Later on I'm going to write something about war
I have been meaning to say something about war, or more correctly about battle, but I just can't get it right in my mind yet; what it is that I want you to understand about it that popular culture has always masked. But today there is something else on my mind that glances up against the idea of conflict. It will be gentle though.
Here is where we are. We means you and me and when I say I it refers to both of us and every other person we know. Today every single word we type here is being captured and recorded by the United States Government. By contrast very few of the words that are written in the name of the President of the United States are even available for inspection and his E-mails are read by no one other than the intended receipient. If you and I speak on the telephone our every word will be intercepted and analized. If you and I speak on the telephone our every call will be inspected to create webs of our acquaintances, business dealings, crank calls, and wrong numbers. Every dime you or I make is accounted for to our Government before we recieve it and every dime will have to be accounted for again at tax time. Our Credit history is as open to the Government as our medical files. If you live in any city in the country you can not walk outside without being surveiled by cameras who's operators are a mystery to you. Your insurance records and your dental records are an open book. Library card? If you have a cell phone it can pinpoint your location anytime its got a battery in it, the damned thing doesn't even have to be turned on. Our cars are equiped with "safety equipment" that is even more intrusive. We pay extra for the very equipment that bugs us. Not one single aspect of your life, my life, our lives, is private.
No warrants required.
Knowledge is power and any body that has full knowledge of each of us has full power over all of us; enter the NSA. Who has a right to weild power over us? In 1690 John Locke wrote "And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life: for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for no body can desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with me. He that, in the state of nature, would take away the freedom that belongs to any one in that state, must necessarily be supposed to have a foundation of all the rest; as he that in the state of society, would take away the freedom belonging to those of that society or commonwealth, must be supposed to design to take away from them every thing else, and so be looked on as in a state of war."
I could never say it any better than that - and now everyone knows it.
PS: A reminder - "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
It's scary. I don't like to dwell on it
but we haven't been secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures for a long time.
They're just going back and forth. Democrats didn't say a word when Clinton brought in Echelon. How sad is that? The police state just got worse last week.
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Echelon, which links the NSA to its counterparts in the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, amounts to a global listening network. With it, those agencies are able to sift through great quantities of communications intercepted by satellites and ground stations around the world, using computers that search for specific names, words or phrases.
Whether the NSA will go too far with Echelon is not an idle question. In the mid-1970s, the Senate and House Select Committees on Intelligence were created in part as a result of NSA violations. For decades, the NSA had secretly and illegally gained access to millions of private telegrams and telephone calls in the United States. The agency acted as though the laws that applied to the rest of government did not apply to it.
Based on the findings of a commission appointed by President Ford, the Justice Department launched an unusually secret criminal investigation of the agency, known only to a handful of people. Senior NSA officials were read Miranda warnings and interrogated. It was the first time the Justice Department had ever treated an entire federal agency as a suspect in a criminal investigation. Eventually, despite finding numerous grounds on which to go forward with prosecution, Justice attorneys recommended against it. "There is the specter," said their report, which the government still considers classified, "in the event of prosecution, that there is likely to be much 'buck-passing' from subordinate to superior, agency to agency, agency to board or committee, board or committee to the President, and from the living to the dead."
As a result of the investigations, Congress in 1978 passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which stated in black and white what the NSA could and could not do. To overcome the NSA's insistence that its activities were too secret to be discussed before judges, Congress created a special federal court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to hear requests for warrants for national security eavesdropping. In case the court ever turned down an NSA request, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Appeals Court was created. It has never heard a case.
That was in 1999. We've come a long way...
Hey, ThomWV. It's later on now. Get busy, 'k?
BTW, splendid piece Over There about how it was just about time to stop posting. Been-there-done-that a LONG time ago. Big, honking WELCOME to PI, where you will be accorded Respect!
Its such an important thing that I do not want to get any part of it wrong
The key is in the confusion.
Have you ever been in an automobile accident as a passenget? Battle is a lot like that. War novels, history, and movies are never like that.