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FCC Declines To Probe Disclosure of Phone Records

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the janet-jackson-style-stunts-are-more-important dept.

Privacy 97

An anonymous reader writes "News.com reports that the FCC won't be investigating the phone record disclosures by communications companies under US government pressure. Despite a congressional request for that probe, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin quashed the inquiry based on comments from National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell. 'At issue are reports last year that some big telephone companies allowed the U.S. government access to millions of telephone records for an antiterrorism program. The reports have prompted scrutiny by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Democratic Rep. Edward Markey, the chairman of a key Energy and Commerce subcommittee, asked Martin to investigate. Markey, of Massachusetts, said McConnell's stance was "unsurprising given that this administration has continually thwarted efforts by Congress to shed more light on the surveillance program."'"

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97 comments

oops typo (4, Insightful)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886823)

re:""unsurprising given that this administration has continually thwarted efforts by Congress to shed more light on the surveillance program.""

Should read "unsurprising given that this administration is aware that the Democrats in Congress are a bunch of spineless pussies".

There you go.

Republicans also (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20886875)

Republicans too, they may be the same party, but when they controlled both houses and requested details of the various programs, they got the f*** off treatment too.

They're all frightened of being called soft on terror if they don't do whatever the faction in the Whitehouse says (I'm not going to say Bush, because he's some sort of figure head for them, not a person in control, a mascot to rally around).

Re:Republicans also (4, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887211)

They're all frightened of being called soft on terror...

And why are they frightened about that? I'll tell you. Because average Joe and even some above average Joes are so much into fighting terrorism and feeling "strong" that they think anyone who "hides" behind the Constitution is a: wimp, terrorist, or some pinko pansy. There the same folks who see someone get acquitted and think "they beat the rap" - not that the individual was actually innocent. Civil Rights or the Bill of Rights to those people is some sort of hippy slogan. Which is interesting because, in my completely non-scientific observation, it seams that the older people are, the more they're inclined to have this opinion.

Many of my fellow Americans disgust me.

Here's how low my standards have sunk... (1)

FrenchyinCT (733872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900925)

I would be willing to settle for a party that's "soft on terrorism", if only we could get rid of the party that actively encourages it with Al Qaeda's star recruitment poster boy, George Bush. Don't you know they must have pics of him in an Uncle Sam outfit all over the Middle East saying, "I want YOU to to join Islam's most popular terrorist front!"

Re:oops typo (0, Offtopic)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887341)


Good. Because what the liberals in Congress do from day to day already weakens the U.S. and that on all sides:

  • Economy: taxes raises - At least Kennedy recognized that tax cuts increase Treasury coffers while simultaneously strengthen the economy - we have been at record low unemployment rates.
  • War: Where to start...?
    • Forked Tongued: they speak out of both sides of their mouth; condemning the troops' work why 'claiming' to support them - this is only because of the lessons of how the Baby Boomer generation treated the troops during Vietnam - read: Clinton, Kerry, and their ilk
    • Downsizing: in the 1990's Clinton significantly reduced the size of our standing military, which leads me into the following:
    • Enemies?: Is it too unpleasant for them to think about foreign enemies? No, they just see political enemies as the greater threat to what they want most: Power (see below)
    • They Love Defeat: of their political enemies - thus, because President Bush is a non-Democrat, they take on this air of defeatism, ~"the war [in Iraq] is lost" (Harry Reid), ~our troops bomb innocent civilians~ - implying on purpose (Barack Obama), John Murtha declared a small group of Marines guilty of murder before ANY investigation or trial was launched - and now those murder cases have been or are being thrown out of court... all these shenanigans for the sake of discrediting President Bush and any other non-Democrat
    • Double Mindedness: they condemn the war, read: President Bush, or 'President Not-a-Democrat', while refusing to laying it on the line to defund it.
    • "the Democrats in Congress are a bunch of spineless..." - there you go
  • Power: they love it and will do any thing to get to it - yes, I believe they, as a whole, will do any thing to get it
  • Politics and Party: because they lust after Power they will put their Party first - Bill Clinton was a convicted felon, told lies like Scotter Libby, but the Democrats of the then sitting Senate would not stand up for truth, justice, and morality and follow through on the impeachment that had begun in the House of Representatives
  • "the Democrats in Congress are a bunch of spineless...": They won't really fight for what you believe in. You and your values are the last thing on their minds. So, they play to what they believe the middle of the road of America which doesn't believe they way you do (nor I on the whole). So, they continue to fight for the P's: Power and Party via Politics - because playing to the moderates, unlike you and I, is their means of getting into the White House...I'm just glad they won't win.
  • Lastly: whatever and whoever isn't Power and Party - you, me, even the ideas they want to push forward are last to them

Re:oops typo (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20887539)

  • Economy - The flaw in your argument is the assumption that just because some are doing well that everyone is doing well. The bottom 2/3rds of Americans have been doing worse and worse since the 80's. This is directly related to the cutting of taxes on the wealthy and the conservative fiscal policies of the Federal Reserve.
  • War
    • Forked Tongue - OK Mr. Swiftboat man. Supporting the troops does not equate with sending them to their deaths.
    • Downsizing - Yes. After the Cold War was over we reduced the size of our military. Although right-wing lunatics like to claim that Clinton destroyed the military through downsizing, it's important to remember that it was this "destroyed" military that won in Afghanistan.
    • They Love Defeat - You might call it "liking defeat", I call it having some attachment to reality.
  • Power - I'm curious what, exactly, you are asserting. Are you claiming that Democrats would start a needless war with lies and get thousands of Americans killed while simultaneously breeding a new generation of terrorists that can threaten us for decades to come? Perhaps you were meaning that Democrats would do something like use a terrorist attack on the United States as a pretext for systematically dismantling the Constitutional liberties we have in this country? No? My bad. You probably meant that Democrats would do something like launch a Presidential campaign on the backs of dead American 9/11 victims with a "donate $9.11 to Clinton" campaign. Oh wait, that was a Republican. I just can't figure out what you're getting at. Please assist.
  • Politics and Party - Do you mean Democrats would put their party ahead of their own political careers? In the previous bullet you claimed that they would do anything to get power, but now you're claiming they would risk their own political career for the party? Which is it?

How do you right-wing nuts get so detached from reality? I don't get it. It's not a rhetorical question either. It's like you're witnessing a different universe, because what you say does not match the one I live in.

Re:oops typo (1)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892413)

Both of you are seriously blind. Liberals? Right-wingers? Jesus, don't you see how Soviet Amerika has pulled the wool over your eyes?
  • Economy: Taxes pay you.
  • War: Fights you.
  • Power: Asserts you.
  • Politics and Party: Plays you.
I hope we all learned something today.

