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I've Lost Faith In Obama

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WASHINGTON - Bowing to President Bush's demands, the Senate approved and sent the White House a bill Wednesday to overhaul bitterly disputed rules on secret government eavesdropping and shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits complaining they helped the U.S. spy on Americans.

 

The relatively one-sided vote, 69-28, came only after a lengthy and heated debate that pitted privacy and civil liberties concerns against the desire to prevent terrorist attacks. It ended almost a year of wrangling over surveillance rules and the president's warrantless wiretapping program that was initiated after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

 

The House passed the same bill last month, and Bush said he would sign it soon.

 

Opponents assailed the eavesdropping program, asserting that it imperiled citizens' rights of privacy from government intrusion. But Bush said the legislation protects those rights as well as Americans' security.

 

"This bill will help our intelligence professionals learn who the terrorists are talking to, what they're saying and what they're planning," he said in a brief White House appearance after the Senate vote.

 

The bill is very much a political compromise, brought about by a deadline: Wiretapping orders authorized last year will begin to expire in August. Without a new bill, the government would go back to old FISA rules, requiring multiple new orders and potential delays to continue those intercepts. That is something most of Congress did not want to see happen, particularly in an election year.

 

The long fight on Capitol Hill centered on one main question: whether to protect from civil lawsuits any telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on American phone and computer lines without the permission or knowledge of a secret court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

 

The White House had threatened to veto the bill unless it immunized companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. against wiretapping lawsuits.

 

Forty-six lawsuits now stand to be dismissed because of the new law, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. All are pending before a single U.S. District Court in California. But the fight has not ended. Civil rights groups are already preparing lawsuits challenging the bill's constitutionality, and four suits, filed against government officials, will not be dismissed.

 

Numerous lawmakers had spoken out strongly against the no-warrants eavesdropping on Americans, but the Senate voted its approval after rejecting amendments that would have watered down, delayed or stripped away the immunity provision.

 

The lawsuits center on allegations that the White House circumvented U.S. law by going around the FISA court, which was created 30 years ago to prevent the government from abusing its surveillance powers for political purposes, as was done in the Vietnam War and Watergate eras. The court is meant to approve all wiretaps placed inside the U.S. for intelligence-gathering purposes. The law has been interpreted to include international e-mail records stored on servers inside the U.S.

 

"This president broke the law," declared Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis.

 

The Bush administration brought the wiretapping back under the FISA court's authority only after The New York Times revealed the existence of the secret program. A handful of members of Congress knew about the program from top secret briefings. Most members are still forbidden to know the details of the classified effort, and some objected that they were being asked to grant immunity to the telecoms without first knowing what they did.

 

Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter compared the Senate vote to buying a "pig in a poke."

 

But Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., one of the bill's most vocal champions, said, "This is the balance we need to protect our civil liberties without handcuffing our terror-fighters."

 

Just under a third of the Senate, including Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, supported an amendment that would have stripped immunity from the bill. They were defeated on a 66-32 vote. Republican rival John McCain did not attend the vote.

 

Obama ended up voting for the final bill, as did Specter. Feingold voted no.

 

The bill tries to address concerns about the legality of warrantless wiretapping by requiring inspectors general inside the government to conduct a yearlong investigation into the program.

 

Beyond immunity, the new surveillance bill also sets new rules for government eavesdropping. Some of them would tighten the reins on current government surveillance activities, but others would loosen them compared with a law passed 30 years ago.

 

For example, it would require the government to get FISA court approval before it eavesdrops on an American overseas. Currently, the attorney general approves that electronic surveillance on his own.

 

The bill also would allow the government to obtain broad, yearlong intercept orders from the FISA court that target foreign groups and people, raising the prospect that communications with innocent Americans would be swept in. The court would approve how the government chooses the targets and how the intercepted American communications would be protected.

 

The original FISA law required the government to get wiretapping warrants for each individual targeted from inside the United States, on the rationale that most communications inside the U.S. would involve Americans whose civil liberties must be protected. But technology has changed. Purely foreign communications increasingly pass through U.S. wires and sit on American computer servers, and the law has required court orders to be obtained to access those as well.

 

The bill would give the government a week to conduct a wiretap in an emergency before it must apply for a court order. The original law said three days.

 

The bill restates that the FISA law is the only means by which wiretapping for intelligence purposes can be conducted inside the United States. This is meant to prevent a repeat of warrantless wiretapping by future administrations.

 

The ACLU, which is party to some of the lawsuits that will now be dismissed, said the bill was "a blatant assault upon civil liberties and the right to privacy."

 

Goodbye Constitution. Goodbye to the god damned fudgeing constitution.

Edited by Definition

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Woohoo. No more privacy!

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That's so stupid. The government is so paranoid of another attack that they're willing to infringe on the lives of America's citizens to prevent one, when in reality, if they weren't busy p***ing off other countries, there wouldn't be any here in the first place. And seriously, what do they think they're going to accomplish? Spying on "terrorists" who are living in the country that they're supposedly plotting against. Anybody who hated our country enough to cause terror to it would kill themselves if they had to live here. Stupid, paranoid, perfectionist (when in reality, they're only going to be wasting our money funding employment of the workers who will tap the phone lines), nationalistic government. They need to learn where to draw the line. If they can't then we need a new leader.

