What Every American Needs to Know (and Do) About FISA Before Wednesday Voting

“Those who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

–Benjamin Franklin

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[Note: The vote was postponed from Tuesday (today) to tomorrow, Wednesday. There is still time to take the actions below.]

This is the most important and controversial post I’ve ever written. For American readers, the short video above could be the most important video you watch in your lifetime.

I hesitated to post this and will alienate some readers, but I accept that.

Wednesday, July 9th, could mark the beginning of official condoning of warrantless surveillance of law-abiding citizens in the US, not to mention foreign nationals. I am not an alarmist and believe in qualified surveillance with process — this is different. I’ve done the homework.

The above is an 18-minute interview that I just finished with Daniel Ellsberg, famous for releasing the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971. His actions are often credited with helping end not only the Nixon presidency but also the Vietnam War. He consulted for the Kennedy Administration after receiving a PhD. from Harvard in Economics and served in the Pentagon under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

Remember that part of lifestyle design is creating a good environment for you and those you care for. Central to this is preventing dangerous laws — the rules of your environment — from coming into existence. This is not about being political. It’s about being responsible. There are Republicans in Congress who oppose this bill, so it shouldn’t be written off as leftist propaganda.

In the video above, I interview Ellsberg to learn what every American needs to know — and do in the next 24 hours — about the new FISA (Foreign Information and Surveillance Act) amendments. The interview, and below partial transcription, answers questions like…

-I don’t have anything to hide. How does this affect me?

-What if this type of surveillance is what has prevented another 9/11 from happening?

-What are common inaccuracies about FISA reported in the media?

Please watch it.

Find below how you can make a real impact in less than 60 seconds. Every person counts — the Senators who will vote are watching the numbers. 41 Senators can block the bill, and it’s not too late.

Please do the following.

How I ask you to spend 60 seconds

Daniel explains below several important reasons to act in the next few hours (much more in the video), but for those who are prepared to spend 60 seconds to help protect their liberties and prevent warrantless wiretapping from becoming a new standard in the US, here are two options:

1. ALL AMERICANS: Go to the EFF website here and put in your zipcode to find your Senator’s phone number. Call them and read the short script on the same page. If no answer or a full voicemail box, click the link at the bottom of the page to e-mail them.

(Tell others verbally to go to “www.eff.org” and click “take action”)

2. OBAMA SUPPORTERS: Go to My.BarackObama.com here and join the group requesting he oppose (as he did earlier) the amendment. This takes about 30 seconds. I suggest changing “ListServ” in the bottom right to “Do not receive e-mails.”

(Tell others verbally to search “obama please vote no” on Google and My.BarackObama.com will be in the top 3 results, currently #1)

I would love to give online Facebook-like groups for all Republicans, especially McCain, and Democrats who originally opposed the bill, but Obama is the only Senator I can find with a group to join specifically related this FISA bill.

Two Tips from a Former Pfizer Lobbyist and Fellow Reader

Credit and thanks to “Roger Dodger”:

1) When you call your Senators, ask then where they stand on the bills before reading the script. If they are with you on most issues, thank them! Then ask why they don’t support the issues you differ on. Then go on to ask for their support on those issues. If they are against you in most things, then refer to the entire script.

2) If they get enough calls, they will change their minds on an issue. 10 activists saying an issue is important to them may equal the opinion of 10000 constituents. If you don’t believe that, just talk to any Real Estate Developer in your area and listen to their war stories on how 10 people coming to a community meeting and shouting blocked a multi million dollar project from happening.

Be nice. And be interested in the person on the other end of the line. These people have nutjobs calling all day to scream at them.

I was amazed at how uninformed people in Congress (not just the elected, but their staff as well) were on issues. I was talking heathcare with them and in most cases, ten months after passing the Medicare Part D, I was the first person who they’d talked to who had interviewed doctors on how they felt Part D was working.

Inform your Congress on issues you are interested in!

Some Highlights with Daniel Ellsberg

1. Why does the vote this Tuesday, July 8th matter to normal people who have nothing to hide?

Ordinary citizens who want to live in a democracy — including those with nothing to hide — should be concerned about the ability of the government to use private, sensitive personal information to blackmail, manipulate, and intimidate their representatives, journalists and their sources, potential whistleblowers, and activists or dissenters of any sort.

2. Couldn’t it be argued that this type of surveillance ability has prevented another 9/11 from happening? Isn’t it possible that this type of legislation has saved American lives?

The administration has claimed that is has, but without presenting a single piece of evidence that this is so, even in closed hearings to Senators with clearances on the Intelligence Committee. The FISA court has granted warrants in virtually every request that’s been made of it that has any color of helping national security. The administration’s decision to bypass that court, illegally, leads to a strong suspicion that they are abusing domestic spying, as some of their predecessors did, in ways that even the secret FISA court would never approve.

3. What are the most important factual inaccuracies about FISA found in the media?

Advocates of the bill take pride that it makes this amended FISA the exclusive basis for overhearing citizens, but that exclusivity is, in fact, in the current 30-year-old FISA bill already. President Bush simply ignored it in bypassing FISA, and there’s not reason that he and his successors would not continue to do the same here.

It’s been inaccurately stated that if this amendments didn’t pass, FISA would expire. This is flatly false. FISA is open-ended and will continue as it already has, adequately for 30 years. What would expire are some blanket surveillance orders authorized last year, which the majority of Democrats, including Senator Obama, voted against.

The current bill does include one useful amendment to FISA, which could be passed with virtually unanimous approval in an afternoon, to allow warrantless interception of foreign-to-foreign communications that happen to pass through the United States. No one opposes this.

Various administration officials have claimed that the requirement of applying for a warrant from the FISA court deprived them of speed and flexibility. This is false. The FISA allows for surveillance to be implemented in an emergency situation before a warrant is sought, and that could undoubtedly be extended with Congressional approval without controversy.

What the administration seeks, and this bill provides, is permanent warrantless surveillance.

4. Let’s consider an analogy: police officers have the legal right to stop you if you’re going 56 mph in a 55-mph zone, but this right isn’t often abused or applied to harass citizens. What makes you think the administration would abuse their surveillance powers if this amendment is approved?

The abuses of surveillance to which governments are drawn are those that keep them in office, used to intimidate and manipulate their rivals, and to avoid debate and dissent on their policies. These are exactly the abuses that the Church Committee discovered in 1975, which had been conducted on a wide-scale by the Johnson and Nixon administrations, and in some cases even earlier, which is what lead to FISA in the first place.

