act has seen the light, and yet you do nothing but call him names?

What has YOUR guy been doing all this time? Oh yeah, reauthorizing it year after year. [wikipedia.org]

How can you be so ignorant of the truth, yet so quick to post insults?

Re:James Sensenbrenner Jr. (1)

HairyNevus (992803) | about 3 months ago | (#46168833)

How can you be so ignorant of the truth, yet so quick to post insults?

Pot. Kettle. Black:

What has YOUR guy been doing all this time? Oh yeah, reauthorizing it year after year.

Never have I voted for Obama.

Re:James Sensenbrenner Jr. (1)

meglon (1001833) | about 3 months ago | (#46169463)

Well, if the author of the Patriot Act hadn't been such a cowardly anti-American prick back in 2001, along with all the other cowardly anti-American pricks that voted for it, we wouldn't be having an issue now... would we? Your "truths," however, seem to be missing a little something...Obama signed it, yes (and he shouldn't have), but it was congress that passed the authorization he signed.

Why is it you want to single Obama out for what the majority of congress passed, without calling them out as well?

Military state (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168421)

If the NSA is a DoD/Military "agency", and Eric Holder approved using them to assist the civilian Dept. of Justice, then American's are truly living in a military state. How long until Holder and Obama are impeached for this? As if International Watergate wasn't bad enough....

Re:Military state (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168447)

The only credible reason for impeachment is sex scandal. Americans are idiots.

Re:Military state (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46169353)

It's called military assistance to civil authorities. The US is not a "military state." Don't be an asshat.

Beta and Astroturfing in one post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168527)

Awesome, we have here in one post

- The warning-note about the idiotic Beta plan pushing forward, and
- Yet more slashdot spinoff site astroturfing by Nerval's Lobster, aka slashdot's astroturfing ghostwriting editor

It's plain as day why Taco left. The corporate morons are doing their best to ruin this place.

Pardon me (1)

jodido (1052890) | about 3 months ago | (#46168531)

Pardon me for not leading with a negative comment on Slashdot Beta (if I did comment it would be highly negative) but, let's stay on topic. It will make zero difference if the NSA has a "legal" basis or not. The govt will simply assert the president's "right" or power to "defend the country" and which court is going to say no to that?

Re:Pardon me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168549)

Beta Sucks!

Re:Pardon me (2)

hermitdev (2792385) | about 3 months ago | (#46168637)

which court is going to say no to that?

Hopefully the Supreme. It is their job, after all, as dictated by the Constitution (for whatever that's worth, these days).

Re:Pardon me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46169195)

If you want you can change back to regular slashdot with the link on the bottom right somewhere.

One can only hope (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#46168547)

Section 215 of the Patriot Act will expire during the summer of 2015 and will not be renewed

Its time to put this experiment to bed. Like prohibition, which lasted 13 years, the Patriot act (now 13 years old), and damage it has caused needs to be rolled back. Not just Section 215, but other major portions of the act as well.

We are not safer now. We are simply less free now. It has not prevented terrorist attacks, either here or abroad. Boarder security continues to be a utter joke, and secrecy provisions are the antithesis of our supposed freedoms.

Its probably time to start yanking your congressman's chain. Its time to point out that the simple fact we are not asleep any more is basically all that is needed, and all that was ever needed. Its time to point out that 13 years of lies and secrecy is enough. Its time for them to stop carrying the governments message to their constituents, and start carrying their constituents message to the government.

Do I expect this to be successful? No. Not as long as a single one of those congressmen were in office for the initial passing, or the prior re-authorizations. They are too heavily invested in the act, and the administration has too much control over them.

Time to clean house. Stop fearing your district's loss of seniority by electing new people. Vote them all out. If we do it piece meal, career bureaucrats and career politicians will just co-opt the new members. Remove the leverage.

Re:One can only hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168585)

Could always knock on the door of their multi-million dollar homes with a smile and ask...

Re:One can only hope (0)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 3 months ago | (#46168653)

Boarder security continues to be a utter joke

Indeed, the Silver Surfer could strike at any moment!

