To Ease Internet Snooping, Feds Promise To Ignore Privacy Violations

Barack ObamaU.S. GovernmentFederal law, codified in 18 USC § 2511, prohibits the interception of electronic communications under most circumstances without explicit legal authorization — like a warrant. But CNet's Declan McCullagh, working from documents provided by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, reports that the Obama administration is promising telecommunications companies that it won't enforce the privacy protections of the law if those companies will just play nice and vacuum up all that enticing data for the folks in Washington, D.C.

Writes McCullagh:

Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception of communications carried on portions of networks operated by AT&T and other Internet service providers, a practice that might otherwise be illegal under federal wiretapping laws.

The secret legal authorization from the Justice Department originally applied to a cybersecurity pilot project in which the military monitored defense contractors' Internet links. Since then, however, the program has been expanded by President Obama to cover all critical infrastructure sectors including energy, healthcare, and finance starting June 12. ...

The Justice Department agreed to grant legal immunity to the participating network providers in the form of what participants in the confidential discussions refer to as "2511 letters," a reference to the Wiretap Act codified at 18 USC 2511 in the federal statute books.
The Wiretap Act limits the ability of Internet providers to eavesdrop on network traffic except when monitoring is a "necessary incident" to providing the service or it takes place with a user's "lawful consent." An industry representative told CNET the 2511 letters provided legal immunity to the providers by agreeing not to prosecute for criminal violations of the Wiretap Act. It's not clear how many 2511 letters were issued by the Justice Department.

The law does allow short-cuts by the Attorney General and even by the "principal prosecuting attorney of any State or subdivision thereof," but only if a very specifically defined "emergency situation" exists. Instead of trying to find a little more elasticity in that phrase than the courts might allow, EPIC suggests that the snooping program is instead drawing off an Obama administration executive order and an earlier Bush administration presidential directive. That's right — unilateral decrees.

Reports EPIC:

The documents concern a collaboration between the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and private companies to allow government monitoring of private Internet networks. Though the program initially only applied to defense contractors, an Executive Order issued by the Obama administration earlier this year expanded it to include other "critical infrastructure" industries. The documents obtained by EPIC also cited NSPD 54 as one source of authority for the program. NSPD 54 is a presidential directive issued under President Bush that EPIC is pursuing in separate FOIA litigation.

The looming, much-criticized Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is expected to legalize all this snooping and sharing of private information, but it's not yet law. So the Obama administration is apparently just ... pretending that it is.

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  • ||

    The law does allow short-cuts by the Attorney General and even by the "principal prosecuting attorney of any State or subdivision thereof," but only if a very specifically defined "emergency situation" exists. Instead of trying to find a little more elasticity in that phrase than the courts might allow, EPIC suggests that the snooping program is instead drawing off an Obama administration executive order and an earlier Bush administration presidential directive. That's right — unilateral decrees.

    The King President can do as he likes.

  • Jerryskids||

    Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. And even if it were, retroactive immunity.

    What difference, at this point, does it make?

  • StinkEye||

    +1 Tyson chicken from Benghazi.

  • ||

    Note the continuous adding of "emergency situation" provisions to everything. Because they know they can define just about anything as an emergency if they want to.

    The bureaucratic and regulatory dismantling of the Bill of Rights continues apace.

  • Paul.||

    "...except in times of emergency" is the cornerstone of modern governance.

  • Nazdrakke||

    "...except in times of emergency" is the cornerstone of modern governance

    Another fine American tradition brought to us by progressives. They love themselves some war.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    They don't need a war (but won't turn down the opportunity to make one) they just need the word "emergency" or more often 'emergency.'

  • Nazdrakke||

    they just need the word "emergency"

    Sorta what I meant. I was thinking of Wilson's war economy at the time of posting that. Crisis as standard operating procedure.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    I finished Atlas Shrugged not too long ago and I swear pols seem to be trying to emulate the looters in the book. its fucking terrible.

  • ||

    They arent emulating the looters in the book. They are the looters in the book. Rand watched them first hand as they took over Russia. Now we are watching them at work here.

    They always behave the same, and their road always leads to the same place. Despicable.

  • ||

    Compare Tony's comments to those of some of the villains. He could be James Taggart for Christ's sake. Social justice, in a modern society, it's the duty of the privileged...

    He's a walking, talking caricature from AS.

    Ayn called it 55 years ago. Look around, her nightmare is here.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I keep calling the villains in AS cartoon cutouts. And the left keeps proving me wrong.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    EPIC suggests that the snooping program is instead drawing off an Obama administration executive order and an earlier Bush administration presidential directive

    Another Bush's fault? Seriously?

    This is government's fault, due to its very existence.

  • Almanian!||

    I blame Bush

  • PapayaSF||

    Thankfully we have a Democrat in office now, because otherwise all this would be a terrible scandal.