Re:oops typo (-1, Redundant)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887781)

Economy: taxes raises - At least Kennedy recognized that tax cuts increase Treasury coffers while simultaneously strengthen the economy - we have been at record low unemployment rates.

Yet the economy was the strongest it's been in decades under the last democrat president we had.

they speak out of both sides of their mouth; condemning the troops' work why 'claiming' to support them - this is only because of the lessons of how the Baby Boomer generation treated the troops during Vietnam - read: Clinton, Kerry, and their ilk

So when the right wing was criticizing the decision to put U.S. troops in Kosovo and Somalia, they were really criticizing "the troops"? That's fantastic reasoning, so every time you criticize the decision to put U.S. troops somewhere, you're really attacking the troops? And I think it's hilarious you're criticizing the baby boomers and Kerry about how they "treated the troops", considering the baby boomers in general and Kerry specifically were over there fighting the war.

Downsizing: in the 1990's Clinton significantly reduced the size of our standing military, which leads me into the following:

Wow, no one can be that clueless. The cold war had just ended, of course he downsized the size of our standing military. Only a complete lunatic would have done anything else.

Politics and Party: because they lust after Power they will put their Party first - Bill Clinton was a convicted felon, told lies like Scotter Libby, but the Democrats of the then sitting Senate would not stand up for truth, justice, and morality and follow through on the impeachment that had begun in the House of Representatives

Do you know how I can tell you're a nutjob? The way you put Inappropriate Capitalization throughout your Rant.

Oh, and the conspiracy theory talk, like Bill Clinton being a convicted felon.

They won't really fight for what you believe in. You and your values are the last thing on their minds. So, they play to what they believe the middle of the road of America which doesn't believe they way you do (nor I on the whole). So, they continue to fight for the P's: Power and Party via Politics - because playing to the moderates, unlike you and I, is their means of getting into the White House...I'm just glad they won't win.

I think it's sad how you focus on the party rather than actually look at the individuals and make a reasoned, critical analysis of them. You've just been brainwashed by the cable opinion channels, and don't have the strength of will to think for yourself.

Re:oops typo (1)

innerweb (721995) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888603)

[rant on]

You really need to understand that Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer, not a news source. He even claims so himself. He does not quite go so far as to say that he feeds off of nut jobs views like yours, but he has said that they are the reason he is so successful. All he has to do is imply some innuendo and people like yourself grab it and run all the way with it. He has said the truth does not matter, only opinion.

Why do you think that under the same rules of financial management, Bush Sr lost to a resounding "It's the economy stupid!" Bush Sr had a good grasp of world events, and a good grasp of intelligence, but he failed miserably at internal affairs and the economy. I haven' t a clue as to what Bush Jr is good at except lining his masters pockets. Reaganomics was a disaster for most of the people in the country. The only real economic successes that happened during the 80s were based upon research and coming of age of engineering done in the 60s and 70s (computers, networking, biology, energy, design), and almost ALL of that was started by big government research programs... NASA, NSA, DARPA, ... True, mostly defense related, but the technology was started by big government, NOT PRIVATE FIRMS. It was later picked up by and carried forward by private firms. The republicans destroyed the economy starting in the 70s and Carter inherited a huge mess. There was no way to stop the events of the late 70s or 80s after the seeds were sown. Heck, the republicans even seem to have worked it out that the hostages in Iran became political toys to be held longer until Carter was weakened to the point of being unabel to govern. Thats what you get with modern day Republicans. Fear mongering, back stabbing, Lying thieves. These are not the republicans of my grandpas generation. The big dot com bubble bursts, the housing bubble and most other bubbles are more of the same republican led economic concepts. Laissez Faire DOES NOT WORK. Greed kills it. For some strange reason they think the concept of Good Old Dollar profit is all it takes to steer a country. They seem to have no clue about consequences, responsibilities, side-effects, real-world valuation, long-term planning or luck. If the republicans were left to their own devices, most places would be unlivable due to pollution, and medical care would only be available for the wealthy, as would education, and other necessary aspects of modern life. They can't seem to understand that society is not just a bunch of individuals, that is works best by these individuals helping lift each other up. They only see society as a tool to get what they want.

[rant off]

Formatting, +5 (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889293)

I love it when posts get moderated up simply due to extensive formatting, when it's clear the moderators haven't actually read or considered the inane, ridiculous content.

Re:Formatting, +5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20903849)

If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs the one that yelps is the one you hit.

Re:Formatting, +5 (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904947)

...and someone who sees you throwing rocks at dogs is likely to comment on your idiocy.

Re:oops typo (2, Insightful)

cyber-dragon.net (899244) | more than 6 years ago | (#20894225)

Substitute Republican for Democrat in this rant and it is just as true. What is it going to take for people to realize BOTH parties are corrupt and only out for their own interests, not those of the average American?

Follow the money... who is making it... when Dems are in power it is friends of Dems... when Reps are in power it is friends of Reps who are reaping the profits. At what point does the average American's life improve?

Re:oops typo (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900945)

  • Economy: taxes raises - At least Kennedy recognized that tax cuts increase Treasury coffers while simultaneously strengthen the economy - we have been at record low unemployment rates.
    Really? The most recent rate [bls.gov] is 4.7%. Even looking at the 4.6% rate for 2006 it is still higher than the 4.0% that Bill Clinton left Dubya with.
  • Forked Tongued: they speak out of both sides of their mouth; condemning the troops' work why 'claiming' to support them - this is only because of the lessons of how the Baby Boomer generation treated the troops during Vietnam - read: Clinton, Kerry, and their ilk
    Kerry was one of the troops during Vietnam. He earned the right to say whatever he wants to about Vietnam because, unlike Dubya, he was there--as a volunteer--for two tours.
  • Downsizing: in the 1990's Clinton significantly reduced the size of our standing military, which leads me into the following:
    That doesn't matter. Know why? Because Rumsfeld put fewer troops into Iraq than his commanders recommended.
  • They Love Defeat
    I would argue that President Bush loves defeat. He must, because his strategy in Iraq has done everything to encourage defeat.
  • Power: they love it and will do any thing to get to it
    Yes, unlike Republicans. (rolls eyes) You must be new around here.
  • Politics and Party: because they lust after Power they will put their Party first
    See above.

It's the JEWS, stupid... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888477)

It's the JEWS, stupid...

Let me see...
Every white country on earth has an open borders immigration policy, allowing in millions of hate-filled, parasitic third worlders, who do nothing but ruin every white area they move into...
The Jews use the presence of muslims (as if WE asked for these scumbags to be here in OUR countries) as the excuse for monitoring everything we ALL do and say, all in the noble cause of preventing 'terrorism'...

Then the Jews can arrest anybody who dares to say anything against them - you know, little minor things like telling the TRUTH about the Jews running OUR countries...

