You Have No Privacy Anywhere: Administration Pushes Forward With Domestic Spy Satellite Program

from the don't-mind-us... dept

While everyone's arguing over the legality of warrantless wiretaps, it looks like the administration and the Department of Homeland Security have moved on to even bigger fish: using spy satellites to spy more thoroughly throughout the US. For rather obvious reasons, this has many folks concerned. The government has shown a decided lack of ability to "stick to the rules" when it comes on domestic spying programs, and given what some of these spy satellites can do, it has people concerned about why the US is using such military hardware, normally reserved to spy on enemy countries, to spy on our own citizens. Somehow, DHS boss Michael Chertoff's response to his critics isn't particularly reassuring:
"There is no basis to suggest that this process is in any way insufficient to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans... I think we've fully addressed anybody's concerns. I think the way is now clear to stand it up and go warm on it."
To translate: "You should trust us, because we're trustworthy people who would never do anything wrong (please ignore all we've done wrong over the past few years). So, now that that's settled, let's get this baby rolling..."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 7:11pm

    Why do they need it?

    Honestly, they can't even explain why they need it outside of two sentences. At least so far, you can break their reasoning into a few words:

    "Because we can."


    There is literally no reason do this except in extreame situations (Waco type situations).

     

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  2.  
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    charlie potatoes, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 7:16pm

    because we can

    Robert Graves quotes the new Emperor Claudius, speaking to the Senate... "I shall do nothing unconstitutional... My family has run this empire since you so spinelessly handed it over to us." (read G.W.Bush and Co.) I hope you sorry fuckers who voted for him the second time are god damned happy.

     

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  3.  
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    Greg Smith, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 7:31pm

    Small Steps...

    This is just another small step in the destruction of our civil liberties and America itsself. People need to stop wasting all their time watching shit tv like american idol and start paying attention to the things our government are doing before we completely lose our ability to voice our disapproval. I highly recommend all people go to www.zeitgeistmovie.com and take about a 2 hour reality slap in the face to get a decent overall view into the things that are about to happen to us all.

     

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  4.  
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    Jake, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 7:36pm

    I would be reluctantly okay with the use of satellite reconnaissance assets being used alongside wire-tapping, surveillance and other intelligence-gathering techniques with proper judicial oversight. But frankly, if the security services aren't certain enough that they're pursuing a valid lead to give sworn testimony to that effect, why the hell are they spending their finite and valuable time and resources on it?

     

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  5.  
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    Ryan S, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 7:36pm

    What happened to democracy?

    If the U.S. is a democracy, the people should have a voice. Would the majority of citizens in the country vote for this?

    Why do we let the government get away with whatever it wants?

     

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  6.  
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    Jack Ask, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 7:56pm

    Mindless mo-rons

    You bunch of stupid monkeys. Do you really think some NSA analyst will be look at or watching you? How big you must think and how great you must think you are. They have so much to do and watch that is important (oh, and your not) that watching you is the last thing they have time or reason to do. Sit back and listen to your mind numbing pundits and wackos talk. BTW even your Supreme Leader Clinton admits that movie is a lark.

     

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  7.  
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    Greg Smith, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 8:05pm

    Re: Mindless mo-rons

    Yea, your right the bill of rights and the constitution are overrated...seig heil!!!

     

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  8.  
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    Sal, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Mindless mo-rons

    So you wouldn't mind if I watched your every move, knew exactly where and what you spend your money on, what time you wake up, when you leave the house, what time you get home, and how much you jack off to your interweb pr0n?

    It's the idea that it can effect you, not if it actually will or not. I don't care how secure that information is in the government. All they should care about is collecting my tax and protecting me from outside threats.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Mindless mo-rons

     

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  10.  
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    Prevert Murdock, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Mindless mo-rons

    Jack, Jack, Jack. Please enable your web cam 24x7 and enable all of us to watch your every move. Won't it be so fun when we surprise you with those photos we took of you wiping your bum after you poop? Oh, and won't it be so fun when we surprise you with the screen snaps we took of you masturbating to that YouLube video of gay pr0n? Oh yes, we can surprise you with a wonderful collage of your greatest hits. Nothing to hide, right Jack?

