You say Police State, I say potato. Either way let's discuss surveillance and government overreach.

LeapingGnome wrote:

You can't really say anything that will convince me that blanket secret monitoring of citizen communication is good for our country.

I don't think it's good, just to be clear. I think it's *here*, which is a different thing entirely. Please keep that difference in mind.

My point is that simply filing legal cases is unlikely to do more than publicize things, which while good means nothing if Congress is not convinced that there is a problem. And many of those guys are extremely retro in their thinking.

Paleocon wrote:

Playmobil on Airport Security.

Read the reviews.

That's amazing.

Robear wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

You can't really say anything that will convince me that blanket secret monitoring of citizen communication is good for our country.

I don't think it's good, just to be clear. I think it's *here*, which is a different thing entirely. Please keep that difference in mind.

My point is that simply filing legal cases is unlikely to do more than publicize things, which while good means nothing if Congress is not convinced that there is a problem. And many of those guys are extremely retro in their thinking.

Yeah. Unless voters hold their congresscritters' feet to the fire. Intelligence orgs will keep breaking laws and congress will keep granting retro active immunity to companies that help.

Another issue is how do you oversee the oversight? Congress isn't necessarily known for being the greatest watchdog over big money interests with lots of campaign donations. Assume a large enough noise is made that forces Congress to put tighter controls and regulations in place over domestic surveillence. How do we then ensure they're not ignored in the future, especially after people go back to voting for Idol? Seems a very slippery issue.

It's got to be done, though. We've had luck in the past, for example with the Church Commission and the reforms that came after Reagan's covert ops, but those have been reversed because of 9/11 and now we need to start thinking about not just the old issues of oversight, but the uses of the new technologies. EFF is a great advocate for this.

Robear wrote:

stuff

It bears noting that Robear is in direct line-of-sight to the Puzzle Palace's mind-control lasers.

I do have my tinfoil hat, though. That's gotta count for something, there's no way they could have developed counter-meas.... oh sh*t...

Robear wrote:

I do have my tinfoil hat, though. That's gotta count for something, there's no way they could have developed counter-meas.... oh sh*t...

Didn't the Mythbusters find that tinfoil hats actually improve the reception of em radiation? Paranoia only aids the conspirators!

Those tools of Big Media? Puh-leeze, they're bought and sold already. BOUGHT AND SOLD! That's why you never see RFID on their show, or 1000mpg engines or the other stuff the government, the oil companies and the masons don't want you to look at. It's a good thing the Internet is out of their control, or I'd be putting myself in danger talking about this stuff...

The NY Times and ACLU's District Court FOIA request has been resolved regarding the drone strikes, pending appeals to the Circuit and Supreme court will follow.

A federal judge has ruled that exceptions to the Freedom of Information Act protect government memos justifying the targeted killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and others suspected of terrorism ties.
McMahon wrote that she was constrained by FOIA precedent. "The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules—a veritable Catch-22,” she wrote.

The ruling is 68 pages, good luck folks.

To be fair, it's in the process of being litigated, and the ACLU has requested that the unreleased full report be made available under FOIA. So stay tuned, it's not over yet.

Kind of sad isn't it Robear that we have to litigate to take the rights the government itself said we should have?

I really love what Cheesewiz said in the Ars thread:

So, the fox-appointed fox in charge of protecting hens that works at the fox department rules in favor of the fox.

We also wouldn't be reading about it, as the press would not feel free to expose it.

Malor wrote:

I really love what Cheesewiz said in the Ars thread:

So, the fox-appointed fox in charge of protecting hens that works at the fox department rules in favor of the fox.

Yeah, what we need is a good public lynching by a mob. Then we could feel really free!

LeapingGnome wrote:

Kind of sad isn't it Robear that we have to litigate to take the rights the government itself said we should have?

Look at it this way. In a police state, we'd have no recourse at all; the courts would be fixed and the ACLU leadership would have long ago been arrested and sent to work camps. This is American democracy as it is intended to work; government claims a power, and the people get to challenge it and even reverse it, through the legislature and the courts. That's how our system works, and I'd be far more worried if we went the way the Russians are going.

The fact is that government could be forced to *stop* doing this; that's one reason why we are not yet in a police state. We can still bring abuses to heel and reverse them, through the normal functions of the system.

Edit - there's another worrying thing in that it appears that in late 2008, DHS (Congress too?) defined the "border zone" as extending 100 miles inland from physical borders (that is, not the coasts). I'm trying to find out what happened to that; the last mentions I can find of it so far are from 2011. Not sure if it's still the case.

I've also found precedent from 2000 that rules that border checkpoint searches cannot turn into general crime fishing expeditions, so the ACLU certainly has a case here.

Jayhawker wrote:

We also wouldn't be reading about it, as the press would not feel free to expose it.