To remove judicial oversight, which this amendment would effectively do, is to invite the same kind of repressive abuse that lead to FISA in the first place.

5. Why would the current administration want this amendment to pass, if not for safety of citizens and prevention of attacks?

Using NSA to spy without judicial oversight or constraint on American citizens provides the infrastructure for dictatorship. George W. Bush has frequently said what other presidents may only have thought: “It would be a heck of a lot easier in a dictatorship, if only I were the dictator.”

Other presidents have violated the law and the Constitution in much the same way as Bush, so long as they could do it secretly, but they haven’t proclaimed that as a right of their office as Bush, Cheney and their legal advisors have done.

The oath of office they took, along with all members of Congress, was to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic. I believe that, in the matters we’ve been discussing, the Founders had it right, not only for their time but for ours.

###

Please Digg and Buzz this below if you believe this is important. Please act now, as hours matter.

Extended bio of guest:

Daniel Ellsberg’s earlier career includes serving as a Marine Corps company commander and earning a PhD. in Economics from Harvard. In 1959 he joined the Rand Corporation’s Economics Department as an analyst, and consulted for the Kennedy Administration on the command and control on nuclear weapons. In 1964 he was recruited to serve in the Pentagon under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Following two years in Vietnam for the State Department, Ellsberg eventually returned to Rand. In 1971 he made headlines around the world when he released the Pentagon Papers. Ultimately his actions helped end not only the Nixon presidency but the Vietnam War.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 800 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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229 Replies to “What Every American Needs to Know (and Do) About FISA Before Wednesday Voting”

  1. 65% ‘Libertarian’ / 100% 4HWW Fan

    This is ultimately why I still live in the USA. For all the talk of lost freedoms and liberties we still have the opportunity to voice our dissent and organize to enact change.

    For all the commenters: If you do not like this bill – get into action, BUT please consider our constitution is not a stagnant document. It is a living, breathing ideal that has been ‘amended’ several times already to contemplate new circumstances and views. If this was not the case women and minorities would not be allowed to vote… let alone run for president!

    Our role in a republic is to elect officials who we believe will represent our desires… If President Bush (or the opposition party leading the representative branch of our government) aren’t representing your desires you have a job to remove them with your vote! Get into action, if you don’t (or worse yet only get involved this one time with one call or letter) you/we will get what we deserve.

    The price we pay for freedom is the responsibility to actively engage in the political process.

    Just some food for thought!

  2. great post – this is one of the few if any times I have posted a comment here, but I think it’s great that you’ve got the guts to take a controversial stand even though it may alienate some people.

    Some people just pee their britches at the mere mention of politics. Guess what? politics is part of life, so it makes sense to address these issues on a blog about life

    Also, frankly, I am not that alarmed about this particular bill and don’t necessarily agree with Tim’s position, but I do believe public figures should speak their mind on things they feel strongly about – so kudos to you, Tim.

  3. I submit to you, Tim, that laws allowing up to 45 days of detainment without charges being filed for British Subjects (note: not aliens) and recent calls to make it even longer, are far more restrictive than in the US. If rights anywhere were under seige, they are far more endangered in the UK under Gordon Brown and in the US under Bush/Cheney.

    But even that has proven to be much hysteria over nothing, thus far.

    There are people like Ellsberg who make a career out of predicting gloom and doom. (Remember hearing about the book “The Great Wall Street Crash of 1990?” peddled back in the 80s?) Don’t fall for such Chicken Little nonsense.

    And yeah, this is a Right/Left thing, when the Left denies all threats from the Middle East are real, and the Right (the TRUE Right) accepts them as real, but have only taken 1/3rd the measures necessary for fear of appearing jackbooted. Maybe its just as well, but the fact remains that it has NOT gotten out of hand. The Left is using this for poltiical advantage. Simple as that.

  4. Thank you for putting this up. I can’t believe we Americans have allowed this to happen… then again Bush was elected twice so what the hell do I know.

    Now Obama supports it too proving all of my conservative friends right.

    There is only one solution, Tim… YOU must run for president.

  5. This is not about right or left/conservative or liberal its about our rights as Americans… thats it.

  6. Tim, Your not old enough to remember the Second WW, but if you look back in the History books you will see we went to all kinds of deviations of the law to WIN THAT WAR. If we hadn’t we would be speaking German or Japanese now. Lets hope that in the future we will not be speaking Arabic!!! Rich Keene

  7. Tim, re your latest post.

    1) It’s neither a constitutional nor a legal issue, it’s a moral issue. The question is whether it is right for one arbitrary group of people to force another group to pay for and submit to surveillance, while being immune to the process themselves (e.g. if an average Jane took some money from a congress critter and used it to plant cameras in his office, she’d be charged with theft and perhaps espionage). The answer is “no,” by the way.

    2) The UK is a fair comparison because of the taxpayers are forced to pay for the cameras and only people in government have access to the output. It’s entirely irrelevant that the cameras watch a “public” space.

  8. Tim, Thanks for spreading the word. I had no idea. I’ve done my homework as well. Email sent. Phone call skyped.

    Respectfully,

    Charlie J. Ellis

  9. Dean…get real and learn the facts. Only uninformed Americans like you would call this ‘leftist’ This is a pure invasion of our rights…and I believe it is KNOWN terrorists.

    THANK YOU.

  10. Tim, this is a fantastic post, great interview with an honorable, intelligent inside expert. The comments look like they are exploding, so mine will probably be lost in the static, but wanted you to know that I fully agree with you. I am glad to see your passion on this, and violations of the 4th Amendment, etc, are a large part of what got me started blogging 3 years ago.

    I Dugg, Stumbled, blogged, and shared this with everyone I possibly could. It is really disappointing to see how much energy most people are willing to put into arguing with me on this or resisting hearing what they don’t want to know about it, rather than investing that same energy and a few minutes into reading about it or taking any positive action to make their voices heard with the Senators, etc.

    I applaud your efforts Tim. Thank you. Hope people “wake up” on this important issue this time.

  11. @Stephen A.

    “FISA allows the US to monitor you if you call a known terrorist.”

    Oh? I thought FISA allows the US to monitor you if they get a JUDGE’S APPROVAL. And please define “terrorist.” FISA allowed for and continues to allow for oversight. The Executive Branch ignored that.

  12. Great discussion. Thank you.

    I’m sick of all this “leftist brainwashing” crap. Before the invasion of Iraq the same BS was said about anyone who questioned the wisdom of that action (and 4100 soldiers, billions of tax dollars, and our international reputation are gone as a result). It’s BENEFICIAL to talk about these things. These are IMPORTANT issues. Politics ain’t a football game. We ALL live under these laws. Don’t trust the government blindly or marry yourself to one party or ideology. Think.