Re:oops typo (1)

jack455 (748443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20893509)

How is this 4 Insightful?

agree or disagree with criticism directed toward Democrats in congress, this is obviously a troll post

Re:oops typo (1)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 6 years ago | (#20896989)

I looked at "surprising" in the thesaurus. It says that "startling" is a synonym. This story just points out that they aren't. This news is certainly unsurprising, but it's still startling.

Possession is still 9 points of the law (0, Flamebait)

shanen (462549) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886871)

I'll believe they [the big companies and the government together in this case] are sincere about my privacy when they agree to store my personal information on *MY* disk space. Whenever they want to look at my personal information they need to tell me why, and I should have the right to say yea or nay to that request. Right now they claim that my personal information belongs to them, and there's no way for me to know anything about what they are doing with it.

In this case, my phone records should be stored on my own equipment, and if they need to doublecheck it, they can show probable cause and get a search warrant. The records can be signed to prevent me from tampering with them, but they have no good reason to own those records.

The *REAL* problem is that the Dubya's government and the big companies want to own our souls.

Meta-moderation is still 9 points of the nothing (-1, Offtopic)

shanen (462549) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886883)

Each time I post /. sends that invitation. So why don't I hop over and help the meta-moderation? Quit nagging me. Why would anyone waste time on meta-moderation? At least I understand the moderators' motivations. They're just tin-plated dictators with delusions of godhood.

Re:Meta-moderation is still 9 points of the nothin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20886995)

Oh, darn. Gosh, I don't have any mod points to mod you off-topic. Golly gee!

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (4, Insightful)

ZoneGray (168419) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886911)

The problem will not be solved by replacing Republicans with Democrats. It will only change the rationale. Dems will probe for child molesters and music pirates instead of terrorists, but they're not going to loosen government's grip.

The problem will be solved when Americans finally ask, "How the fuck can government regulate our telephone lines when we have a First Ammendment?"

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (3, Insightful)

shanen (462549) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887003)

I sort of agree with you insofar as both parties have been captured by big business interests. Getting the big money out of politics would be a very good thing, though I don't see any easy path to doing so... However, there is a difference in relative priorities, and it is clear that the neo-GOP is completely focused on the money, whereas the old GOP had and the Democrats still have some other principles as well.

Since it is very clear that privacy considerations have zero traction with the current American government, we basically have two options: Can we evolve in a more constructive direction (which means the neo-GOP must be removed first of all), or does there have to be a violent revolution? It seems very clear that certain governments (especially in Europe) are deliberately trying to evolve in the direction of favoring individual rights and privacy. If you believe that freedom and democracy confer competitive advantages, and if you think they are linked to such rights as privacy, then you must conclude that they are moving in a constructive and more competitive direction.

Revolution? Well, sometimes violent revolutions cannot be avoided. The problem there is that the outcome is never certain. On the average, the new systems are better than the old ones--but that's a big historical average, and there are plenty of times when things get worse before they get better. The one thing certain about a real revolution is that lots of people get hurt, even killed. I don't like that, and you can't convince me it's the only way to make things better. We're human beings, not mindless beasts that can only evolve mindlessly.

Me, I'd prefer to believe that just getting back to the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights would be a big step forward after the last few years. Some of the real Republicans might work for that, but not the neo-GOP politicians that still control what's left of the GOP.

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (1)

ZoneGray (168419) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887199)

>> Getting the big money out of politics would be a very good thing, though I don't see any easy path to doing so...

To get the money out of politics, the best path is to cut taxes and limit governmental power.

Inevitably, many special interests want to petition the government for redress, and that's a pretty important right in itself. If we decide ahead of time who can lobby government and by what means, then it's self-defeating. It's the slippery slope down the "more regulation will produce more freedom" line of thinking. The biggest, richest, most powerful groups will always have the most influence, no matter how you try to disguise it.

I once had hopes for the libertarian wing of the Repubs, but have learned that it's in the nature of democratic government that you can't hold onto power while simultaneously giving it up. I finally realized I could do more good by persuading people to think clearly about freedom, than by, y'know, voting.

BTW, I had similar hopes for the Dems back in the 60's & 70's, too. Back then I thought "liberal" meant that when in doubt, you err on the side of permissiveness. But over the years, I realized that it just meant passing a bunch of rules to make us live more like "liberals". Fuck that.

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888977)

To get the money out of politics, the best path is to [avoid concentration of wealth] and limit [concentration of] power.

Fixed that for you.

If you include ANY large organization in that sweeping statement (e.g., including corporations), then I'd agree with you. Otherwise, you're just another libertarian nutjob who believes in the Tooth Fairy and that an unregulated free market won't end up screwing over the poor.

The libertarian attitude toward compassion (and the emphasis on lack of it) is one of the reasons why normal, civil folk try and tune rabid libertarians out like the crazy maybe-dangerous bum muttering to himself in the alleyway.

Aside from my anti-libertarian rant, what would you think about a "tax" system where you were still required to pay "taxes", but instead of paying taxes to some central organization like a government, you got to pick which parts of the public infrastructure you wanted to fund? Or maybe some hybrid system where some base part of the taxes went to basic services like fire & local police, basic education, etc, but the money above that amount could be spent anywhere else for the public good as long as you didn't try and keep it?

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (2, Interesting)

shanen (462549) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890265)

I feel like saying "just so" and ending, but I'll continue by noting that government does have a number of legitimate purposes. Most importantly, governments should set the rules and make sure that all of the players continue to play by the rules. Governments must also mediate between the public and private interest because there are *LOTS* of cases where they are not the same. The quasi-rational libertarians admit that, but they claim it can be addressed by more complete information. Just too bad no one (short of God) has complete information, eh? There are always going to be cases where short-term private interests, for example my private interest to dump my garbage in the ocean or a company's private interest to emit sulfur dioxides, are going to trump the long-term public interests to have functioning oceans and clean air. We're not in 18th century Kansas anymore.

To me, freedom is about meaningful choice, and that means you need to have some real options and sufficient information to choice among them. I'm not sure what the minimum number of choices should be, but I feel like you need at least 4 or 5 of them to keep them competing against each other. (Yes, I think Microsoft should but cut into pieces and set against each other.) In a sense we have that kind of competition between governments, but to make it work on the individual level, we should be free to choose our government, and two thing all governments agree on is that they do *NOT* want the citizens choosing too freely and jumping from one government to a different one that seems better, and they do not want the people to go around changing the government to a different type. The American idea of balance of powers was a pretty clever innovation, and it worked for a long time and did a lot of good, but it looks like the "unitary executive" has finally killed it--while claiming to be "conservatives".

With regards to your proposed suggestion, I don't think it would work. Too many people would pick the same things, and you need balance.