Malor wrote:

I really love what Cheesewiz said in the Ars thread:

So, the fox-appointed fox in charge of protecting hens that works at the fox department rules in favor of the fox.

Yeah, what we need is a good public lynching by a mob. Then we could feel really free!

In what world is this comment appropriate? It's entirely unrelated to what I said, and very, very ugly.

You're suggesting that government control of the justice system is a problem.

Shouldn't the judiciary system be independent of the government? I thought that was the whole point of checks and balances.

Depends on how you define "government". Using the term too broadly could be confusing; the legislative branch is one of the three branches of government, but each is independent of the other.

I guess it's hard to tell sometimes.

Judges are appointed by the executive branch and confirmed by the legislative branch. Its part of how checks and balances work.

I don't really get how this gets translated into an evil conspiracy that props up the police state. What I see are the branches and the press exposing behavior and policies, and system that asses their worth and tries to correct overreach.

The checks and balances are in place because overreach and corruption are the norm. They don't solve corruption, they ferret it out and try try to punish it even when it is the result of good intentions.

These kinds of stories are proof that the system is working, not broke. It is a fantasy world to expect everything to be smooth and non-controversial.

Malor wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

We also wouldn't be reading about it, as the press would not feel free to expose it.

Malor wrote:

I really love what Cheesewiz said in the Ars thread:

So, the fox-appointed fox in charge of protecting hens that works at the fox department rules in favor of the fox.

Yeah, what we need is a good public lynching by a mob. Then we could feel really free!

In what world is this comment appropriate? It's entirely unrelated to what I said, and very, very ugly.

I suggest stepping away from the thread. Honestly. You'll just be pushing a boulder up a mountain and land right back where you are.

Edwin wrote:

I guess it's hard to tell sometimes.

That's just it - in a police state, it's *not* hard to tell.

When a relative visited Poland in the late 80's, he took courses there, toured the country, met people with very little monitoring from the government. People were friendly, the streets were safe. He met Solidarity members, and went to people's houses without a minder. Then, their national day rolled around. He was abducted off the streets by the secret police, put into a cell, interrogated for hours, accused of being a spy, and told he would be send to the Soviet Union. They kept him up all night.

The next day, a detective came in, apologized for the "mistake", hoped he would not blame the Polish people for it, and dropped him off were he was staying. Welcome to a police state, it's not hard to tell where you are.

Robear:

I don't think that's a fair comparison. You're essentially saying that if you were a victim of police state policies in Poland in the 80s, it would not be hard for you to say that Poland was then a police state. The equivalent comparison would not be to Edwin unless Edwin has been assassinated by a drone, at which point he would be unable to post, anyway. The equivalent would be a statement from a Gitmo detainee about the topic.

Robear, exactly that kind of thing happens right now, today, in the United States.

The people who argue that it's not a police state are, in my experience, universally white and privileged. If you are a minority in the United States, especially if you are black or Muslim, it is a very, very different story. This goes from the local police forces all the way up to the national level.

A Muslim citizen who thinks the US shouldn't be in the Middle East, and who thinks that jihad is appropriate to drive an invader out, is still a citizen. But if he does too good a job making that case, he'll end up in prison, Guantanamo, or dead.

LarryC wrote:

I don't think that's a fair comparison. You're essentially saying that if you were a victim of police state policies in Poland in the 80s, it would not be hard for you to say that Poland was then a police state. The equivalent comparison would not be to Edwin unless Edwin has been assassinated by a drone, at which point he would be unable to post, anyway. The equivalent would be a statement from a Gitmo detainee about the topic.

No, nothing to do with who has the right to say it. I've maintained all along that police states have characteristics that the US does not yet have. This was intended as an illustration of some of those differences.

Malor wrote:

Robear, exactly that kind of thing happens right now, today, in the United States.

Bullsh*t. First, no examples. Second, no mechanisms - we don't have a secret police, we *do* have a functioning government and a legal system that can take it to task. There are many, many other differences that you're familiar with, just unwilling to acknowledge.

The people who argue that it's not a police state are, in my experience, universally white and privileged. If you are a minority in the United States, especially if you are black or Muslim, it is a very, very different story. This goes from the local police forces all the way up to the national level.

Again, bullsh*t. The people who argue we *are* in a police state are, in my experience, universally white and privileged - they just want more privileges, via reduction of taxes and a selfish Randian idea that they have no responsibilities to a community. These are the anti-regulation, anti-tax, "hands off my stuff" folks who look at every little problem and conclude we're on the edge of a meltdown. They are the inheritors of a concerted effort to push a no-compromise "libertarianism" designed to benefit corporations and rich.

You guys have shown that we are in or moving into a surveillance state. Despite all the rhetoric, you've made no convincing arguments that we're in a police state, as measured against *any* historical state. It's all supposition and assertion and "omg, some guy in Podunk got arrested because a policeman didn't like his hijab, we're in a Police State!". Even Fox News can't do as good a job blowing up small things into big ones. We sorted this out a while back, and everyone settled down, and now you're right back where you were. Do we have to do it all over again?

