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Poll Finds Mixed Support for Domestic Wiretaps

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the what-support-who's-supporting-this? dept.

Privacy 851

aspenbordr writes "The NYTimes reports that Americans are growing more and more concerned about the tradeoff between 'fighting terrorism' and civil liberties. Forty-seven percent of those polled responded they they did not support 'wiretapping in order to reduce the threat of terrorism'." From the article: "Mr. Bush, at a White House press conference yesterday, twice used the phrase 'terrorist surveillance program' to describe an operation in which the administration has eavesdropped on telephone calls and other communications like e-mail that it says could involve operatives of Al Qaeda overseas talking to Americans. Critics say the administration could conduct such surveillance while still getting prior court approval, as spelled out in a 1978 law intended to guard against governmental abuses."

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851 comments

47%? (2, Insightful)

muhgcee (188154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578941)

It is ridiculous that 47% of Americans are not completely up-in-arms about this. We can't have our president breaking any law that he wants to.

Re:47%? (3, Interesting)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579006)

It is ridiculous that 47% of Americans are not completely up-in-arms about this. We can't have our president breaking any law that he wants to.

I am actually suprised that only 47% are supporting it. With all the propaganda and "War on Terror" going on having 47% support is pretty damn good, not that I agree with it. It just shows how easily the big masses of people can be influenced by constant "War on Terror" propaganda.

Re:47%? (2, Insightful)

portwojc (201398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579131)

53% are supporting it. The submitter decided to not quote the article (on that part) cause it didn't work with his/her agenda and didn't cause confusion.

The poll found that 53 percent of Americans approved of Mr. Bush's authorizing eavesdropping without prior court approval "in order to reduce the threat of terrorism"; 46 percent disapproved. When the question was asked stripped of any mention of terrorism, 46 percent of those respondents approved, and 50 percent said they disapproved.

Take terrorism out and the numbers shift. I wonder why? Does that mean americans care about fightining terrorists?

Also just because someone says "it's against the law" doesn't make it against the law. Right now as the President has said it is within the law - they research these things. Of course it is up to the courts to decide if it is or isn't. So wait for the hearing.

If it is declared legal watch this story quickly be forgotten...

"where I come from people are innocent until proven guilty"

Re:47%? (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579235)

For the entire duration of the Cold War, NSA policy was "tap all international calls outgoing from the US, but don't tell anybody." The fact that the government is currently telling people that they are doing it is actually a huge improvement.

By the way "Domestic Wiretaps" is an entirely misleading term. If somebody in Cleveland calls somebody in Syria, that is not a "domestic" call, and that's what we are talking about here.

Re:47%? (4, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579263)

The poll found that 53 percent of Americans approved of Mr. Bush's authorizing eavesdropping without prior court approval "in order to reduce the threat of terrorism"

Shudder.

Ya know, I guess this is why this country was set up as a Republic to begin with, because as I get older, its becoming readily apparent that the people don't always know what's best for them. Marketing of this "War on Terror" is done so well that people are readily willing to hand over their freedoms for an obviously flawed perception of additional security. Those who rally against this government abuse and overreaching Big Brother attitude are labeled as unpatriotic.

Shudder.

Re:47%? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579219)

I'm not suprised at all. If George W Bush suggested the death penalty for anyone who doesn't agree with him, 47% of Americans would support it. There seems to be a ~47% of voters that simply believe that whatever the president says is right no matter what. Have you ever talked to your average Bush supporter? A few actually can articulate the reasons they like what he's doing, and I respect that, but the rest seem to be blind followers that will cover their ears and go "LALALALALA" anytime they hear anything that contradicts the current administration.

Maybe someone can point out the origins of this: there was a poll in some newpaper asking whether Bush has united our country or divided it. The results were 49% for united and 49% for divided. Gotta love that one.

Re:47%? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579071)

The president makes the laws. Therefore, anything he deems to be legal is legal. I think what he is doing is very immoral, but I recall someone saying before that this kind of action is actually allowed by US law. The problem is, many people are brought up to not question authority. If they say it's good for you, then you do it. If they tell you not to do then you don't do it. You don't ask questions about why stuff is the way it is.

Re:47%? (1)

muhgcee (188154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579077)

Not sure if you were being sarcastic or not, but the president most assuredly does not make the laws.

Re:47%? (2, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579134)


The president makes the laws. Therefore, anything he deems to be legal is legal.

Um...are you from America???

America is (was?) based upon the rule of law. The doctrine of "the King can do no wrong" was exactly why the Founding Fathers fought and died to found this country. The doctrine of "the King can do no wrong" is, coincedentally, exactly what the new King George hopes to secure as his God-given right through the doctrine of the 'unitary executive'.

Bush must be stopped. If not now, when? If not by us, by whom?

Re:47%? (1)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579202)

Following the "king can do no wrong" philosophy. Some Congressmen have said that Congress should decide whether or not the President has the authority to do what Bush is doing, and Congress should be the body that decides whether or not to give him that authority.

Has anyone ever thought that maybe even Congress doesn't have the authority to give Bush the authority to do what he wants to do? For crying out loud. The 9th and 10th Amendments were the stop-bits on the Constitution for a good reason. There are some things that Government simply cannot legally engage in.

Re:47%? (4, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579213)

The President is the President, not the Pope. While it has certaintly gone downhill (and continues to do so), we're not quite at the "what the President says is law" stage yet. Laws are made by Congress, and the President can either ratify them or veto them. If he vetos the law, Congress can override him with another vote.

The problem is exactly as you said: people are brought up to not question authority. What he is trying to do is illegal, but nobody seems to be doing anything about it because they either think it is legal or it is at least justified by the situation (eg: Fightin' ter'ists!!1!)

As an aside, has anyone else noticed that the people who are most afraid of terrorism are the ones who live where there is the absolute lowest chance of being targeted?

