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Too damn far

I got a lot of criticism when the whole NSA excrement-storm hit the fan because I wanted to wait and see how the legalities of the program shook out before I started shrieking hysterically about impeachment and "shredding the Constitution." I'm funny that way. Of course that reaction made me an blind, unthinking Bush ass-kisser to many. (I get a tough crowd these days.)

Well, ass-kisser or not, the administration has gone way, way too far this time.


The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases.

The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors.


That's right. They need the results of all our Googling to fight... pornography. Not even terrorism, but pornography.

Please tell me, how can the Justice Department be so damned stupid? The White House is already getting a shellacking on allegations of Big Brother-ism and privacy concerns. Do you guys really think the battle over NSA eavesdropping is important to win? Well this does not help your case. You've just handed your enemies a big-ass club and begged them to brain you into insensibility with it. Nice job, Mr. Gonzales. And to think there were many Democrats who thought you were the best SCOTUS pick they could reasonably hope for from this administration. Well I, for one, thank God you were not nominated. You're a damned annoyance as AG, but we only have to suffer you for (at most) another three years this way, as opposed to the rest of your life. Hell, I'm ready to bring back Ashcroft already.

Arrgghh!!

So completely effing pointless and stupid!!

Oh, and explain this part to me while you're at it, please.


The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.

Hello? Is there something I'm missing here? Is there some particular reason the Justice Department can't simply type words into Google's search engine and find their porno like the rest of us? Do they really need access to Google's private database to determine how often pornography shows up?

I'm glad Google's fighting this, but I hope the federal courts slap Justice down hard and fast. It's not enough simply to win this one battle. We have to make sure a firm precedent is established here.

And you know what else pisses me off about this?


The government indicated that other, unspecified search engines have agreed to release the information, but not Google.

In other words, Microsoft, Yahoo and others have already bent over. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. If Gates and Ballmer are willing to do the dirty work of the Communist Chinese thugocracy, why should we expect them not to grab their ankles for our own government? Sadly, we don't even need government censorship/invasion of privacy anymore. We have too many corporations eager enough to do it for them.

Argh! So... angry!!!

Comments

Barry, what did you THINK you were voting for? Did you honestly believe you were voting for administration that believed in individual freedom? Have you forgotten that when the outgoing Clinton administration was trying to warn the new administration in 2001 about the terrorist threat, John Ashcroft's highest priority was dealing with prostitution in New Orleans?

This is what happens when you elect corporatists and theocrats to high office and allow them to play on people's fears for five years -- you embolden them to create police states.

> Barry, what did you THINK you were voting for?

Someone whom I found marginally less distasteful than his opponent, yet whom I was sure would sometimes piss me off nonetheless. You?

Barry is right. Nobody hates Bush and his merry band of thieving mental midgets more than I do, but Gore? Kerry? How about that old Democratic majority in congress? How many speakers did they go through, all doing the same thing as DeLay -- stealing. Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd ... sigh.

I don't blame Barry for voting for Bush, I only blame him for continuing to support him. Honestly, the man is pure crap.

What everyone seems to miss in this is the ubiquitous 'we're just doing this for the children' mantra that all governments, be they federal, state or local, utilize to get their foot in our doors legally.

We have seen it with smoking, seatbelts and divers other intrusions. It starts with 'protecting our kids' and blossoms from there.

The Bush administration can pound salt on this as far as I am concerned. It's wrong and, I would suspect, illegal.

If everyone agrees on this, why are new "Nanny State" laws being passed every day?

As much as I don't like cigarette smoke blown in my face, nobody forces me into a restaurant that allows smoking. Don't want to wear a motorcycle helmet? Fine by me, but if you crash and hit your head, and you don't have insurance, don't expect medical treatment at my expense. You die, unless some charity (and not my tax money) decides you are worth saving.

Of course you can't deregulate and also outlaw filing suit against corporations, that is just giving them a license to kill, like the tobacco companies had for decades. Everyone is responsible for their own actions, including corporations.