  • Irish||

  • ||

    Is that really his logo? I guess self-awareness is seldom a trait of a politician like Weiner.

  • ||

    I think "they really are that stupid and venal" applies here.

  • Irish||

  • Paul.||

    I hear that he didn't do so well in the private sector, where they expect results... so he's returning to the warm, comforting womb of the public sector...

  • Irish||

    Weiner always has had a swollen ego. His rhetorical style is quite turgid.

  • Paul.||

    I hear he's firmed up his plans to run in the next erection.

  • yonemoto||

    lacist!

  • fish||

    No way!

  • fish||

    But CNet's Declan McCullagh, working from documents provided by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, reports that the Obama administration is promising telecommunications companies that it won't enforce the privacy protections of the law if those companies will just play nice and vacuum up all that enticing data for the folks in Washington, D.C.

    So does the Justice Department actually prosecute anyone anymore........?

  • Jordan||

    Sure. They prosecute proles who step out of line.

  • Hyperion||

    So does the Justice Department actually prosecute anyone anymore........?

    Only if that party needs pain killing drugs, or are selling them to people who do.

    Otherwise, pretty much no.

  • LarryA||

    Or if they're FFLs.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Or washed up athletes.

  • StinkEye||

    "...it won't enforce the privacy protections of the law if those companies will just play nice and vacuum up all that enticing data for the folks in Washington, D.C."

    "And maybe you're lying, or maybe you are telling the truth Mr. President...but inside your honeypot is not the safest place to be if the public backlash becomes politically unbearable, and leaves you looking for a fall guy...with our collective asses twisting in the breeze. And when Americas' cheese slides of the other side of the political cracker after your party's' inevitable downfall, it's well known that you (Obama) are a chronic fuck-up of the first order, destined to take your party down with you, and when a "reformist" president-elect decides to put a feather in his cap, by making an example of us for colluding with you on such an asinine scheme ... Regardless...you are an asshole, go die in a fire...with a warrant."

    /Telecom lawyer, in a perfect world..

  • Jordan||

    Ayn Rand would approve of this.

    /Shriek

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Seems like the Justice Department is circumventing Congress, which we all know is the will of the people. Legislation is thoughtfully crafted by that body of representatives, you know. You can't just toss parts of it aside at will.

  • fish||

    But like we all voted...and voting is just the most sacredest activity that anyone can ever do.

  • ||

    Look, FoE, 90% of the people agree with the Justice Department. There's a poll and everything.

  • Hyperion||

    No, that's wrong. It's only 9 out of 10 people who agree.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Well, when they can't even get all of their staffers on the bandwagon, what's going to happen when someone polls the people?

  • ||

    I read several analyses from both sides of the aisle today about why voting against the background check amendment won't hurt Republican reelection chances even though 90% of Americans agreed with it. Not fucking one of them mentioned that the poll was asking if people supported supported background checks in general not this specific amendments. Pages and pages of analysis of a poll that was barely relevant to vote.

  • ||

    As I recall, just before the vote Fienstien was ranting that if the bills did not pass there would be no background check system in place at all, that the doors to prisons and asylums would be flung open firearms would be handed out freely to the exiting felons and loonies. It would be a bloodbath according to that vile hag.

    Once again the progressives try to play on people's ignorance and rely on trickery to advance their agenda; hallmarks of evil.

  • PapayaSF||

    Funny, it seems like just yesterday I was hearing phrases along the lines of "you can't vote on civil rights" when it comes to gay marriage. When it involves the 2nd Amendment, apparently it's a different story.

  • ||

    "Legislation is thoughtfully crafted by that body of representatives, you know. You can't just toss parts of it aside at will."

    The fuck you say!

    /Barack Obama, Shitweasel Extraordinaire.

  • Irish||

    Exhibit 3,000,000,000 why Republicans are just as evil as Democrats.

    Article on Breitbart saying the Mosque the Tsarnaev's attended should be shut down. They make the argument that they should be shuttered for allowing extremist Muslim's to speak there. Not because those Muslims actually told anyone to go out and blow something up, but because they were simply too extreme, and therefore shouldn't be allowed to speak.

    Highest rated comment:

    ALL mosques should be closed in this country.

    Religious freedoms should extend to valid religions only, not death cults practicing the subjugation of women, terrorism, violence, and murder.

    Fucking hell. It's like every time I start thinking Republicans are a less horrible choice than Democrats, they just punch me in the face.

  • Paul.||

    Fucking hell. It's like every time I start thinking Republicans are a less horrible choice than Democrats, they just punch me in the face.

    So far, Republicans only seem mainly interested in punching Mexicans and Muslims in the face, but yeah.

  • ||

    Don't worry, dude, you'll get massively cynical soon enough and will stop thinking such foolish thoughts. But don't tell Tulpa. He'll blame you for Romney's loss.

