NSA phone-records spying is totally, utterly illegal




Try Clapper and Alexander for treason, crimes against humanity, perjury.

They violated the most basic tenets of our Constitution; they violated many humans' rights to live a life unobserved if they wish.


It's kind of amazing that President Obama and other NSA defenders are still arguing that the program is perfectly fine.

Someone who remotely executes folk without due process is going to be bothered by a spot of unsanctioned eavesdropping?


Well, hopefully the next president will pardon us all.


To live outside the law you have to be the NSA.


Who is going to hold them to account? Other than a couple of political opportunists, Congress has clearly shown they don't care what the NSA is up to or even if they perjure themselves during hearings. The average citizen can't do anything. NGOs can't do anything. Obama isn't going to do anything. Maybe for the 2016 election this will be an issue but probably will get overshadowed by the standard flood of social wedges and partisan loyalties.


It still amazes me when people want to chose a side. The bill on rights, under the 4th amendment, makes it quite simple; we need not even argue.

Where is Thomas Paine when you need him....


You wonder why people stand for the 2nd Amendment. Reading the details: identify you the citizen as "militia" and give you the right to defend yourselves against anything foreign and domestic? They would have us in restraints if it weren't for the second my friends.

So mote it be...


Congress has clearly shown they don't care what the NSA is up to

Not all of Congress.


They would have us in restraints if it weren't for the second my friends.

Yeah, your peashooter is keeping the world's largest, richest military-industrial complex at bay. They're shivering in their jack boots.


Nah - because Holder can quibble-speak it to death.

'FBI' means 'FBI or whoever it would like to assign that work to to act on its behalf'.
'Records' means, once you snag all that metadata and slam it into a database, each distinct item is called a 'record'.
'Relevant' means 'pertinent' ...to whatever Obama defines as the subject for today.
'Investigation' means 'research', in this case, 'research into anything or anyone we are or might become remotely curious about'.

And all these years, we never had any idea our national security relied absolutely, positively on constant vigilance....of a thesaurus.
So, do your English homework, kiddies. And someday, you, too, may rule the 'free' (meaning, ' available') world!


Define "executes." Seriously.

Also seriously:
1. Does the US have a legitimate interest in preventing domestic terrorist attacks?
2. What should the US do when those planning the attacks are in foreign countries?
3. What about when they are in foreign countries (such as Yemen or Pakistan) that lack either the ability or willingness to capture these terrorists): what should the US do?
4. Is killing people in war the same as executing them?
5. Is it possible to be at war with terrorists, or Al Qaeda? If not, why not?
6. What process is due on the battlefield?


With all the might in the world Afghanistan can't be taken. I'm sure if you had courage you would see things from a mans side of existence.



You seem to know which particular cases I'm referring to. You might have saved a bit of time by supplying your answers along with your questions.


I don't know what particular cases you're referring to, nor does it seem important. You seem to be talking about drone strikes in general, and I don't think the situation is as clear-cut as you do. Providing my own answers really won't accomplish anything in changing your mind, and is kind of inconsistent with the Socratic method. I had hoped that by answering the questions you might come to see that the issue is more complex than you are suggesting, even if you don't agree with drone strikes.

If you want some answers, here are my thoughts:

Executions are typically punishment for prior misdeeds, or acts of retribution. I don't think drone strikes are punishment or retributive in nature: they are done to prevent attacks. Prevention and punishment are two very different things. Intelligence is preventative in nature, while law enforcement is punitive in nature—this distinction explains why there are different constitutional and due process requirements for intelligence and law enforcement investigations.

