NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
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15-10-2013, 04:05 PM
NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
The latest NSA scandal that the NSA is capturing our contact lists, and that "it would be illegal to do so from facilities in the United States..." so the NSA sets up interception facilities "all over the world... None of those are on U.S. territory." see page 2

Whenever a businessman goes offshore to do things that would be illegal in the US and tries to avoid the reach of US law, the public and politicians are outraged. So why is it that if a government employee does the same thing, there's no outrage? It seems the public considers government employees to be above the law, unaccountable, essentially god-like. Why?

If a mere mortal perjured himself under oath in sworn testimony before Congress, he'd be in jail right now. In the old days, politicians were expected to provide truthful testimony (remember Clinton's impeachment over fibbing about a blow job from Lewinsky). But now, when a senior member of Obama's team, James Clapper, perjures himself in sworn testimony, and later admits it, the public's reaction is 'so what', and most politicians, from both parties, insist he shouldn't be prosecuted since a high ranking official should not be expected to expected to follow the rule of law like us 'normal folks'. So, he's still head of the NSA, and didn't get so much as a slap on the wrist for a felony that would see us mortals in jail.

Yesterday's latest revelation that the NSA goes offshore to do things that our elected representatives in Congress have made illegal, doesn't seem to have raised any eyebrows. It didn't even get mentioned on CNN and other sites. What happened to the checks and balances where Congress made the rules and the executive branch's job was to follow and enforce those laws? It's a fundamental shift in the structure of government when the executive branch is free to ignore laws set by the legislature with no accountability.
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19-10-2013, 09:55 AM
RE: NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
Who is this "public" you refer to? I saw a whole lot of outrage when the Snowden revelations became public and a whole lot of backtracking from the Obama administration. There is only so much we can do about it without having an armed rebellion, but I think people are plenty pissed off.

As for the lack of reporting, that is a different issue, and is mostly the result of most major media outlets being consolidated under the ownership of a few large corporate entities who have very little interest in rocking the boat. You can thank Bill Clinton for that one.

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19-10-2013, 11:17 AM (This post was last modified: 19-10-2013 11:20 AM by frankksj.)
RE: NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
(19-10-2013 09:55 AM)BnW Wrote:  Who is this "public" you refer to? I saw a whole lot of outrage when the Snowden revelations became public and a whole lot of backtracking from the Obama administration. There is only so much we can do about it without having an armed rebellion, but I think people are plenty pissed off.

As for the lack of reporting, that is a different issue, and is mostly the result of most major media outlets being consolidated under the ownership of a few large corporate entities who have very little interest in rocking the boat. You can thank Bill Clinton for that one.

The "public" is that 53% of Americans think Snowden should be thrown in jail for having the audacity to expose politicians crimes, meaning they are above the law: link And in the Dems and Reps, the top leadership in both parties have backed the criminals and called for the whistleblower to get thrown in jail. Hell, they even downed the plane of a head of state (Correa) to try to get their hands on him. And the fact is that the man who perjured himself, lying in sworn testimony to Congress, James Clapper, didn't get punished at all. He's still running the NSA. Obama has also lied about, denying everything from the beginning. And they know they're breaking the law, which is why they're moving operations offshore to skirt the rules that Congress imposed on them.

Frankly, if a businessman does this, it doesn't bother me that much because I'm NOT forced to support him. If Apple makes iPhones in Asia so they can skirt child labor laws, then, I'm free to boycott Apple. But with the NSA, a gun is held to my head and I am forced against my will to give them my hard earned money, which they then use to spy on me, read my email, and listen to my phone calls. And my vote is meaningless. We HAVE voted in members of Congress who made laws restricting the NSA, but since the NSA is above the law, they still do what they want anyway with no accountability. Why even bother voting when you know that if 100% of the country voted for Congressmen who passed a law banning this NSA activity, it would have no impact. The NSA would keep doing it anyway because they operate outside the rule of law. Voting and the democratic process is useless in such a situation.

