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Baby Lee
05-28-2006, 08:06 PM
Catching up on some of my old TiVO-ing, and reading this forum has me asking a question.
When you watch fiction where the 'good guys' have even greater and more pervasive intelligence than our real life cops/special forces [real time satellite imagery, control of every camera in the city, LUDs on their desk in an instance, even James Bond's fancy gadgets], are you rooting for them to get the bad guy or cursing the erosion of our civil liberties.
I don't mean this as a slam on anyone, or a witch hunt. I just came to the epiphany that of you've, as I have for years, years before Bush made the national scene or took office, taken it in stride that law enforcement uses all sorts of methods to get the info they need to bring the 'bad guys' down, you might be more sanguine about today's intelligence gathering against Terror.

Logical
05-28-2006, 08:38 PM
I can separate fantasy from real life. The fantasy of movies is not taking away the rights of real people. Instead it is taking away the rights of reel people.

wazu
05-28-2006, 08:58 PM
I have no problem whatsoever with any of the counter-terrorism methods that I've heard described. Generally, I feel we should be even more ruthless than we are. So I suppose my feelings about it in the movies are about the same as they are in real life.

Baby Lee
05-28-2006, 08:59 PM
I can separate fantasy from real life. The fantasy of movies is not taking away the rights of real people. Instead it is taking away the rights of reel people.
Nice subtle way of suggesting I can't.
But the point isn't the reality of the characters or the story, it's the possibility of the intelligence gathering methods being exercised in reality.
Further the point wasn't the ability to separate fact from fiction, but the coordination between your response to fictional scenarios and your response to factual scenarios.

WoodDraw
05-28-2006, 09:24 PM
Further the point wasn't the ability to separate fact from fiction, but the coordination between your response to fictional scenarios and your response to factual scenarios.

You're making a silly comparison though. Why should a person's emotional reaction to scripted fantasy be the same as reality? Do you react to a death in a movie in the same way you react to death in real life? Is there any meaningful revelation behind the differing reactions?


Intelligence isn't an either/or situation. We don't have to either allow what is going on now or let the bad guys get a way. There can be appropriate oversight while still keeping the same level of intelligence. There is no need to consolidate power among one branch of government and one political party simply because they find it convenient.

Logical
05-28-2006, 09:25 PM
Nice subtle way of suggesting I can't.
But the point isn't the reality of the characters or the story, it's the possibility of the intelligence gathering methods being exercised in reality.
Further the point wasn't the ability to separate fact from fiction, but the coordination between your response to fictional scenarios and your response to factual scenarios.I often root for the bad guys in films, like Pierce Brosnan's character in After the Sunset. I would not in real life.

Logical
05-28-2006, 09:26 PM
You're making a silly comparison though. Why should a person's emotional reaction to scripted fantasy be the same as reality? Do you react to a death in a movie in the same way you react to death in real life? Is there any meaningful revelation behind the differing reactions?


Intelligence isn't an either/or situation. We don't have to either allow what is going on now or let the bad guys get a way. There can be appropriate oversight while still keeping the same level of intelligence. There is no need to consolidate power among one branch of government and one political party simply because they find it convenient.Rep, well stated.

patteeu
05-29-2006, 08:22 AM
You're making a silly comparison though. Why should a person's emotional reaction to scripted fantasy be the same as reality? Do you react to a death in a movie in the same way you react to death in real life? Is there any meaningful revelation behind the differing reactions?


Intelligence isn't an either/or situation. We don't have to either allow what is going on now or let the bad guys get a way. There can be appropriate oversight while still keeping the same level of intelligence. There is no need to consolidate power among one branch of government and one political party simply because they find it convenient.

Are we talking fantasy or reality here?

HolyHandgernade
05-29-2006, 08:31 AM
I think what people would like to see is at least a bit of oversight from either the Judicial or Legislative branches. If we keep giving our Republic back bit by bit out of fear and a false sense of security we will slowly be handing back our liberty. But since most people think of their liberty as an increasing amount of channels to choose from by their broadcast provider, what the hell. Give me 250 digital channels, or give me death! The rest of that stuff we don't really use anymore anyway, right?

