Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Dec 2013 23:15 UTC
Legal

A federal judge in Washington ruled on Monday that the bulk collection of Americans' telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the US constitution, in the most significant legal setback for the agency since the first disclosures prompted by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Judge Richard Leon declared that the mass collection of metadata probably violates the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and was "almost Orwellian" in its scope. In a judgment replete with literary swipes against the NSA, he said James Madison, the architect of the US constitution, would be "aghast" at the scope of the agency’s collection of Americans' communications data.

It's just a preliminary ruling, and while the judge stated that he would most likely uphold the preliminary ruling after the merits of the case have been handled, there's probably thousands of appeals and stuff like that where this could crumble into dust.

Once a government has obtained a power, it rarely releases it. That's the nature of government - it can only grow.

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Let me be liberal
by Gone fishing on Tue 17th Dec 2013 02:56 UTC
Gone fishing
Member since:
2006-02-22

It seems right to me that government elected by the people and accountable to the people should have the right (under scrutiny of the judicatory), to level the playing-field and make it possible for the less powerful to better themselves, so that merit is rewarded rather than simply wealth and power. That the the common man has has both a reasonable life and some control over his destiny.

The problem with many conservatives, is they see making a more meritocratic and fairer society an oppressive unjust use of state power. Whilst they see surveillance, the removal of individual rights by the armed services of the state, censorship, and the restriction of individual freedoms as the proper functions of the state and government.

Yes we have too much government, government that sees its citizens as needing controlling, as wayward children that need discipline and punishment.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Let me be liberal
by darknexus on Tue 17th Dec 2013 03:11 in reply to "Let me be liberal"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

It seems right to me that government elected by the people and accountable to the people should have the right (under scrutiny of the judicatory), to level the playing-field and make it possible for the less powerful to better themselves, so that merit is rewarded rather than simply wealth and power. That the the common man has has both a reasonable life and some control over his destiny.

The problem with many conservatives, is they see making a more meritocratic and fairer society an oppressive unjust use of state power. Whilst they see surveillance, the removal of individual rights by the armed services of the state, censorship, and the restriction of individual freedoms as the proper functions of the state and government.

Yes we have too much government, government that sees its citizens as needing controlling, as wayward children that need discipline and punishment.

I can't even tell where you stand with this comment. And, let it be known that by our definition of liberal here in the states (I prefer the term leftist rather than liberal), it is the leftists that have by far done the most to increase control of the state and the scope of so-called "national security." What these people are doing makes Dubyuh look like a libertarian by comparison. At this point though, it doesn't matter whether you're left or right. They're both pretending to fight against each other while gangbanging behind our backs to increase their powers (see so-called government shutdown) and the populous are too glued to the idiot box to realize they're being bent over in preparation for... well, you get the idea.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Let me be liberal
by zima on Fri 20th Dec 2013 21:46 in reply to "RE: Let me be liberal"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

our definition of liberal here in the states (I prefer the term leftist rather than liberal),

US "leftists" are centre at most ...and really, a bit to the right (check political compass website)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Let me be liberal
by galvanash on Tue 17th Dec 2013 12:33 in reply to "Let me be liberal"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I should probably just stay out of this one, but I can't help myself...

It seems right to me that government elected by the people and accountable to the people should have the right (under scrutiny of the judicatory), to level the playing-field and make it possible for the less powerful to better themselves, so that merit is rewarded rather than simply wealth and power. That the the common man has has both a reasonable life and some control over his destiny.


Why do you conflate "merit" and "reward" with acts of government? Unless you actually work for the government, what business is it of a government to identify merit and reward it? No offense meant, but the government identifying merit and rewarding it is what has made the playing field uneven in the first place. That is the primary reason that the richer keep getting richer - because the government is beholden to them (and visa versa).

"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
- Honore de Balzac

A bit cynical but mostly true... Funny how hardly no one seems to go to jail, and even if they do the fortune is somehow preserved... The Kennedy fortune was built on a series of "questionable" endeavors - do you think JFK would have ever been president if his dad was a shoe salesman?

I admit I am reading a bit into what you wrote, but it sounds like you are promoting redistribution of wealth in the form of "rewarding merit". The problem is most politicians idea of merit is wealth... See the problem?

The whole concept of what "leveling the playing field" means has been totally perverted in modern society. The single most effective way for a government to level the playing field is to get off of it...