Re:One can only hope (4, Insightful)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 3 months ago | (#46169031)

Stop fearing your district's loss of seniority by electing new people. Vote them all out. If we do it piece meal, career bureaucrats and career politicians will just co-opt the new members. Remove the leverage.

All that will do is make the next batch of puppets cheaper to own. Until corporations are muzzled, nothing will change.

Confessions Of an Ex-SLASHDOT BETA user (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168579)

Day 1: It wouldn't stop, the redirecting. At first I thought it was malware. Had my first drink in a long time.

Day 2: Barely had the strength to carry on as the BETA REDIRECTIONS continue.. trying not to talk to hallucinations at the bar and in the bathroom which laugh at me about these redirections.

Day 3: Discovered the BETA redirections were random, and while at first they looked somewhat usable, when I looked at me and my monitor screen in the mirror, a horrible woman with flesh hanging off of her body looked back, trying to lead me into a dance as the word BETA appeared across her rancid breasts.

Day 4: These BETA corridors go on FOREVER! On the plus side, I've taken up disassembling vehicles to corner this BETA beast and sacrifice myself rather than lead others to discovering it. I ate some red snow.

Day 5: Finding it harder to concentrate. I've ate some more of the red snow. The taste is starting to grow on me.

Day 6: This typewriter is the only entertainment I have, apart from throwing things at the walls, trying to get some response from the BETA which is now taking over my mind.

Day 7: Hahahahahha! Would you believe it? I'M STILL BEING REDIRECTED TO SLASHDOT BETA PAGES! AHAHhahahaah! Type, type, ding, ding! Wooo!

Day 8: The hallucinations are actually real! Would you believe it? They have offered to help me if I agree to work for them. I'm thinking about patenting this delicious red snow, the taste is unreal!

Day 9: Having black out sessions where I cannot remember large passings of time. Found some makeup, thought I'd paint a joker smile on my face to amuse the people only I can see!

Day 10: Productive today, part of what I wrote for my new screenplay:

I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slas

(drops of blood on paper)

Finally a solution (1)

litehacksaur111 (2895607) | about 3 months ago | (#46168587)

I think this is great. We just need to get Congress to not reauthorize the Patriot Act and then all this crap can finally get rolled back. Hopefully the TSA can be next.

Re:Finally a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46169121)

Tomorrow: Congress finally moves to pass one peice of legislation in 2014. Patriot Act. Extended!

We can't let the big scary black man have this!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168595)

Let's face it, a lot of these fucktard Republicans were all for these types of programs under Bush. Only most Democrats have remained consistently against.

Finally a use for a Do-Nothing Congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168625)

Now how can we get any use out of a Know-Nothing Congress?

ACs agree... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168647)

fuck slashdot beta

some comment to check the new beta stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168681)

wtf

Really about NSA surveillance? (4, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | about 3 months ago | (#46168707)

Is this REALLY about the NSA surveillance? Or is it about leverage for Congress critters, particularly Republicans, on the Executive branch?

"You want your PATRIOT Act renewed? You need to cut back on your surveillance. And my surveillance, we mean repeal Obamacare (or whatever the bill(s) du jour are)."

Besides, whether or not the NSA surveillance is authorized, do you think the NSA gives a fuck. They are going to do it anyways. They'll just have to be sneakier.

Hey, this new /. beta isn't bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168771)

No, I'm just kidding, it's fucking dreadful.

Anyone remember Judgement at Nuremberg? (5, Insightful)

sandbagger (654585) | about 3 months ago | (#46168777)

Actor Maximilian Schell died last week. He played the defence lawyer in Judgement at Nuremberg. It's a film about the trial of judges who were around before Hitler came to power and stayed on rather than resign. It's a great, great, film. Here's a bit of Spenser Tracey's verdict at the end:

'There are those in our own country, too...who today speak of the protection of country...of survival. A decision must be made in the life of every nation...at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy...to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. The answer to that is: Survival as what? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult.'

The trouble is, there is no practical existential threat from Al Qaeda. There is no unified command structure amongst the Muslim nations - many of which have the same ethno-linguistic-political-economic divisions that have the western nations bickering all of the time. They have no army. No navy. No air force. They are not a fundamental threat to the west and the overreach of this sector of government needs to be brought back into perspective.