Compare this to when Clinton lied about getting a blowjob and Congress started impeachment proceedings, and when Nixon had to resign because he wiretapped a hotel room. Obama illegally wiretapped the planet, and didn't even get a slap on the wrist.
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19-10-2013, 02:40 PM
RE: NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
Not only are they going off shore, they are allowing other nations intelligence agencies to sift through the data that the NSA collects. Countries that are friendly to the U.S. get a free pass on all data except sensitive U.S. government info, but as for the citizens that are spied on, well that shit is free for other nations to look at. Now I don't want to be banned and I would like my ability to start threads returned for good behavior....

So lets just say one of the countries that gets to look at the data collected by the NSA is a middle eastern country that starts with the letter I..... and doesn't end with an N.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/se...-documents
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20-10-2013, 08:15 AM
RE: NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
(19-10-2013 11:17 AM)frankksj Wrote:  The "public" is that 53% of Americans think Snowden should be thrown in jail for having the audacity to expose politicians crimes, meaning they are above the law: link And in the Dems and Reps, the top leadership in both parties have backed the criminals and called for the whistleblower to get thrown in jail. Hell, they even downed the plane of a head of state (Correa) to try to get their hands on him. And the fact is that the man who perjured himself, lying in sworn testimony to Congress, James Clapper, didn't get punished at all. He's still running the NSA. Obama has also lied about, denying everything from the beginning. And they know they're breaking the law, which is why they're moving operations offshore to skirt the rules that Congress imposed on them.

Believing Snowden should be thrown in jail does not automatically equate to being ok with what the government did. You can believe Snowden is a criminal and still be outraged by what he revealed. I suspect a few people fall into that catagory. As for how the two parties responded, elected officials all have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. But, there are still members in both parties that have called Snowden a hero.

If your complaint is that the agencies within the government are breaking the law and getting away with it, I agree. If you're complaint is it's happening because everyone just shrugged it off and doesn't care, I disagree. There certainly are people who are doing that but it's not everyone, and I think a majority are fairly disgusted. The problem is, who are you going to vote for that isn't going to do this?

I pretty much vote 3rd party every election at this point. I refuse to support either of the Democrats or Republicans. Some may call it throwing my vote away but I disagree. I call it fulfilling my civic duty.

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20-10-2013, 10:07 AM
RE: NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
(20-10-2013 08:15 AM)BnW Wrote:  Believing Snowden should be thrown in jail does not automatically equate to being ok with what the government did.

The law says that if you report a crime in government, you are immune from prosecution (whistleblower protection). So, if you argue Snowden should be thrown in jail, imo, that's very similar to saying the government didn't break any laws.

Quote:I pretty much vote 3rd party every election at this point. I refuse to support either of the Democrats or Republicans. Some may call it throwing my vote away but I disagree. I call it fulfilling my civic duty.

The US Founders' mistake, imo, was having voting be a simple majority, since this guarantees only two parties can participate, even if the majority disapprove of both parties. More modern voting systems include '1st choice' and '2nd choice' as well as ranking systems. But, since the Republicrats have absolute power, they're never going to let the system get changed to allow a 3rd party.

Did you see my post about Ron Paul and the GOP in the other thread? ...

He was a 3rd party candidate (libertarian), but realized it was impossible for a 3rd party to win, so he ran as a Republican. And at the beginning, the polls showed he was in the lead because, although his support was weak with the Republican base, he got nearly all the independents and large chunk of Democrats. It was shocking to see the lengths the establishment went through to make sure a 3rd party never got to hold high office.

In Maine, in the counties where Ron Paul was polling on top, voting was canceled. The official election results still show '0' for those places. But he STILL won Maine anyway, however at the actual GOP convention, security blocked his Maine delegates from entering. When he started winning Nevada, the GOP cut the power to the convention and circumvented the rules. However, at the GOP convention when he still had the majority of Nevada delegates, the bus driver carrying his delegates was ordered to drive them out of town. There were live tweets from his delegates while they were being kidnapped. And it went on and on. But despite it all, when it came to a floor vote at the GOP convention, he STILL had the majority of votes from more than 5 states, which meant he was required by election rules to be on the ballot.