=Smidge=
(Ter'ists ter'ists ter'ists 9/11 9/11 mission accomplished!)

Re:47%? (3, Insightful)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579106)

Why do you find this surprising? The country is divided evenly on everything thanks to decades of polarizing work by political consultants running candidates' campaigns.

If Bush made breathing illegal, you'd still have 45% of the people support it. People are lemmings.

All depends on how the question is worded... (2, Interesting)

elwinc (663074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579118)

quoting the NYT article,
In a sign that public opinion about the trade-offs between national security and individual rights is nuanced and remains highly unresolved, responses to questions about the administration's eavesdropping program varied significantly depending on how the questions were worded, underlining the importance of the effort by the White House this week to define the issue on its terms.

. . .

respondents overwhelmingly supported e-mail and telephone monitoring directed at "Americans that the government is suspicious of;" they overwhelmingly opposed the same kind of surveillance if it was aimed at "ordinary Americans."

The administration is selling the wiretapping now as a "terrorist surveillance program," now who could object to that?

On the other hand, famous conservative activist Grover Norquist says that if new tools are needed to go after terrorists, the President should get a law passed, rather than break the existing laws. Sounds quite reasonable, doesn't it?

So, let the public relations rumble begin!!!

Re:47%? (1)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579173)

Perhaps you should read the poll, instead of the article.

68% of Americans polled are comfortable with the Bush Administration conducting wiretaps of Americans "about whom the government is suspicious". Most people are OK with the idea that if your phone number shows up in the outgoing call list of terrorists overseas, your calls might get listened to.

Not just a majority, a comfortable supermajority.

You might also want to look at the differences in support between the overall numbers and those boiled down to "likely voters". As always, people who don't vote don't like the government, but people who actually give a crap enough to go vote have a different story to tell.

Re:47%? (1)

rbannon (512814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579183)

This is really not a matter of public opinion, we have laws that are solely there to protect us from the mob. It really doesn't matter what the mob thinks, we have a right to be left alone.

Now, if you want to get "completely up-in-arms" over our the oppressive government you'll just have to become a freedom fighter, oh I forgot, then you'd become a terrorists. Sorry, just submit and continue to fork over half of your labor (taxes) to our friends protecting us (government) from people like you.

If you want to stop this nonsense you'll have to upset the government's revenue stream. The only way to do that is to get them out of the currency and tax business. Good luck.

Free iPod? [freepay.com]

I don't see the big deal. (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579241)

From what I understand, these aren't calls involving Americans calling Americans. They are watching for Americans calling or getting calls from terrorist suspects. I wouldn't even call this "domestic spying" since these are international calls.

Re:47%? (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579281)

It is ridiculous that 47% of Americans are not completely up-in-arms about this. We can't have our president breaking any law that he wants to.

You need to RTFS(ummary):
Forty-seven percent of those polled responded they they did not support 'wiretapping in order to reduce the threat of terrorism'.

Which means a small majority of Americans support eavesdropping on conversations which originate outside the borders of the country by suspect terrorists.

Which law did the President break, exactly? Certainly not lying to a Federal judge in a civil rights case (which, last I checked, was not sufficient to remove him from office).

So . . . (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578960)

Does this mean that the American public realise the terrorists are winning?

Does this mean people realize that the reduction of civil liberties are what the terrorists want?

Actually, their stated goals are . . . (2, Informative)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579117)

Al-Qaeda's [wikipedia.org] goals are to drive out Western influence from the middle east, Saudia Arabia in particular, and establish a pan-Islamic state. I suspect they don't care much about our civil liberties one way or another. That's up to us.

Re:Actually, their stated goals are . . . (1)

rocketman768 (838734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579258)

That's a good ideal and all, but it's one that they will never accomplish. Just as the west will never get rid of Middle Eastern influence, and just as Hitler never got rid of the Jews. Maybe this is a sort of rebel version of the crusades (which were to reduce "heresy", which btw failed).

53% think it's OK???? (3, Insightful)

alcmaeon (684971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578964)

Or were the other 53% confused? I would love to see the actual questions that are asked. Giving poll results without the source information is complete nonsense.

What a difference a few words makes... (4, Informative)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579109)

From the supplement:

After 9/11, President Bush authorized government wiretaps on some phone calls in the U.S. without getting court warrants, saying this was necessary to reduce the threat of terrorism. Do you approve or disapprove of this?

53% approve, 46% disapprove, 1% no opinion

After 9/11, George W. Bush authorized government wiretaps on some phone calls in the U.S. without getting court warrants. Do you approve or disapprove of this?

46% approve, 50% disapprove, 3% no opinion.

Basically, somewhere around half the country approve, half disapprove and the margin of error are people who are swayed by how the question is asked.

Re:53% think it's OK???? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579130)

I guess the question was fairly straight forward, i.e. please state your political affiliation, republican or democrat.

Re:53% think it's OK???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579272)

53% are sold on the fear of the unknown. Never mind you have a several-orders-of-magnitude better chance of being killed while driving to work. Reality is something to skew, not observe.

Death of a democracy (4, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578972)


From TFA:
In one striking finding, respondents overwhelmingly supported e-mail and telephone monitoring directed at "Americans that the government is suspicious of;" they overwhelmingly opposed the same kind of surveillance if it was aimed at "ordinary Americans."
Here's the problem...the phrase "Americans that the government is suspicious of", can (and is) defined differently every day. Such vagueness virtually invites a police state.

Dubya has shown on several occasions that he cannot be trusted to protect our civil rights. That's OK, he doesn't have to be trusted....that's why we have (had?) the FISA, to ensure that wiretapping is carried out in a lawful manner. All George had to do was run his requests through the court, and everything would have been completely legal. Apparently, that's too much trouble for King George, who is aggressively pursuing the doctrine of the unitary executive, believes he is above the law of the land, and regards our Constitution as "just a goddamned piece of paper".