Finally, to close with a twisted sort of joke: As He is described in most monotheistic religions, God has no freedom. If He is "omniscient" and "good", then He would know the full consequences of any action and He would always have to take the best option--and He would therefore have no freedom to choose otherwise. Freedom is in the limbo zone, where you know enough to make meaningful choices, but not so much that your choices are fully constrained.

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (1)

ZoneGray (168419) | more than 6 years ago | (#20891183)

I've no problems with compassion, no problems with helping the less able, or even the less ambitious. That's why I'm not a libertarian.

For example, I think the purpose of the US Postal Service monopoly is to provide stable jobs for people who aren't very ambitious and/or not very talented. Stated that way, I think it's a good use of money. But if you tell me that it's a good way to deliver the mail, then that's bullshit. If you took away their monopoly, they'd be out of business within a year.

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (1)

Copid (137416) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892187)

But if you tell me that it's a good way to deliver the mail, then that's bullshit. If you took away their monopoly, they'd be out of business within a year.
I'd be interested in knowing why you'd say that, given that the USPS manages to compete fairly well with UPS and FedEx in areas where it doesn't have a monopoly.

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (1)

ZoneGray (168419) | more than 6 years ago | (#20893601)

Anyplace USPS is competing with FedEx and UPS, it's being subsidized by its monopoly on first class and junk mail. Where do you think those Post Offices and mailboxes come from? And their express service is okay if you're not very fussy, but that's about it. They do have budget ground service that's.. well it's cheaper than UPS Ground. But Tracking? On-time delivery? Miserable.

Again, I have no problem paying the nice people to walk around all day and deliver junk mail and wear a uniform, if that's what they want to do with their lives. But no, not even close to competing with the private companies; I can't remember the last time I sent anything via USPS when I had a choice.

Changing the voting system (1)

smurfsurf (892933) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887225)

Removing the old useless cruft of the winner-takes-all voting system would be a good step towards break up the two party regime and introducing new dynamics.

Too bad this would undermine the power of the two big parties, so they have no interest in changing the status quo.

Re:Changing the voting system (1)

shanen (462549) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890507)

I basically agree with you. I think if the Founders had seen how it would work out, then they would have set up the kind of system that is used almost everywhere else in the world, where coalition governments are the norm. However, I'm doubtful that even coalition governments are the complete solution, because the real issues are more fluid than that.

In a sense, we're seeing competition between the various governmental systems. One of the characteristics of the American system is that the winner take all dynamics reduce politics to two parties that have very weak ideological bases. In contrast, the competitors are governments that are mostly run by coalitions that have strong ideological focuses on various issues. Looks to me like America started out with a big head start, but is now losing in the competition against quasi-united Europe.

However, we're getting rather far from the original topic of the article, and *NO*, I still don't want to hop over and help out with the meta-moderation.

Re:Changing the voting system (0, Troll)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 6 years ago | (#20891417)

I think if the Founders had seen how it would work out, then they would have
Doubtful. Look at the concept of "taxation without representation" and then look at the "power of borrow money on the credit of the United States". You don't think it's obvious that giving a small set of wealthy landowners the power to borrow money, which their constituents will be obliged to repay (through taxes), was a backdoor big enough to drive the USS Enterprise through? Why bother to physically bind your neighbor in chains when you can turn him into an indentured servant who lives off-site?

The Founding Fathers were profiteers just like everyone else at that level. They were looking for a way to increase their share of the American pie and found it in independence from Britain.

This still leaves the question of how bad Britain really want to retain America, politically. Financially (banking) and economically (trading) the reigning major players didn't change much after 1776. "Let them have their silly republic. Their banks and trading companies are all subsidiaries of ours."

Re:Changing the voting system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20893861)

Wow. Unlike some of your other posts, this one didn't even start off logically. Your giant leap to you spewing your limited knowledge of the banking system (as most all your posts eventually do) could have sent you clear across that landslide [latimes.com] -- which was apparently all the investment bankers' faults.

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (1)

I_Voter (987579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887667)

shanen wrote:

"I sort of agree with you insofar as both parties have been captured by big business interests."
--

U.S. voters might want to examine what is meant by a political party as opposed to a political label.

Most nations, other than the U.S., have private member based national political parties. Parties whose members, directly or indirectly, write and approve an enforceable political platform that gives political unity to the party. Conversely, prior to U.S. national elections, the DNC's and RNC's collect money at the national level. Besides providing the convenience of one-stop shopping for donors, - working together our national committees can often create a great deal of bipartisanship.

The following quotes are from Arrogant Capital by Kevin Phillips
Little, Brown and Company 1994, Chapter V, Page 123

"Aspects of Republican-Democratic rivalry can seem as staged and phony as American professional wrestling. Since the 1980's bipartisanship in the United States frequently involves suspending electoral combat to orchestrate some outcome with no great public support, but a high priority among key elites."

"In foreign policy, these issues have included the Panama Canal treaties and NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico. On the Domestic front, bipartisan commissions or summit meetings have been used to increase Social Security taxes on average Americans while the income tax rates of the rich were coming down and to raise the salaries of members of Congress."

"The pay raise deal involved walking on so many political eggshells that both sides negotiated an extraordinary side bargain: that the Democratic and Republican National Committees would refuse to fund any congressional candidate who broke the bipartisan agreement and made the pay raise an issue!"

----

Political parties in the U.S., prior to about 1890, used to be organizations that could field politicians that reflected the organizations interests, and would carry the organizations name on the ballot. By requiring political parties to nominate by publicly funded primaries, the state can specify the requirements for ballot access for the primary elections. The private member based political parties technically still exist, but now have no control over their own name! Once the organizing influence of political parties has been removed the relative organizing influence of money increases. One elected politician can't pass a law! Heck: One elected politician can't get a bill out of committee!

A political party in a two-party system is a gigantic coalition of many different interests. Lacking an enforceable party platform, the other forces that decide which of these interests will get rewarded, after the votes are counted, are not very clear in either major party. Not clear to the voter anyway.

I_Voter

It Wasn't Always this Way.

Great Quote from 1927
"Here in the last generation, a development has taken place which finds an analogy nowhere else. American parties have ceased to be voluntary associations like trade unions or the good government clubs or the churches. They have lost the right freely to determine how candidates shall be nominated and platforms framed, even who shall belong to the party and who shall lead it. The state legislatures have regulated their structure and functions in great detail."
SOURCE: American Parties and Elections,
by Edward Sait, Published 1927 (Page 174)
As found in The tyranny of the two-party system / Lisa Jane Disch c2002

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889007)

I strongly agree with you that both parties are broken. Voting between corrupt choice "A" and corrupt choice "B" is not democracy. But the thing that will get the fastest most bipartisan government action is anything one to actually trys to return some real power and control to the people. I read a very interesting story the other day about someone who is facing prison time for trying to get a referendum on the Oklahoma ballot. "If anyone thinking of getting involved as a citizen in the process has to factor in possibly going to prison for 10 years, a lot of husbands and wives will decide that sort of citizen activism isn't for them."http://www.reason.com/news/show/122839.html [reason.com]
I think that if the ability to make real true governmental change through the ballot box has been lost to us, and the powers that be can simply refuse to acknowledge the law, we are left with only two sorry choices. Either we let our country continue to degrade into a Kleptocracy, or we somehow displace the current power structure. So I think that while the problem will become clear to someone who asks "How the fuck can government regulate our telephone lines when we have a First Ammendment?" The solution will be answered when we can answer "What will I do about it?"