     

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  11.  
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    El Salvador, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 8:53pm

    Re: Re: Mindless mo-rons

    Screw you! I don't want them collecting my taxes either. Why the hell should I pay for these spy programs that I didn't vote for? Why should I pay for a (p)resident that I didn't vote for? Tax the rich, they can afford it!

     

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  12.  
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    Cynic, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 9:28pm

    Well, they haven't addressed my concerns so I guess Chertoff is either stupid or lying.

     

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  13.  
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    Camera Man, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 9:48pm

    Re: Re: Mindless mo-rons

    That's a good idea. In fact Jack, I'll even pay for the cameras. Now since you apparently have nothing to hide, please go ahead and post your real ID and contact information so that I can get the ball rolling on this.

    Unless of course you're just another hypocritical fascist with your head so far up Bush's ass that you can see Chertoff's ankles.

     

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  14.  
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    Red Ghost, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 9:50pm

    No Privacy Anywhere , Domestic Spying , Asst. Issues.

    There are some points well taken above , and it saddens me that I am an American and I find that to often I ask what that means now . Domestic Spy Satellites , sure , Presidents get quote "Elected" un quote and in the last 2 Big One's it's as though no one even noticed when it was there for all to see . Hey my fellow Americans , I don't have a 141 IQ , but I can sure get some glimpses of what is real out here in our country . Yes , I vote always ,but ???.
    It is going to take real Heart, Spirit, and Balls for what most Human Beings know is Right to have any impact on it !

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 9:51pm

    Re:

    Well, they haven't addressed my concerns so I guess Chertoff is either stupid or lying.

    He's both. Smart liars aren't so easy to spot.

     

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  16.  
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    as usual mike is a moron, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 10:21pm

    all these satellites are doing exactly the same thing that the gov was doing before, which was in their constitutional purview - after all its all in the public domain - and as we all know we have NO RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mike, quit. Please. Every time i click a google-techdirt I pray its not one of yours, so that I might actually read something that isnt dreck.

     

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  17.  
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    evan, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 11:15pm

    w/e

    It's okay, I do all my bomb making inside anyways. Nothing to hide (that a satellite can see at least).

    I seriously don't get it. Maybe if we didn't parade our superiority complex around the world we wouldn't be so much of a target that we need to monitor our own citizens.

     

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  18.  
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    Clark, Apr 14th, 2008 @ 11:50pm

    Re: What happened to democracy?

    Actually, the US is not a democracy at the federal level. We are a republic, a nation that is ruled by elected representatives. They taught this in elementary school.

    Since we are nation ruled by indirect means, whatever the people say does not necessarily go, as is evident by many events and actions by the government over the years.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 12:11am

    Re:

    Mike, quit. Please. Every time i click a google-techdirt I pray its not one of yours, so that I might actually read something that isnt dreck.
    Well, moron, if you'd quit clicking those links and then reading the articles you wouldn't have that problem.

     

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  20.  
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    Paul`, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 12:11am

    Re: Mindless mo-rons

    Okay, you go back to watching Fox news and let people with half a brain talk about these things. I'm sure the new season of Survivor is about to start or something.

    It is the fact that they COULD be watching you that is the issue. Imagine if you let this continue and in 10 years time when you are sick of other people blindly choosing what is best for you. Try voice your opinion then and see how fast they throw you in a dark hole.

    They should make 1984 a book taught at all schools.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 12:19am

    I guess it's time to spell out offensive words with rocks in my back yard then, huh.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 12:38am

    Re: w/e

    It's okay, I do all my bomb making inside anyways. Nothing to hide (that a satellite can see at least).

    You'd be surprised what a spy bird with high resolution infrared imaging and penetrating radar can see inside a structure. Not only illegal activities but things like sexual practices as well. I'm sure most people wouldn't mind the cops passing such videos around amongst themselves, would they? Don't cops deserve free "reality" porn?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 4:31am

    When is enough, enough?

    1. The United States should not use spy satellites for crime prevention or resolution. We have domestic agencies (FBI) and local authorities for this. Civil liberties are at grave risk.

    2. If you are truly worried about the government watching your every move, you must be sending your Internet messages from a cave beside Bin Laden. You better take off your wrist watch, the government may be able to fire a laser beam from space into your right ear.