  • Irish||

    It just pisses me off because I used to consider myself a Republican before I came over to libertarianism, and it annoyed me when people would claim that all Republicans were racist. I knew I wasn't racist, and I knew my family and all the Republicans I was friends with weren't racist. As a result, it just seemed needlessly offensive and personally insulting.

    Then I found websites like Breitbart, where the people seem unable to speak about Muslims without being blatantly racist and offensive. This is why the Republicans have problems with minority groups. Because they have a retarded internet troll contingent that represents themselves as the 'Republican base' and can't stop talking about how much they hate Mexicans and Muslims.

  • ||

    Both TEAMs are merely various collections of collectivisms. Those Mexicans pissing you off? TEAM RED has the anti-immigrant hate you crave. The rich have more than you and that's just not fair? TEAM BLUE has the class war for you. And so on.

    Since the TEAMs are, by their nature, collectivist, they are of course going to devolve into collectivist, partisan, echo-chamber morasses. And they have.

  • ||

    I'm not sure it's just an internet troll problem, there's a pervasive attitude among republicans when it comes to Muslims, and it isn't flattering. I knew a bunch of people who were legitimately freaking out about the mosque near the WTC site, and supporting attempts to ban the building of mosques in random parts of the country.

  • Irish||

    Both parties are fucking stupid when it comes to Islam. Democrats are unable to admit that maybe, just maybe, there is a link between Islam and terrorism. Whenever an attack happens, they have to remind us that Islam had nothing to do with it, even though the vast majority of attacks involve people who are flat out admitting that they're attacking Americans as part of their Jihad.

    Republicans take the opposite stance, and are unable to admit that the vast majority of Muslims will never commit a terrorist attack, and therefore painting all Muslims with the same brush is unproductive. In fact, it probably leads to more radicalization as Muslims are forced farther and farther into a sub-culture due to the anti-Muslim biases of many Americans.

    Like Epi said, they're both collectivists, and this collectivism renders both parties crazy as shit on the issue of Islam.

  • ||

    It'd be a lot better for everyone if Americans spent a few minutes familiarizing themselves with Islam since it's currently our global friction point. It's not like the history of Wahhabism is a boring read. We've spent at least 20 years pretending that Sunni and Shia were good and bad Muslims respectively and most people will cock their head at you if you mention Sufism.

  • Tman||

    Your descriptions of the extremes of both teams are spot on Irish. I grew up next to the Peoples Republic of Cambridge, so my eventual political enlightenment started on the left. I will tell you there are no shortage of racists on either side, it just depends on what they are discriminating against, as jesse points out.

    But I think that the vast majority of my friends these days are less and less on the far left or right, and I get the feeling that the mushy center is where the majority is.

    What is bringing people together these days is the complete and utter failure of our elected leaders to accomplish anything.

    I watched this video of Reid today that summed it up perfectly.

    Harry Reid on difference between anarchists and the Tea Party

    These are our leaders. This particular guy runs the Senate. This is why people have basically given up on Washington. And until these idiots die off I'm not sure it's going to change.

  • Irish||

    First comment on that video:

    We have a constitution because government is inherently good? Then why does so much of our constitution address limiting government power? Because we wouldn't want too much of a good thing?

    I have found the only good youtube comment.

  • Tman||

    I didn't notice until you said that but I just realized there are several good youtube comments from that video.

    I just wrote "severl good youtube comments" un-ironically.

  • Killazontherun||

    Holy crap, indeed you may have done just that.

  • ||

    Holy Shit.

  • ||

    I had to go back and relisten twice when he said "Government isn't inherently bad; government in inherently good." I certainly hope he meant "our government, and it's system of reasonable checks and balances has been good" instead lest he have to call up some people who died in gulags and explain to them what he meant.

  • ||

    OMFG! What a fucking buffoon!

  • Dweebston||

    I feel like this could be a case in which the revealed preference might be less repulsive than the stated preference. Fuckwits are born of anonymity and attention, it's true, but herd mentality and signaling might also play a significant role.

    I hope so, anyway. I'd like to think people, generally, are less venal about their religion.

  • Dweebston||

    religions.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "where the people seem unable to speak about Muslims without being blatantly racist and offensive"

    It's almost like they can't help themselves. It's like why do you have to go there? Just shut the fuck up.

  • John||

    Maybe people get pissed off when they see people getting blown. Funny how you are totally convinced that every Muslim in the world is justified to hate the United States because of the US drone program. But then you are shocked that people in the US might hate Muslims in the aftermath of a Muslim terrorist attack.

  • Irish||

    Jesus Christ, John.

    No one thinks that Muslims are 'justified' to try to kill Americans because of the drone program, people here argue that they will hate Americans because of it.

    Maybe people get pissed off when they see people getting blown.

    Yeah, that's why you cheer when the actual bomber gets tossed in prison or killed. I don't see the point in attempting to shutter a Mosque, in complete contravention of the first amendment.