    As an aside, you may want to cover up the all-too-prominent logo on the laptop lid. It’s draws focus.

    Thanks again.

    Ps. I took action.

  13. “The United States does not fight religious wars – we are fighting against terrorists, not religious fundamentalists. Christian fundamentalists bombing abortion clinics are just as much terrorists as Muslim car bombers. The United States government should be working to stop all of these people”

    That’s a fair enough point- however, I would point out that there are religious people fighting a war against us. “Terror” is the tactic of the enemy, not the enemy. So the term “war on terror” has been a persistent annoyance.

    I agree that all terror should be stopped– however, the prevailing threat in the world today is islamic fanatacism. That’s certainly not to say Muslim; and I get that there are other threats- but to pretend that we’re doing anything other than using military force to compel a kind of world-wide islamic reformation is naive.

  14. Tim, did your outsourced India workers snag this interview wit this flaming leftist? I just finished reading your book and like it, but you admit in that book that you are not up on current affairs and that you rely on others for that.

    In case someone did not let you in on this one, these 19 terrorist who were running around at will around in our country flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon! In case you didn’t know. I for one am glad that a law exists that will help deal with these types of people. One of the problems identified after Sept 11 was the inability to connect the dots. Updated FISA laws help do that.

    I am certainly mindful of civil liberties, but I am also mindful that we have people that want to destroy us. I guess what I don’t get from you, is that in your book, you are so into living in these foreign countries. Yet, you attack a U.S. law that is tame compared to the civil liberty in these other countries. Many of these countries do not even have civil liberties.

    As you do in the book, I challenge you to interview someone that is a supporter of these laws and then post that interview. A little balance I think is due unless you want to be lumped in with dailykos lefties.

    BTW, Love the book.

  15. Thanks for the heads up, I went to the site and emailed my objections…much better subject matter than how to peel an egg

  16. The egg was cool. Always good to keep it mixed up, makes the blog so much more interesting. I replaced TV with Tim’s blog…AWWWWWW!!!!!……

    Need to get off the blogs, 🙂

    Jose

  17. On the EFF website they have a link to an article: “Bush: Telecom Immunity More Important Than Surveillance Powers”.

    This article seems to imply that either:

    the immunity will be granted and surveillence will be increased OR

    the immunity will not be granted and surveillance will stay the same.

    I would rather let the companies have immunity and have the surveillance stay the same.

  18. Referring to the first comment…

    “Tim love your blog but dont be so naive…. they will [only] listen to your conversations is if you are talking to a KNOWN terrorist overseas.”

    Dean, couldn’t it be seen as naive to believe that powers granted with one intention will only ever be used with that intention in mind?

    I’m sure both of us can agree history has done enough to teach that power can and often is abused. It’s not about my view of the current administrators of that power and their likelyhood (or otherwise) to abuse it… it’s about my view on the people wielding it in 5, 10, 25 years time. Since I can’t predict that, I prefer to manage my risk by not allowing people I don’t know I cant trust the freedom to operate too far out of my sight.

    And that’s not cynical about democracy – clearly our system elects people to make decisions on our behalf and becomes unworkable if we refuse to give them any leeway to make their own decisions in enacting office. And naturally, I already understand that governments and civil servants make decisions I disapprove of every day without the sky falling in.

    We’ve all got to judge the appropriate length of the leash.

  19. This reminds me of when I was younger and met my first “big-time” rockstar. Standing next to him, I realized I was taller than him, had more (real) hair than him and was a lot less strung out. I guess it had to happen, but another hero has fallen.

    Tim, you’ve now pegged yourself as an alarmist, lefty puke. I suspected this from some of your earlier posts, but now it is confirmed. You can say this isn’t a left/right issue but your view is the same nonsense spewed by every leftist, ex drama club student, Hollywood actor and millionaire heiress on the web.

    The government is already everywhere anyway and who really cares if some FBI agent listens to one of your phone calls? If one terrorist attack could be stopped and 3000+ American lives could be saved from listening to one of my boring phone calls, then forget wiretaps, I’ll three-way anybody that wants to listen in myself. The bottom line is that the chance of anyone involved in this post having one of their calls tapped is extremely, extremely unlikely and if your nose is clean, then what the hell are you worrying about anyway?

    It is obvious from all of the “atta boys” received in this thread that you won’t miss me much as a customer but now I get to express one of my great American freedoms, the freedom of choice. Thanks for the inspiration and ideas from the past. Looks like I have to find a new hero.

  20. Dear Tim,

    Thank you for this piece of information. As an expat I’m sometimes a bit disconnected from the events at home, but care not a single bit less. I have sent emails as it is not night-time in the U.S. I will attempt to call in the early morning in hopes of putting in a bit more last minute support.

    Best Wishes,

    Jean

  21. There are those who are thinking Obama is the Pancea that we’ve been calling for but this proves he’s the same old Washington Political Scab. If Obama opposed this he’d oppose it now, not in January of 2009. Those acting like he’s trying to fool the right don’t realize that his message of change is that he wouldn’t be playing the same old politics.

    Changing you politics to win voters and saying what ever they want to hear is the same old game. Don’t be fooled by the message of “change” we already have seen he’s the same old crap we’ve had in office. Congratulations to all those who voted for him, you’ve now given us two candidates and turned this into a game of lesser of two evils once again (and no the answer was no Hillary either).

    Bill Clinton ran on a policy of Change from Bush, Obama is running on a policy of change from Bush… And I don’t think Obama has the lucky timing of Bill to have an economic boom in him.

    Then again Mccain on the right is about the same as Bush, but at least it’s obvious what he’s going to stand for. Personally I find both candidates to show how badly our political machine is doing.

    FISA is a symptom of the problem. The blogist is right, a lot of the amendments COULD be passed in an afternoon, however you’ll never see that happen in out current political structure. What we really need, and need soon is a true change, not the bullshit change the democrats offer, but a real governor. Just don’t try to tell me your answer is Ralph Nader or Ron Paul, because those cures are far worse than the virus.

  22. I had this conversation in business law class two weeks ago. A very heated topic. Americans, people stuck in apathy, be intelligent and look at this in a nonpartisan view.

    This FISA bill violates the 4th amendment. Fact. Look to the views of intelligent, honest and informed citizens.

    ” Therefore, I’m NOT willing to give up my civil rights just to promote state power.”

    It be cool to set up some outsourcing marketing campaign.HA.

  23. This is neither alarmist nor a partisan issue.

    It is a constitutional issue.