Oh, here's a heads up because I know you Neocon bloggers will want people to know more about the wonders of the Patriot Act!

Highlights of Conference Report on H.R. 3199, The USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act

It makes virtually all of the expiring provisions permanent without restoring checks and balances.

Personal records from businesses, bookstores, libraries, doctors' offices, etc. can still be obtained using a secret FISA order, or a national security letter (NSL) that can be issued by an FBI official without court oversight. These records do not need to be tied to a suspected terrorist or a spy.

The potentially permanent gag order remains for both secret FISA orders and NSLs, some 30,000 of which have been issued ANNUALLY since 2001. Only the recipient's lawyer can be told that records have been obtained. In the case of NSLs, the gag can be challenged in court, but the court must accept as "conclusive" the government's assertion that disclosure would harm national security, reducing efforts to challenge the gag to window dressing.

Sneak-and-peek searches, not limited to terrorism cases, have new 30 and 90-day time limits more window dressing, since these limits can be renewed indefinitely, allowing such searches to remain secret for months or years.

Secret eavesdropping and search orders are still permitted that do not name a target or a location.

New death penalties and new crimes are created without adequate Congressional consideration. For instance, the number of contraband cigarettes that qualifies as a federal crime is decreased from 60,000 cigarettes to 10,000. Other new federal crimes: videotaping or photographing bridges, garages, tracks, warehouses if recordings were made with the intent of doing harm. Attacking someone near such facilities with a weapon (the list of weapons includes a small pocket knife or box cutter) is potentially a capital offense. Holding an unauthorized sign at an event designated by the Secret Service as a "national special security event" can lead to a year in prison.

Right of habeas corpus in some capital cases has been taken away from state judicial authority and given to the US Attorney General.

New four-year sunset has been added to only three provisions - Section 215 (personal records), 206 ("roving" wiretaps) and "lone wolf" provision (of Intelligence Reform Act), making scores of other new surveillance powers permanent.

Well does it bother anyone that companies like Google have this data collected in the first place? Or is just when Bush gets involved that we care? Why the concern for Bush naming names if Google didn't have names available for naming?

Being a well-educated Computer Scientist ... at least before Bush presided over the entire computer industry being shipped off to India ... I can help you out here. Google most likely collects data to help with, yeah, SEARCHES. I advertised with Google for a while. You Neocons can certainly appreciate that Google is trying to make a profit, and that information is exactly how they make it.

Bush is simply a criminal looking for ways to punish his enemies and keep the thieving Repuglicans in office forever.

"What everyone seems to miss in this is the ubiquitous 'we're just doing this for the children' mantra that all governments, be they federal, state or local, utilize to get their foot in our doors legally.

We have seen it with smoking, seatbelts and divers other intrusions. It starts with 'protecting our kids' and blossoms from there..." (Mal)


OK, though I'm not nearly as excised over this as are most folks, I largely agree with Mal...and yes, it may seem like an inopportune time to do this, but the warrantless NSA wiretaps, which no less than four separate federal courts have approved for "gathering foreign intelligence" (correspondences between American citizens on American soil with foreign nationals CAN certainly be considered "gathering foreign intel" under certain circumstances) has little in common with demanding customer data from commercial vendors.

In fact, the latter is probably much closer to violating existing statutes than the former, as the government demanding private, commercial information seems pretty new ground.

Problem is, all pornography isn't legal anymore.

Downloading kiddie porn is a serious felony and I can't imagine anyone today finding the voice to oppose that. Hell, even if one did oppose it on "privacy" grounds, or "unwarranted intrusion," one would come off sounding pro-pedophile, so it's not really worth the fight, even if one is motivated by more noble precepts and principles.

One could argue that the relatively recent crackdown on kiddie porn and the ubiquitous and unchallenged child sex stings run on the internet, by both citizen groups (ie. "Perverted Justice") and many police forces, are "foot in the door" intrusions upon both the 1st and 4th Amendments, but I can't think of anyone willing to go to the mat to try and make those arguments.