  • John||

    Irish,

    I would say a good number of people on here think that Muslims are justified in attacking Americans. Read the drone threads sometime.

    And in an ideal world we should all love each other and turn the other cheek. But that is not how the world works. People do crazy things in the name of a religion, the victims of that tend not to like that religion or ideology or whatever.

    And understand Breitbart isn't saying every Muslim shouldn't be allowed to practice, just the ones who claim there should be Sharia law and so forth.

    Sure they have a first amendment right to do that. But that doesn't make it smart or the reaction any less certain or predictable. You are free to run through the streets of Boston today telling everyone how we need to have Sharia law and how the bombers were warriors of God and so forth. But you really then can't complain when someone beats the shit out of you or worse.

    I would think the mosque wouldn't wan the extremists to speak. Muslims are a very small minority in this country. Do they really think this is a good idea? Are they that stupid?

  • John||

    Here is the thing Irish, what do you think of the extremists? Do you have any use for them? What do you think about the Mosque that let them speak? What if some church let a bunch of white supremacists routinely speak at their services, would you blame black people for being pissed off and thinking bad things of the white people who went to the church? It seems like you should. The church just let the extremists speak. It is not like all of the white people there endorsed it or anything. Right?

  • Hyperion||

    I know you asked Irish this question, John, not me. But it's an open forum, so...

    Free Speech is free speech, period. Do I like what they are saying. No.

    Do I like what the hateful progressives often say about the rest of us? Nope.

    Do I want to take the right to say those things from either. Again, no.

    The progressives constantly call Libertarians and even left leaning Republicans, extremists. Does that mean they should have to the right to take away our right to speak? They think the answer to that is yes.

  • John||

    Here is the thing Hyperion. What if some libertarians advocated the mass murder of progressives and say Reason and Cato let them speak at their gatherings and then later a couple of libertarians who had been to those gatherings went out and set off a bomb in the middle of an Elizabeth Warren rally, what would you think then? Would you blame the progressives for demanding that CATO no longer allow libertarians who called for mass murder to speak at their functions? If not why not?

    Your analogy doesn't work because no libertarians to my knowledge advocate violence the way the muslim extremists in question do.

  • Hyperion||

    Here is the thing Hyperion. What if some libertarians advocated the mass murder of progressives and say Reason and Cato let them speak at their gatherings

    I don't give a fuck what progressives say. They are the biggest mass murderers in the history of civilization, and they are still the same as they have always been.

  • Irish||

    Would you blame the progressives for demanding that CATO no longer allow libertarians who called for mass murder to speak at their functions? If not why not?

    John, you're arguing a completely different point than what appears in the Breitbart article. Were they to say 'it is horrible that they allow extremists to speak there, let's talk about how horrible it is' there would be no issue.

    That's not what they're saying. Here's the title of the piece: OPINION: ACCUSED BOSTON BOMBERS' MOSQUE SHOULD BE SHUTTERED. It ends with this sentence: "It’s a national security issue: the Islamic Society of Boston must be shut down." They are arguing that the government should shut down a house of worship for exercising their free speech rights. The top rated comment takes it even further and flat out says all Mosques should be shut down regardless of whether or not they advocate extremism.

    So to answer your question, if progressives attacked Cato for having a violent extremist speak there, I'd have not problem with that. If progressives argued that Cato itself should be shut down by government dicta, that would be totally inexcusable, just as the Breitbart article is totally inexcusable.

  • ||

    Umm, I'd argue that Muslims aren't "justified" in attacking America, but that overall low opinions of America in the Islamic world isn't surprising.

    You're comparing apples and oranges here. Some Americans hate/distrust all Muslims because some Muslims attacked the United States and US interests abroad. You're comparing that to state sanctioned violence by the United States (a democratic country) against a very ill defined group and in some cases weddings, funerals and people trying to assist those struck down were attacked.

  • John||

    If anything Americans are more justified in hating Muslims than vice versa Jessee. People are not responsible for the actions of their government. It seems to me that if Americans were just randomly flying to Pakistan to kill Pakistanis at random, that would give Pakistanis a hell of a lot more of a reason to hate all Americans than the actions of our government. Muslims are coming to the United States to kill random American citizens. They have been doing so for 20 years not going back to the first WTC bombing. What if Americans had done the same to an Islamic country. Would anyone here be surprised that the people in that country generally loathed Americans?

    It seems on Reason everyone in the world is justified in being angry except Americans. Americans are expected to die and love the people who are trying to kill them.

  • ||

    People are not responsible for the actions of their government.

    That's intensely perverse John.

    It seems to me that if Americans were just randomly flying to Pakistan to kill Pakistanis at random, that would give Pakistanis a hell of a lot more of a reason to hate all Americans than the actions of our government.

    By your logic the left is more than justified in hating on gun owners because random gun owners shoot itty bitty children.

    And does some random Lebanese person have responsibility for a random Afghani being an asshole? Are Sufis responsible for Wahhabi violence?