    Those who think this is “lefty” spin consider what a president Obama could do with unchecked spypower. He’ll call it “national security” but it’ll really be spying on Republicans, and blackmailing them into raising your taxes.

    For those who think this over-inflated, consider how representative a government is that may be manipulated from above on any given issue. Where are the checks and balances. If this seems like fantasy to you, do yourself a favor and read the Church Comittee Report. You’ll be amazed.

  24. Hi Tim,

    I too spent time in Beijing in the early 90s. I agree with your statements and the comparisons you are making. The lack of freedom that I experienced for several months in ’94 was ridiculous and to think I was just trying to learn Kung Fu.

    Emails were sent to my Senators this afternoon. Thanks for the heads up. I too spent time researching and agree with you 100%.

  25. Waking up monday morning to see a political post on 4hww was really more than enough to lend the contents credit to me… I have never seen anything posted here remotely politically charged. I took the video and sent it to anyone i thought would listen as well as signing on with the Obama campaign group who oppose this.

    Thanks for the warning Tim.

    A question for Tim- what would you do if the bill passed?

    Thanks

  26. Look at this mess.

    Terrorists everywhere must be laughing their asses off at Bush and his cronies for doing their job for them.

  27. B.S. – your credibility was strained on the “picking up a perfect 10 in a bar is easier than the average women” comment – but now you’ve shown you believe a guy with an agenda. Tim: 3 million people are dead because that blowhard helped “end the Vietnam war” …gee, what about helping those people that were exterminated after we left the region? Guess what – just because republicans are “against something” doesn’t mean a partisan with a video is right. You haven’t done your homework here and the fact that you have highlighted a leftists video proves it. Do me a favor Tim and stick with showing us lifestyle and entrepreneurial articles – because this kinda’ garbage just underscores how some of the smartest people in the spotlight have the ability to be manipulated. (yeah, I mean you).

  28. Did what I could, Tim. Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. I’m especially sensitive to the issue right now as I’m living in Beijing, where I must temporarily suspend my civil liberties. As a world traveler, I’m sure you know how patriotic one becomes after spending time in less free societies.

    To the commenter below me, I’d say you were the one who is being naive. Tim understands the concept of “bad precedent.” Free societies do not becomes autocracies overnight, but rather gradually as they allow fear to blind them while the government slowly strips them of their civil liberties.

    Perhaps they truly are only watching those communicating with “terrorists,” but who’s to say how loosely they define that term. Moreover, it might be “only conversations with terrorists” today, but what about twenty years from now?

    I imagine the constitution as a great Dam protecting a valley city from being inundated by repressive government. Sure, a crack in the damn probably won’t affect anyone for a long time, but if those citizens neglect to fix it, well…you can finish the terrible metaphor.

  29. Tim,

    Thanks for posting this. I ran across it from a link by boingboing.net. I was so moved that I posted the video on my blog also.

    To those who want Tim to stay away from this kind of thing,

    I have a popular blog where I usually just post images that I’ve made. Most of them amuse people. There have been times that I’ve had the gall to show other sides of me (some political images), and some are uncomfortable with that. So I guess I’m supposed to be quiet? I guess we’re supposed to leave all spoken opinion about our country to professional “experts”, or to only political blogs?

    I won’t speak for Tim, but as far as my blog goes- you’re right, I stepped outside the box that you like me to stay in. Drop me a note, and I’ll refund your subscription. Maybe we should all keep very quiet about what we believe. Better yet, let’s all not question our leaders and believe whatever we’re told by the experts, whoever they may be.

  30. That the Telecoms were violating the 4th Amendment even *before* 9/11 comes as a bit of a surprise … that such violations have not been made public through journalistic investigation is sad … but that the new FISA revisions would allow Telecom immunity for these offenses *must* be fought to the highest level of government!

  31. Well, as you can see from the above linkback, this post was just referenced on Ron Paul’s site, which reports what I was about to say – all Senate votes have been postponed by one day due to Jesse Helms’ funeral being held today, in case some of you are still interested in taking action…FYI.

  32. Good job, Tim. I applaud your willingness to take a stand.

    For those who think you should stick to economy and lifestyle design without the politics, I outsource small jobs to India, the Phillipines, Argentina, etc so that I have time to concentrate on bigger projects. So if I have AskSunday make my family’s medical appointments for the next month, those conversations would be monitored as well, based on what I’ve read.

  33. Tim,

    The reason why this article appears leftist is because only one candidate is mentioned. Obama. To truly make this a bipartisian article, contacting McCain should have been referenced as well as Obama. Both Republicans and Democrats are outraged by this act as the comments here show. And for those that may argue that McCain’s voting record may support this type of legislation, then the argument that 10 Activist phone may equal 10000 constituents is false.

    Reading the constitution, the President derives his power and authority from Congress. It will not matter which candidate wins in November, if Congress passes this into law then the next President must enforce it. The President cannot pick and choose which laws will be enforced and which ones won’t.

    Having the call to action, contacting your senator or representative, is the best thing you could have done. This legislation only passes if both Democrats and Republicans vote for it. Both Houses of Congress and both political parties need to know this type of action is not acceptable and will not be tolerated by the people.

  34. I hesitate to comment on this post, but here goes anyway…

    Reading the post and listening to the video has left me with a sighing sense of disappointment. While the topic is a very important one and requires a great deal of intellectual thought, the fact that you chose to bring it to the people in such an emotional and rhetorical way is what disappoints me. As any good experimentalist knows, you must remove yourself from the equation. What you have attempted (and succeeded) to do is to appeal to peoples emotions by evoking hysteria – emotion rather than intellectual thought.

    My main question is: What are ALL of the possible outcomes of this legislation? What does the “other side” present? Who else did you interview? Is one side’s argument more valid than the other? Why? What was your thought process?

    You march to a different drummer, and I think you would be the first one to advise people not to follow Chicken Little just because he is running. I for one, would love to hear the other side of the equation, so that I could be informed rather than influenced.

    Yours in an Experimental Life,

  35. Thank you for taking a stand and providing a vehicle for this information to reach the people, as well as resources to take action.

  36. I have no problem with the government listening to any of my open phone conversations, here or abroad. I never expect that to be a “private” conversation. The wire or wireless extends outside my home. This is not a 4th Amendment issue. Come in my house without a warrant, or search my person, or take any of my property or personal goods without a warrant – now that’s a 4th Amendment issue! “Right to Privacy” is a construed right, not a specified right. Consequently, drawing a line that requires a warrant to cross is not so defined as you people would like.