Trusting George and his Gestapo (that's right, I said it) to safeguard your civil rights is like employing a wild dingo to guard your baby. As of now, "Americans that the government is suspicious of" refers to terror suspects, but it could just as easily refer to foreign-born, dissidents, liberals, or slashdotters.

It's time to stop King George before he corrupts the dream of the Founding Fathers beyond redemption. It's time to draw a line in the sand and say, "this far....no farther". It's time to take back our country.

Re:Death of a democracy (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579060)

The problem is that people have lost sight of the essential function of a warrant:

To have third party look at the evidence and render a judgement on whether or not the "suspicion" is legally justifiable in the first place.

Otherwise the only difference between an "ordinary American citizen" and somone "the government is suspicious of" is the level of paranoia of the government, not any actual action on the part of the citizen.

KFG

Re:Death of a democracy (5, Insightful)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579127)

Here's the problem...the phrase "Americans that the government is suspicious of", can (and is) defined differently every day. Such vagueness virtually invites a police state.

Oh no, it's *much* worse than that. This is the stuff police states are *made* of. It doesn't invite a police state, it *creates* one. Yesterday it was terrorists. Today it's pornographers. Tomorrow it's you. That is, if they aren't already surveilling you because of the pornography, which they probably are.

And once it's you, then they'll be listening carefully to make sure you don't say anything anti-American, or better yet, something against the government. Because really, there's a *big* difference between being an enemy of the people, and an enemy of the government. Expose a corrupt government for what it is on the 6 o'clock news, and you're an enemy of the government but a hero to the people and the press.

Re:Death of a democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579160)

I'm talking about unchecked aggression dude, I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand. Across this line YOU DO NOT CROSS.

Also, Dude, Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asain American, please.

Re:Death of a democracy (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579224)

As of now, "Americans that the government is suspicious of" refers to terror suspects

I beg to differ, 'as of now' the government is quite obviously suspicious of anyone and everyone that does not agree with it.

Stupidity: it's a renewable resource!

What happened to "Government = Evil"? (5, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579278)

Seriously, why is it that so many conservatives don't trust that stupid, evil, wasteful government to run a social program (just give me my taxes back!), but trust them completely and lovingly to tap your phone or imprison you without trial?

Why are so many patriots so happy to violate the constitution? You can't burn a flag, but you can listen on my phone calls without due process? Why is everyone a constitutional scholar when it comes to guns or free speech, but starts whistling and looking uncomfortable when it's comes to due process?

Is the world some delicate and beautiful flower that will be crushed by our founding father's foolish "bill of rights?" Are times all that different?

Has everyone forgotten why we have these laws? We saw the consequences of not having them not that long ago. Most people who saw the civil rights movement and Watergate are still alive today. Collective amnesia?

What kind of patriot are you, if want the ten commandments in a courthouse, but not the constitution?

How do you not call yourself a hypocrite, when you impeach a man for lying about his affair, but not a man who admits to violate his oath of office, and the law of the land, and declares he will keep right on doing it?

FISA hardly ever said no. There's only one reason why they would want to hide their spying from FISA... "terrorists" now include their political enemies.

Operating outside the law (5, Insightful)

_am99_ (445916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578973)

The FISA court has a provision that allows court approval to be
obtained after the fact. This invalidates the "need for speed"
agrument. The very few times someone in the media has confronted an
administration offical with this obvious logic, the response has
always been regression into a vague discription of the current NSA
program being "another valuable tool", or needing "every tool
available" to keep the American people safe.

I have not had the misfortune of having listened to the latest set of
talking points being pushed. But as far as I can see, there are only
a few reasons to not use FISA:

  • because FISA leaves records of activity and the administration does not want to be
    held to account for their actions
  • because there is a standard of probable cause that the administration does not feel it can meet


Either of these motives is an indication of the Bush administration
feeling that they need to operate outside the law.

If they really believe in the rule of law, they should move change the
law to fit the times. If not, they are just showing their contempt
for the rule of law
.

I think the framers of the American Constitution are turning in their
gaves right now.

Re:Operating outside the law (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579112)

Exactly. All this talk of whether the police should be able to spy on Americans is irrelevant; they can. The only question is whether it should require a warrant. And more importantly, whether the decision to require a warrant is the President's to make.

That's exactly it (3, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579133)

They basically got everything they wanted in FISA, which is already a very creepy process in many respects from a civil rights point of view. It's a secret court where already many questionable things could be swept under the rug.

There is no reason at all not to even go through FISA... unless they want to do something truly immoral and illegal.

This is a heads up to anyone paying attention that Bush's people are off the reservation, and are spying on peolpe other than terrorists - or that their definition of "terrorist" is becoming something that would surprise you.

And anyone who does not believe politicians (even their favorites) capable of doing something wrong when left unsupervised should have both their head (if you're that gullible, stay in your home where it's safe, and don't answer the door) and their American citizenship (we have a country where checks and balances are the law of the land, period), examined.

Re:Operating outside the law (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579171)

a vague discription of the current NSA program being "another valuable tool", or needing "every tool available" to keep the American people safe.

This is something I have noticed in White House and Justice Department press briefings.

If a new law is phrased as a "tool", it is practically guaranteed to be some kind of draconian overreach. "Tool" seems to be the Orwellian doublespeak du jour for invasive laws that erode civil liberties.

Re:Operating outside the law (1)

blamanj (253811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579205)

Of course, it doesn't help when those in power either don't know the Constitution or (more likely) simply lie about it. Here's an exchange between Gen. Michael Hayden and a reporter [dailykos.com] where Hayden claims the fourth amendment [house.gov] does not say there must be probably cause to issue a warrent, which is simply wrong.

Hayden is currently Deputy Director of National Intelligence and formerly the Director of the NSA.

Ordinary Americans? (5, Funny)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578979)

they overwhelmingly opposed the same kind of surveillance if it was aimed at "ordinary Americans."