  • John||

    What does a guy in Texas have to do with one in California who flew to Pakistan and blew himself up killing a bunch of passerbys?

    Again let me ask you Jessee. If Americans were on their own initiative flying to Pakistan for the single purpose of killing as many Pakistanis as they possibly could, would you think the Pakistanis were wrong for really hating Americans. If not, why not?

  • ||

    Your response does not make sense. Our democratic government perpetrates violence in the middle east. We as taxpayers fund that violence. We can argue whether or not that violence is justified, but that violence itself is fact. In this case we're talking about a corporate "we" because we're complicit whether we want to be or not.

    9/11 happened because a relatively small segment of the population, some of whom were very well connected acted out violently. Some Americans responded by freaking about Islam globally without differentiating between Lebanese and Afghani, or between Wahhabi and Sufi.

    Also my name is spelt Jesse, it's attached to each of my posts, and it's impolite to repetitively misspell someone's name.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Are Sufis responsible for Wahhabi violence?

    The Deobandi Sufis, who call themselves the "Taliban" and teamed up with the Wahhabist Al Qaeda do.

    Jus' sayin'

  • ||

    I have learned something new from wikipedia:

    Shah Waliullah the founder of deobandi was influenced by Ibn Taymiyyah whom also inspired abdul wahab founder of wahabism in Saudi Arabia.

    Always informative HM.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, it's interesting and not at all surprising that both the Deobandi and the Wahabi arose around the same point in history, when the Ottoman Empire was breathing its final gasps of air and European hegemony over much of the Islamic world was complete.

  • Calidissident||

    People in a democratic republic aren't responsible for the actions of their government (which I agree with to an extent in general, and totally agree with if we're talking about individuals) but people ARE responsible for the actions of random people from the same place? Should we apply this logic to inside a country? If someone from Texas murders someone from Florida, are Floridians justified in hating Texans? If someone from Queens murders someone from Brooklyn are people in Brooklyn justified in hating people from Queens?

    And your strawman argument is idiotic. No one here has ever said Muslims are justified in committing terrorism against Americans. Acknowledging that some Muslims might want to kill Americans partly because of actions of the US government is not the same thing as justifying those actions.

  • ||

    (It should be noted that I don't think we have much control over our government, but we propagandize around the world on the virtues of democracy and I doubt your average Pakistani has a more nuanced understanding of politics in America than we do of politics in Pakistan)

  • Nazdrakke||

    I doubt your average Pakistani has a more nuanced understanding of politics in America than we do of politics in Pakistan)

    A point, I believe, that cannot be made often enough.

  • Irish||

    Here is the thing Irish, what do you think of the extremists? Do you have any use for them?

    No, I don't have any use for them. But that's not the question. At issue was an article that argues we should shut down a Mosque for allowing these people to speak. The people on there aren't just saying 'I don't like extremist Islam' which is a sentiment I myself have expressed on this board. Obviously extremist Islam is horrible for the same reasons white supremacy is horrible.

    What we are talking about are people legitimately arguing that the free speech and religious rights of Muslims should be removed. They are arguing that a specific Mosque should be closed for allowing people who preach 'extremist Islam' to speak there. This is a clear situation in which the people at Breitbart are advocating the removal of constitionally guaranteed rights from a minority organization that they don't like.

    I guess I don't understand why you feel the need to defend Breitbart in this instance. They aren't just saying 'I don't like this particular Mosque because they let extremists speak there' they're saying 'This Mosque shouldn't be granted the same protections as every other house of worship in this country, simply because they say things I disagree with.'

    That's a horrible sentiment, and undeserving of our respect.

  • John||

    What if there was another bombing done by someone at that mosque Irish? The mosque kept encouraging and letting the extremists speak? What about then? Can they just continue to celebrate and encourage violence forever?

  • Irish||

    Can they just continue to celebrate and encourage violence forever?

    Yes. Would you like me to repeat myself? Yes. Unequivocally. You can celebrate violence as long as you fucking want, so long as you do not provide assistance or tell someone to commit a violent act. You can argue that American culture is depraved and ought to be destroyed as long as you fucking want. And I will attack you for it, and I will say that you are wrong, and I will talk about how evil you are.

    That's the problem though, John. Breitbart is advocating the use of government force to shut down a Mosque. To me, that seems like an extreme and terrible idea that would probably result in violence. So would it be okay for the government to shut Breitbart down for advocating a position contrary to American ideals? No it would not.

    Either all speech is protected, or none is. I will not see the first amendment of the United States eroded and stomped on by so called 'conservatives.' Because if we sacrifice our constitution, then what the fuck are we fighting for in the first place?

  • juris imprudent||

    Oh John, the fucking irony. How many IRA fundraisers in Boston were responsible for bombs in Northern Ireland and England? And you dare stand here and piss all over one fucking mosque in Boston?