    If you want privacy, speak in private – not on the phone, or “in the clear”. If you want privacy, take action to ensure it: encrypted wireless, encrypted IM texting, encrypted email. You are an idiot to trust phone companies to trust “contractual” obligations to you at their expense.

  37. Tim, as a professional in risk management / information security, here are some interesting facts to consider when people throw out the “9/11” fear tactic, I use these frequently during public speaking on assessing risk:

    Peanut Allergies kill more people per year than the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In fact, more people have died from peanut allergies than since the 60’s than all world-wide terrorist attacks combined during that time.

    Swimming pools kill more per year than 9/11

    An Israeli citizen is 100 times more likely to die in a car accident than a terrorist attack.

    Kinda puts it all in perspective and demonstrates how poorly we assess risks as humans. Would those who think losing freedoms to protect us from terrorists also support a full ban on handguns, swimming pools and peanuts?

    Less than 1% of 1% of 1% of the population was directly affected on 9/11. It is statistically impossible to mitigate a risk of that level and ensures peoples security.

  38. @: Tony

    9/11 Had a far bigger impact than the other examples you cite. Stock market value etc. Your statistics discount human nature.

  39. Thanks Tim ( and Ben Mack for the heads up ).

    I called my two Ohio senators and wrote Obama.

    D.E,. is an American HERO.

    The Telecomms don’t deserve protection for what they did. Congress doesn’t deserve a pass for not doing its due diligence either.

    This law is a Constitutional emergency looking for a place to happen.

    Have you heard aboiut the project in Germany where they are trying to piece together the Nazi SS files shredded at the end of the war? No government has the right to know what you’re doing or saying if you aren’t breaking the law. Period.

  40. Tim-

    I think you crossed a line that I appreciate and will take you for your word that you are sincere. However, to take a man’s biased view(we are all biased) without a counter view. then I have no other way than to take it as disengenous and veiled attempt at pushing favor to Obama. This interview was a one sided political speech.

    This topic is so hot that to allow some guy to have this valuable space after you yourself just learning of the issue is shortsighted no? Would you make such a compulsive move with your own business? Would you be sold so easily?

    I have no problem with someone picking a side but to pick a side and say you are not is insulting. Not once did this guy say anything about McCain. How is this a fair discussion? How can I take it any other way than to see this as a veiled Obama endoresement? Especially when you tell me to go join his group at his site. Why not email McCain too? LAst I checked he is still a Senator.And in fact carries much more weight in the Congress than Obama.

    Say overtly that you are for Obama and I would have respected this “report”. I suspect you did much more research on your last flight than you did for this endorsement.

  41. Good for you Tim on speaking out. Not saying anything and enjoying your life as ‘business as usual’ would have been the easiest thing possible for you. But you have the courage of your convictions and conscience to do what is right and what you must do.

    Thanks for giving us the heads up on this emergency in spite of some people here who would try to silence you and censor your right to speak up. These types probably also tell their wives to shut up all the time cause only THEY are allowed the right to speak. Shame on them. Praise to you Tim and others who are sounding the alarm. It’s not pretty but someone needs to sound this emergency alarm all right. Get out there folks and lets all do our part.

    God Bless!

  42. Forgive me, before making the comment I failed to notice the name of the person being interviewed. Carry on.

  43. Devin, you are correct, and quite frankly only an idiot would not grasp that. The ultimate problem is that your metric of economic loss (GDP, stocks, currency values, etc.) still pales in comparison to the amount of money we are spending trying to mitigate a statistical anomaly… it is counter productive to spend $5 to prevent $1 in losses. If you are concerned with your portfolio, I would suggest that the negative impact of our anti-terror spending and debt levels on our currency are far more damaging and of more concern to you.

    It is also counter productive to hand over your 4th amendment rights in the hopes that it will make a difference, it won’t. There is a term in the industry for all of this nonsense, Security Theater, put a big new shiny expensive lock on the front door for all to see, but leave the backdoor wide open. Make the sheeple (sheep-people) FEEL secure and they will go back to their normal lives under the illusion of security. The essence of this debate and support for this bill is fear based on terrorism… or more appropriately, terror. That fear response is more dangerous than the initial act itself. You are still far more likely to die in a car accident any day of the week than you are from terrorism, and if the ultimate goal is saving lives, wouldn’t we be better off focusing our energy elsewhere? Ban peanut butter, Big Macs and automobiles… they are greater killers than terrorists, if you goal is to save lives.

    Let’s keep in mind our government had intelligence that led them to the 9/11 plot and they did nothing… what makes you think collecting more evidence that will also go unnoticed will do any good? Humans are not good at looking at risk, 9/11 was an anomaly, a once in a generation event. No human or govt. agency could accurately predict that, just like Black Tuesday in 87′ or the current credit crisis; we collect mountains of intelligence data and little of it has value and we missed the big one buried in the haystack, it will happen again. While we are focusing on airports and slick new drivers licenses, the bad guys we so desperately fear are discovering new holes we haven’t even noticed. Besides, a little education for the non-technical… if the terrorists KNOW we are monitoring phone calls why would they use the phone! Just get on any number of Instant Messenger clients and have an encrypted conversation… or send an encrypted email, Al Queda operatives have been using steganography (information hidden in pictures or music) for years!

    The lesson to consider is this… Elliot Spitzer. How did Elliot Spitzer’s little tryst get discovered? Terrorist surveillance. A post 9/11 banking transaction act that requires banks to report suspicious transactions to catch terrorists was used to catch a governor and a prostitute… wow, money well spent huh? Any one of us could be at the wrong end of a warrantless FISA wire-tap and if you even make a bad joke you could be buried in legal bills facing a federal prosecution. Is that the country we want to live in? Do we really want to start a telecommunications arms race where all voice traffic becomes encrypted and covert over the internet?

    Tim and others here are dead on… this has NOTHING to do with partisan politics… leave your labels and party cards at the door. This is about our rights and the Constitution a few wise men who were willing to live with a price on their heads from King George gave to us to protect and we are doing our best to throw it away day by day.

  44. OK gang. We do have a surveillance bill. The Prez decided he and his were above the law on this ( like so many other things they have and do ).

    The original bill allowed wiretapping as needed without permission up to 72 hours. Sorry Mr Gov’t man, you have to have permission. Someone else in gov’t has to know what you are doing. It is called checks and balances.