    3. Think of all the things that you do that track you already:
    a. Your credit / debit card / bank transactions
    b. Your tollway transponder in your vehicle / OnStar
    c. Cell Phone | movements, calls, and data usage
    d. Purchase rewards programs / airlines / Amazon / iTunes
    e. Internet usage, anonymous coward postings / chat sessions
    f. Travel plans / tickets / gas purchases

    4. Why-o-why would I even need to use a multi-billion dollar satellite to get your position, you've already given it to me. All the government needs to collect this is a warrant, which seem to come pretty easily. (sometimes they don't bother)

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Often attributed to Ben Franklin

    Interesting times.

     

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  24.  
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    AJ Barnes, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 4:53am

    Since when?

    Since when do you have a right to privacy when you walk on the street? And you probably don't even think you have an enemy who would cut your throat in a minute. From the Tongue Tied blog, here's the mentality you're up against...

    "So says a Saudi cleric:

    "The problem is that they want to open a debate on whether Islam is true or not, and on whether Judaism and Christianity are false or not. In other words, they want to open up everything for debate. Now they want to open up all issues for debate. That's it. It begins with freedom of thought, it continues with freedom of speech, and it ends up with freedom of belief. So where's the conspiracy? They say: Let's have freedom of thought in Islam...

    They say: I think, therefore I want to express my thoughts. I want to express myself, I want to talk and say, for example, that there are loopholes in Islam, or that Christianity is the truth. Then they will talk about freedom of belief, and say that anyone is entitled to believe in whatever he wants... If you want to become an apostate - go ahead. Fancy Buddhism? Leave Islam, and join Buddhism. No problem. That's what freedom of belief is all about. They want freedom of everything. What they want is very dangerous."

    So, make fun of the people trying to protect you. Keep smoking whatever you're smoking. The crazies will have you bowing to mecca soon enough...

     

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  25.  
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    Ferin, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 4:54am

    Dilemna

    I'm trying to decide, what would be more appropriate? A giant cock painted on my roof, or a giant middle finger?

     

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  26.  
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    AJ, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 5:13am

    Re: w/e

    Right on, brother evan. What business is it of ours that Saddam feed live people into plastic bottle shredders for fun? What right do we have to protect other people's freedom? Women over there are Chattel and I'm glad you're in the forefront of the movement to keep them that way. Chain them to the kitchen is what they deserve. Don't agree with the people in charge? Thanks evan for helping to send them to an early death as I agree with you that's what they deserve. Why, we're certainly benefitting from all that free oil we took. And our mean, evil, nasty leaders are only looking out for all the land we grab. Lets see... hmmm... well, I can't think of any, but I'm SURE you know all the places we've arrogantly stolen. So you're right. We have no business helping others with those silly things like freedom, free speech, right to elect your leaders, freedom of religion, freedom not to have your genatalia mutalated. In fact, I bet you and obama will just sit right on down with those lovely people and pass the joint and have all the problem solved in about two hours. Right on brother evan. Keep lighting them up and smoling them. It must be a beautiful world when you're stoned.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 6:04am

    Re: Re: Mindless mo-rons

    Sal, that is called stalking. It turns out you aren't the government and you are creepy. Please return to your mother's basement immediately, because your star wars action dolls miss you.

     

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  28.  
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    oregonnerd, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 6:30am

    domestic liberties

    Domestic wiretapping started in the late 60's. It's over 30 years since I had any kind of clearance; I can talk about it. I saw 3rd-party mentions wherever I was and whatever I was doing (I was 17 when I graduated from highschool in 1971). Sorry. Civil liberty is quite similar to the shadow-puppets of my childhood; what you see (like Plato's cave) is never what you get.
    --Glenn

     

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  29.  
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    Nasch, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: What happened to democracy?

    It depends on the definitions you use. What I was taught in elementary school (and is still true by some definitions) is that the US is a representative democracy. You can also call it a democratic republic. Or you can define democracy as direct democracy only, and say the US isn't a democracy, it's a republic. I don't care for that definition, but it's legitimate.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 10:24am

    WACO ? please, that's not extreme. it's extreme when you think your ways are more important that others and your way of living is the CORRECT way. we should be free. the constitution shouldn't protect the majority, it should protect the minority - those that don't think like you should be allowed to think and say what they want.

     

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  31.  
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    Teilo, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 5:20pm

    Re: because we can

    I hope that you seriously don't think that his opponent would have done anything differently. If you do, wow, that's just so naive.