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20887021)

Wtf? Dude, are you going to keep reposting this comment [slashdot.org] with the middle portion changed to every privacy story? I have mod points but I am not entirely sure if I should mod you down. I will let the other mods decide. :|

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (2, Interesting)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887157)

A big part of this debate has to do with many factors.

1) The general dislike for the current administration (whether applicable or not, it's still there).
2) The big question of whether national security trumps personal privacy.
3) How much personal privacy is given up in the interest of national security.
4) Just what information was gathered by the surveillance program.

The first issue we'll just not discuss, since it's really irrelevant in the overall discussion. Basically, if your decision to NOT allow this type of surveillance is based solely on the fact it's Bush in the Whitehouse, then you are being irrational.

Second, can national security trump personal privacy and if so, how much personal privacy? History shows that, in the United States, during times of war or national crisis, personal privacy gets trumped by national security for what was deemed at the time as being for the public good. For example, Bill Clinton issued an executive order on February 9, 1995 allowing the attorney general to conduct warrantless searches in the interest of national security. [fas.org] Likewise, during World War II, Franklin Roosevelt interned Japanese-Americans to prevent them from spying or otherwise being a nuisance [wikipedia.org] .

Third and fourth, just how much is too much? Well, surveillance in this program was more interested in envelope information such as from where the call is coming from and where it is going to. Phone numbers, without any information attached to them, is basically public record. I could pick up my phone and make a call to a random number right now, that's public information.

Now, who you call is another story. Should the phone companies be tracking this information at all? Well, yes, they use it for billing. Who called who and for how long determines how much they charge you, or at the very least how much it costs them for you to make that phone call. They need this information to run their business. Now the question is, who does this information belong to? You? The telephone company? Well, both! You need this information, possibly, for your own personal information. However, as mentioned, the telco needs it for billing. Since you're using their services, they have the right to this information.

With that in mind, the telco has the right to use that information as they wish, no matter what any Terms of Service say, because you agree to their service and as part of that service, they need to gather said information in order to get you to pay for that service. So, in essence, the telco has every right to provide this information to the federal gov't if they want to (whether it's in their own best interest or not).

So now the question is, should the FCC investigate this activity? Well, technically they could, but the question is whether it's worth it. The question is whether the NSA broke any law under FISA (pointing back to the first link of Clinton's executive order) allows this type of surveillance. But that's not up to the FCC to decide, but for the court to decide. So, is the Congress suing the administration in order to obtain this information? Because that's the only way to properly obtain all the necessary information. Ask your congressman. Because I bet you the Democrats would lose that one in Federal court and they know it. Which is why they chose to argue this one in the court of public opinion.

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887393)

1) The general dislike for the current administration (whether applicable or not, it's still there).

Admitted freely, but irrelevant to this particular issue.


2) The big question of whether national security trumps personal privacy.

Absolutely not. Period.


3) How much personal privacy is given up in the interest of national security.

Ideally, none. In practice, we already have a system of legal hoops to jump through to allow a carefully controlled, specifically targetted loss of privacy when overwhelming evidence makes it clear that someone intends to do something nasty. And I don't mean the joke we call the FISA court, which should simply not exist. Need a warrant? Come up with some evidence first.


4) Just what information was gathered by the surveillance program.

This one has an all-too-easy answser - "All of it". And ironically, too much to use. Casting an overly-broad net to fish for evidence has one major drawback, aside from cost (which we the taxpayers bear, so the government couldn't care less about that) - For every "real" potential terrorist intent on blowing something up, you have hundreds of discontents who may talk about it but would never actaully do anything; tens of thousands who talk about the topic in a way that careful inspection would filter out but still sounds suspicious at first listen; and millions of completely irrelevant conversations about shopping and dating and telemarketing and what to have for dinner, all of which may well throw in the occasional phrase that catches the filters' attention. And the wider the net, the more likely the one real terrorist will manage to evade it (and that doesn't even consider that he'll likely speak the most guardedly).

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (2, Informative)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887503)

the telco has the right to use that information as they wish

Wrong! Just because you agreed to their terms of service does not mean you should not expect privacy from them. This is simply hogwash. They have only the right use that information in the process of billing you.

Whether Clinton's executive order is right or not, is relevant, but in the current circumstances, the current administration is so far over the top in these matters, it is imperative to our survival as a democratic society to know the extent of these violations of privacy. Even if it turns out that all of these instances are not breaking the law, they are certainly violations committed by a government out of control against its own populace.

Of course it's not worth it to them, they probably knew about it already, may have participated in it and are beholden (at least the director) to the current administration. Congress should not be delegating it to them as they cannot be trusted to perform properly. This should be performed by an independent committee outside of administration control.

They better fight it on all fronts, including the court of public opinion because the public should be outraged whether or not this is technically illegal. If not it should be.

Re:Possession is still 9 points of the law (2, Informative)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889453)

So, in essence, the telco has every right to provide this information to the federal gov't if they want to (whether it's in their own best interest or not).

Sorry, you're wrong. Please see Section 222 of the Communications Act.

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode47/usc_sec_47_00000222----000-.html [cornell.edu]

Here, allow me to quote.

Every telecommunications carrier has a duty to protect the confidentiality of proprietary information of, and relating to, other telecommunication carriers, equipment manufacturers, and customers, including telecommunication carriers reselling telecommunications services provided by a telecommunications carrier.

So what is Congress good for? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20886907)

If Congress can't exert any power in situations like this, what CAN it do?

Re:So what is Congress good for? (2, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887055)

Applause at the State of the Union?

Re:So what is Congress good for? (2, Informative)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887229)

Impeach the imbecile who appointed him.

Re:So what is Congress good for? (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887251)

If Congress can't exert any power in situations like this, what CAN it do?

They can, but they won't.

You make a mistake in thinking congress actually objects to the wholesale stripping away of our privacy, to the war in Iraq, to all the crap they've scapegoated Bush with for the last six years. What a great game! Last week you hated Bill, this week you hate George, next week you hate Hillary, but we just keep going back to the same used car dealership so one of them can rape us week after week after week...

Yes, few people in US history can come close to Bush for outright in-your-faceness about how frequently they wipe their asses with the constitution. But we need to avoid presuming that he has done anything new - He just lacks the saavy to hide his abuses.