Re:Anyone remember Judgement at Nuremberg? (5, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 3 months ago | (#46169109)

The trouble is, there is no practical existential threat from Al Qaeda.

This can't be reiterated enough. The response to 9/11 was completely out of proportion to the actual threat posed by the perpetrators. GWB said they hate us for our freedom so what do we do? We turn around and reduce our freedom. What kind of sense does that make?

Re:Anyone remember Judgement at Nuremberg? (5, Insightful)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 3 months ago | (#46169263)

This can't be reiterated enough.

It can be. We mustn't make this issue about the efficacy of the programs, but about freedom. Mentioning that the programs are ineffective is fine, but we must make it clear that they would be unacceptable even if they worked.

Re:Anyone remember Judgement at Nuremberg? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46169507)

It makes sense if you realize Al Qaeda was never the real enemy. It was just a very convenient excuse for the government to grab more power. And it worked. The majority of people are sheep and took it hook line and sinker. It's all straight from Orwell's 1984. Give them a great war to distract them from their current troubles and the failure of the government to do anything about it so the politicians can keep stuffing their pockets and their friends pockets.

Protest Beta (4, Insightful)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 3 months ago | (#46168797)

Dice, I am protesting the beta site. I will not follow any links from a beta redirect and I will not participate in any meaningful discussion.

Your new Slashdot design is hideous. The comment layout is an abomination which is /.'s strong point, its why we come here. This isn't twitter or Facebook, we come here to get away from that. Please abandon your attempts to cash in on this site, you will loose more members then you will ever hope to attract with your new and unimproved design.

Fellow /.'ers, join me in this protest. Do not post a comment related to a beta redirect article or click any links. Instead, post a comment in protest of the beta design.

Re:Protest Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46169081)

I believe you meant to say "lose" not "loose".

Re:Protest Beta (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 3 months ago | (#46169143)

I concur: They should have simply put in the OMG Ponies! design and been done with it.

Beta DNS problems (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168861)

Please help all attempts at browsing to beta.slashdot.org have failed. After intensive troubleshooting noted cause traced to DNS returning a non-routable IPv6 address. While it is great to see Slashdot embracing brand new technology like the now 16-year old IPv6 protocol and 15-year old TLS protocol you would think they would have tested the site better before deploying such a leading edge technology stack. I'm sure if I could actually get to it I would be equally amazed at its ultra childish modern look.

[superuser@superslashfailed.us ~]$ dig AAAA beta.slashdot.org

; > DiG 9.9.4-RedHat-9.9.4-8.fc20 > AAAA beta.slashdot.org ;; global options: +cmd ;; Got answer: ;; ->>HEADER- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 14240 ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1 ;; OPT PSEUDOSECTION:
; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 1280 ;; QUESTION SECTION: ;beta.slashdot.org. IN AAAA ;; ANSWER SECTION:
beta.slashdot.org. 1337 IN AAAA f0ad:be1a:d1e:d1e:d1e::1000 ;; Query time: 1 msec ;; SERVER: 8.88.888.8888#53(8.88.888.8888) ;; WHEN: Wed Feb 05 16:49:21 PST 2014 ;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 131

FUCK BETA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168913)

FUCK BETA. Fucking fuck this fucking beta fucking shit fuck.

Day 1: It wouldn't stop, the redirecting. At first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46168927)

Day 1: It wouldn't stop, the redirecting. At first I thought it was malware. Had my first drink in a long time.

Day 2: Barely had the strength to carry on as the BETA REDIRECTIONS continue.. trying not to talk to hallucinations at the bar and in the bathroom which laugh at me about these redirections.

Day 3: Discovered the BETA redirections were random, and while at first they looked somewhat usable, when I looked at me and my monitor screen in the mirror, a horrible woman with flesh hanging off of her body looked back, trying to lead me into a dance as the word BETA appeared across her rancid breasts.