  • johnl||

    John you're crazy. Any law that allows for closing mosques will close Reason and Cato before it closes its first mosque. Because moslems are socialist so more popular with the left than libertarians.

  • Hyperion||

    Just going to add to the end of this thread here, about the Shariah law issue.

    If the Muslims want Shariah law, and that's cool for them, for themselves, why should I care? Now if they try to force it on me, we have a big problem.

    Same can be said about this progressives government here in the US who have taken over our country and are trying to make us live in a country that is NOT the country that our constitution guarantees we are free to live in.

    So, I have a big issue with Islamists who want to force their laws on me. I have a even bigger issue with progressives, because I actually have to put up with their shit right now.

    So to me, who are my biggest enemies, Muslims or Progs. The answer is clear, I don't even have to think twice.

  • Irish||

    If the Muslims want Shariah law, and that's cool for them, for themselves, why should I care? Now if they try to force it on me, we have a big problem.

    I agree in principle, but there is the obvious issue of women being controlled by fathers/husbands, etc as part of Sharia law. I'd argue that that's a clear violation of rights, if you're being forced to adhere to a system of law that controls you to such an extent. Some Sharia law adherents argue that women aren't allowed to marry non-Muslims as a result of Sharia.

    Gay sex is also illegal under Sharia, so gay people are treated unfairly in that system.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    In all of the examples you listed above, how does that differ from Orthodox Judaism? Or even some Fundamentalist Christian communities?

  • Irish||

    Well, I think there's moral problems in those too. I think the right to your religion trumps those moral problems, and I wouldn't want the government getting involved.

    That doesn't change the fact that I think it's morally wrong.

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah, if you were going to allow that, you would have to ensure that people could voluntarily leave the system

  • ||

    There are instances of parallel court systems that include Sharia courts. I'm not a huge fan of some parts of Sharia, but I could understand someone agreeing to go to a Sharia court and lose a pinky rather than spend several years in jail for theft...I mean how often do you use your pinky finger when not drinking tea out of tiny tea cups?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    .I mean how often do you use your pinky finger when not drinking tea out of tiny tea cups?

    Everytime I go "two in the pink and one in the stink".

  • ||

    The Shocker™ is a valid response. I stand corrected.

  • Calidissident||

    You know John, earlier I thought of making some outrageous comment with a /John tag at the end, but thought it would be unfair, so I didn't do it. Then you had to post this, which is honestly probably worse than the sarcastic post I was going to make

  • Tman||

  • AlmightyJB||

    "Maybe people get pissed off when they see people getting blown."

    No one more than myself.

    "you are totally convinced that every Muslim in the world is justified to hate the United States because of the US drone program"

    And I said that when?

    "shocked that people in the US might hate Muslims"

    No I'm not shocked.

  • AlmightyJB||

    And quite frankly John. I'm not just talking about Muslima. And I'm not talking about all Conservatives. I'm talking about a minority. That said, anytime there is some issue or headline with a racial element, it is inevitable that some ahole on human events or hot air is going to write some stereotypically bs racist column. And the thing is that most of the time they don't think they're being racist. They're just that clueless. Maybe they need to get out more and meet people not like themselves.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, they are worse on some issues, and better on some.

    The Dems just get a few bonus -points for being more Borg like. There are a few decent, even good, Republicns in Congress. I'm not sure where to find a good Dem, if there is one, they must have been in hiding for the last 10 years.

    But yeah, that is really stupid, NeoCon style.

    First they came for the Muslims...

  • ||

    Eh, Wyden is OK-ish

  • Hyperion||

    What is he good on, outside of the WOD, at least as far as state rights are concerned. I don't know much about him.

  • juris imprudent||

    He was pretty much a standard issue statist-boot-licking lefty in his earlier days, but he has morphed considerably on civil liberties and the War on XY&Z govt bullshit.

  • John||

    Let there be a couple of more bombings in rapid succession and most of the country will be saying that. I bet you could get most of deep blue Boston to say that.

    Such are the wages of people blowing shit up in the name of a religion.

  • Hyperion||

    You will never hear a word of condemnation of Muslims from the left, ever, never, ever, ever. It's not going to happen.

    They will continue to immediately blame every Islamic based attack on white teabagger extremists, no matter how much evidence to the contrary. And when there is no longer any doubt, they will just try to bury the truth and bury their heads up their own asses.

    Islamic terrorism does not fit the narrative of the left. All oppression is by white Christian males, it always has been, and it always will be.

  • John||

    That is just because we fortuneatly have very few bombings and such. And I think we always will. The Muslim community here is too well integrated and ultimately too small to ever really get radicalized. And if it did and we had one of these things say every week for a while, the government's biggest problem would be getting the few remaining Muslims out of the country and safe from the mob. This country is too well armed and too violent to ignore that.