Too easy to get slimed as "pro-pedophile," and who wants that?

For better, or worse, we currently have a huge and intricate system of government funded medical care and other forms of insurance and that has made the government the arbitor of what amount of risk is "allowed."

Bicycle helmet laws, seatbelt laws, child car seat strictures, random drunk driving stops and increasing sanctions on smoking have all been driven by government rightfully seeking to cut down on its own, as well as the corporations who fund most political campaigns liabilities.

Right now child sex crimes are a hot topic. People are outraged over light sentences for pedophiles and a significant majority of Americans seem eager to support stings, such as those run by groupos like "perverted justice," that may have once been considered "entrapment."

Adults downloading porn is not illegal and even the Internet child protection law (passed by a large and bi-partisan majority in Congress) does not seek to make that illegal.

However, an adult downloading kiddie porn is certainly a felony, and there is little doubt that there are many in Congress who'd like to re-write the the Internet Child Protection Act and make allowing the downloading of porn by minors to be illegal, with strictures against both the sites that allow the downloads and the parents who fail to supervise their children effectively.

How many Americans support mandatory and draconian sentences for pedophiles?

Something like 90 to 10, maybe 92 to 8?

How many would then support sanctions against the "sexualizing" of minors/children?

I'd guess something like 80 to 20, or higher.

Is the Internet Child Protection Act the best way to effect that?

It probably would depend on how such a law would be written, but there's little doubt that many, many Americans, in fact very probably a huge and overwhelming majority of those not in the Boston-NY-Philly-D.C. corridor on the East Coast and the L.A. to San Fran corridor on the Left Coast, would support some form of stricture making the downloading of porn by minors to be illegal.

Is customer data truly private?

Does vendor-customer have anything like the attorney-client privilege, or doctor-patient relationship?

The courts will probably have to decide that.

The very same courts that have consistently ruled that warrantless searches and wiretaps "to gather foreign intelligence" are allowed by law.

Using the CIA to spy on Americans isn't "foreign intelligence" now is it? There is already a court to allow this type of spying, and the spying can be done immediately and the warrant sought afterwards. I see that you support one man, the President, using the CIA (which does not answer to the voters) to snoop around without any oversight whatsoever. I guess you are more trusting than I am.

To catch pedofiles, why not do what police all over the country do and set up a download site? When people download, you trace them back realtime and whammo -- perv caught!

Let's not be naive -- might there be another reason why Bush would like all that information? You certainly don't need it to catch kiddie porn offenders. To find them, you just look for the white collar and robe.

Warrantless wiretaps AND warrantless physical searches were used in operation Eschelon to catch American citizen/traitor Aldrich Ames, during the Clinton administration.

Ames was caught on U.S. soil.

Ames' Virginia home was searched without a warrant, right, even without a FISA warrant and his communications to people outside the country ("foreign intelligence") were monitored, ALSO without warrant.

You can look that up.

And the answer to your question, "Using the CIA to spy on Americans isn't "foreign intelligence" now is it," is "YES, certainly when "American citizens" are communicating from the U.S. to foreign nationals overseas, or vice versa."

See why that is?

You don't?!

OK, it's because ONLY ONE SIDE of the communique has to be a foreign national in order for that entire communication to be considered "foreign intelligence."

In other words, just as Americans circa 1942 had no "reasonable expectation" of privacy when communicating to foreign sources based in Nazi Germany, nor Imperial Japan, today's American citizens have no "reasonable expectation" of privacy when communicating to foreign nationals in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, the Sudan, or to any foreign numbers listed as "al Qaeda portals."

The current pedophile stings are being used and thankfully NO ONE has yet brought up the phoney issue of "entrapment."

You can't be entrapped into doing something you aren't already predisposed to do.

