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Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications

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Basement?  Doesn't belong there.

This thread is about folk who want security, the ability to avoid decisions (i.e., avoid thinking), and the few of us that choose not to follow that particular route.  Franklin said it best (please forgive any misquote), "Those who would exchange liberty for security deserve neither."  Apart from the political side, this thread has impact upon every person who creates software and many who use that software, regardless of their political stance.  In the 1984 position we find ourselves, such creation and usage is anathema to the powers that [would try to]  rule over us.  Given that precept, this thread is timely and important to most everyone here, even the lurkers.  'Tis not a basement topic so much as it is a survival topic.  (I'm not much into Viva la Revolucion, but I'm damned proud of my freedoms, and will do my best to keep them.)

Stoic Joker:
+1^ - Well said barney!

... led the new generation to believe the US Constitution, through its government,  grants it's citizens rights - when in fact, the actual wording only serves to restrict the powers given - by the people - to their own government.
-40hz (June 09, 2013, 12:28 PM)
--- End quote ---

This is true, but there's more to it than that.

Virtually everyone I talk to believes that America was a great experiment in democratic rule, showing that the revisionism has successfully erased the single biggest aspect of our nation's founding principle. The idea that America was a bold experiment in a new concept of democracy is false: by the time the Constitution was written, democracy had been around for a couple of millennia. We all know the ancient Greeks did it, but somehow fail to connect those dots.

During the American revolution, John Adams went to the Netherlands seeking loans to support the American war effort. Even at that time, the Netherlands were democratic, with Adams appealing to their parliamentary body. So it can even be said that part of what enabled the independence of America was the pre-existing democratic states.

Democracy is a red herring, it's just a by-product of the real triumph.

What was really revolutionary about the US Constitution and the nation it defined was the idea of government that only possesses limited, explicitly enumerated powers that the people have decided to cede to it (as described in Thomas Paine's Common Sense, which I urge you to read in addition to the text of the Constitution itself).

In this paradigm, no matter how much we believe that some policy is a good idea, the government is only allowed to undertake it if it's one of the powers granted by the Constitution. There is an explicit list of what Congress is allowed to do in the document, under Article I Section 8. Consider the types of things that our federal government does today, and try to find some justification for it in that list. Regulations covering the War on Drugs, universal healthcare, standardized education, federally-defined drinking ages, and countless other things require huge stretches of the imagination to find in that list.

In other words, almost everything the federal government does today is illegal, given an objective reading of the Constitution. This is nothing new, it's been going on since the early 20th century, if not longer.

Most all of this crap started from the G.W. Bushy era
-Tinman57 (June 09, 2013, 06:32 PM)
--- End quote ---

This is quite false. The problems with invasions of our private communications began under Clinton, at least (recall, for example, the Clipper chip). The ridiculous War on Drugs was brought to us by President Nixon. The vast reach of the Nanny State began with FDR, with big bumps under LBJ, GWB, and Obama. But the seeds of the preeminent federal government (as opposed to the sovereignty of the States) was planted by Lincoln (of course slavery is evil, but Lincoln's actual goal wasn't to stop slavery, but to cement a strong federal government; Lincoln was personally opposed to slavery, but freeing the slaves didn't happen until the war was well underway, a strategy to weaken the South).

UPDATE: fix spelling


I dunno, it feels different now.

I ignored the War on Drugs as the comedy it is, and it never mattered to my life.

But the interlocking agenda selling/sniffing internet data are different - they are much closer to the old horrors of 1984 and Harrison Bergeron. (No one seems to invoke that story lately!)

Basement?  Doesn't belong there.
-barney (June 11, 2013, 08:17 PM)
--- End quote ---

I think that's part of where the divide comes in seeing that things sometimes *do* belong there, and what it's for.  The vast majority of DC come here for the software and to discuss issues surrounding that central vision.  Every thing else is added on.  Because of that focus, there's a wide range of people here, that coexist for the most part peacefully.  Politics and religion are unfortunately not areas of peace.  And many times, though things are on the surface seemingly related to that vision of software (and by inclusion hardware and things computer related), they are in reality political/religious issues swaddled in a technological covering.  And, let's not judge the acceptance of said issues by the vocal majority either- there are several that are by the nature of such threads excluded.  To take SJ's mention of losing 40 when we go to the basement... there are some that are lost when the mention of said topics goes off into political land.  It is for that reason that I was actually surprised when it wasn't there... because this thread isn't talking about the technology behind said issue, but rather diving head first into the politics.

Also, I'd note that I only said surprised.  Whether I agree or disagree that this needs to be front and center, that's a different story.  But it is definitely not something that if we were to sit around in a true living room with everyone on the board that would be able to be discussed among the non-homogeneous population of DC IMO.  And that's what the basement is for IMO.  Not to make something second class, nor to say something intrinsic about the topic.  But to keep the peace, and keep the boards from spiraling into what so many become.


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