Whew. It's a good thing I'm an ordinary American, unlike the rest of you commie techno-freak Slashdotters.

Re:Ordinary Americans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579115)

Well I support hole heartedly (pun intended). The concentration of presidential power and the precedence of un-check surveillance of U.S. citizens. So in a few years when the Republicans are thrown out of office we can continue the war on religious fundementalism. We can then ask Google and AOL and company to turn over the records of all those that have visited religious or right wing sites and begin to classify them as enemy combantants (we obviously cant descriminate one fundemenatlist relgion over another, oh no), detain them somewhere in Canada without warrant, for years, torture them (let them listen to air america radio 24/7) and all within law and precedence. If they only knew they were opening Pandora's box and out comes a sword that has sharp edges on both sides. If they only had a clue why our founding fathers so carefully put into place more protections against concentration of power. Well it is a good thing they dont because their time at the controls is going to be short lived, then we can see what that baby will do. (evil chuckle)

Fear is the key (4, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578981)

The government learned a long time ago that a population in fear will put up with a lot. Whether it's fear of a "domino effect" of communism, fear of swine flu, SARS, avian flu, millitias, terrorists, what have you. It's sadly too simplistic to make it a partisan issue, both parties have shown great aptitude in manipulating the population through fear.

That being said, it's sad that the country is pretty much giving the president a wash on this. But then, nobody said much about the USA PATRIOT act either. We had what, two senators vote against it the first time around?

CNN (-1, Offtopic)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578983)

Last night on CNN... David Hobbs? (name? heck if I care who exactly it was) was interviewing a brigadier general on the latest reports that the US military is stretched too thin. I quote (paraphrase. it was last night) the brigadier general (maybe searching CNN for the reports of 26-Jan-06 will help with the name):

"Our men and women in Iraq will be able to maintain and win the war for at least several more years".

So much for getting out of the war anytime soon. Is anyone else sick and tired of living in a nation which is constantly at war with someone/something? I mean... how much more can your pocketbook take?

Re:CNN (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579044)

Our men and women in Iraq will be able to maintain and win the war for at least several more years

Does anyone else think this strange? You win a war once, then you stop. Is it meaningful to say that you continue winning the war for several years? Surely if a war drags on for years, then for most of that time you weren't winning, in the usual sense of the word...

Re:CNN (1)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579142)

The mods can hit me offtopic all they like but the fact is that when a Brigadier General makes a statement which, in context, exposes his view that we'll be in Iraq for "at least several more years", you know the domestic monitoring situation will continue to get worse. Not better. And this will happen globally. Not just in the US.

Re:CNN (1)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579053)

So much for getting out of the war anytime soon. Is anyone else sick and tired of living in a nation which is constantly at war with someone/something? I mean... how much more can your pocketbook take?

I just wonder why couldn't those billions of dollars invested in this war be used for Hydrogen fuel research or some other alternatives to oil. And this war is all about black gold.

FFS, Iceland plans (if it's not already) to be free from oil. Sweden, same thing for 2020? Why can't the US invest money to hydrogen research instead of wasting it on a war that is a melting pot for terrorists and the endresult, oil, will kill the planet faster?

Re:CNN (1)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579172)

I just wonder why couldn't those billions of dollars invested in this war be used for Hydrogen fuel research or some other alternatives to oil.

Because in the free market economy, that is the job of private business, not government.

Re:CNN (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579279)

Because in the free market economy, that is the job of private business, not government

Good point after all, our canels(I forget which president started that system), our highways (Eisenhower), the panama canel, our flying capabilities(DOD), our space capabilities (NASA), our oil based Automobile(DOD supporting trucks), our nuclear power (DOD-DOE) were all developed by private enterprise and nothing came from the gov.

Even though I am a long-time libertarian, I will say that there are times where gov. make sense. One is to help push us off oil.

Jeez (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578992)

Get real people. This crap won't make you any safer but will make you less free.

Those who trade liberty for security deserve neither - Benjamin Franklin

There's a great quote from Goering about using fear to lead a free public around, but I can't remember it off the top of my head.

Freedom is the most precious thing we have, without that, the Terrorists really win.

Goering (5, Informative)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579067)

Supposedly, he made this quote while being intervied by a psychiatrist during the time of his war crimes trial:

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."... ... the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Re:Goering (2, Insightful)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579273)

I'd like to append your Goering quote with a bit of Orwell [orwell.ru] (who cites Goering in this passage):

There is no use in multiplying examples. The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

When one looks at the all-prevailing schizophrenia of democratic societies, the lies that have to be told for vote-catching purposes, the silence about major issues, the distortions of the press, it is tempting to believe that in totalitarian countries there is less humbug, more facing of the facts. There, at least, the ruling groups are not dependent on popular favour and can utter the truth crudely and brutally. Goering could say 'Guns before butter', while his democratic opposite numbers had to wrap the same sentiment up in hundreds of hypocritical words.

Actually, however, the avoidance of reality is much the same everywhere, and has much the same consequences. The Russian people were taught for years that they were better off than everybody else, and propaganda posters showed Russian families sitting down to abundant meal while the proletariat of other countries starved in the gutter. Meanwhile the workers in the western countries were so much better off than those of the U.S.S.R. that non-contact between Soviet citizens and outsiders had to be a guiding principle of policy. Then, as a result of the war, millions of ordinary Russians penetrated far into Europe, and when they return home the original avoidance of reality will inevitably be paid for in frictions of various kinds. The Germans and the Japanese lost the war quite largely because their rulers were unable to see facts which were plain to any dispassionate eye.