    The funny thing is that the Left is right in some ways that the real danger in this country is white, right wing terrorism. They are right not because it is happening or any of the things they point to are signs of it. They are right because if it ever did happen, we would be totally fucked and the government generally powerless to stop it since it is so easy to hide as a white person in this country.

  • Hyperion||

    Just remember, that any resistance to a tyrannical government that is ruthlessly oppressing their own citizens, will be called terrorism. The only reason the British monarchy didn't use that term to describe American revolutionists was because it hadn't been coined yet.

  • Gladstone||

    Fun Fact: the word "terrorism" was coined to refer to the Reign of Terror. And yes Robespierre and co. used those terms themselves.

  • ||

    The more you know!

    Actually that's going into my random fact box for impressing people at parties. Thanks Gladstone!

  • juris imprudent||

    Such are the wages of people blowing shit up in the name of a religion.

    You and Ian Paisley eh?

  • Rrabbit||

    Both Republicans and Democrats are horrible, and have been horrible for quite some time. The observation that Democrats are horrible in no way implies that Republicans aren't horrible, and vice versa.

    This is not coincidence, they are pretty much the same, and actual political decisions once in power will differ only marginally between the two parties, at least at the Federal level.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Exhibit 3,000,000,000 why Republicans are just as evil as Democrats.


    Sorry, I'm not buying it. Look, we're less than a week after an atrocity was committed, apparently motivated by radical Islam. Yes, the article and comment are incredibly stupid. Yes, the article and comment are just as bad as the inanities we hear from progressives. But, stupid venting isn't the same thing as policy analysis. Eventually, most of the folks at Breitbart will calm the hell down and most of them will backtrack. You'll get a plaintive rant about how the government isn't treating radical Islam like a threat. But, most of them will wind up agreeing that the government shouldn't be dictating religious sermons, even in mosques, when you show them the irrationality of their position.
    The progressives, on the other hand, aren't having an emotional outburst. What you're hearing is what they really believe. When they say the government is the author of your rights and you're rights are theirs' to dispose of as they see fit, they've thought that through and really do think that's the way things ought to be.

  • ||

    "Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception of communications carried on portions of networks..."

    "The secret legal authorization from the Justice Department..."

    "The Justice Department agreed to grant legal immunity to the participating network providers..."

    Legislating by granting immunity. Using the same move to usurp the power of the courts. Fucking brilliant. What sets the progressives apart more than anything else is their utter contempt for the rule of law.

  • Jerryskids||

    I have had several people shrug off the 'interception of communications' thing by saying they really don't care if the government reads their - or anyone else's - emails or checks their web-browsing history. There may be some embarrassing stuff there, but nothing criminal. Then I ask them if they do on-line banking and if so, if they do their on-line banking on-line. You think the government is only intercepting the data packets that constitute your e-mail?

  • John||

    I think privacy advocates have lost this battle. Most people really just don't care and won't care. I can't see that changing. The bottom line is that it just doesn't affect that many people. What are the chances of any individual ever being listened to much less noticing it? Pretty slim. And most people think in terms of what directly affects them.

    I wish I could say people are going to revolt over this. But I just don't see it.

  • AlmightyJB||

    In the valley...
    Of the giant...

  • Slammer||

    Hmmm. Dennis Miller just asked how come Obama doesn't come on TV and say Islamic terrorists cling to their God and Guns?

  • Gladstone||

    OT: Anyone willing to donate money to Zach Braff? You know the guy from Scrubs and Garden State?

    http://www.kickstarter.com/pro.....was-here-1

    I'm on a very left-wing movie forum and folks are bitching about how the premise hinges on public schools being shitty and how privileged it is to go to private school.

  • Killazontherun||

    Tell them that their beloved public schools are doomed to go away because they treat the tax payer's funding like they were playing with house money, gambling it away on wishful thinking ideas from the new math to self esteem training and fatten benefit packages for the utter mediocrities they allow to babysit our children while euphemistically calling the brain rotting process 'education'.

  • Gladstone||

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    yes!

  • tired dog||

    Great, now fedzilla will be watching my company comms...just great...and my frikkin' CONgresscritter will cheer the peepers on.

  • Dweebston||

    I don't know why you're all surprised by this. The man said his administration would usher in more transparency; nobody thought to ask whose information would be transparent, yours or his.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    B- trolling.

  • ||

    It's a slow night; cut the troll some slack.

    Troll: next time demand better building codes and barring trade with Bangladesh until their conditions are equal or better to ours. Then you'll maybe get a B+/A-

  • ||

    That is tragic, and 100 years ago we had similarly shitty conditions.

    Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

    The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths.
  • Irish||

    Thank God for unions Jesse! It is only because of unions that we aren't all working in burning sweatshops.

  • ||

    I got into an argument with a college friend's mother and grandmother who were both union reps (I don't remember the union). They were extolling the virtues of union-ness and I snarked one of their comments.

