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Let the fascist apologist speak. - Adventures in Engineering
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2007-08-04 18:41
  Subject:   Let the fascist apologist speak.
Public


From http://jwz.livejournal.com/787615.html:

dasht_brk
Why do they keep doing this? Three reasons:

a) it keeps actually working for stopping serious crimes/terrorism

b) um, the surveillance is happening, government or no government. Government can't stop it, it can only join in the game. I don't like either socializing surveillance or privatizing it because, frankly, I don't like surveillance. But, until it becomes a social norm for professionals to just refuse to do it -- and that's a long way off -- I'll pick the socialism version. I'd rather have my government 0wn3rize that space than some anonymous billionaire, wouldn't you? (We take the "it's the same thing!" cynical response as read.)

c) and, yes, as is often reported: the "old" laws in this area struck certain hotly debated balances and drew careful lines. Said lines simply stopped making sense as technology changed so that, in order to preserve the intent of the "old" laws, legislators have to update that intent for the new environment and then write down what they think.

The progressive action here isn't obviously to stop expansion of government surveillance. The alternative -- probably more effective, as I see it -- is to work to increase government transparency in ways specifically aimed at building trust bridges and citizen-initiated verification probes. I.e., you should have some idea of who is surveilling, have reason to trust them, and should at least be able to find some tight-lipped people outside of government that you trust who government also trusts enough to let them stick their noses in, poke around, and possibly whistle-blow.



mackys
"It works" is not now, and never has been, an excuse to trash the Constitution. It would "work" if we legalized tearing people's intestines out with a backhoe when they were convicted of littering. Boy would THAT stop people from throwing their cigarette butts out the window! The fact that something "works" does not in any way, shape or form make it ethical or right.

But even putting that (bleedingly obvious) point aside...

a) it keeps actually working for stopping serious crimes/terrorism

O RLY?? Can you please tell us what terrorists plots mass wiretapping has foiled? Or are they all "classified"?

Well then, since you can't present any evidence at all that all this blatantly unconstitutional wiretapping actually accomplishes anything, can you at least tell us why we need to abandon the FISA court system, which has denied only 4 tap requests in the last 30-odd years?

b) um, the surveillance is happening, government or no government.

Total and complete bullshit, you fucking Quisling. AT&T wouldn't allow an NGO into the major NAPs to tap all Internet traffic, but they let Dubya's guys do it. (And then lied and tried to cover it up when they got caught. Of course.)

c) and, yes, as is often reported: the "old" laws in this area struck certain hotly debated balances and drew careful lines. Said lines simply stopped making sense as technology changed

Once again, I ask you to show me why the FISA court system is insufficient to examine and authorize taps on new tech as well as old...

The progressive action here isn't to stop expansion of government surveillance.

Actually, yes. Yes it is. The progressive action is to restore oversight and accountability to wiretapping. Which this law that the bottom-dwelling carrion feeders in Congress just approved will most certainly NOT do.

Now please go fuck yourself gently with a chainsaw, you proto-fascist apologist.



dasht_brk
I'm sorry for playing the geek straight-man on jwz's blog on this issue because you raise plenty of concerns I'd be happy to lazily pick over with you but.... it just don't fit in the context of this blog, sorry.

you proto-fascist apologist

Oh, you misread me. No, I don't defend the left wing of the Democratic party.



Nor do I; glance back a few posts and you'll see me tearing up the Sheepocrats left and right.

As far as wanting to explain? Well here you go. You want to come defend your apologia where we have plenty of space? This journal is no stranger to long debates. I have had many posts with in excess of 100 replies. So have at it.
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  User: dasht_brk
  Date: 2007-08-05 01:23 (UTC)
  Subject:   manners
You titled this post "Let the fascist apologist speak." and made it clear on another blog that you intended to address me.

Sorry, I don't cotton to that manner of address so, this is all you get.

-t
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2007-08-05 01:24 (UTC)
  Subject:   I just calls 'em like I sees 'em...
Alrighty then; so be it.
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  User: dasht_brk
  Date: 2007-08-05 01:35 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: I just calls 'em like I sees 'em...
That's a good spirit. Thank you.

If you like, pick the issues apart into the real topics and alert me to those. I am a litte busy so I can't keep up a rapid-fire back and forth but:

a) There have been a number of credible reports of surveillance paying off in some important busts, over a period of years. I think you just missed news on that.

b) The constitutional issues are pretty intricate and in a civilized conversation I'd really ask you to make a case against, responsive to the on-record arguments for. The administration has gotten nipped by SCOTUS here and there but, overall, seems to be finding concensus.

c) My impression re FISA is that (a) the definition of their jurisdiction doesn't make a lot of sense in today's technological context or our national security context; (b) they are not an agile enough process to just "play nice" with and placate the jurisdictional questions; (c) they are not a stealthy enough process.

When I spoke about the progressive thing being to improve a kind of once-removed trust-based transparency, I was specifically thinking of how to engineer something that can do the job FISA was meant to do, but better.

-t


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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2007-08-05 01:56 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
a) There have been a number of credible reports of surveillance paying off in some important busts, over a period of years. I think you just missed news on that.