    So let’s say you’re going to blow the whistle on politization of the DOJ, or lack of inspections for food or aircraft. Maybe vote rigging ( hey I’m from Ohio it’s a sore spot ). Maybe you have insider info on a terror attack that the gov’t isn’t letting out or maybe the potential invasion of a allied foreign country by another country. Maybe someone doesn’t agree with your presidential position on invasion and outs your wife as a CIA operative and gets ab bunch of her contacts killed overseas. If someone in gov’t “thinks” you might let the cat out of the bag then you’re on a tap before or after. Whenever they want however long they want and you’ll never know what they heard. And they can use it against you and never share it with you or your attorneys. Do you see the potential for abuse of power here, today.

    If you never thought someone in the presidency would abuse the public trust, or will in the future, you must be dreaming. I grew up during the Vietnam War, I was 18 years old for Watergate, these guys served in the Republican machine then.

    The Presidency in not a monarchy. The Administrative Branch is not royalty beyond reproach or questioning by or for the people.

    There must be checks and balances between all three branches of gov’t.

    Comments…bring ’em. I’m merely a member of John Q. Public.

    PS Don’t say bad things abot Elsberg. He is a patriot.

    He saw the wrong thing and did the right thing.

  45. Hi All,

    Thank you for the comments. If possible, please focus on the problem and not the commenters. Attack the logic first.

    @Tim O’Keefe and all

    This is not a veiled endorsement of Obama. In fact, I’m disgusted by Obama’s waffling on this issue. That’s why I put the following in the above post:

    “I would love to give online Facebook-like groups for all Republicans, especially McCain, and Democrats who originally opposed the bill, but Obama is the only Senator I can find with a group to join specifically related this FISA bill.”

    Obama has a simple platform for making your disagreement known, and joining his site temporarily doesn’t require donating or voting for him.

    Obama has lost a ton of credibility with this move, as far as I’m concerned, and his social network just allows me to tell him so.

    Democrat or Republican, I don’t trust politicians to protect our greater good without legislation that punishes abuses of power. The 4th amendment is a crucial shield for citizens against such abuses.

    All the best,

    Tim

  46. @Tony.

    Hey Buddy. I agree with everything you said. As you would or should have seen from my comment above the one directed at you. I called Tim a patriot. I’m a Ron paul supporter.

    I just don’t like the way you equated lives lost in peanut butter etc. in comparison to terrorism. It simplfies the issue and discounts all the other issues that terrorism creates or qualities it helps bring out in human nature.

  47. Thanks for the information and the great video. I am a huge fan and I have no problems with you passing on information that is useful and effects all of us in our daily lives.

  48. Wired has an article about how people are using the Internet to campaign about this: http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/07/online-activist.html

    We need to join the dots. See the graphic in this Wikileaks article: http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/On_the_take_and_loving_it

    then read the article. Then find the BBC article entitled “Biometrics picks up the penguins” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7475654.stm

    then this Mainichi Daily News one about “Cigarette vending machines with face-recognition technology approved” http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20080705p2a00m0na015000c.html

    Just used to track penguins. And prevent minors from buying cigarettes. Sure.

  49. @Doug

    “As you do in the book, I challenge you to interview someone that is a supporter of these laws and then post that interview. A little balance I think is due unless you want to be lumped in with dailykos lefties.”

    Tim, that sounds like fantastic advice, I’m interested to see if you really do this…I bought three copies of your book and sent them to friends…please tell me I didn’t fall for a line of slick marketing, which I then shared with friends, touting it as a “fantastic read with great real world examples of success following the ideas outlined”, only to find out from your blog that you yourself don’t follow the advice in your book.

    I do want to add that I admire you for posting your views. I may not agree with those views, but it is very admirable that you were not afraid of potentially alienating your market for something that you believe in (and it is obvious by the numbers of individuals showing their support that this was a risk that was rewarded). I think healthy debate is very important on all topics from all sides, I have little problem respectfully disagreeing with someone and I’m glad to see that you did take the risk of mixing in a political issue that you are passionate about on your blog. I do want to reiterate though, that I think Doug’s post makes some very valid points and I do hope you take the a similar risk once again and post an interview exploring the other side of the issue.

  50. HEY RICHARD KEENE, YOU DONT NEED TO TYPE IN ALL CAPS haha

    And why you are wrong:

    First, the crude oil market is global. Oil companies sell all over the world. The price of crude is established by global supply and demand. So even if 3 million additional barrels a day could be extruded from lands and seabeds of the United States (that sum is the most optimistic figure, after all exploration is done), that sum is tiny compared to 86 million barrels now produced around the world. In other words, even under the best circumstances, the price to American consumers would hardly budge.

    Second, whatever impact such drilling might have would occur far in the future anyway. Oil isn’t just waiting there to be pumped out of the earth. Exploration takes time. Erecting drilling equipment takes time. Getting the oil out takes time. Turning crude into various oil products takes time. According the the federal energy agency, if we opening drilling where drilling is now banned, there’d be no significant impact on domestic crude and natural gas production until 2030.

    Third, oil companies already hold a significant number of leases on federal lands and offshore seabeds where they are now allowed to drill, and which they have not yet fully explored. Why then would they seek more drilling rights? Because they want more leases now, when the Bushies are still in office. Ownership of these parcels would serve to to pump up their balance sheets even if no oil is pumped.

    Last but by no means least, environmental risks are still significant

  51. I did call my senators, I am glad I switched to throwaway phones I can use different phone each week or each month… I Love my privacy 🙂

  52. To the partisan posters: please check your agendas at the door.

    The FISA issue is real and it is the subject of concern for many people of various party affiliations– both left and right.

    By all means, look into the issue and educate yourselves. But know this: There is precious little time.

  53. HEY, ABAYBAY,, I TYPE IN CAPS SO I CAN READ WHAT I TYPE SINCE I[M HALF BLIND. AND AS FAR AS ME BEING WRONG, I DIDN’T GIVE THE SPEECH, YOU SHOULD ADDRESS YOUR CORRECTIONS TO THE PERSON THAT GAVE THE SPEECH..I PERSONALLY BELIEVE HIM BECAUSE WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS GOVERNMENT ARE CRIMES OF TREASON PUNISHABLE BY DEATH , THOSE ARE MY OPINIONS AND I WILL STICK BY THEM!

  54. Tim,

    Thanks for posting this.

    The problem here is not republicans/democrats or left vs. right, as you have correctly pointed out.

    The problem is the idea of government itself.

    Government is simply rule by force, or rule by violence. Taxes are collected at the point of a gun.

    The United States was a great idea in the late 1700’s. However, I think we can safely say that the constitution has not restrained the government much at all! It seemed to work well until around the civil war, and then everything broke down in 1913 when we got the Federal Reserve and Income Tax. Now out government owes $9.5 trillion and is on the brink of an economic meltdown.