Really, I'm being quite serious. I'm not saying that the playing field is level - it isn't. I'm saying that the reason it is not level is because of the influence that money has over political policy.

You don't fix this by promoting redistribution of wealth. That isn't fixing anything, it is just a form of reparations.

You fix it by reforming things so that money can no longer buy political favor. You fix it by making the government adhere to its founding principals, not blinding following majority will. You fix it by actually reading the Constitution, identifying where things went off the tracks, and addressing them.

Its not a liberal vs conservative argument - those two terms no longer mean anything in modern politics... None of the major political parties are trying to _fix_ anything - they are trying to appease their base through creative marketing of bad policy. They are selling lemons and calling it lemonade...

The problem is there is no one is selling real lemonade. The policies of modern liberal thinking are just as destructive as the policies of modern conservative thinking.

The problem isn't people picking the wrong ideology, the problem is people picking any ideology... Ideology is the problem - it creates a force field through which reform cannot possible pass...

Have ideas, have ideals, but don't have ideologies.

Edited 2013-12-17 12:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Let me be liberal
by Alfman on Tue 17th Dec 2013 16:29 in reply to "RE: Let me be liberal"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

galvanash,

The whole concept of what "leveling the playing field" means has been totally perverted in modern society. The single most effective way for a government to level the playing field is to get off of it...

Really, I'm being quite serious. I'm not saying that the playing field is level - it isn't. I'm saying that the reason it is not level is because of the influence that money has over political policy.


In many ways I understand what you are getting at: a corrupt and self-serving government will only amplify problems. However I think there's an underlying assumption that industry could self-regulate without government, but historically that's been flawed. Private monopolies got so big and powerful that competition became non-existent and those corporations were free to exert more and more direct control over people's lives. The most extreme example is probably the company owned towns of Pullman, Carnegie, and others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pullman,_Chicago

It's conceptually similar to "vendor lock", only applied to employees. At their peak, 3% of the US population was already working, living, shopping on company property. Imagine if the government had never intervened.

Modern examples are harder to come by, but that's likely due to government intervention rather than corporate goodwill.
http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2008/09/mexico-supreme-court-...

Government isn't inherently bad, it can definitely be useful to create infrastructures and achieve social goals that would not be possible without them. The problem is when they cease existing for the people and start to take on their own agendas in spite of the people, such as this NSA wiretapping issue. The NSA spying program would have never been possible through democratic means, which is why it's kept a secret from the public. They nevertheless make up a "legal" framework to cover up their operations with no public oversight whatsoever. Yet a government that's willing and able to overstep it's public charter in this way IS inherently bad. Democracy cannot function behind closed doors.

Is a solution even possible? I don't even know anymore... Even with the best intentions, it seems like things will become corrupted by those with the power and motivation to corrupt it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Let me be liberal
by Gone fishing on Wed 18th Dec 2013 05:46 in reply to "RE: Let me be liberal"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

The problem isn't people picking the wrong ideology, the problem is people picking any ideology... Ideology is the problem - it creates a force field through which reform cannot possible pass...

On this we agree ideology is per se harmful even wicked although it s difficult for us to see our own ideology, I always liked the situationalist slogan:

Theory is when you have ideas; ideology is when ideas have you.


I also agree with

You fix it by making the government adhere to its founding principles,


Although if you do not blinding follow the majority will” who do you follow an elite? Shamefully I come from a country without a written constitution; however, I don’t not see government as inherently corrupting. The heroes that drafted the American constitution were not against government , but for - Government of the people, by the people and for the people. They attempted to build in checks and balances, to defend the liberty of the citizen against the tyranny of government that usurped the power of the citizen. If you believe that this has happened it needs fixing. I am reminded of Jefferson’s” The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” I suspect on this we largely agree.

Where we may disagree is on the idea of freedom as appose to liberty. I would argue that freedom is the ability to control ones destiny and life, for the common man this requires collective democratic decision making. Otherwise we are all subject simply atomised individuals at the mercy of Adam Smith’s invisible hand, which without getting its fingers sharply smacked on occasion inevitably favours the wealthy and powerful. Sometimes government has fulfilled this role, levelling the playing field making for example Universal Education for example a reality, and occasionally limiting the power of landlords, corporations and monopolies.

Reply Parent Score: 2