If congress so desired, they could end all this tomorrow. They could end the war, they could end the spying programs, they could end our use of torture and our continued illegal detainment of both foreigners and US citizens, they could end Bush's presidency. They have that power. But they won't use it, because they all want the same things that Bush does - Further consolidation of power and money into their own families and friends.

The only part of domestic wiretapping they actually object to involves who gets to listen. They want in on the action, and resent Bush keeping them outside the loop.

Re:So what is Congress good for? (2, Insightful)

SmackedFly (957005) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887403)

Or, you could ask yourself. If this is the amount of stuff they've been unable to hide, how much have they actually succesfully hidden from you? Bush may lack the savvy to hide his shady dealings, but much of his staff doesn't, don't presume you know half of it.

Re:So what is Congress good for? (2, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888169)

Tip of the iceberg syndrome, and the thing is ... they're still managing to hide the tip! We know there's an iceberg, we know we're about to plow right into it, Titanic-style ... but we can't actually see it.

Re:So what is Congress good for? (1)

ezduzit (975418) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890941)

"Further consolidation of power and money into their own families and friends." Oh, wow! Another repeater of conspiracy theories. The Kool Aid at MoveOn must be pretty good to keep ill informed people repeating stupid things. Get a life, hoss!

Re:So what is Congress good for? (1)

xRobx (795021) | more than 6 years ago | (#20891489)

How is that a conspiracy theory? You obviously have no clue about politics.

Re:So what is Congress good for? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20891493)

Oh, wow! Another repeater of conspiracy theories.

Who said anything about a conspiracy? Just a bunch of domesticated primates acting purely out of self-interest, for their own advancement. No conspiracies involved.



The Kool Aid at MoveOn must be pretty good to keep ill informed people repeating stupid things.

What a strange comment... I don't drink Kool Aid; I don't follow MoveOn; and as for well-informed, by dear little pot, you might find it somewhat more effective to post some form of factual refutation rather than an effectively contentless set of insults.

But hey, if you like the system we have now, or lack the will or courage to say otherwise - good for you! Some of us would prefer to consider the government we could have, and dare to say as much.

Re:So what is Congress good for? (1)

ezduzit (975418) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900045)

pla:

"conspiracy theory
-noun
the idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public. "

Here are some recent examples for you.

1.  The Jews control the world's money supply.
2.  The Bushies started the Iraq war to make themselves richer.
3.  Cheney started the Iraq war to give $billions in business to Haliburton.
4.  Hillary Clinton and Phyllis Diller are the same person because they have the same laugh, and you never see them together.

All these are popular conspiracy theories. Basing your opinion on conspiracy junk doesn't contribute to the discussion.

Some of the more salient facts in relation to the situation follow.

1.  Investigation of law breaking is the job of the Justice Department. The FCC is just a regulatory agency.

2.  Government eavesdropping on telephone calls has been going on since Alexander Graham Bell invented the device.  The Feds can listen to you all they want, impound your cars, and freeze your bank accounts if they are suspicious of drug activity.

It happens all the time, and hardly any judge questions the Feds when granting authority for this infringement of your privacy. Now that the Feds want to give terrorists the same treatment, it is fair to ask the question, "Where were our elected representatives when our rights to privacy and due process were surrendered in the war on drugs?"

3.  All telephone call records are the property of the telephone company, just like your VISA purchase records are the property of your VISA affilate bank. They have always had their data-mining and market research projects using info about you to sell you more stuff.  Breaches of our privacy in relation to who we have been talking to or what we have been buying have been going on forever.

4.  The Congressional proposal for the FCC to investigate the telephone companies is a smoke screen to conceal the inability of a feckless, visionless Congressional Majority to get ANYTHING done.

The real damage to our civil rights was done in the last century.

Your point of Congress not being good for anything was, I think, correct.  The rest of your post was stuff you can get from any conspiracy theory blog.

Re:So what is Congress good for? (2, Insightful)

TheReallyMadScientis (1131215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887601)

Using the power of the purse to shutdown the war and domestic spying programs? Nope, their fingers are just as deep in those coffers.
Enacting new legislation to hold the myriad bells accountable for their violations of privacy in Fed Court? Nope, Repubs have the Supreme Court on lockdown now too.
Kindling?

Re:So what is Congress good for? (2, Funny)

mecenday (1080691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887869)

If things keep going this way, next they'll tell us that Congress isn't even in charge of Gundam.

Fine by me.. (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886915)

.. don't use a landline then or a "subscription" mobile :)

America's phone records are handled by.. (5, Informative)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886931)

.. Amdocs , an Israel company and has ALL records perfect for phone data mining. Great for the intelligence community. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUXFHON_v9o [youtube.com] Still want to have a SUBSCRIPTION service where they can know everything about you? I strongly recommend VoIP abroad or subscriptionless mobiles if you value your privacy.

Re:America's phone records are handled by.. (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888339)

Except the Israeli intelligence services are the most transparent in the world with regards to activity reports to their own government and population. Given how they report their own activities, they've been far more open than the CIA and NSA.

Re:America's phone records are handled by.. (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888719)

That would be why there is a spying scandal.

Re:America's phone records are handled by.. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20891995)

That's no big deal. It's only French companies that are considered to be a security risk and that's for petty reasons best left to the playground instead of politics.

Face it - American Democracy is dead (-1, Flamebait)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886957)

Your votes, even if counted, mean nothing. Your privacy is at the governments discretion as are your rights to a fair trial and hearing.

I'm serious - the great North American experiment is over, its tragic.

This is a good thing. (1)

baffled (1034554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887023)

The FCC has been heavily biased toward the policies of this administration, at least while under Michael Powell's leadership. Now that the FCC has given up their chance to fake an investigation, a more respectable organization can perform a thorough, honest investigation.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888415)

a more respectable organization can perform a thorough, honest investigation.

True, so maybe we could hire a respectable foreign intelligence service. There are several good ones available (MI6, the Mossad, etc.) but I'd recommend the Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki. Sure, why not use the SVR ... let's ask our Russian friends for help in this matter. I mean, Russia could use the money, and the SVR is a top-notch intelligence service, so I'm sure they'll get the job done very efficiently. We might find ourselves short a few Congressmen, corporate executives and FCC commissioners when the investigation is complete (Russia does have a certain ruthlessness in managing such affairs) but that's okay ... we can well spare them. Furthermore, I'm sure the results of said investigation would be very interesting.

The Red Army might also provide a solution to the United States' immigration problem as well. I suggest we designate a one-mile-wide strip of land along the border with our southern friends as sovereign Russian territory. Let the Red Army bring in a sufficient number of men and materiel to defend their land (think of it as a live-fire training exercise.) All you would really need to do would be pay them well, provide plenty of ammunition, Vodka and hookers. Certainly this would be a boon to Nevada's economy, although it probably wouldn't be a good idea for anyone else to go there: drunk Russian soldiers shooting at anything that moves would be plenty dangerous.