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Jesus, I pity u americans! :) Obama voted yes? The Senate bowed down to that lunatic of a president? Wat ever happened to the land of the free? I bet u guys can't wait till the election. :aware:

Edited by Phoenix Rider

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What the hell?

I still support Obama, but that's weird that he would vote for it.

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at least its not a clinton. her husband rapes kids. hes been 2 jail and everything. obama is waaaaaay better than clinton. im a republic though so i dont care if its mcain or obama. REPUBLIC! REPUBLIC! (no offence 2 democrates)

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at least its not a clinton. her husband rapes kids. hes been 2 jail and everything.
BILL CLINTON IS MICHAEL JACKSON!

 

...that explains that awesome cover of "Thriller" Bill Clinton recorded.... :aware:

 

I've Lost Faith In Obama
Let's not forget that he is American before being a Democrat, and therefore has to protect his country from terror.

 

From where said terror comes from is a whole other topic.

 

Also, sarcasm in the sentence starting with "Let's".

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at least its not a clinton. her husband rapes kids. hes been 2 jail and everything. obama is waaaaaay better than clinton. im a republic though so i dont care if its mcain or obama. REPUBLIC! REPUBLIC! (no offence 2 democrates)

 

Typical Republican garbage, arrogance and ignorance!! :aware: PLZ! tell me that was sarcasm. if not, then I pity u since conservative propaganda has apparently brainwashed u. :)

 

Obama is the antichrist, anyways I'm not american so I do not care.

 

I don't know wat to say. :) . Except maybe "Shhh, quite child, the adults are speaking. :) "

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I dont really understand what you lost faith in Obama for... From what I understood, it said he voted, but didnt say what he voted for.

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I'm really divided on this issue. I understand that wiretapping is sometimes necessary but at the same time I really hate the idea that the government can listen in on my phone calls without really any proof.

 

I've wondered is there a thing/amendment in the constitution that addresses privacy? (I honestly don't know)

 

Obama is the antichrist, anyways I'm not american so I do not care.

 

How does that contribute anything to the discussion. If you don't care than why bother to post?

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at least its not a clinton. her husband rapes kids. hes been 2 jail and everything.

Even if that were true, that has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.

 

Keep in mind I've never supported Hillary though.

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I'm really divided on this issue. I understand that wiretapping is sometimes necessary but at the same time I really hate the idea that the government can listen in on my phone calls without really any proof.
To clarify, FISA has been around since 1978 and allows the government to set up wiretaps on people. It grants warrants to do so and Bush was skipping FISA in order to not need warrants, hence, breaking the law (and taking a dump on the Constitution and then wiping with it as well). If you understand how flexible FISA is and how it actually works, it makes this all the more horrific. The gov't can wiretap with no warrant for 72 hours (I think that's the time limit) - so if time is a factor, they got several days to get their warrant or drop the tap. FISA very rarely throws out a requested warrant, i.e. if there's a shred of evidence that it's important, they allow it. To me this obviously means the Bush and Co. were spying on innocent people who were political enemies of some sort, people that they had absolutely no basis for spying on.

 

The whole immunity thing comes because if Bush wanted the telephone companies who helped him setup the illegal wiretaps to have immunity from being prosecuted - in other words, Bush wanted to be (and got his way) above the law. Bush ordered companies to break the law, they did, and now the Senate has said, "eh, whatev." If this hadn't gone through, this whole situation would have easily been the strongest of many fair grounds for impeachment. I think that's one reason why the Dems caved in - they think that impeachment is a losing issue for them politically.

 

The Senate Democrats showed their true lack of backbone again, except of course for the esteemed Russ Feingold, (D-WI), my wonderful Senator. :aware:

 

I've wondered is there a thing/amendment in the constitution that addresses privacy? (I honestly don't know)
Yeah, there WAS until this passed. It was known as the 4th Amendment. :)

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment04/

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From what I can gather, it says that the US is allowed to know what's going on in America. That's good, isn't it? Why shouldn't they be allowed to spy on us? Do you have something you're hiding? :aware:

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From what I can gather, it says that the US is allowed to know what's going on in America.
That's one way of putting it.
That's good, isn't it?
Sure, but they should figure it out some other way.
Why shouldn't they be allowed to spy on us? Do you have something you're hiding? :aware:
Maybe we do. And I don't see why it should be the government's business.

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From what I can gather, it says that the US is allowed to know what's going on in America. That's good, isn't it? Why shouldn't they be allowed to spy on us? Do you have something you're hiding? :aware:

Yes, but the government is made up of people like you or me; they're no better or worse; they're just people. How would you like it if a neighbor you didn't know listened to your phone calls?

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From what I can gather, it says that the US is allowed to know what's going on in America. That's good, isn't it? Why shouldn't they be allowed to spy on us? Do you have something you're hiding? :aware:

Do you like the concept of having surveillance cameras placed everywhere in your house with a dude looking at what you're doing for 24 hours a day? Because you don't have anything to hide, do you?

 

The concept of this is ridiculous. Sweden introduced it, USA is introducing it, the entire EU is soon to be introducing it, I just pray to my non-existent god that this won't be induced in Norway. I swear, it makes me want to move to some tiny wee Pacific Island and never come back.

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I swear, it makes me want to move to some tiny wee Pacific Island and never come back.

 

Quick tip, Australia is all the rage now-a-days.

 

I feel bad for the Americans, don't you all wish you had a time machine?

 

OnYx :aware:

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