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Thread: The American Politics thread

  1. #3361
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Illinois gay marriage bill - chicagotribune.com

    There are a lot of plusses and minuses when you give states a lot of power. These are definitely some of the plusses. Gay marriage would never pass through Congress any time soon. Same thing with marijuana legalization and things like that.
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  2. #3362
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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  3. #3363
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Transcript: NSA Deputy Director John Inglis : NPR

    This is an excellent interview worth reading. I am not a fan at all of what NSA has done and I have an inherent problem with secret courts and secret precedent setting court rulings - I think they are extremely anti-democratic (about as anti-democratic as you can get) and need to be severely limited, if not completely removed. Especially so when you only have one side arguing the case....

    In any case, it's an interesting interview because it's conducted well and I can see why the NSA feels like they've been abandoned. Congress is the worse problem - all of their activities were reported to appropriate congressional and executive oversight committees and everyone was fine with it until the political winds changed...and they blamed it all on the NSA. NSA was working under the 'law' and it does not seem that there were any 'abuses'. I use quotes because I believe that in the end, the law is unconstitutional (though it is still the law at this moment) and collecting metadata on all Americans is an abuse in and of itself. But these oversight congressional committees, the executive branch that oversees the agency, and the judicial branch (via the FISA court) all have enabled this to go on - NSA is simply doing what the law tells them to do.

  4. #3364
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    I'm not so sympathetic. Every intel agency gets thrown under a bus when the political winds change. It was just lucky for the FBI and the CIA noone could pinpoint exactly who had screwed up worst and when on 9/11 so they could point the finger at the other guy. There's always tension between intel agencies and governments because one day, you'll be required to collect info on said political reps. Boffins with toys are a big, scary black box to elected reps. It's part of the deal that you're always fighting to defend your credibility.

    Personally, I don't agree with the idea that NSA activities are all encompassing evil but I strongly believe in all aside from the most exceptional circumstances, they should be going to court to prove why they need access to someone's phones, emails, etc. Carte blanche access without someone tapping you on the shoulder saying "Why do you need to know that?" breeds corrupt behaviour in these environments which might not necessary be breaking the law.

    That said, the interview was good. He answered a couple of hypotheticals which blokes in his position usually would just refuse to do.
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 10-01-2014 at 06:14 PM.
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  5. #3365
    International Debutant ganeshran's Avatar
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    A more serious aspect of the NSA case is the international snooping. The US citizens whose rights are violated atleast have legal recourse to appeal against the snooping (even though a judge has deemed it constitutional).

    Citizens of other countries have no such recourse and US military and economic muscle will ensure that there is no accountability.
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    Cricketer Of The Year Anil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganeshran View Post
    A more serious aspect of the NSA case is the international snooping. The US citizens whose rights are violated atleast have legal recourse to appeal against the snooping (even though a judge has deemed it constitutional).

    Citizens of other countries have no such recourse and US military and economic muscle will ensure that there is no accountability.
    dude, keeping aside the question of whether the "snooping" is an abuse of power or a necessary evil, why single out the nsa here? all developed and even a lot of the developing countries do the exact same thing...i was not in the least shocked by snowden's revelations...always assumed it has been going on...
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  7. #3367
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganeshran View Post
    A more serious aspect of the NSA case is the international snooping. The US citizens whose rights are violated atleast have legal recourse to appeal against the snooping (even though a judge has deemed it constitutional).

    Citizens of other countries have no such recourse and US military and economic muscle will ensure that there is no accountability.
    Oh please. Virtually every country has a foreign intelligence service (including India). While they differ in their capabilities, they all do pretty much the same exact thing. Do you think the Indian Spy Agencies follow Pakistani laws regarding privacy when they do their intelligence gathering, or vice versa?

  8. #3368
    International Debutant ganeshran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anil View Post
    dude, keeping aside the question of whether the "snooping" is an abuse of power or a necessary evil, why single out the nsa here? all developed and even a lot of the developing countries do the exact same thing...i was not in the least shocked by snowden's revelations...always assumed it has been going on...
    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Oh please. Virtually every country has a foreign intelligence service (including India). While they differ in their capabilities, they all do pretty much the same exact thing. Do you think the Indian Spy Agencies follow Pakistani laws regarding privacy when they do their intelligence gathering, or vice versa?
    No other country has the kind of technical capability nor the pull off with communication companies to pull off indiscriminate global surveillance at this scale. Heck, they were snooping on Merkel's and Rouseff's phone who are leaders of another sovereign country.

    Just put the shoe on the other foot (for e.g. snooping by China) and observe the self-righteous indignation expressed by the US administration at the assault on privacy on the internet.

  9. #3369
    Global Moderator Fusion's Avatar
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    So you are faulting the US for being better at spying than your country? Would the assault on privacy not be as concerning to you if they only spied at the same level as India, Pakistan, China etc?

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    Cricketer Of The Year Anil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion View Post
    So you are faulting the US for being better at spying than your country? Would the assault on privacy not be as concerning to you if they only spied at the same level as India, Pakistan, China etc?
    yeah that's what i was going for as well...they all do it and regardless of any "reforms" that are implemented, i am pretty sure that will continue unabated...

  11. #3371
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Yep. Spying has provably saved lives and you don't need to look too hard to find an example; without the info on the Sandal rocket provided by Penkovsky and info he gave about USSR's true capabilities as a fighting nation (Kruschev was bluffing), Kennedy would have bombed Cuba.

  12. #3372
    International Debutant ohnoitsyou's Avatar
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    There is a reason the amalgamation of various US spying agencies are labelled the New Gestapo. The level of surveillance is unmatched by anyone. But maybe it wouldn't be so bad if the American legal system wasn't so corrupt, and the administration so incompetent.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    As much as the NSA's activities are distasteful, the comparison to Stasi and Gestapo are actually deeply offensive to those alive at the time when they were active. I mean, let's get real for a minute; the surveillance toys the NSA have are obviously incredible but the level of genuine repression of the population at large doesn't compare to war-time or post-war Germany. It takes a lot for the NSA to take any serious notice of your activities, usually sustained action by you and if you're connected with others who are also pretty active. On the other hand, in Germany after the war, if you so much as expressed in public your annoyance with bread lines to an informant, you were disappeared and tortured. Friends and relatives informed on each other because of how scared they were of the consequences if they didn't. People in the arts, just because of the fact they were in the arts, were considered dissidents.

    I don't care how repressed your average American claims they feel on AR-15.com, if you go to a street corner with a bunch of '**** Obama' signs, you might get some polite inquiries from anyone with a badge passing by and if you arc up enough, you might even get yourself arrested on some misdemeanor and get your day in court. Do the same thing in post-War Germany and you were dead, assuming you hadn't already been arrested for expressing those views to your cousin who was an informant. There's barely any comparison.
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 13-01-2014 at 08:46 PM.

  14. #3374
    International Debutant ohnoitsyou's Avatar
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    Sorry for any offence made to anyone. Yes, the levels of repression are complete worlds apart, the statement is more comparing the levels of intrusion and complexity of surveillance. That said, we are talking about a country where tens of thousands of muslim/arab citizens were interrogated following 9/11 and ever increasing $s are spent on drone warfare, so you can't exactly say it isn't an oppressive regime. Also the NSA are just part of it, iirc the US government contracts around 500 surveillance firms.

  15. #3375
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    I'm sorry but people aren't being put into jail or arrested for their political beliefs. The comparison doesn't hold. If the regimes you mentioned had anywhere near the technical capabilities of the NSA, their level of intrusion would be 1984'esque. None of this metadata BS. I don't like what the NSA is doing but let's keep it in perspective.
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