    Honestly, as much as I despise the current administration (Calling him a spawn of satan would be too kind), I despise even more the "my party's different" attitude that most Bush haters exhibit. And if a Democrat wins, I will then despise all the "I told you so" Republicans with equal fervor.

    What a nation of sheep the country that I love has become.

     

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  32.  
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    King Albert, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 3:43pm

    Right Now

    For all the people concerned by the possibility that the government my be watching you with spy satellites I'll let
    you in on a HUGE secret.

    Go to the super-duper-ultra-top-secret website maps.google.com. Now stay with me because this is really technical. Type in your home address and click "Search Maps". Then click on "Satellite".

    OMFG! THEY'RE WATCHING YOU RIGHT NOW!! THE WHOLE INTERNETS CAN SEE YOUR DIRTY LAUNDRY IN YOUR BACKYARD!!!

    Idiots.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 6:08am

    Re: Right Now

    XXXX! THEY'RE WATCHING YOU RIGHT NOW!! THE WHOLE INTERNETS CAN SEE YOUR DIRTY LAUNDRY IN YOUR BACKYARD!!!
    Idiots.
    Talk about idiots, anyone who thinks Google Maps is anything similar in capability to a military spy satellite truly is an idiot. Probably the same kind of idiot who will someday burn in hell for writing what I replaced with XXXX in the quote.

     

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  34.  
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    Brandon Eubanks, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 12:04am

    Americans need to stand up

    The American people actually having an impact on what its government does requires either a working representative democracy, a republic, or some hybrid of the two. Neither of which do we currently have. I don't think the American people understand that the people who are supposed to represent them(what a joke right) at the state or national level, the people who OK the laws that govern us. They don't even read or comprehend all of the laws they vote on. Most of them only know narrowly do for the bills which a committee they are on is covering. Keep in mind many of these bills are thousands upon thousands of pages of legalese. The American people pay no attention to their government, so why should we be surprised when it comes to dominate the people instead of the other way around. Even our system of law(not necessarily justice) has become so out of touch with reality, and out of hand with its intricacy that you need a lawyer to understand which laws of the state you fall under(and how they apply to you). What's sad is that the majority of the public is so ill informed and not participatory because they're just busy just living their lives. Others would just rather be blissfully oblivious as to what is going on. Fellow Americans I hate to tell you this but your rights are gone, they've already been stripped it's just a matter of taking them away. Section 802 of the Patriot Act (a) Domestic Terrorism Defined--Section 2331 of title 18, United States Code, is amended-- (1) in paragraph (1)(B)(iii), by striking "by assassination or kidnapping" and inserting "by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping"' (2) in paragraph (3), by striking "and"; (3) in paragraph (4), by striking the period at the end and inserting "; and"; and (4) by adding at the end the following: "(5) the term 'domestic terrorism' means activities that-- (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended-- (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by imitmidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.". (b) Conforming Amendment--Section 3077(1) of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows: "(1) 'act of terrorism' means an act of domestic or international terrorism as defined in section 2331;" meaning if you break a law that could be construed as being harmful to another person(speeding) you could be detained under the Patriot Act. Held without trial, and without charges indefinately. You could be extraordinary renditioned to a country where torture is acceptable. You could have your communications monitored without judicial overview. You could have your house broke into and gone through without warrant and without judicial oversight(Sneek and Peek). If they do decide to prosecute you, you will be prosecuted in a military court of law, not a jury of your peers. The constitution will not protect you at all because the Patriot Act which was approved by your REPRESENTATIVES is an end run around the constitution. If you go out to demonstrate against your government don't be surprised that are arrested and your constitutional rights don't seem to exist. After all you were attempting to or it at least appeared you were attempting to influence the policy of the government by intimidation or coercion. As for spy satellites spying on you they'd have to really really want to pay attention to you, its really just another weapon in their arsenal.

     

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  35.  
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    Mischa, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Re: because we can

    Since "Bush and Co." are the only ones, as far as I'm aware, to walk all over our civil rights, I don't think it is naive to think someone else would be better.

    On the other hand, since Bush seems to have gotten away with it...

     

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  36.  
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    Teilo, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: because we can

    I rest my case. No knowledge of history.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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