As I said (you must've skimmed over) is that a large bi-partisan majority in Congress (that bi-partisan majority that passed the Internet Child Protection Act) and a huge majority of non-coastal Americans, support strictures against companies that allow children to download porn.

One way would be to require a credit card to access any pornographic images online. That way, a credit card would have to be used and the parent who allowed a child to use that card to access pornography could be charged with some kind of abuse/neglect.

Draconian?

That's debatable.

It only seems "draconian without question" to those on the northeast (Boston-NY-Philly-D.C.) corridor and the Left coast's L.A. to San Fran corridor.

In the rest of the nation, the idea that going after companies that allow children to download pornograpy has far greater support.

Clinton did it first! Clinton did it too!

If Clinton didn't follow the perfectly usable laws to catch Ames when he certainly could have, then maybe the $60,000,000 used for the investigation and to publish the pornographic details of the blow jobs he received would have been better spent on making him follow the law.

You may not like it, but the inconvenient fact is that the law is the law, and if Clinton got away with breaking it, that doesn't mean Bush gets a pass. You might not like it, but that is the way the law works. Clinton breaking the law has no bearing on Bush breaking the law. They both behaved criminally and should be punished.

While I personally am all for it, your anti-porn crusade smacks strangely of expanded government. I thought you wanted the least government? I am confused that you feel corporations should be unregulated, but ordinary citizens obviously need tons of regulations, nannies, and police oversight. Won't the market correct itself? Do you feel that people are too stupid to stop their children from downloading porn? Is it now the government's role to protect children from everything?

Ah yes, it always starts with "save the children!"

There were NO LAWS BROKEN in the application of project Eschelon.

Communications between American citizens (on American soil) and foreign nationals ARE "foreign intelligence." Of that there is no question.

Up until recently the NSA only tracked INCOMING calls to American citizens from suspect foreign nationals. That changed post-9/11 and Rockefeller, Reid and Pelosi all knew and apparently backed the inclusion of OUTGOING calls from American citizens to foreign nationals.

The courts have consistently ruled that correspondances between American citizens (like the "Lackawanna Six") and targeted foreign numbers is "collecting foreign intelligence," which requires no warrant.

That's why no warrant was required to search Aldrich Ames' home and monitor calls to him from foreign nationals.

The ONLY new wrinkle in the current NSA wiretapping issue is the monitor of OUTGOING calls from U.S. citizens to suspected foreign nationals.

Now that you understand that "foreign intel" can/does often involve American citizens, it's got to be easy to see that it should make little difference, from a legal standpoint, whether the NSA monitors INCOMING CALLS, FROM suspected foreign portals, or OUTGOING CALLS, TO suspected foreign portals.

You've got to get that idiot who keeps putting in that "Clinton did it too" non-sequitor into your posts to stop, as he/she is making you look foolish.

Neither Clinton (with Project Eschelon) NOR Bush have been shown to have violated any existing laws, as ANY communication, even that between an "American citizen" and a suspected foreign national, have been considered "collecting foreign intelligence" by no less than FOUR federal courts...so that's why that guy who thinks the defense of the NSA wiretaps boils down to a "Clinton did it too" argument is an idiot. He doesn't understand the very simple fact that FOUR federal courts have conisdered such communications "collecting foreign intelligence."


"While I personally am all for it, your anti-porn crusade smacks strangely of expanded government. I thought you wanted the least government?


Supporting existing child-porn laws and opposing the accessing of pornography by minor/children is hardly "an anti-porn crusade," except perhaps, in the eyes of the pedophile lobby and those who support children being exposed to hardcore porn.

There are laws against murder and unless you're going to say that jailing tens of thousands of Americans for various murder statutes (from manslaughter to agravated homocides), is an unwarranted "expansion of government," your argument against laws making pornography unavailable to children, is equally specious.

No statute seeks to make adults accessing porn illegal, so breath easier.