So, at the convention while they're in the middle of voting for the candidate, Speaker of the House John Boehner proposes a rule change to bar Ron Paul from being on the ballot and he holds an immediate 'voice vote', and that's how he got removed. But here's the best part. There's cell phone video taken from behind Boehner as he's doing the voice vote, and you see that he's reading off a teleprompter, and the results of the vote were displayed on the teleprompter BEFORE the vote even took place. You can hear that the 'nays' were louder than they 'ayes', but Boehner just kept reading from the teleprompter 'the ayes have it', and so Ron Paul was barred. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla...bAlY#t=113

Now, the laughable part is that Boehner is such a mindless robot that whoever was pulling the strings didn't trust him to handle a rigged vote and programmed him to read off the teleprompter. But, the one thing that nobody can deny is that SOMEBODY obviously loaded the election results on the teleprompter ahead of time. Surely the teleprompter operator didn't decide on his own to rig the election. And Boehner was supposed to be the most senior member of the Republicans. So WHO had authority over Boehner and was able to get the results loaded onto the teleprompter?

And then the biggest mystery of all, is that all the media at the convention was completely silent on everything that happened. They just happily reported that Romney won, and refused to talk about the rigged voting scandal that caused rioting on the convention floor. What if Russia did that? What if Putin, during the voting process, held a voice vote to strike his opponents' off the ballot, and video showed the results were rigged, but all the media turned off their cameras when it happened? It would be front-page news that Russia had a sham democracy and the media was censored.

Plus the media LOVES sensational news stories like this. It gets viewers glued to their TV's and drives up ad revenue. So WHY would all the media outlets fall on their sword and sacrifice a HUGE news story as the rigging of the US Presidential election, all caught on camera? I can see why the right-wingers at Fox would. But the left media? Wouldn't they LOVE to show how the right-wing convention was a total sham? Isn't it in their best interest to expose this? After all, if Ron Paul was such an unelectable candidate, wouldn't it benefit the left to report on what happened so that Obama would have gone against Paul, rather than the mainstream Romney? It was in the interest of the Democrats and the media to expose this, and it would have boosted the Democrats position to show how corrupt the Republicans were. So it's undeniable that whoever was behind this must exert great influence on BOTH Republicans AND Democrats, as well as the media outlets.

It's not a conspiracy theory, then, to suggest that there are some “American Mullahs”, who like Iran's Mullahs, have the power to decide who is an unacceptable choice for President. At least in Iran they know who their Mullahs are and can protest them. But who are the American Mullahs?
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20-10-2013, 12:32 PM
RE: NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
Reporting a crime and handing over classified information to a reporter in the UK are two vastly different things. There is no law in the US or any country on the planet that makes what Snowden did legal. There is no definition of "whistleblowing" that does not make what he did a crime. It doesn't mean he was wrong, but it does mean it was criminal. Pointing that out doesn't mean you are agreeing with the Obama administration or the government in general.

As for your later point, I did not see your post on Ron Paul and the Republican party. But, I did read your thoughts in this thread. All I can say is the system is not perfect. There is no requirement for political parties but it did not take long for them to spring up and, given there is almost always two (there have been 3 at rare moments in our history), it is dificult to argue that the system does not de facto push us towards two parties. That said, the system sometimes does allow 3rd party candidates to win at least on a state level. Bernie Sanders from Vermont is not a member of either party (although he does caucus with the Democrats). Joe "Jowels" Lieberman won office as an independent (and he also caucuses as a Democrat). Jesse Ventura won the Governorship of Minnesotta years ago as an independent candidate. It does happen. On a national level, though, a 3rd party really is only going to play spoiler for one side or the other. Ross Perot cost Bush 41 reelection in 1992 and Ralph Nader arguably cost Al Gore the election in 2000.

As for powerful interests deciding who is acceptable, given the amount of money and fund raising it requires to run for President, there is no doubt there is truth to that. But, there are people who buck the system. In 2008 Obama certainly wasn't in the establishments plans for the Presidency but he wont he nomination, and the election, anyway. Of course, once in he took a "once you beat them, join them anyway" perspective and has been a complete hack and major dissapointment since he took office but he still bucked the system to get into office. It can happen.

Finally, the responsibility and accountability for this problem ultimately rests with the American people. We have people in Congress who get reelected every 2 or 6 years over and over with barely any opposition. We don't hold these people accountable at all. We don't stand up and say "no!" on election day. We elected theives and tax cheats because they bring home the pork money or because we are so entrenched in what one party or the other says at a national level. Most people have no idea who their state's Senators are, and a frighteningly smaller number can tell you who represents them in the House. We just vote based on party lines, which keeps incumbents in office. And, who's fault is it? Politicians are doing what they have always done and getting reelected is the only approval poll that matters to them. You want to change something, do it at the votiging both. Shouting about it on message boards isn't going to make a damn bit of difference.