    The mother snaps "Well what's you're take on this?"
    I replied "I think collective bargaining can be a great tool for dealing with serious problems such as hazardous working conditions, but that entrenched unions become about preserving themselves and intentionally create strife between workers and their employers to do so."
    The look on her face was priceless. "I'm surprised someone so young has thought about this at all." And then they both ignored me for the weekend they were in town.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    so, quiet night huh

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • Jordan||

    George Lucas is just awful.

  • Irish||

    He has to be the luckiest human being in the world. He struck gold for like 6 years and has basically had 30 years of relevance because of that.

  • Jordan||

    Yeah, and he owes his success largely to his producer, who overruled a lot of his dumber decisions on the first Star Wars trilogy.

  • ||

    Well I guess there is one advantage to my Lastros joining the abomination that is the American League... we get to play the Mariners.

    Not as fun as beating up on the Cubs though.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I have no idea what you are talking about

  • Irish||

    It's about baseball, Archduke. Baseball. It's sort of like your 'Hockey' except the rules are completely different, people outside of Canada care about it, and there is a greater emphasis on fat people.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Go Expos!

  • Irish||

    I hear the Expos mascot was an empty seat.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    No, it was a broken chunk of Olympic Stadium on the empty seat.

  • ||

    Oh man, the threads about hot women are more interesting than the threads about sports.

  • Irish||

    Just for you, Jesse!

    I heard you like bears.

  • ||

    Why on earth would you get my hopes up like that?

  • Irish||

    I'm watching a movie with a buddy of mine, and I was like 'Hey, I need a good picture to fuck with a gay guy.'

    So we went looking for funny bear pictures. The instant I saw that, I started laughing because of the look on the fucking bears face. It was decided that would be the best picture.

    I keep looking at that picture, and I'm definitely laughing harder than I probably should be.

    You are into bears right? Because I have twink pictures too.

  • ||

    I'm not very good at describing my "type" let's just say it's broad and skews manly. I'm not so big on twinks, but swimmers and gymnasts will be accepted.

  • Paul.||

    'Hey, I need a good picture to fuck with a gay guy.'

    phrasing.

  • ||

    For you Jesse. He needs some comfort tonight.

  • ||

    BTW a Cristiano Ronaldo gay Google image search produces this. And more hilariously this.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Yet nothing on Messi?

  • ||

    Ze Germans are taking over.

  • ||

    A HS friend of mine was OBSESSED with making sure that I found Michael Owen attractive.

    I have a soft spot for Brits, so it wasn't that much of a stretch.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • ||

  • ||

    A friend of mine kept sending this. He couldn't get over how funny he found it.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    David and Victoria Beckham 'getting posher', study finds

  • ||

    SF'd

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    damn it reasonable can't you do anything right

  • Irish||

    I have a soft spot for Brits

    Sounds like you have a hard spot too.

  • ||

    You have a soft spot for bad teeth and scousers?

  • ||

    Poor British trash can be hot in the abstract as a slumming fantasy, but I've been unimpressed by chavs I've met in person. Not ALL of their teeth are bad; I can deal with crooked teeth so long as they aren't dirty.

  • ||

    Yeah but all scousers are dirty.

  • Irish||

    I've been unimpressed by chavs I've met in person.

    Yes. Unimpressive is the natural state of the chav.

  • ||

    Jeez guys, I wouldn't give you a hard time for finding fantasy white trash hot.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    yeah maybe, but Jessica Paré is about to be on Fallon

  • Irish||

  • ||

    Can't blame booze there. Hempstead is dry (though I happen to know how to get booze there.

    Lawrence Marshall in Hempstead. We beat big city prices!

  • ||

    Um I have to love Jessica Simpson for literally fucking up the Cowboys. Bad example.

    And seeing as I'm married to Texan white trash I don't se your point. Chavs ain't got nothin' on freedom lovin' Texican Muricans.

  • ||

    Foreskin?

    I'm so sad it's too late to get nicole fired up.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • ||

    I have no idea what you are talking about
  • Tman||

    I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out!

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Not quite chav scouse, but rather
    anyway.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • ||

  • Irish||

    I can only assume that's the Archduke.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    ;)

  • ||

    Why don't those riot shields have 'police' written in French?

  • ||

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • ||

    Also Star Wars.

  • ||

    AGAIN, reasonoids confuse copocrats with cops...

    "The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police and the County Sheriffs of Colorado were so upset over the initial draft of House Bill 1317 that the groups were threatening to write a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to intervene — the nuclear option."

    Yet, the article title in the PM links made it sound like COPS were doing this.

    So, it's not COPS that are trying throw a monkey wrench in legalized mj, it's chiefs and sheriff's iow management, NOT real cops.

    BUt reason says COPS are doing it.

    Over and over again, the IACP and police chiefs in general (who are political appointees) come down with positions that dont necessarily have any relation to the viewpoints of real cops. And they are not a proxy for same, despite the way reason presents these stories

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