This redefinition of what a police state *is* has devalued the experiences of billions who live in, or have lived in, actual police states. It's taken people who live in a functional country and convinced many of them that they live in a broken, abusive state that's clawing away their freedoms at every moment. It's a way of casting one's self as the hero, and anyone who disagrees is a tool of the state, an authoritarian coward who just toes the line to help keep down the Gants struggling to succeed. It's one of the core rhetorical devices that's used to demonize people in discussions, and that has divided the country so effectively to benefit the far Right.

This is what's truly annoying. Go read the accounts that were left by survivors of actual police states and you'll realize how silly it is to whine that the FBI is the Gestapo, or similar. There's a world of difference between the problems we have here, and the *norms* inside a police state. That's something that our privileged Tea Party and "libertarian" agitators just don't seem to understand, or that they purposely ignore. Problems exist in democracies, and they usually get sorted out without destroying the country (as indeed the establishment of a police state here would do.) You can't boil a frog, or even a lobster, by slowly heating the water - as it heats, they get more and more agitated as time goes by. The idea that we've just ignored this happening and slowly, inexorably are headed downhill to an Orwellian future is deeply insulting and ignores the reality that these changes are fought every day in court and in public opinion by people and organizations who have been doing it for *decades* without being arrested or even effectively obstructed by The State. The very existence of the ACLU, the EFF, the NAACP and hundreds of like organizations stands to refute your argument, because in a police state, citizen advocacy groups would be the first to go. Sure, they lose cases, but if you think that's a sign of the breakdown of Democracy then you've got some history to read. Like, all of it.

A Muslim citizen who thinks the US shouldn't be in the Middle East, and who thinks that jihad is appropriate to drive an invader out, is still a citizen. But if he does too good a job making that case, he'll end up in prison, Guantanamo, or dead.

Bullsh*t. Provide examples of people killed, Gitmo-ized or secretly imprisoned solely for exercising their free speech rights. Writing critical letters to the paper doesn't put you in jail in the US, but it does in a police state (CF Saudi Arabia or some of the Gulf States). Protesting against the government might get you a few days, if the Anarchists showed up and pissed off the police, but it won't see you disappeared, like in a police state. Speaking critically from a pulpit doesn't get you arrested for your views and held without trial (Try it in Pakistan or Indonesia). The courts can hear appeals; in fact, they voided about 10 Gitmo military court convictions a few months back, something I notice you failed to bring up at all on the boards.

Making claims is easy to do. Back them up or back off the claims, because without evidence that there's a set of national problems that has moved us into a police state, it's just rabblerousing. It's tiresome having the same arguments every few months, and even more to see you drop into the "you're just a privileged white male so you can't make these statements" bullsh*t. Stand and deliver, or put down the loudspeaker.

Besides, it really comes down to this: any society in which you can be imprisoned or killed for breaking secret laws is a police state.

If the laws are secret, it's a police state. We just saw it again here -- the executive summary can be seen by the public, but the actual interpretation of the statutes, the functional law in question, is secret.

How can you be held responsible for failing to adhere to a law you're not allowed to know?

Bullsh*t. Provide examples of people killed, Gitmo-ized or secretly imprisoned solely for exercising their free speech rights.

Al-Alwaki. We know that the government determined he was a high priority target because he was an effective spokesperson.

Protesting against the government might get you a few days, if the Anarchists showed up and pissed off the police, but it won't see you disappeared, like in a police state.

How do you know? And getting beaten and thrown in jail for peaceful protest is absolutely a police state. It may not be as bad as some, but "we're not as bad as Saudi Arabia" is a f*cking low bar to clear.

Speaking critically from a pulpit doesn't get you arrested for your views and held without trial (Try it in Pakistan or Indonesia).

I'll get back to you on this one, as I remember numerous cases of this, but I can't find them in a quick Google search: but the web of 'anti-terrorist' laws mean that you can and will be jailed for doing something as simple as renting web space to the wrong people.

Malor wrote:
Bullsh*t. Provide examples of people killed, Gitmo-ized or secretly imprisoned solely for exercising their free speech rights.

Al-Alwaki. We know that the government determined he was a high priority target because he was an effective spokesperson.

He was killed for engaging in terroristic activities. This is well-worn ground. You disagree and assert he was engaging in free speech. Next example?

Reaper81 wrote:
Malor wrote:
Bullsh*t. Provide examples of people killed, Gitmo-ized or secretly imprisoned solely for exercising their free speech rights.

Al-Alwaki. We know that the government determined he was a high priority target because he was an effective spokesperson.

He was killed for engaging in terroristic activities. This is well-worn ground. You disagree and assert he was engaging in free speech. Next example?

So we're all okay with Thought Crime? So on to the next example?