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20-10-2013, 01:14 PM
RE: NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
Quote:Reporting a crime and handing over classified information to a reporter in the UK are two vastly different things. There is no law in the US or any country on the planet that makes what Snowden did legal.

Actually, yes. Here is the ACLU's legal brief: https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech-na...stleblower

The Whistleblower Protection Act protects "any disclosure", no matter if it's to a journalist in the UK, or to your supervisor, if “a covered employee” (which Snowden obviously is) reasonably believes evidences "any violation of any law, rule, or regulation," or "gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, and abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety." Unquestionably, then, according to the rule of law Snowden IS absolutely immune from prosecution, and what he did is protected. I've never seen any defender of the NSA even try to do a legal review that disputes this. Have you? They seem to just throw the rule of law in the trash and insist the law and the constitution don't apply to them. That they're above it all.

Quote:Ross Perot cost Bush 41 reelection in 1992

Yes, and the Republicrats immediately changed the rules for who can participate in debates and who can be on ballots to prevent a third party from being able to do it again.

Quote:[Obama] still bucked the system to get into office

I don't think he did. I am convinced that the “American Mullahs” who decided that Ron Paul wasn't an acceptable choice because he wouldn't tow the line, also vetted Obama and only allowed him to win because they were convinced Obama do whatever it took to get the office—including throwing his convictions in the trash and cow-towing to the special interests. The problem with Ron Paul is that he didn't seem to want the Presidency that much. When he was in debates, he would take positions that were hugely unpopular with the audience, fully aware that he'd get boo'ed off the stage. Remember, Ron Paul is a homophobic Christian conservative, yet what cost him the Iowa straw poll is that he was the only candidate who refused to back a ban on gay marriage, despite the GOP's threat to boycott him if he didn't give in. He stood in an audience of Christian conservatives and said he'd veto any attempt to prevent gay people from marrying, fully aware that it would cost him the straw poll.

Quote:You want to change something, do it at the votiging both. Shouting about it on message boards isn't going to make a damn bit of difference.

I do think that just quietly voting is not enough. People have to wake up to what's going on.
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20-10-2013, 02:32 PM
NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
(20-10-2013 12:32 PM)BnW Wrote:  Reporting a crime and handing over classified information to a reporter in the UK are two vastly different things. There is no law in the US or any country on the planet that makes what Snowden did legal. There is no definition of "whistleblowing" that does not make what he did a crime. It doesn't mean he was wrong, but it does mean it was criminal. Pointing that out doesn't mean you are agreeing with the Obama administration or the government in general.

As for your later point, I did not see your post on Ron Paul and the Republican party. But, I did read your thoughts in this thread. All I can say is the system is not perfect. There is no requirement for political parties but it did not take long for them to spring up and, given there is almost always two (there have been 3 at rare moments in our history), it is dificult to argue that the system does not de facto push us towards two parties. That said, the system sometimes does allow 3rd party candidates to win at least on a state level. Bernie Sanders from Vermont is not a member of either party (although he does caucus with the Democrats). Joe "Jowels" Lieberman won office as an independent (and he also caucuses as a Democrat). Jesse Ventura won the Governorship of Minnesotta years ago as an independent candidate. It does happen. On a national level, though, a 3rd party really is only going to play spoiler for one side or the other. Ross Perot cost Bush 41 reelection in 1992 and Ralph Nader arguably cost Al Gore the election in 2000.

As for powerful interests deciding who is acceptable, given the amount of money and fund raising it requires to run for President, there is no doubt there is truth to that. But, there are people who buck the system. In 2008 Obama certainly wasn't in the establishments plans for the Presidency but he wont he nomination, and the election, anyway. Of course, once in he took a "once you beat them, join them anyway" perspective and has been a complete hack and major dissapointment since he took office but he still bucked the system to get into office. It can happen.