-HH

patteeu
05-29-2006, 10:47 AM
I think what people would like to see is at least a bit of oversight from either the Judicial or Legislative branches. If we keep giving our Republic back bit by bit out of fear and a false sense of security we will slowly be handing back our liberty. But since most people think of their liberty as an increasing amount of channels to choose from by their broadcast provider, what the hell. Give me 250 digital channels, or give me death! The rest of that stuff we don't really use anymore anyway, right?

-HH

We've had legislative oversight so apparently that's not enough to satisfy the critics.

Logical
05-29-2006, 06:19 PM
We've had legislative oversight so apparently that's not enough to satisfy the critics.It is the recent bypassing of that oversight that is causing people to be upset.

penchief
05-29-2006, 07:07 PM
We've had legislative oversight so apparently that's not enough to satisfy the critics.

It isn't oversight when you can't do anything about it. It's like having a gasoline soaked rag stuffed down your throat. It's so easy for this administration to tell selected members of congress, "this is what we're doing but if you say anything we'll prosecute you." That's why congress waits until it's leaked before they comment on it.

There is no legislative oversight. There is no judicial oversight. This administration is doing whatever it pleases and then proceeds to tells us otherwise.

WoodDraw
05-29-2006, 07:40 PM
We've had legislative oversight so apparently that's not enough to satisfy the critics.

What do you consider oversight? The Bush administration believes in a unitary executive and has made no attempt to hide the implementation of it. So yes, they did notify some members of Congress, but they didn't conduct the program under Congressional oversight. The White House's policy is that the constitution gives the President full power to do as he pleases durring a war, and they make that well known through all of their signing statements.

So if you view simple notification as adequate oversight, than I guess the there has been legislative oversight. But the power has been significantly consolidated towards the executive branch, especially compared to prior administrations.

Ugly Duck
05-29-2006, 08:23 PM
There is no legislative oversight. There is no judicial oversight. This administration is doing whatever it pleases and then proceeds to tells us otherwise.The story line is that we cannot have co-equal branches of government operating under the rule of law when we are at war. Naional security, you see. Unfortunately, they don't define "war" except for saying that we will be fighting "it" for generations. Carte-blanche to piss on the constitution for the forseeable future. Maybe our great-grandchildren will live to see the American form of government come back. Or..... maybe the Dems will get back in office and demand the governmental balance that existed up until the neocon regime hijacked it.

Sully
05-29-2006, 09:04 PM
In the movies I root for the Corleones.
In real life I would hate them.

Taco John
05-29-2006, 09:24 PM
We've had legislative oversight so apparently that's not enough to satisfy the critics.

Hardly. The lack of legislative oversight is the reason why there are so many critics in the first place. When the president can write in the margins of ratified law his own interpretations regardless of what the law actually says, you can hardly claim legislative oversight. I can hardly believe you'd even call it that. Proof to me that we just can't allow one party to take control of both houses of congress and the executive branch. There need to be checks and balances.

I think half the problem is that the corruption on the hill runs so deep, that anyone who dares challenge the President runs the risk of being hung out to dry.

penchief
05-29-2006, 09:29 PM
I think half the problem is that the corruption on the hill runs so deep, that anyone who dares challenge the President runs the risk of being hung out to dry.

That's a good point. What does that say about Russ Feingold? Maybe he is the real deal.

Logical
05-29-2006, 10:22 PM
In the movies I root for the Corleones.
In real life I would hate them.

I think this was not a well conceived correlation by BL. It has made for an interesting thread though.

Boozer
05-29-2006, 10:31 PM
I think this was not a well conceived correlation by BL. It has made for an interesting thread though.

I don't know. It is interesting to see what fantasy lives are like. I know if you read some five year old Clancy stuff you can see some real bizarro-world stuff where Bush's (et al.) politics would make sense. Huge new oil discoveries, effective anti-missle weapons, popular democratic movements, etc.

As for movies with advanced invasive espionage technologies, I always root for the good guys but am glad I don't live in a world where Big Brother can* look through my walls to see me boffing the bishop or taking a shit.

*Or is allowed to.

patteeu
05-31-2006, 12:33 AM
It is the recent bypassing of that oversight that is causing people to be upset.

I'm unaware of any extraordinary bypassing of Congressional oversight. The administration hasn't submitted to every request from Congress, but what administration can you recall that didn't resist Congressional requests by doing something like asserting executive priviledge? Maybe if you tell me specifically what bypassing you are talking about we could talk about that specific.