All of these that I've seen have been debunked. Severely. Do you know of one offhand that was actually a significant success?

The constitutional issues are pretty intricate and in a civilized conversation I'd really ask you to make a case against, responsive to the on-record arguments for. The administration has gotten nipped by SCOTUS here and there but, overall, seems to be finding concensus.

If by "finding consensus" you mean that the pathetic, dickless Democrats are caving in like a badly made mineshaft, then I'd agree with that statement. But constitutionally speaking, I think the thrust of my argument is fairly simple: the FISA courts have been getting it right, and in addition have denied almost no requests for a wiretap. How exactly is that "not working"?

c) My impression re FISA is that (a) the definition of their jurisdiction doesn't make a lot of sense in today's technological context or our national security context; (b) they are not an agile enough process to just "play nice" with and placate the jurisdictional questions; (c) they are not a stealthy enough process.

Regarding (a), even if I buy the premise (which I don't think I do) I would still say that it's quite possible to change FISA's scope without gutting their oversight role. Which is exactly what the bill (S.1927) in question does.

Re (b), see "4 denied requests in 30 years." If you're seriously advocating the position that these guys aren't getting enough done, I'm just going to have to disagree with you flat out.

Re (c), if secret courts aren't stealthy enough for you, then I may have to go back to the Nazi analogies and name-calling.
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the septenary
  User: diapholom
  Date: 2007-08-05 02:01 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
nazi analogies & name-calling are fine

all it tells is:
a) you're unhappy with how things are going
b) you're not effective by merely barking (at trees)
c)did you do anything to actually change the course of things ;]




a) b) c) sounds authoritative
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2007-08-05 02:20 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Oh, that's what you're angling at...

Look, I'm quite aware that my howling at the moon accomplishes nothing. Been at peace with that for months.

I've also intentiontionally and consciously given up on making any kind of difference at all. The people don't want it, the government doesn't want it, nobody wants to do the right thing. Things will not get better, no matter how hard I try. I fully understand and accept that.

I howl at the moon purely because I enjoy it - no other reason. Not because it will make a difference. Not because anyone cares. It won't. They don't.
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  User: dasht_brk
  Date: 2007-08-05 02:31 (UTC)
  Subject:   you sound depressed
Go shop at an organic farmer's market or figure out a way in which you can create employment for others or find a way to help young artists find work or....

I don't mean that the constitutional issues that worry you aren't important but: you can find energy and optimism to make a difference at that level in baby steps: by finding fun ways to make smaller and local differences, real differences that really do have immediate impact and that (who care's if its selfish) make your own life better. Build up enough of that karma and you'll have energy and optimism to take on the bigger stuff without ... well, the stuff you're taking a tiny bit of heat for here.

You enjoy it, howling thusly -- I buy it -- but, that betrays a poverty of more substantial joys.


-t
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2007-08-05 02:41 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
More angry, really. But that's how I choose to live my life.

As for doing the local stuff, yeah, that's all well and good, but if I refuse to look at the big picture and just stumble along like a good little German, then I feel as if I'm tacitly endorsing and supporting a system I know damn well is horrible and evil. And I won't do it.

Now, other people may feel differently. That's fine; that's their life to live and their decision to make. I'm just saying, this is what my personal conscience compels me to. I've often been lambasted for being inflexible when it comes these issues of what I feel is good vs evil, but I just shrug and say that it's my life and I'm going to live it the way I feel is right.
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  User: dasht_brk
  Date: 2007-08-05 03:40 (UTC)
  Subject:   heh
Cool.

-t
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  User: dasht_brk
  Date: 2007-08-05 02:25 (UTC)
  Subject:   stuff
Re (c), if secret courts aren't stealthy enough for you, then I may have to go back to the Nazi analogies and name-calling.

I wish to point out the irony here that, actually, the Nazis got a lot of mileage out of substituting name-calling for discourse.


-t
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the septenary
  User: diapholom
  Date: 2007-08-05 01:54 (UTC)
  Subject:   calls 'em like I sees 'em...

surveillance is flattering
this helps to cater to your dopey narcissism (lol forceful!)



No one ever discovers the depths of his own loneliness
-Georges Bernanos (1888-1948), French novelist, political writer. The Diary of a Country Priest, ch. 7 (1936).

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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2007-08-05 01:58 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Ho boy... you're hoping to offend me by telling me that I'm a narcissist?

What's next, you're going to try and offend me by telling me that the sky is blue?? ;]
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the septenary
  User: diapholom
  Date: 2007-08-05 02:02 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
offend you?

you have offended your life by typing it
where's the action?
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2007-08-05 02:20 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Glad to be of offense! It's the one thing I do well...
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osmium_ocelot
  User: osmium_ocelot
  Date: 2007-08-05 03:14 (UTC)
  Subject:   I'll jump into this...
...just as soon as I'm not on the verge of a hangover.

And then people are going to be in trouble. I assure you.

Tomorrow.
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osmium_ocelot
  User: osmium_ocelot
  Date: 2007-08-05 13:42 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: I'll jump into this...
or maybe not.

Stupid drunk posting to live journal...
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  Date: 2007-12-18 01:36 (UTC)
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