I don't see the problem here, I mean, if we're going to be part of the Global Economy, we might as well get it over with and go all the way.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

baffled (1034554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889743)

Forgive me if I'm missing something obvious, but is this your way of calling me a communist supporter because I don't think the FCC would perform a good investigation?

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890063)

Not at all. It's my way of agreeing with you that we're unlikely to see a proper investigation by any of the usual suspects.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889539)

Your post should be modded down for ignorance; lack of knowledge.

The FCC is in WHICH branch of the Federal government? By definition it's usually going to follow the desires of its boss.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

baffled (1034554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889771)

I am not going to argue your point; I'll merely observe you are strengthening my original point. The FCC is not the appropriate entity to perform such an investigation.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890147)

No. Your statement was opinion derived from ignorance. It is not rational to claim a diminished basis strengthens the derivative.

Investigative responsibility depends on structure and laws. The FCC, like many other large entities, has its own internal investigations group. That's the appropriate place for an investigation to start from cost and familiarity aspects. That was true of the Bill Clinton ATF just as it is true of the George Bush FCC.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

baffled (1034554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890353)

It is my opinion that over the past decade the telecom industry has become very consolidated under the encouragement of both Clinton and Bush's administrations and the permission of their pet, the FCC.

This consolidation provided the government easy access to private records of the entire nation. The FCC indirectly facilitated the government's ability to violate your privacy; ignorance is allowing the FCC to investigate corruption that has tainted itself.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890407)

You are confusing "intelligence" and "wisdon" while also disregarding law.

Quick heads up on Mr. Powell (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#20898205)

He was a lawyer from the Bush/Chenney '00 election campaign and his wife is one of Chenney's aides. He is by all accounts, in the pocket of the president.

-Rick

Also unsurprisingly (5, Informative)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887053)

Congress is going to respond to this continued emasculation with a painstakingly measured combination of harsh words and sulking.

Re:Also unsurprisingly (1)

Mac_8100_g3 (662248) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890321)

Yeah, I smell another sternly worded letter coming up.

Someone Had to Shut it Down (1)

PhyrricVictory (773671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887065)

Someone had to shut down the investigation. Also full credit would have been given for a token investigation that found no wrongdoing, had vague and inconclusive results, and requested more funding for The War Against Terror. What ain't gonna happen, under any circumstances / regime / administration, is The Right Thing (TM).

strangely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20887089)

The congressional investigators report that every time they approach a new agency about possible wrongdoings in the agency's purview, they find that the Bush administration has already bullied the agency head to toe the line and only parrot lines about "important national security implications" that preclude them taking any action... It's as if the administration somehow knew in advance who the congressional investigators were trying to reach, strangely enough.

There is no such thing as private communications (2, Informative)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887191)

The simple fact is that talking on any phone, cellular in particular, is not private. If you think it is you are delluding yourself. As a comm tech in the 80's we routinely monitored voice traffic for amusement purposes. The things you hear are mind boggling! People talk on the phone about the most private and illegal things. Why oh why would anyone ever discuss something on an unsecure medium that they don't want anyone to know is beyond me. I remember years ago some congressional members cell call with some embarrassing content was recorded and made public. Yeah...it was illegal and the people that recorded it were charged....but still, why would anyone thinks that a phone call is private. It doesn't matter whether the administration and congress ban monitoring or not. It will still happen. The only difference then is it wont be admissable in court. But then if you're a member of a terrorist organization bent on death and destruction the people listening are planning on sending you to a higher court. :)

Re:There is no such thing as private communication (1)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887293)

This complacency is the problem. We have the right to expect privacy to be the default. We have the right that it is respected except in the most grave of situations. Lots of things will still happen, people will be mugged. Should we just say, "you shouldn't have been out that late." You should have been fired and prosecuted for your "amusement." Your "amusement" is a lack of respect for others.

Re:There is no such thing as private communication (2, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888263)

>You should have been fired and prosecuted for your "amusement." Your "amusement" is a lack of respect for others.

I don't disagree. It was wrong. Still and all.....privacy is an illusion. You can bitch all you want but the fact is that without some form of encryption there is no secure communications. From bored comm techs to overly enthusiastic FBI agents and NSA operatives, there is always someone listening. You can expect privacy but you aren't going to get it.

Re:There is no such thing as private communication (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890065)

Privacy and safety are both illusions. And we do bad things to the people who disillusion us.

Re:There is no such thing as private communication (1)

44BSD (701309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20891791)

"People talk on the phone about the most private and illegal things"

Yeah, I've heard that people will even be so crazy as admit to committing felonies, like listening in on others' phone conversations. Can you believe it??

Re:There is no such thing as private communication (1)

ygslash (893445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905469)

Sounds like people who write private matters in their emails.

What's the Problem? (4, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887263)

Last time I looked, the House and Senate had subpoena power. If they want to investigate what Bush administration has been up to with the telcos, they can simply haul the telcos, the administration officials, or both into a hearing and compel them to testify. A few contempt citations should clarify the issue of who did what and why rather quickly.

Maybe getting a formal refusal to investigate from the FCC is somehow a necessary preliminary to getting to the bottom of this nonsense. I hope so.

Come on folks let's move on this. I wouldn't be surprised to discover that there are people out there who will be only to happy to testify in detail about what has been done and why and are just waiting for someone to ask. .

National Security? Betcha not. Anyone with a very long memory will recall that the Nixon administration's first ploy in trying to elude Watergate was to invoke National Security. After that was laughed off, they switched to executive privilege. Have we learned nothing? The best way to deal with miscreants in high places is to expose the facts about what they have been doing to the light of day.

Re:What's the Problem? (4, Insightful)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887959)

Last time I looked, the House and Senate had subpoena power. ... A few contempt citations should clarify the issue...

From the way things are going, Bush would refuse to allow them to testify based on "executive privilege and the separation of powers". This would spend some time travelling up to the Supreme court - long enough to allow the very-short-attention-span congresscritters to forget. If the Supreme court did rule against Bush he could still tell his minions to refuse to testify and pardon them immediately on issue of contempt citations. Bingo, a congress that can do nothing.

Re:What's the Problem? (1)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888863)

even if the end result is that congress is powerless, make bush do it. make him do it all. make him prove to the american people the lengths he will go to to cover up what he's done to the citizens.

Re:What's the Problem? (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888945)

even if the end result is that congress is powerless, make bush do it. make him do it all. make him prove to the american people the lengths he will go to to cover up what he's done to the citizens.

He'd tell them he was doing it to protect them from the terrorists, and they'd thank him for it.