Logical
05-31-2006, 12:40 AM
I'm unaware of any extraordinary bypassing of Congressional oversight. The administration hasn't submitted to every request from Congress, but what administration can you recall that didn't resist Congressional requests by doing something like asserting executive priviledge? Maybe if you tell me specifically what bypassing you are talking about we could talk about that specific.

http://counterterror.typepad.com/the_counterterrorism_blog/2005/12/the_presidents_.html
The President’s NSA Wiretaps: Unnecessary Problems in the War on Terrorism

The New York Times revelation (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/politics/21nsa.html?ex=1135918800&en=92db075aa4f10d24&ei=5070) that the NSA has been eavesdropping on US-overseas telephone conversations, without FISA’s (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode50/usc_sup_01_50_10_36.html) special oversight procedures, is certain to stir up a legal mess that may take years to straighten out in the courts. FISA created a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (the "FISA Court") made up of federal district judges (http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fisa/court2005.html), to review just such types of surveillance. My colleague Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (http://counterterror.typepad.com/the_counterterrorism_blog/2005/12/defense_challen.html)has pointed out several of the legal arguments the courts are likely to hear regarding this matter. These arguments will not be heard in the abstract. They will be raised, countered, considered and appealed in the context of numerous past, on-going and future terrorism-related cases. The same issues will be aired publicly, in the media and in Congressional hearings. And these issues, and the arguments in these cases, won’t go away anytime soon. In fact, they are likely to cause considerable complications and delays in prosecuting and winning these cases. So, the question must be asked: Was the President’s decision to authorize such NSA wiretaps on his own, arguably on the basis of his own constitutional authority, and without regard to FISA, a mistake? The answer to this question follows, in large part from the answer to another question. Was such unilateral action really necessary?

...

patteeu
05-31-2006, 12:48 AM
What do you consider oversight? The Bush administration believes in a unitary executive and has made no attempt to hide the implementation of it. So yes, they did notify some members of Congress, but they didn't conduct the program under Congressional oversight. The White House's policy is that the constitution gives the President full power to do as he pleases durring a war, and they make that well known through all of their signing statements.

So if you view simple notification as adequate oversight, than I guess the there has been legislative oversight. But the power has been significantly consolidated towards the executive branch, especially compared to prior administrations.

I consider being briefed by the Administration on classfiied programs to be oversight. I consider receiving testimony from administration officials in a hearing to be oversight.

I think there is some confusion over what the "unitary executive" means. It means that Congress can't create subordinate offices within the executive branch that operate independently of the President. IOW, the powers of the executive branch of our government are completely vested in the President. This theory, for example, would hold that the old Independent Counsel statute (e.g. Ken Starr) was unconstitutional because it created an executive officer who was not under the control of the President.

Whether you believe in the unitary executive or not, you can still believe that the President wields power during wartime by virtue of his constitutional role as commander in chief that he doesn't possess during peacetime.

Every modern President has asserted that the President's commander in chief role includes a significant amount of discretion in the management of our troops without the necessity of Congressional authority. George W. Bush may or may not have pushed this envelope further than his predecessors, but he surely hasn't asserted that he has "full power to do as he pleases during a war."

patteeu
05-31-2006, 12:51 AM
Hardly. The lack of legislative oversight is the reason why there are so many critics in the first place. When the president can write in the margins of ratified law his own interpretations regardless of what the law actually says, you can hardly claim legislative oversight. I can hardly believe you'd even call it that. Proof to me that we just can't allow one party to take control of both houses of congress and the executive branch. There need to be checks and balances.