To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle. One thing that helps toward it is to keep a diary, or, at any rate, to keep some kind of record of one's opinions about important events. Otherwise, when some particularly absurd belief is exploded by events, one may simply forget that one ever held it. Political predictions are usually wrong. But even when one makes a correct one, to discover why one was right can be very illuminating. In general, one is only right when either wish or fear coincides with reality. If one recognizes this, one cannot, of course, get rid of one's subjective feelings, but one can to some extent insulate them from one's thinking and make predictions cold-bloodedly, by the book of arithmetic. In private life most people are fairly realistic. When one is making out one's weekly budget, two and two invariably make four. Politics, on the other hand, is a sort of sub-atomic or non-Euclidean word where it is quite easy for the part to be greater than the whole or for two objects to be in the same place simultaneously. Hence the contradictions and absurdities I have chronicled above, all finally traceable to a secret belief that one's political opinions, unlike the weekly budget, will not have to be tested against solid reality.

It's totally unacceptable (1)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578996)

I have no problems with wiretapping. Bush just needs to get authorization and have some oversight. If he would just use the proper channels, this wouldn't even be an issue. Tapping converstions on your own stinks of communism and evil dictatorships.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:It's totally unacceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579195)

But if you've nothing to hide, what's the big deal?

If you aren't conducting "terrorist" activities, then Bush and his wiretaps won't be listening in on your conversations.

The question was loaded, and STILL... (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579000)

Forty-seven percent of those polled responded they they did not support 'wiretapping in order to reduce the threat of terrorism'."

Notice that the question isn't about 'wiretapping whomever the president decides he doesn't like' or even about 'wiretapping without appropriate judicial oversight'. It's 'wiretapping in order to reduce the threat of terrorism'.

So, even with a question that implicitly assumes that the president is telling the truth and that there is no malign intent here, and that actually raises the Terrorist Bogeyman in its wording, STILL nearly half of respondents didn't support it.

I'm actually feeling quite positive here. Not only are people waking up to the bullshit that's being done in their name, they're seeing through the trick poll questions too...

Re:The question was loaded, and STILL... (5, Insightful)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579099)

Actually, if you click the little link for the graphic that actually shows the questions asked, the actual question was:

After 9/11, President Bush authorized government wiretaps on some phone calls in the U.S. without getting court warrants, saying it was necessary to reduce the threat of terrorism. Do you approve or disapprove of this?


The only logical conclusion, now, is that the NYTimes are inaccurately reporting their own polls. Heck, they inaccurately report a lot of things, why not their own polls.

Not to mention, the poll questions do not reflect reality, or at least do not fully represent the actual usage of the wiretaps. The poll question should have been:

After 9/11, President Bush authorized government wiretaps on some phone calls between the U.S. and specific foreign countries without getting court warrants, saying it was necessary to reduce the threat of terrorism. Do you approve or disapprove of this?


That would be more accurate, as the truth is that even according to the original NY Times article, this is what the wiretaps were used for. In seems that has graduated to "domestic wiretapping" for the NY Times, Clinto News Network (CNN), etc. It does not represent reality.

Re:The question was loaded, and STILL... (1)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579207)

Yes, a conservative on slashdot CAN have an Excellent karma!

Excellent-karma conservatives, unite! ;-)

Re:The question was loaded (mod parent up.) (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579121)

Exactly. It's not really asking people about the situation at hand... My take on a summary, the Bush administration...:

  1. Has a spy progam targeting...
  2. US Citizens...
  3. Without a warrant or court order...
  4. Where existing law passed by congress prohibits doing so...
  5. (Bonus) When a perfectly legal, fast, reliable way to do it with warrants exists (FISA)...
  6. (Bonus) And Saying it's within your powers to utterly ignore US law becuase of "war powers" in a conflict which is technically not a war and is almost by definition unwinnable. (War on Terror. Terror's pretty hard to kill.) And where Congress has specifically rejected amendments to the Patriot act which would be steps in this direction.


All this about "Would you want to use wiretaps against (suspected) terrorists or let them win" is a continuation of the BS false-choice (and mischaracterizing the opposition's argument) often given by the Bush administration.

Back in 2002 when the project was already started, the Department of Justice said that FISA was perfectly fine and there was no reason to weaken it even for non-citizens! But now that they've been found out they change their tune...

(Stupid inactive blog of mine) [blogspot.com]

Hitler justified what he was doing (1)

Jim in Buffalo (939861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579007)

Hitler justified what he was doing in the name of "fighting communist terrorism" that he claimed was headquartered in Poland.

Invoking the word "terrorism" to deflect criticism is only making Bush look more and more detached and cynical, in my view.

Re:Hitler justified what he was doing (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579104)

I can't help but see the similarities between Mccarthyism and the Salem witch trials wither. The government needs a boogeyman.

It's easy for me to say that drunk driving has killed way more people than terrorism in the last 10 years, but honestly, I wasn't at ground zero, and something like that must have really messed with a lot of people's minds.

Re:Hitler justified what he was doing (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579105)

Hitler justified what he was doing in the name of "fighting communist terrorism" that he claimed was headquartered in Poland.

Did he? Poland wasn't even nominally a Communist state at the time, AFAIK. He justified his invasion because a good deal of Poland was land that had been taken from Germany at the end of the First World War.

IIRC, Hitler's Communist terrorist was Matthias van der Lubbe, a Dutchman, who burned down the Reichstag. Conspiracy theories that it was Goering aside, Hitler did rapidly leap on the destruction of a major national landmark in order to whip up mass fear of terrorism, of the Bolshevism for which the terrorists stood, and to provide a pretext for the massive violations of civil rights that quickly followed.

Not that anyone would behave that way these days, of course.

Really? (1)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579234)

"Hitler justified"

"Invoking the word "terrorism" to deflect criticism is only making Bush look more and more detached and cynical,"

You may be right, but what does it mean when someone invokes Hitler like you did?

You can make this whole thing go away... (1, Troll)

Lester67 (218549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579021)

Just enlist a few members of Al Queda to start dialing wrong numbers. Then the NSA will be too busy tracking down who's who for the program to continue. :-)

Re:You can make this whole thing go away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579192)

Spoken like a true terrorist. Some folks really do want the other side to win.