  1. I obviously think the US has a legitimate interest in preventing terrorist attacks.
  2. When terrorists are in foreign countries, I think that the ideal is to closely cooperate with the foreign government, with capture of the terrorists as the primary goal. Detention of these terrorists until they no longer pose a threat (such as with prisoners of war or with the mentally ill and suicidal — all of which are done without neither a criminal trial nor showing of wrongdoing, as preventative measures) is probably the best option.
  3. When countries are unwilling or unable to help capture terrorists, the US is in a much more difficult position. Insertion of US strike teams into foreign countries to attempt to capture the terrorists is deeply problematic and may be more damaging and less effective than drone strikes. It's a difficult question, and drone strikes may sometimes be the best answer.
  4. Killing people in war is, to virtually everyone, not the same as executing them.
  5. I don't know if you can technically be at war with Al Qaeda. We have traditionally thought of wars as being between states, and consisting mainly of uniformed combatants. This model doesn't accurately reflect the current state of affairs, and I think it makes sense to think of Al Qaeda as enemy combatants just as Germans considered the un-uniformed French resistance to be enemy combatants and the US Army considered un-uniformed Viet Cong as enemy combatants in Viet Nam.
  6. There's not a lot of due process on the battlefield, at least before the enemy is captured.

US drones could be killing the wrong people because of metadata errors
Militarized police kill 80-year-old man in his own bed. No drugs found

I don't know what particular cases you're referring to, nor does it seem important. You seem to be talking about drone strikes in general, and I don't think the situation is as clear-cut as you do.

You seem to know an awful lot about this person named 'you' (don't you capitalise people's names where you come from btw?). Is it a forename or a surname? I'm not familiar with the person you're addressing.

The rest of your article is interesting enough, but I can't say there's anything there I've not read or thought about before. But maybe I shouldn't criticise something intended for somebody else to read. It might be considered impolite.


There's no small amount of irony that you are the first person in our colloquy to have used the word "you," and that you also use it in the quoted text when referring to me.

So, you've thought about it but you've decided to write as though you haven't thought about it at all. Instead, you damn Obama with the conclusory statement that he is engaging in remote executions—and then feign concern about being impolite. OK.

And if you were just going to dismiss everything regardless of what I wrote, you might have saved a bit of time by supplying your non-reasoned dismissal before asking for me to supply answers.


I do beg your pardon. It's clear that I'm as guilty as you are of making assumptions. When you wrote 'Define execution', and posed all of those questions in response to my post, I assumed the challenge was directed at me personally. Silly me. I now realise that you simply had something to say and felt, for whatever reason, that you could say it by attaching your remarks to my comment. I now realise my error and grovel before you. I don't know how you could ever find it within yourself to forgive me but I beg you to try.

Either that, or you're being deliberately disingenuous.

you damn Obama

Now what did I write that led you to believe I did that? Indeed what did I write that made you believe I would disagree with anything you've said? What did I write that made you think I was talking about war? Or drone strikes? I'm genuinely intrigued.

you might have saved a bit of time by supplying your non-reasoned dismissal before asking for me to supply answers.

Cute. But you yourself said that it would be pointless, in a dialog (if that's what this is - see above) under Socratic Regulation, for you to supply answers - and you went ahead and did it anyway. I kinda knew you wanted to and simply afforded you the opportunity. You may thank me later.


People who use the Socratic method usually have a point. Indeed, people usually argue or debate because they have a point. Hopefully, they don't simply want to convince themselves, but want to persuade someone else. The Socratic method can help do this by forcing people to realize their beliefs may be inconsistent. I honestly believe that if you actually answered any of the questions I asked, you would see that there are inconsistencies in your beliefs. This doesn't mean that you will end up thinking drone strikes are fine, but that you will accept that the other side has reasonable arguments and that Obama isn't simply executing people.

What gave me the impression you were damning Obama for his drone strikes? Maybe the part where you said that he "remotely executes folk without due process." That might have something to do with it.

I have no idea what your point is. Is it that if I quote you and ask that a term you used be defined, I have to use your name, and capitalize your name? That someone can't make a substantive point in response to something someone else said? Seriously, what is your point? That I'm not allowed to object to the way you use the word "execute" without trying to unpack its meaning and how we typically do and do not use this word? Or that it's inappropriate for me to make this point in response to your specific use of this word? Or that it's wrong to ask you, as the person who used the word in this way, to clarify what you meant by it.

Again, it's ironic for you to call me disingenuous after your bizarre objections to my use of the word "you."