Day 4: These BETA corridors go on FOREVER! On the plus side, I've taken up disassembling vehicles to corner this BETA beast and sacrifice myself rather than lead others to discovering it. I ate some red snow.

Day 5: Finding it harder to concentrate. I've ate some more of the red snow. The taste is starting to grow on me.

Day 6: This typewriter is the only entertainment I have, apart from throwing things at the walls, trying to get some response from the BETA which is now taking over my mind.

Day 7: Hahahahahha! Would you believe it? I'M STILL BEING REDIRECTED TO SLASHDOT BETA PAGES! AHAHhahahaah! Type, type, ding, ding! Wooo!

Day 8: The hallucinations are actually real! Would you believe it? They have offered to help me if I agree to work for them. I'm thinking about patenting this delicious red snow, the taste is unreal!

Day 9: Having black out sessions where I cannot remember large passings of time. Found some makeup, thought I'd paint a joker smile on my face to amuse the people only I can see!

Day 10: Productive today, part of what I wrote for my new screenplay:

I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slas

(drops of blood on paper)

Day 1: It wouldn't stop, the redirecting. At first I thought it was malware. Had my first drink in a long time.

Day 2: Barely had the strength to carry on as the BETA REDIRECTIONS continue.. trying not to talk to hallucinations at the bar and in the bathroom which laugh at me about these redirections.

Day 3: Discovered the BETA redirections were random, and while at first they looked somewhat usable, when I looked at me and my monitor screen in the mirror, a horrible woman with flesh hanging off of her body looked back, trying to lead me into a dance as the word BETA appeared across her rancid breasts.

Day 4: These BETA corridors go on FOREVER! On the plus side, I've taken up disassembling vehicles to corner this BETA beast and sacrifice myself rather than lead others to discovering it. I ate some red snow.

Day 5: Finding it harder to concentrate. I've ate some more of the red snow. The taste is starting to grow on me.

Day 6: This typewriter is the only entertainment I have, apart from throwing things at the walls, trying to get some response from the BETA which is now taking over my mind.

Day 7: Hahahahahha! Would you believe it? I'M STILL BEING REDIRECTED TO SLASHDOT BETA PAGES! AHAHhahahaah! Type, type, ding, ding! Wooo!

Day 8: The hallucinations are actually real! Would you believe it? They have offered to help me if I agree to work for them. I'm thinking about patenting this delicious red snow, the taste is unreal!

Day 9: Having black out sessions where I cannot remember large passings of time. Found some makeup, thought I'd paint a joker smile on my face to amuse the people only I can see!

Day 10: Productive today, part of what I wrote for my new screenplay:

I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slas

(drops of blood on paper)

fuckbeta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46169035)

Listen here developers of the Slashdot beta...
Take the fucking blue pill quick...this is not the one.

Everybody already agrees that this is illegal (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about 3 months ago | (#46169299)

So, what is Congress going to do? Oh, I know. They'll allow this law to "time out" - a law that doesn't allow this, anyway - and then it'll be even more illegal! Yes, it'll be so illegal that......... what? Eric Holder will finally get off his ass and investigate?

Here's what makes this stop. Rather than saying "you no longer have statutory authority to do _______" (which they don't have now, anyway, but stick with me) we need to write a simple law that says "the government may not do ______, and if they do, it'll be a class A felony with a penalty of _______ for all employees involved".

Oh, that's crazy talk! Really? Oddly, any law that restricts non-governmental officials from an activity is written exactly like that. Read through statutory law sometime.

It's only when government is supposedly "restricted" that they conveniently forget penalties. It's time we put them back in. Throw a couple of people in prison and this crap will stop.

i gotta a better idea why don't we shove 215 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46169329)

up obamas ass. and the rest of the patriot act up bush's ass?
I mean we got it shoved up our ass, why should we have all the fun?
congress already has their heads shoved up their own ass. So, what, do we just wait for the supreme's to die? Cause we don't wanna case a preparation h shortage.
You'lda thought with all these well regulated millitia's we got runnin around one of those facist's would use their power to fight tyranny instead of killing kids and poor people.
But i guess that's what happens when whitey slipped below that 50% number. Hows it feel to be french?

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