Re:You can make this whole thing go away... (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579251)

Probably a better way is to find out which U.S. businesses have been tapped.

I'd be curious to see if the taps provided any "valuable" business data that was used to benefit a crony, or punish a rival.

It's all in how you ask the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579027)

The key to poll results is to understand you can get any result you want if you jigger the question appropriately:

"Would you be willing to have the government scan your phone calls IF IT WOULD CATCH BIN LADEN TOMORROW AND BRING WORLD PEACE? Yes, or no?"

"Are you in favor of having a terrorist surveillance system in place, even without warrants?"

"Do you feel the President should obey the law as he authorizes spying on Americans?"

The results of question 1 will be very highly toward Yes. The results of question two will be shaded toward allowing "terrorists" to be surveilled. The results of question three will be Yes, of COURSE the President should obey the law.

Pollees are MIA (3, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579032)

"The telephone poll was conducted with 1,229 adults, starting Friday and ending Wednesday. Its margin of sampling error was plus or minus three percentage points."

No word as to whether the people taking the poll were being eavesdropped on to find out their responses.
In fact, noone has heard from any of them since, and no further information is available.

It goes without saying (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579036)

That "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" coming from an American is naivete at best. Innocence has never been a defense against paranoid "officials." Stalin used to execute people at a whim for political reasons, even if they did everything they could to be good cogs in the machine.

Bad governments have murdered more people than any other type of institution or any individual combined. It's amazing to me sometimes how so many Bush supporters can talk about tradition while disregarding history and regarding our founders' traditions and advise with open contempt.

got the karma to burn, so.... (1, Insightful)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579048)

I don't really understand what the big deal is.

We have a terrorist group, Al-Qaeda, which has repeatedly stated they want to kill lots and lots of american civilians. One day about 4 years ago, they killed 3000 in a few minutes. This proves they're not just all talk, not just an imaginary threat.

They have operatives working inside of the US. When they get phone calls from places like Morocco, Algeria, Syria, well.... I'd like for our government to know what the f they're discussing.

This is not about Domestic->Domestic calls. Those will not be tapped (according to whats being discussed here anyways). This is about international calls (though that is barely discussed in the summary, likely for partisan reasons).

meh. whether its legal or not, every administration since the telephone was invented would be guilty of this to some degree, if it should even be considered a crime. I obviously don't think it should be considering where the world is at to day, but as always, ymmv.

Re:got the karma to burn, so.... (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579122)

I imagine your attitude would change significantly if you were hauled off to guantanamo as an "enemy combatant" for unwittingly having the wrong middle-eastern friend.

Re:got the karma to burn, so.... (2, Insightful)

sevenoverzero (740419) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579146)

The big deal is that it is perfectly reasonable to devise a system of "terrorist surveilance" including judicial oversight.

The big deal is that if the president can authorize torture, detainment of american citizens nullum habeas corpus, warrantless wiretapping of citizens, and torture by american troops, precisely where do his powers end?

The big deal is that the "just trust us" theory behind the current administration's national security policy is unethical, undemocratic, and unamerican.

Re:got the karma to burn, so.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579245)

Could you tell me what exactly an Al Qaeda is? I'm not playing dumb, I really don't know. For all I can tell, Al Qaeda is simply a term that western political leaders or intelligence analysts invented so they could oversimplify a bunch of un- or loosely connected 'terrorist' groups into one big enemy.

Justification of ignoring FISA? (3, Insightful)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579070)

The FISA law allows DOJ to get their warrants up to 72 hours *after* the monitoring starts, and approval is almost always given [wikipedia.org] .

I'm all in favor of keeping an eye on the bad guys, but I can't help thinking that they're dodging the law because their evidence is so weak even FISA is calling BS on them.

Privacy concerns. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579081)

I'm more concerned that the government lawfully knows how much I earn than with whether they're listening to any calls which I may instigate or receive from overseas. If we have this great right to privacy, why does it not cover our finances, too?

Where in the constitution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579083)

Does it say our freedoms are based on poll results? I don't expect my freedoms to be based on the consent of my neighbors. The constitution is designed to protect me from the mob. It doesn't live or breathe, and it doesn't respond to polls.

Court approval is the issue (2, Informative)

Tsar (536185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579084)

Forty-seven percent of those polled responded they they did not support 'wiretapping in order to reduce the threat of terrorism'.

Plain wrong. The article states, "Fifty-three percent of the respondents said they supported eavesdropping without warrants 'in order to reduce the threat of terrorism.'"

You may disagree in either case, but at least get the basic facts right.

This is why we have a representative democracy. (1)

Wanderer1 (47145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579085)

... rather than a direct democracy.

Most people do not take the time to thoroughly understand the challenges before their society.

Arguably this is because they are too busy with immediate gratification, but it is also a byproduct of being worked too hard to worry about anything else. The average joe spends the majority of his time working, raising a family, and trying to enjoy his life.

Studying issues does not often contribute to an enjoyment of life, and I believe our education system does not adequately teach the rights granted to American citizens. Not knowing what you're entitled to in concrete terms makes it more difficult to be upset when your entitlements are endangered.

Re:This is why we have a representative democracy. (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579148)

... rather than a direct democracy.

No, we have a representative democracy because no politician has ever tried to give up more power to the people. I can not understand how Americans could be content with a two party system. Why don't we do elections in a tiered sytem where we vote our preferences for 9 or 10 candidates?

Fascism is here (0, Troll)

ActionAL (260721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579087)

I find that the breaches of national security to spy on u.s. citizens is disturbing. It is only one of many steps that is being slowly and subtly put into our country in order to make it a fascist regime.

From a website, these are some aspects of fascism and they are hauntingly close to what our country is becoming all because of terrorism:

Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

Controlled Mass Media

Obsession with National Security

Religion and Government are Intertwined

Corporate Power is Protected

Labor Power is Suppressed

Obsession with Crime and Punishment

Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

Fraudulent Elections

---
I think our forefathers would be proud if we citizens stood up to our government and said hey wait a second things are starting to get out of hand, and we need to step back and take a close look at things before we all just agree to whatever the president wants just because of terrorism.