On the other hand, somewhat over 90% of Americans seem to support laws that make even the downloading of "kiddie porn" (child pornography) a serious felony. That seems like a very fair law to me.

Millions of other Americans want to make the accessing of porn by children to be illegal.

Should every parent be able to decide whether their minor children can have access to pornography?

That IS debatable, but I'd say, not in my view.

Porn can be compared to alcohol, it's OK for adults, but far more potentially dangerous to children/minors.

I'd have no problem with a law requiring a valid credit card to download pornography and which would allow for some sanctions (neglect/abuse) against parents who allow their minors to access pornography.

There are many Libertarians, whom I respect, who'd disagree with me on that, along with many Leftist Libertines, who I have no respect for, as well.

We don't allow parents to feed their children alcohol. In fact, a number of parents who've allowed alcohol at house parties for their teens, have been arrested and criminally charged for that. Is it any less reckless and irresponsible for parents to allow their minor children to access pornography?

While I'm not very enthusiastic about the government's being able to access private, commercial data bases, I don't have any problem with a renewed push to institute an Internet CHild Protection Act that would pass Supreme Court muster and one that would make the accessing of pornography by children a criminal offense.

Haha, at long last YOU are the Nanny State Liberal. Maybe the government should just set up webcams in all of our homes to make sure "the children" aren't being abused. You would go for that, wouldn't you?

Ah, more of that Limbaugh Logic! If I oppose a vastly expanding and invasive government then I'm a pedophile! If you don't support criminal Dubya, you are with the TERRISTS! I thought that kind of ignorance only existed in the Old South, where they say, "Either yer wid me, or agin me!"

Say what you mean, clown. You believe in BIG GOVERNMENT when you agree with the fascist regime, and SMALL LIMITED GOVERNMENT when you don't agree with the ruling party.

Hypocrite.

Again, enforcing existing laws against is NOT expanding the government.

Rudy Guiliani certainly expanded the enforcement arm of the government, while paying for that by decreasing the social services arm. It was a brilliant tactic, that worked well and harmed no one. Most of those tossed off the dole, found work...or simply moved away from New York.

New York City NEEDED Guiliani/Bratton (especially Bill Bratton) back then. He took back contrtol of the streets with an iron fisted Police Department and armed them with reams of new laws and new tactics, like random "stop and frisks" in high crime neighborhoods, etc. Those new laws DID NOT expand government in any way. They certainly did not expand the costs of government.

Guiliani may have done some negative things as well, and he may not have been a personally exemplary person, BUT his "war on crime" was brilliant and EVERY New Yorker owes him & Brattona deep debt of gratitude for that.

No one can deny that perhaps the MOST TROUBLING cultural problem we face today is the insistance of so many judges that "treatment" is preferable to punishment, when it's been proven that even "the best" treatment programs for pedophiles still wind up with something close to a 90% recidivism rate.

Punishment works. Mandatory sentencing for violent offenders works. It keeps those people off the streets until they're too old to do much harm...that's the second best "treatment of all," - age & the inevitable effects of gravity.

Of course, the first best "treatment" remains the Arabic "treatment for pedophiles. The NY Daily News chronicled one about eight months ago - the pedophile was scouraged until his back was ripped apart. He had to be revived a number of times after passing out. Then the mothers of the children he abused were allowed to come up and punch, kick and spit on the condemened child raper and finally, he was hung from the end of a crane with a slip knot.

A guaranteed cure!

And one with a lot more "closure" for the victim's families than any conventional Western "therapy."

What about laws that make the distribution of pornography to minors a felony?

Put it up for a vote!

Again, porn, like alcohol has a different effect on adults than it does on children. Allowing minor children to access porn, in effect "sexualizes" those children and in that regard, serves the interests of pedophiles.

Making dangerous acts illegal, is the entire purpose of government. More so, I dare say, than any attempts by government to "manage the economy," or "redistribute income." Of course, the socialists/Liberal Democrats among us will strongly disagree.

But they're wrong, on every single count.

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