You might be right that divided government is better than complete control by one party. Out of control spending is enough to make me consider that possibility. But I don't think a lack of oversight has been the problem. Oversight for the NSA surveillance program, for example, was performed by both Republicans and democrats.

patteeu
05-31-2006, 12:55 AM
http://counterterror.typepad.com/the_counterterrorism_blog/2005/12/the_presidents_.html
The President’s NSA Wiretaps: Unnecessary Problems in the War on Terrorism

The New York Times revelation (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/politics/21nsa.html?ex=1135918800&en=92db075aa4f10d24&ei=5070) that the NSA has been eavesdropping on US-overseas telephone conversations, without FISA’s (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode50/usc_sup_01_50_10_36.html) special oversight procedures, is certain to stir up a legal mess that may take years to straighten out in the courts. FISA created a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (the "FISA Court") made up of federal district judges (http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fisa/court2005.html), to review just such types of surveillance. My colleague Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (http://counterterror.typepad.com/the_counterterrorism_blog/2005/12/defense_challen.html)has pointed out several of the legal arguments the courts are likely to hear regarding this matter. These arguments will not be heard in the abstract. They will be raised, countered, considered and appealed in the context of numerous past, on-going and future terrorism-related cases. The same issues will be aired publicly, in the media and in Congressional hearings. And these issues, and the arguments in these cases, won’t go away anytime soon. In fact, they are likely to cause considerable complications and delays in prosecuting and winning these cases. So, the question must be asked: Was the President’s decision to authorize such NSA wiretaps on his own, arguably on the basis of his own constitutional authority, and without regard to FISA, a mistake? The answer to this question follows, in large part from the answer to another question. Was such unilateral action really necessary?

...

That's not an example of bypassing Congressional oversight. That's an example of bypassing Congressionally created judicial oversight. Congressional oversight for that program existed and, for whatever reason, they acquiesced in the act of bypassing the FISA courts.

Logical
05-31-2006, 01:07 AM
That's not an example of bypassing Congressional oversight. That's an example of bypassing Congressionally created judicial oversight. Congressional oversight for that program existed and, for whatever reason, they acquiesced in the act of bypassing the FISA courts.The point is no oversight is allowed. Not in who is denied the oversight.

patteeu
05-31-2006, 07:02 AM
The point is no oversight is allowed. Not in who is denied the oversight.

Congress exercises oversight over that program on a regular basis.

Velvet_Jones
05-31-2006, 07:58 AM
It isn't oversight when you can't do anything about it. It's like having a gasoline soaked rag stuffed down your throat. It's so easy for this administration to tell selected members of congress, "this is what we're doing but if you say anything we'll prosecute you." That's why congress waits until it's leaked before they comment on it.

There is no legislative oversight. There is no judicial oversight. This administration is doing whatever it pleases and then proceeds to tells us otherwise.

I disagree. Your view is a pipe dream. If all people in both houses of congress had the ability to not politicize issues of national security then all people would be briefed. Because most Democrats (at this time) seem to want to tell everyone how we are gathering information for security purposes, why would you want to withhold that information from the leakers? If there were some actual integrity in both houses then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Let me give you a scenario. You have an employee whom you suspect is stealing from the petty cash drawer. Let’s call the employee in question Al Cada. Which of the following would you do? Entrust the executive secretary to make sure that the petty cash drawer is secured and keep a watchful eye on Al, or tell everyone in the company except Al that you think he is stealing and you intend to catch him by monitoring his movements and using the executive secretary as an informant.

The result would be that Al may stop stealing, but chances are he will just change his tactics because now he has information about how you are watching him.

If you use a little logic I think you will come to the correct conclusion. If the legislators would shut their ‘law hole’, we could inform more people. Until that happens, they cannot be trusted.

Logical
05-31-2006, 12:42 PM
Congress exercises oversight over that program on a regular basis.

Seriously have you even been following the news for the last 3 months? How have you missed this story.

patteeu
05-31-2006, 04:05 PM
Seriously have you even been following the news for the last 3 months? How have you missed this story.

I'm wondering the same thing about all of you who think there is no oversight.

Logical
05-31-2006, 04:25 PM
I'm wondering the same thing about all of you who think there is no oversight.

You know, when everyone else thinks something and I don't know, it usually always means I have missed something or I am being a jackass.

My guess is you are being the latter, because you are too well informed normally for it to be the former.

patteeu
05-31-2006, 06:27 PM
You know, when everyone else thinks something and I don't know, it usually always means I have missed something or I am being a jackass.

My guess is you are being the latter, because you are too well informed normally for it to be the former.

Has the administration not briefed key leaders of both parties on multiple occasions? The same leaders that are briefed for all of our most classified programs even if there is no argument that those classified programs ought to be judicially reviewed (e.g. a highly classified weapons program)?