you don't go to war with regular laws, which are made outta red tape and bureaucracy and neville chamberlain
The head of the music department here at LSC sent out an email yesterday about Mozart's birthday. In the email it said, "As you know, old musicians never die; they just decompose..."

It made me laugh.
--Candi Fri Jan 27 10:29:34 2006
Well, even if this President is only spying on people who "deserve" it, and nobody innocent goes to extradited shock-me-in-the-balls prison this time...

If this President gets away with it, then the next President will almost certainly get away with worse.
--Nick B Fri Jan 27 11:55:16 2006
Yeah, there's even a Monty Python song "decomposing composers"...

Though it reminds me...what's brown and sits on a piano stool? Beethoven's Last Movement
--Kirk Fri Jan 27 13:04:44 2006
Nick B:
I guess, pragmatically, it's a probability game. If 100 innocents in shock-me-in-the-balls prisons saves 20,000 lives in some kind of WMD attack, it might be an ok tradeoff.

I know it's a slippery slope, but still, it may be some tradeoffs that we find worth making, in at least some of the cases.
--Kirk Fri Jan 27 13:07:42 2006
What the fuck is the matter with you? It's NEVER, EVER an "acceptable tradeoff" That's what makes the USA different from the enemy....and the french.
--xoxoxo Bruce Fri Jan 27 17:44:15 2006
Sorry. I'm an extremist moderate.

A few days ago I had some interesting conversation with a libertarian friend of mine. He's not super hardcore or kneejerk or anything, and pretty smart, so...

He presented me with the idea that the primary (he might argue "virtually only") purpose of government is to balance conflicting rights. (Some of that old "your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins). It's kind of an interesting lens. A bit more darwinian and unkind than I really believe, but interesting.

--Kirk Fri Jan 27 18:45:14 2006
There's no actual evidence that there's a shock-me-in-the-balls prison anywhere, just a lot of sketchy flights over Eastern Europe and some damning pictures of wires with no electricity. 

That said, I think the wiretapping deal is going to be a flop-- wiretapping foreign terrorist suspects even when they talk to Americans means that someone's doing the job of rooting out terror, and furthermore, I think we've accepted, as a society, that there are terrorist sympathizers everywhere, including within our borders. All signs still point to an effort to get terrorists, not an effort to take over the world or institute a dictatorship. As soon as I find out that some of these warrantless taps are used off-mission, such as for the war on drugs, that is when I will favor their immediate cessation. Until then, I grant license.
--LAN3 Fri Jan 27 21:09:56 2006
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

And, LAN3 - I'm not looking to start a fight, but what *exactly* do you think is happening in Guantanamo Bay? There's been plenty of hard evidence that the (illegally held) inmates aren't having tea parties on the lawn - the whole Lyndie England trial over the photos of prisoner abuse shows us that.

As for wiretapping, you seem very glad that someone's 'rooting out terror', but perhaps you haven't considered how very nebulous an idea 'terror' is. It is *precisely* because 'terror' can, and has been, and will be again, extended to cover pretty much anything the Gov.t wants that this case is so worrying.

The phonetap issue isn't about 'I haven't got anything to hide, anyone who doesn't want their phone to be tapped is a terrorist' - it's about the fundamental principle of a right to a private life - a right, incidentally, enshrined in Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998. If you let the government get away with this, they'll push things a bit further, and a bit further - as far as they can.

Finally, 'All signs still point to an effort to get terrorists, not an effort to take over the world or institute a dictatorship'
The Bush administration has thrown at least one election to get itself into power, and others about the world (eg attempts to influence the recent Bolivian elections), and has led two high profile invasions on countries on made up grounds (WMD). 
How much more evidence do you want that this isn't just about 'terror suspects'? 
--Catherine Mon Jan 30 09:38:14 2006
Lyndie England was in Abu Graib, we recall, not Guantanamo, which was out of control primarily because it undermanned, and what people who were there were not trained to do what they were assigned, so they were doing whatever they wanted. I don't think Guantanamo Bay is understaffed at all.

Second, what I have been calling terror is not nebulous at all: it is Islamic Fascism. Elements of the muslim world who desire to dominate the world with their version of Koranic law and justice: Wahhabism, the extermination of Jews and Gays, the repression of women, the destruction of research and reason that isn't based in the Koran, and by the way, the targeting of civilians in war and the indiscriminate murder of people who do not follow their way. That's what they want, and that is what we're fighting.

I do not accept your premise that the election to get Bush in power was as suspect as you do, and I don't accept that we have invaded foreign countries on made-up grounds. 9-11 wasn't even the grounds to invade; it was just the last straw. We don't preserve the status quo while these shitty dictators plot to murder us and destroy our way of life. 

Our government is acting to preserve itself (meh) and our nation (w00t) and my life (yay!). I do not subscribe to the idea that people who have nothing to hide should allow a search. It's a fair assumption (9-11), though, that people with in the US are working with or for foreign Islamic Fascists, and this particular wiretapping effort, listening in on communications between people in America and foreigners who are suspected to be in the war effort against us. Bush got a ton of legal and judicial review that limited teh specific methods (which evidently are classified and thus we cannot review them ourselves) of wiretapping. These are not the actions of someone who is indiscriminately abusing his powers in order to take over government. And he'll walk out of office just fine in Jan. of 2009, probably with a Republican replacement unless the democrats-- may I lump you in with them?-- will stop complaining about Bush without actually coming up with a palatable alternative solution to him and his ilk.
--LAN3 Mon Jan 30 15:53:18 2006
Honey, you can lump me in with whatever you like cause I can't vote in your country :-)

Thank you for the considered response; it's good to know that you can back up your rhetoric. Apologies for the Abu Ghraib mistake too - as you crazy ex-colonists [1] might say, 'my bad'.

I really don't agree with you on the invading countries issue though. Dude, it was all made up! Although it might be less of an issue there as you didn't have the whole 'sexing up the dossier' issue and poor Dr Kelly. However, the end probably justified the means.

[1] Sorry. I couldn't resist :-)
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