If any of you have ever watched the film "Brazil" by Terry Gilliam, you will see how the government uses constant terrorism to enforce its rule upon its citizens.

So.. let's get this straight... (3, Interesting)

scheming daemons (101928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579095)

Even when the question is framed in the most positive manner for the President (relating wiretaps to fighting terrorism), nearly half of the population still is against it?

This is a very encouraging sign.

What would the numbers have been if the poll was worded this way:

Are you for or against wiretapping suspected terrorists without a FISA court warrant, even though a warrant can be obtained up to 72 hours after the fact?

I'm guessing that 47% would grow to at least 2/3.

The American people are starting to "get it" about this current President. The terrorists would be winning if the public was falling for our fascist government's bullshit ... but the people are, surprisingly, showing that they aren't all willing to part with their cherished civil liberties just because Dubya & Dick flash the boogie-man before our faces every 14 months or so (or whenever they need a poll boost).

The public is starting to build up immunities to the old "whip them into a frenzy by showing stock footage of Osama and playing an audiotape" routine.

Good for us.

Re:So.. let's get this straight... (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579212)

Even when the question is framed in the most positive manner for the President (relating wiretaps to fighting terrorism), nearly half of the population still is against it? This is a very encouraging sign... Good for us.

Considering the numerous wars and soldiers lost throughout your country's storied history upholding these very specific principles, I think that having only half the population disagree is a disgrace. I'll say Good For You if you actually manage to fix it.

I love Big Brother! (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579097)

Americans support monitoring Americans "that the government is suspicious of." [nytimes.com]

Not "has probable cause to search." "Is suspicious of."

Lesson: Your fellow Americans don't care about your privacy, and trust the feds to decide whether or not to search you (and them), without court review, warrants, probable cause, or anything else. Where's PGPfone when we need it?

Re:I love Big Brother! (1)

Floody (153869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579200)

Lesson: Your fellow Americans don't care about your privacy, and trust the feds to decide whether or not to search you (and them), without court review, warrants, probable cause, or anything else. Where's PGPfone when we need it?


Yeah. I heard that some guys figured this out about 230 years ago. Their solution was something called a "republic." Not sure whatever happened with it though.

you f9a1l it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579101)

NIIGER ASSOCIATION Dim. Due to the We'll b-e able to

Party lines (4, Insightful)

Phishcast (673016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579103)

I wonder where they got their sample of people to respond to this poll. People are so divided along party lines that anyone who pays any attention to the news media would read this question as "Are you for or against the current administration?" or "Do you support Democrats or Republicans?" Not surprisingly about half go one way and half go the other.

It seems pretty evident to me that there is a large percentage of individuals in the US population that no longer think for themselves. They simply know if they dislike Democrats or they dislike Republicans. On any given issue they will simply spout whatever garbage their side's talking heads have been saying on television or political radio. It's unfortunate because can't hardly have a rational conversation with most people about anything involving politics. I don't want to hear the opinions of Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken regurgitated to me. What do YOU think? It's a truly sad state of affairs.

Mixed-Up Poll Support (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579123)

"The poll found that 53 percent of Americans approved of Mr. Bush's authorizing eavesdropping without prior court approval "in order to reduce the threat of terrorism"; 46 percent disapproved. When the question was asked stripped of any mention of terrorism, 46 percent of those respondents approved, and 50 percent said they disapproved."

7% margin "to reduce the threat of terrorism", -4% margin just on the wiretapping. That hefty 11% (which is 24% of either "side") is why Bush will lie about the wiretaps "reducing terrorism".

How about the results of a poll asking "support Bush's illegal spying on Americans?" I'd expect more like up to 35% approval (20% of Americans believe we were born yesterday), 60% disapproval. But I'd still expect the media to describe that opposition as "mixed support".

They are not entirely "domestic" (1)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579126)

From what I read, the wiretaps in question involve international calls only. No?

hmm-clues are needed; time to get out the Clue Bat (1)

BattleRat (536161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579128)

When is everyone in this country going to realize that it is PERFECTLY legal for the NSA/CSS (according to their charter and inception) to monitor all SIGINT with at least one termination outside the United States. You may not like it, but it is legal. I for one don't really have a problem with them capturing SIGINT out to or in from the International Community. Where I have a problem, and the real issue here, is if the NSA/CSS starts monitoring internal US communications. The golden rule in the SIGINT community is that you don't spy on America. But if one part of that transmission is offshore and is picked up by the NSA, you aren't spying on Americans; you are spying on the other International party. We should all be up in arms WHEN/IF the NSA/CSS conducts 100% domestic SIGINT missions. Ben Franklin was once attributed with saying, "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." That is 100% correct, but at this point, we aren't sacrificing freedoms with the current, approved mission of the NSA/CSS.

Re:hmm-clues are needed; time to get out the Clue (1)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579247)

As agents of the government the NSA derives its authority from Congress. Congress and the President derive their authority from the Constitution. The 9th and 10th Amendments seal the Constitution for a very good reason. There are some things which the Government simply cannot legally engage in--no matter what Congress or the President says.

Never mind those restrictions on authority, though. They only get in the way of protecting us from the screaming barbarian hordes which are always waiting just outside the gates.

it's not wiretapping (2, Insightful)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579155)

the NSA was intercepting incoming calls from known or suspected terrorists. remember, members of both parties were informed aboit the activities since the program was undertaken, and there was no grave concern expressed then. now, i'm not a lawyer (as I'm sure most of us here aren't either), so I can't comment on the specific legalities. but it was not wiretapping, but international call interception. huge difference. and you know what, he'd better be doing that. if he wasn't, wouldn't his critics have said he wasn't "connecting the dots"?