    Can you honestly say you need government to do what you are doing? What would your life be like if government disappeared tomorrow?

    We as a society have to move past the idea that we cannot be sovereign individuals, and that somehow these people that “represent” us know better.

    Clearly, that has not worked out, otherwise, we would not be dealing with massively horrendous issues like FISA.

    Cheers,

    Kevin

  55. The Telecomm eavesdropping was done at Central Offices in the downtown sections of major cities and not at the point where international communications voice/data leave the contenental US of A. So the intent is to monitor ALL communications inter and intra not just that which is going to a foreign country or entity. Orwell’s writings are not based on fiction! The Constitution of the United States of America is over as far as our Federal Selected Officials are concerned. And the sheep say Baaa Baaaa Baaaa!

  56. let us not quibble over details and some discrepancies with the Executive office – these thiings happen in War. Let us rather huddle together and pray that if we join and increase our efforts the War on Terror will become even half as successful as our War on Drugs.

    Move on folks …..

  57. Watching C-Span. Looks like it’s going to pass and the amendments that protect are civil liberties are rejected. Kit Bond from Missouri shame on you.

    What do we do now?

  58. FISA, yet another infringement on our rights by the gov’t. Add it to the ever-growing list of violations:

    They violate the 1st Amendment by opening mail, caging demonstrators and banning books like “America Deceived” from Amazon.

    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns during Katrina.

    They violate the 4th Amendment by conducting warrant-less wiretaps.

    They violate the 5th and 6th Amendment by suspending habeas corpus.

    They violate the 8th Amendment by torturing.

    They violate the entire Constitution by starting 2 illegal wars based on lies and on behalf of a foriegn gov’t.

    Support Dr. Ron Paul and save this great country.

    Last link (unless Google Books caves to the gov’t and drops the title):

    http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-38523-0

  59. Tim,

    I’m not at all surprised that it passed and I’m not at all surprised that the so called “change” candidate “changed” his position on this. The bottom line is that this country was lost to us years ago. It really isn’t partisan. The sad fact is that there is no difference between the parties. Not in practice anyway.

    My plan is to spend more and more time out of country… Argentina, for example.

  60. I find it humorous that it is the republican party, that based on minimal government and individual liberties, who would support this bill with lines like “if you’re not a terrorist, you need not worry.”

    Cory Doctorow’s book “Little Brother” is a timely update to the “1984”/”Fahrenheit 451″ dystopian view on what *could* happen when a government gives up liberty for “security”. It is an enjoyable read, but do not lose sight of the fact that it, along with the classics it is associated with, are fiction. While I consider this new law a severe erosion of personal liberties and enables the wanton violation of our rights as Americans and humans, also remember that not everyone in TLAs (three-letter-agencies) are Out to Get You, or that they care about your idle chit-chat. We (citizens of the US and the world) outnumber them, no matter how advanced their automation systems might be. I just hope the Supreme Court is not so easily swayed, and we see this legislation overturned. (See also: reasons to NOT elect the members of your court.)

  61. Well, unfortunately it passed. Thanks everyone who wrote and called their congressmen. We’ve lost this battle, but it is time to start winning the war for the ‘hearts and minds’ and start making people aware of the cost to their freedom of this legislation.

    I am starting a campaign to chalk the sidewalk outside all telephone company facilities with the phrase ‘domestic wiretapping center’. Any time someone passes the facility they’ll be reminded that their constitutional rights have been curtailed. It is time we all participated in raising awareness that our freedom is being legislated away.

    http://domesticwiretapping.blogspot.com/2008/07/domestic-wiretapping-center-campaign.html

  62. Tim: I praise your courage. We’ve lost this round, but the Framers’ dream isn’t dead, no matter how much Obama and Bush/McCain want to kill it. Keep fighting.

    Though for the nonce, we’re screwed. 🙂

  63. Tim-

    The bill passed. Do you predict a steady and long decline into something more akin to the U.S.S.R? Should we start thinking about a permanent relocation to another country over the next few years? How serious do you think this is?

    This stuff is just going to continue. There’s an old saying in TX, maybe they have it in TN, but I know it’s in TX. It goes, fool me… fool me once, shame on,.. shame on you… umm.. fool .. fool me.. um…

    Basically, you can’t get fooled again.

  64. gobytrain wrote: “How depressing. Why Obama? WHY???”

    Obviously, like all pols, Obama is simply doing what he’s told by the people who really run the country (and not just your country). This has always been so, it’s only now that more and more people are waking up to it. Can we wake up in time and take action? Will we create the kind of freedom envisioned by folks like Thomas Paine, or will it be the ant colonies of the 21st century?

  65. I find it ironic that Republicans contend that they’re all for civil liberties (right to bear arms, too much government intrusion into daily life, etc), but there wasn’t a single Republican to vote against this bill. What a joke.

    I gave Obama passes on the Wright thing, the ties to the Chicago slumlord, all of that. It didn’t really matter; he’s running for president of the United States, not President of my high school class. But this is ridiculous. This move had politics (rather than pragmatism) written all over it. Pretty damn disappointing.

  66. Also, interesting that John McCain sat this one out. Which candidate were they harassing for sitting out of a lot of votes?

  67. Good Saturday morning to all…

    I did contact my Ohio Senators offices directly by phone.

    Sherrod Brown voted nay. G Voinovich voted in favor.

    I also contacted Obama’s offices and received the following reply.

    Sorry if the length of this message offends anyone ,

    but I feel it is important to give the man his space as well.

    It is the entire message I rcvd from Obama for America’s email:

    We appreciate hearing from you.

    Sincerely,

    Obama for America,

    Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.

    That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past.

    After months of negotiation, the House passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year’s Protect America Act. Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President’s illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance – making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future.

    It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I voted in the Senate three times to remove this provision so that we could seek full accountability for past offenses. Unfortunately, these attempts were unsuccessful. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

    It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives – and the liberty – of the American people.

    ———————-

    Paid for by Obama for America

    I hope this answers some questions posed here. tr

  68. Tim,

    I hope it doesn’t just stop here. I hope you use some of these intelligent ideas you have to get yourself more involved in what’s happening to our country.

    Things you need to learn about:

    1. The Coming Economic Collapse–the destruction of the dollar.

    2. The End of the Internet

    3. The Fed’s Power Grab–they grabbed more this week!

    4. The End of America’s Sovereignty

    5. War with Iran

    Folks, you can no longer bury your head in the sand and say, “I don’t do politics!” There are things happening that need your attention. No matter where you stand, left or right, you need to understand what is happening to our country. The snowball is peaking, hitting top speed, it’s huge now and it’s about to wipe out your grandma, siblings, friends.