Finally, the responsibility and accountability for this problem ultimately rests with the American people. We have people in Congress who get reelected every 2 or 6 years over and over with barely any opposition. We don't hold these people accountable at all. We don't stand up and say "no!" on election day. We elected theives and tax cheats because they bring home the pork money or because we are so entrenched in what one party or the other says at a national level. Most people have no idea who their state's Senators are, and a frighteningly smaller number can tell you who represents them in the House. We just vote based on party lines, which keeps incumbents in office. And, who's fault is it? Politicians are doing what they have always done and getting reelected is the only approval poll that matters to them. You want to change something, do it at the votiging both. Shouting about it on message boards isn't going to make a damn bit of difference.

What information was released by snowden was illegal? Specifics please.

Note: telling another country that they are being spied on isn't illegal.
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22-10-2013, 05:48 AM
RE: NSA going offshore to skirt the law: Why are they treated like gods?
(20-10-2013 01:14 PM)frankksj Wrote:  
Quote:Reporting a crime and handing over classified information to a reporter in the UK are two vastly different things. There is no law in the US or any country on the planet that makes what Snowden did legal.

Actually, yes. Here is the ACLU's legal brief: https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech-na...stleblower

The Whistleblower Protection Act protects "any disclosure", no matter if it's to a journalist in the UK, or to your supervisor, if “a covered employee” (which Snowden obviously is) reasonably believes evidences "any violation of any law, rule, or regulation," or "gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, and abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety." Unquestionably, then, according to the rule of law Snowden IS absolutely immune from prosecution, and what he did is protected. I've never seen any defender of the NSA even try to do a legal review that disputes this. Have you? They seem to just throw the rule of law in the trash and insist the law and the constitution don't apply to them. That they're above it all.

I'm familiar with the ACLU suit. I hope they win, but I'm skeptical. However, the idea that anyone can just disclose classified information and claim whistleblower status is not sustainable. My issue with this situation is the government is trying to absolve itself from scrutiney for criminal acts by classifying all the evidence of those acts. That is, or should be, completely unacceptable. I do agree that Snowden doesn't belong in jail, but we will see what happens.

(20-10-2013 01:14 PM)frankksj Wrote:  
Quote:Ross Perot cost Bush 41 reelection in 1992

Yes, and the Republicrats immediately changed the rules for who can participate in debates and who can be on ballots to prevent a third party from being able to do it again.

Yes, yes they did. And yet, Nader did it in 2000 and it cost Gore. It can still happen. People can still vote 3rd party and a 3rd party can still play the role of spoiler. Basically, all that means is that you push the election to one of the other two majors, but if at some point people get disgusted enough that will change.

(20-10-2013 01:14 PM)frankksj Wrote:  
Quote:[Obama] still bucked the system to get into office

I don't think he did. I am convinced that the “American Mullahs” who decided that Ron Paul wasn't an acceptable choice because he wouldn't tow the line, also vetted Obama and only allowed him to win because they were convinced Obama do whatever it took to get the office—including throwing his convictions in the trash and cow-towing to the special interests. The problem with Ron Paul is that he didn't seem to want the Presidency that much. When he was in debates, he would take positions that were hugely unpopular with the audience, fully aware that he'd get boo'ed off the stage. Remember, Ron Paul is a homophobic Christian conservative, yet what cost him the Iowa straw poll is that he was the only candidate who refused to back a ban on gay marriage, despite the GOP's threat to boycott him if he didn't give in. He stood in an audience of Christian conservatives and said he'd veto any attempt to prevent gay people from marrying, fully aware that it would cost him the straw poll.

I have no idea who these "American Mullahs" are. If you think there is some room of people who decides how this will go, then I think you need to loosen the strap on your tin foil hat. There is no doubt the two parties control a lot but there is no way anyone was pre-vetting Obama and determining he would do all the things he's done as President. His record as a Senator and his comments as a candidate show a very different person.

(20-10-2013 01:14 PM)frankksj Wrote:  
Quote:You want to change something, do it at the votiging both. Shouting about it on message boards isn't going to make a damn bit of difference.

I do think that just quietly voting is not enough. People have to wake up to what's going on.

Meaning what? So, more people gain your self-proclaimed level of superior awareness. Now what? What can they do other than vote? Armed insurrection? The last people who tried that didn't fare very well.

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