Re:What's the Problem? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890387)

At which point Congress turns around and impeaches him, and THEN starts issuing citations again. If Cheney starts pulling the same, they impeach him, too.

Not that they will do any of it.

But that's neither here nor there.

How could anyone be opposed to this investigation? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887437)

...After all, if the telcos didn't do anything wrong, they should have nothing to hide.

"Hehe, Rovey..." (1)

nysus (162232) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887603)

"Talk to our guy over at NSA, the one you gave the special clearance to. I think those Dems might be up to something. Let's see who they've been talking to."

Department: "keeping America safe from nipples"? (1)

toby (759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887627)

(n/t)

I don't think this is a democrat/republican issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888021)

I think the issue is that the FCC is not accountable and responsive and representative of the American people. They don't answer to us. Their priority is not what is best for the citizens.

If the geeks ever get political power, the FCC Commissioners will be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes [wikipedia.org] .

Re:I don't think this is a democrat/republican iss (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888549)

We don't need to get political power. We just need to get BFG9000s.

mpaa (1)

ralph1 (900228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888463)

i smell a payoff

power balance (2, Insightful)

damp heat (1168981) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888649)

How much trust do you have for the average person on the street? Would you trust them to bring your lost wallet back to you with all the cash in it you had? The problem with Government, with Police, with anyone in power, is that they are humans, with all the same flaws as you and me, and then some. Many are nosey, greedy, and most of all, attracted to power and all that it entails. I'm not saying this is universal. The question isn't "what am I trying to hide?" It's "why do you want to know?" Imbalance of knowledge=Imbalance of power

I think it is long overdue that (2, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888901)

SOMEONE needs to remind the government (including the FCC) that THEY work for US - and that WE want this investigated.

Re:I think it is long overdue that (2, Informative)

fotbr (855184) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889107)

Good luck with that. Congress requested the investigation. It still got blocked.

Sure, we can vote out the politicians, but the bureaucracy will continue, regardless of which party happens to be in power.

What we NEED to do is purge the bureaucracy every decade or so. And not just the top few administrative types -- everyone. Bring new people and new ideas in at all levels.

Also, making it ridiculously easy to fire a government employee would help as well. I think they're moving the right direction with their new personnel program that will base pay on performance, rather than simply grade and step. Of course, from what I've seen, people will still write their own performance reviews, which will be rubber-stamped approved, and will keep the system as broken as it was before, with the honest and hard-working still getting screwed by their lazy and indifferent coworkers.

Anecdotal: There was a lady in our building, came in to fill a GS 9 position. After 8 months of doing nothing but running her mouth about how great she was at doing stuff and taking credit for everyone else's work (and proving her utter incompetence to those working around her) she moved to a different section to fill a GS 11 job. Two months over there it became apparent to all those above her that she could not do the job, and since she'd pissed everyone around her off by taking credit for their work, they (and me) were unwilling to do anything that might help her. Did her incompetence and inability to do her job get her fired, or demoted down to a skill level she could do? NO! They move her into a different department, and promote her again to a GS 12! She's still floundering, and unable to do her job, and her reputation preceded her so she gets absolutely no help from her coworkers, but they can't get rid of her, and can't put her back in a GS 7 or GS 9 job that matches her abilities.

As a DoD contractor, I get to see at least part of the ugly game that is government service. The politics and backstabbing are worse than anywhere else I've been. The lazy and incompetent are promoted and shuffled around to be "someone else's problem" while those that produce tend to get kept where they are, because "they're too valuable to lose to a different section/department." The object of the game is not to serve the people (troops, directly in our case) or the country. The object of the game is to get as much money for doing as little work as possible. I'd hope its different elsewhere, but it appears this is the case across the DoD, which isn't exactly a small slice of the government service pie.

Re:I think it is long overdue that (1)

GnuDiff (705847) | more than 6 years ago | (#20894337)

As a former FSN for a US Embassy, I can second that for DoS, too - at least as much as we were able to glimpse into the world of FSOs. ;)

Nothing to hide for the innocent right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20889929)

Seems to me I recall a government attitude of: If they've done nothing wrong, they've got nothing to hide. Only the terrorist need to be worried about surveillance and auditing...

Re:Nothing to hide for the innocent right? (1)

Mac_8100_g3 (662248) | more than 6 years ago | (#20890275)

This from someone who's posted as an Anonymouse Coward. Irony is indeed dead.

Independent investigations of government needed (1)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 6 years ago | (#20891873)

Ron Paul said it himself when he mentioned that the US government should be investigated from the outside in.

Legality, property rights, and privacy (2, Insightful)

SiriusRegalis (470623) | more than 6 years ago | (#20893615)

The problem lies in the fact that information given without a warrant by a third party is perfectly legal. If I, as a federal agent, request information, the company or individual can give that information freely of their own volition. As long as I do not threaten, nothing "underhanded" has happened. And that info can be used in court or any other way I wish. It is only when a individual or entity declines to provide the requested information that a warrant is needed.

Many big corps and individuals feel that they must give the information based on pressure to seem patriotic or just to better serve the bottom line. They give this information perfectly willingly. What is needed to stop this is laws with harsh penalties. The problem is that too many folks are view privacy issues as some sort of philosophical, ideological, or conceptual debate. How then can you determine when privacy is violated if there is no substantial definition.

The data that companies have on a person is not owned by that person, it is owned by the company. And that is the essence of the problem. What we need is laws that allow the individual to retain that information as their personal property, not the company. The individual may choose to allow that the use of that property by the company for purposes of conducting business with that company, but outside of the normal and reasonable activity of commerce, that property cannot be used with out the individual giving up his various rights (ie property rights of ownership and use, the right to remain silent, etc.)

You can refuse the police access to your dwelling because it is your property, unless they have a warrant. If you rent, then you have less rights, because the owner can decide to allow the police inside. But without a warrant, they cannot enter the building that you hold the title to without permission. If we had laws in place that forced companies to hold your information and personal data without having to relinquish ownership to that company, then this would not be an issue. This would allow the problem to once again be a constitutional issue of "illegal search and seizure".

Mind you, this is just a simplistic way I have defined the idea, but I think you should be able to see the advantageous (and disadvantageous) to such a law. As it stands, unless the administration open threatened the companies, nothing illegal has taken place.

Re:Legality, property rights, and privacy (1)

GnuDiff (705847) | more than 6 years ago | (#20894355)

Don't the US have some sort of laws about information privacy like here in EU?

I believe there is an EU regulation that has been implemented in (well at least our it is) member states, that specifies how the information concerning individuals must be stored, to whom it may be given and under what circumstances - for all other matters it is considered confidential. There is a State Person Data Inspection, which actually does follow this. AFAIK, not very closely, but you definitely can go and complain and they do investigate. Major telcos and banks definitely are wary about that and have implemented procedures for this years ago here.
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