    These are NOT conspiracy theories–intelligent, sophisticated, experienced people have spoken out and have taken a stand… it’s about time you did!!!

  69. TIm and @Tom Roberts

    The reason I did not like TIm’s post as I mentioned above is that such an important issue is not simply understood in your brief “awakening” you have had in the past few weeks.

    It would as the comments clearly illustrate could only get an AMEN! from the Choir, or get a few dissenters.

    I dissent because the argument that you put forth was disingenous in my opinion. To bring on a partisan career politician as your posterboy to get us to go against FISA was naive. You simply sung to to the koolaid drinking choir.

    It could not influence anyone other than who was was already influenced.

    Why didn’t your guest mention Clintons giant intrusion into privacy after Oklahom City? I can only guess because Clinton was his guy. Why didn’t you look into this?

    I have always thought of FISA myself as just a continuation and escalation of the Clinton policy. And when the dilligent researches this they can see that much of Bushs foreign policy came from pre-ordained policies that were on the books in the State dept. since Clinton and before.

    To point to FISA as the posterchild issue of an intrusion into our Privacy and the loss of the American dream as many are implying is naive. If for the only reason is that it is nothing new. Eschelon has been around forever as an example.

    Disengenous.And where were all the concerned citizens 12 years ago?

    So your argument instead of fully exploring the issue merely served to do what all politics does these days -polarize without informing. While we never get the real truth, just the speakers truth. As a conservative I would have loved to hear both sides. Not the spin, but both sides. I do believe that FISA is a big concern. However, I cannot trust the argument when it is so thin as presented here. And that is a shame, as I would have like to have.

    I have no problem and applaude when people like yourself attempt to discuss issues of the day. I was very excited to see a non politico like yourself discuss this. But it is always dissapointing when the presenter trolls the surface. That is what our journalists do today and is half the problem. As I said above, I believe you probably investigated your last trip around the world more than you did this issue.

    Tom the above reply by Obama is just another politicians dribbling from the mouth. Yah “change we can believe in” sounds like more of the same greasy dribble from a used car salesman. I would have loved to see this general election reply vs his primary reply. I bet the latter was less of an attempt of having both sides of hte waffle.

    Your guest in my opinion and many in the commentary used the FISA issue to get a plug in for Obama (again did anyone write MCCain? He carries much more weight in the Senate than the rookie Senator Obama).

    It is easy to test ones ideals against their politics when comparing reactions to our current President vs the last one. Same policies in many ways. Heck even some of the speaches were Xerox copies. But very unique responses depending on the choice of Koolaid.

  70. Hear, hear, Tim O’Keefe.

    Excellent points. It also hides the fact that UNofficial condoning of warrantless syping and wiretapping has been going on since at least WWII. However, is that an excuse for doing nothing? I see Tim Ferriss’ post as being that of someone who has just started to wake up (and who may now be regretting his decision to hand over all his important details so as to skip airport lines. As such, I’d cut him a break, but Tim O’Keefe’s points are right on. George Carlin got it: “Forget the politicians. The politicans are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t.” And if Bill Clinton is your hero, check out who was reponsible for requiring US drivers to be fingerprinted before they can get their licence renewed (and do you really think it will stop at fingerprinting? (Watch this video of Alex Jones getting arrested for refusing to be fingerprinted). Within weeks of Clinton being elected president in 1992, the head of the Federal Reserve told him what he had to do – which was the opposite of what he had promised in his campaign. (See this BBC documentary, 31:30 mins in). Obama is just doing what he’s told, like they all do.

  71. There’s a book called The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot by Naomi Wolf. It’s a little one sided but makes some interesting points.

  72. Hey Tim,

    I would advise you to look into market anarchism – the theory that government functions can be provided voluntarily by the market. I’m convinced that market anarchy is the most rational and just form of society.

    Here’s a good intro article:

    http://lewrockwell.com/orig6/molyneux4.html

    I’m also convinced that I can prove MA to be true in a structured debate. Give me a shout if you’re interested.

  73. 70 years old USMC geeze here + the modest credentials of working in Saudi Arabia for 14 years. Semper Fi, peeps. Although my memory is fading into the ether, I think I will never forget to my last breath… My own eyes… airplanes crashing into those buildings in NYC. My logic may be slightly garbled but I opine that had YOU, ANY OF YOU COMMENTERS…you PERSONALLY… Had you been in the World Trade Center, you would have fervently wished that our Gov had been listening and paying attention to any and all communications among those muslim ***holes. When I was living in Jeddah, [Saudi Arabia] we heard threats from Osama Bin Laden. [1993 or 4 as I recall] I wrote a “Dear All” to my relatives and friends about him and his threat… and then promptly never mentioned him again. Just another boob who didnt connect any dots. I believe I have some insights into the Arab/Muslim mind. They believe what they believe and “it’s in the Koran” is what they say in the face of irrefutable logic and facts otherwise. I do not know what to tell you. Your generation will face these ***holes forever and if you libs [I believe] will quickly abandon your fear of OUR gov when the bomb is planted on YOUR doorstep. Best wishes from one who has lived his life in the most frivolous of times. [Except for Viet Nam which was a b**tch, of course]

  74. Hi Tim —

    I like being safe from terrorists. When Islamists announce they want to kill us all, I take them at their word.

    I’m much more concerned with creeping nanny-stateism. I’m especially concerned with the effort to ban supplements that keep me fit, healthy, and happy.

    How funny your brit blogger says he’s glad he lives in the UK, not the US. The gov there now proposes reporting to Big Brother toddlers who don’t like foreign food, as this indicates they’re budding racists.

    Thanks for your inspiring book!

  75. toes192: “I believe I have some insights into the Arab/Muslim mind. They believe what they believe and “it’s in the Koran” is what they say in the face of irrefutable logic and facts otherwise.”

    Couldn’t this exact same thing be said about the American Christians, Neo-Cons, or even the left wingnut politically correct crowd?!?!?!

    I respect that you were a Marine, but believe me, that does NOT make you an expert in Arab/Muslim sociology!!!

    I would expect you to understand why THEY HATE US, since you were stationed on their land and wearing a military uniform.

    Hmmm, how would you feel if the Chinese built a base down the street from your house??? I’ll bet pretty pissed, and you might even consider joining a militia just like our ancestors did against the British, right?

    Why are we American such hypocrites? Is it a deformity or something in the water???