I don't believe it's traditional wiretaps (2, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579164)

The argument has been made in two ways:

1. Congress gave us this power (which they didn't, sorry) when they approved going to war against Al Queada, and
2. If someone from Al Queada is calling, then we want to know about it - and quick!

However, as another poster pointed out, this latter argument falls apart under the FISA laws which state that you can start a wiretap as long as you go to the courts within 72 hours to get the subpeana. And even at that - it's a secret court! Nobody has to know save for a few people.

So, why not do it? I'm convinced it's because of 1 of 2 reasons:

1. They don't care to have people know at all because they don't think that they could get past any kind of judicial review,
2. They aren't doing specific wire taps, but are scanning and reviewing automatically any phone call from a foreign source.

A combination of the two is probably in effect. I'm willing to bet that their scanning every call coming in from either specific areas (such as Afganistan) and having the computer start checking it out, then alerting an NSA staff member if something sounds interesting (either through voice recognition or just checking the number - if it looks like one that's been used in the past or might have been used by a suspected terrorist, start tracking it).

Either way, it's rather troubling. It's not that I don't think that Bush & Co aren't serious about trying to stop terrorism - I think they're serious about it. The issue is that this kind of behavior is always rife for corruption. J. Edgar Hoover used it to stop "communists", but most of the time it was to keep his power base in check with blackmail and intimidation. Nixon tried to use his power to keep his powerbase by spying on the Democrats (aka - Watergate).

And we're suppose to believe that this power - unchecked and unregulated would only be used for good? What are the odds that someone won't be tempted to listen in on Christian Amanpour's recordings - after all, she talks to Afganistans and middle eastern people all the time, and just happen to listen to her husband's conversations about how to manage the Kerry campaign (or some other ranking Democrat).

Even if people say they won't, we know that absolute power corrupts. If they want to listen on phone calls, fine - they have a process for that to help keep corruption down. If they want to scan all incoming and outgoing calls from the US to other countries, that's fine as long as they get the laws passed to give them the power to do so and check unbalanced power.

Otherwise, the temptation to do something bad will be too much for some - it was too much for President Nixon whom, by all accounts, was a pretty good President. Remember, he thought he was doing the right thing by staying in office, and never dreamed that maybe - just maybe - he had taken his powers too far.

Of course, this is all just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Warrants (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579180)

Basically the problem is: If they have enough evidence to get a wiretap that protects people. It isnt like it is difficult to get a wiretap warrant, but you must have atleast SOME credible backing to why you think you should collect more evidence. I would like to ask the powers that be, how useful has this been, show me a case where this was used and proved effective even at a small level. Probably a lot of cases were sooo weak that they couldn't even get a warrant which means they have no right to do it. Pre 9/11 they had enough evidence against the various players to get warrants, so wiretapping ability is not the issue, laziness and priorities were. Now those targets are priority, same amount of evidence and probable cause exist to get the wiretaps, there is absolutely no reason to not be able to get a warrant if there is a credible reason

More Obfustication (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579189)

All of the rhetoric, spin, and use of loaded words is designed to distract us from what is really going on here: warrantless searches of United States Citizens by the federal government. WTF makes people think that is OK? Bush and Co. have also argued that they have the power to hold citizens incommunicado without bail and without recourse to counsel for as long as they want just because they are suspected of being terrorists. Given the Bushites' history of labelling anyone who disagrees with them as "supporters of terrorists," this scares the hell out of me.

Remember folks, (2, Insightful)

QCompson (675963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579215)

Now Bushie doesn't want us to refer to this program as "Domestic Spying", but rather "Terrorist Survelliance". How's that for some Orwellian word play? The worst part about all of this is the American people, once again, have demonstrated that they will allow their leaders to do anything, absolutely anything, as long as a couple buzzwords are tossed in. A politician can introduce a bill that sanctions the torture of grandmothers, and it will pass with little scrutiny as long as he repeats "terrorists" and "sex offenders" a few times.

9/11 and American Conditioning (1)

ziggyzig (944029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579216)

From the article: "The poll found that 53 percent of Americans approved of Mr. Bush's authorizing eavesdropping without prior court approval "in order to reduce the threat of terrorism"; 46 percent disapproved. When the question was asked stripped of any mention of terrorism, 46 percent of those respondents approved, and 50 percent said they disapproved."

This quote shows such an insight into the American psyche. It's become a way to justify anything and everything. Terrorism has become the new Communism. It's a shame that people feel this way.

I'm reminded of the Ben Franklin quote that was used to protest the recent speech by Gonzales: "those who would sacrifice liberty for freedom, deserve neither."

But don't take my quotes for it; go out and vote!

Plain and simple, Bush is breaking the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579223)

Does the current white house staff really believe they can break the law. It's unfortunate the current congress is too damn whimpy to stand up for the constitution and put Bush and cheney on trial. Spying on foriegn calls with out judicial approval is most definitely illegal. Perhaps Bush and Cheney should re-read the US constitution.

Garbage Poll (2, Insightful)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579252)

The poll found that 53 percent of Americans approved of Mr. Bush's authorizing eavesdropping without prior court approval "in order to reduce the threat of terrorism"; 46 percent disapproved. When the question was asked stripped of any mention of terrorism, 46 percent of those respondents approved, and 50 percent said they disapproved.

And there you have the manipulation of statistics to prove a point. Had they ask the question "Do you approve of Mr. Bush's authorizing eavesdropping on terrorists without prior court approval" the numbers would have been even higher in favor of Bush.

Really, the liberal media needs to stop with the baby crap of calling Bush "Mr. Bush". He's the president, show some respect even if you don't agree with his policies and call him "President Bush". Also, for the love of god, stop calling Bill Clinton "President Clinton". It's former President Clinton, like you do for every other one.

Essential Liberty (2, Informative)

jcbarlow (166225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579271)

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety - Ben Franklin

What part of that don't people get?
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  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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