mlah The “culture” that has evolved here isn’t conducive to sissies

May 21, 2006


Filed under: Politics — mlah @ 4:55 pm

Moonbatty is up in arms. not that unusual really. she doesn’t fly off the handle that easily, but she does go off on a rant every once in a while about a perceived threat.

the flavor of the week is the ‘wire tapping’ being done by the nsa.

a little background.

as i understand it, by what has been released in the news. the nsa is alleged to have a database of telephone calls made in the us. ie, they have a record of every phone number that you have dialed. and every phone number that has dialed you. this includes foreign numbers calling in and out of the us.

let’s understand a couple of things. this database is alleged to exist. as in somebody says it does, but there is no confirmation. second, if the database does in fact exist, there is nothing yet to say how it was obtained, legally, or illegally.

hippies on the left are screaming big brother right now. not just moonbatty. big brother is watching you! what a horrible infringement this is on our freedoms!

perceived infringement, which may have been done legally in an effort to make us safer.

are they listening to us? sheez. there is a classic problem in computer science when first year students get to ‘arrays’. one student, one in every class will create an array and define it’s parameters as a meg by a meg…… by a meg. that’s a million, by a million, by a million. one more time. it’s 10**6 by 10**6 by 10**6. yeah, that student has unwittingly just ‘reserved 10**18 worth of space on his computer. what is that? a million terabytes? it’s easy to consume huge amounts of memory very rapidly if you aren’t thinking about what you’re doing.

are they listening to us? did you read the compsci stuff up there? how many phones are there in the us? i have two. how much air time does each person generate daily? or more to the point how many total seconds of phone conversations are there every day?

now the standard mp3 file consumes around 5Mb for a few minutes long song. at 128 bit/sec. let’s call it a Mb per minute, just to make the math easy.

i use cingular for my cellphone. i have some 1000 minutes a month, of which i use hardly any. but that seems to be a number they think they can sell. and certainly there are people who exceed that amount. so i’m just going to guess 1000 minutes a month. per phone. further guessing, roughly 300 million people in the us? not everyone is using a phone. there are lots of kids after all. say 100 million people are phone users? 150 million? that’s 150 million times 1000 minutes. 150 billion minutes monthly. using 1 Mb per minute?

150 billion Mb, or 150**9 Mb or 150**3 Tb. 150000TB of data to record our phone calls per month. where is the database big enough to hold all of this data? where is the f’n building that holds it? oh wait, the basement at the nsa probably could.

this is just looking at the hardware to hold the voice data. this says nothing about the people required to manage the db, to collect the data. the pipes necesary to move the data to a central location, and then how many millions of people to transcribe and analyze this data? how many MILLIONS od people to analyze it?
talk about paranoid vanity. they’re out there listening to ME! let em listen to me. i don’t care. they’re going to hear me order a pizza? hear me talk to blondie about her sending me some more pics? go for it…..

if anyone out there even has the tinyest notion in their paranoid little mind that the nsa is harvesting all of our phone calls and are listening to all of us, get an f’n GRIP!

this post isn’t really about collection though. i made a couple of comments on her post, which turned into fodder for a lefties. and it kind of surprised me, but after i began to think about why my caveated statement got ripped to shreds, i’ve come to some new conclusions about patriotism.

i’ve heard liberals patriotism questioned in so many places. and i’ve heard liberals decry that questioning. i’ll spare you the argument about how liberals like to ‘just ask the question’ until a question is aimed at them. and i haven’t really given too much thought about ‘why’ liberals patriotism has been questioned in the past.

personal experience forbids me from ascribing plain cowardice to liberals. althought it is fun to say and watch them lose their minds. i knew a lot of liberals in the armed forces, though outnumbered. has to be something in their speech.

so we come to it.

while arguing about the phone tapping (which has never been alleged) i made the statement on moonbatty’s post

No, it is not important to protect the privacy of terrorists. EVER. It is only important to not trudge on the privacy of people you do not know for sure are terrorists, because they are innocent.

it is only important to protect the privacy of the innocent. the privacy of the terrorists is fair to be sodden at every opportunity. terrorists, criminals, insurgents, enemies, they can all be f’d.

now, notice the nice caveat i placed in there. i was sure to specify that the rights of “people you do not know for sure are terrorists” are to be protected. but even then some people fired away.
i had a couple of mild broadsides from people i can respect their judgements. but one commenter, i won’t give away who he comments as, but the initials for his comments are ‘Jeremy’ somehow interpreted the above statements to be me claiming to be all knowing.

It gives me a headache when you talk about protecting the rights of the innocent, but then claiming omniscience about who’s a terrorist

i’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that the patriotism of liberals is being doubted in the public sphere because of the words they use. not too many people would question my patriotism. a lot of leftied would question my methods. but i don’t think very many would really believe i had the best interests of a foreign power in mind. it’s a point of view thing.
but statements like

The difference between you and me is that you appear to defer to the gov’t when lacking info, whereas I go the opposite way. Every leak is a confirmation of what I’ve believed


It is important to protect the privacy of terrorists

start to make me wonder.

i said it because i meant it. it is never obligatory for us to protect the right to privacy of terrorists. it is not mandatory to protect terrorists in any way really. no i did not miss there point. i merely unserstand the english language and realize that a person who is not guilty is not a terrorist, and believing in the constitution (patriotism there) i know that a person is innocent until proven guilty. therefore, a terrorist is someone proven guilty. but for some reason, lefties doubt the process. when we say terrorist, they still want to protect their rights, irrespective of their status.
those of you who think the rights of terrorists have to be protected……

yeah, i AM doubting your patriotism. i’m doubting your belief in the system of law. someone who is deliberatly trying to destroy the us, convicted, and you feel their privacy is sacrosanct?

oh, sleep tight tonight you chicken littles. the nsa has listening booms posted on top of every single cell tower repeater station in the world. phone calls? NO! they’re listening to your conversations! ALL of them! EVERYWHERE!

you won’t see me losing any rest


  1. Let’s just all get it over with, and hug the damned terrorists. After all, isn’t that what the libbies want? Hug’em, give’m more rights than we have, give’m welfare, give’m citizenship…hell, let’s make one President. Pfffttt.

    Comment by Madame Butterfly — May 21, 2006 @ 6:39 pm

  2. MB, was that a slight bit ‘o sarcasm? Because, you know, the Leftists believe that W is the world’s ultimate terrorist…….

    Comment by yup — May 22, 2006 @ 2:27 am

  3. mlah,

    If you believe in the Constitution and the rule of law, would you assert that the President’s NSA program is illegal in light of an explicit prohibition pursuant to FISA? I do.

    Just wondering is all.

    Comment by geek — May 23, 2006 @ 9:23 pm

  4. I am talking about warrantless surveillance. I think any legal liability involved with the phone records involves the telco companies and not the government. Sorry.

    Comment by geek — May 23, 2006 @ 9:24 pm

  5. from what i’ve read, and i’m not a lawyer, the patriot act gave the administration some latitude to conduct surveillance without a warrant.

    especially as the only conversations being monitored definitely involved an out of country person on one end. i know it’s not proof of being a jihadi, but it’s a definite starting point.

    constitution and the rule of law are not necesarily one and the same. if fisa encroaches on rights guaranteed to the executive branch by the constitution, the president is not bounf to follow the law. in fact he is obligated to break it. as a society, it is incumbent on use to break, and have thrown out, laws that are against the constitution.

    i have no problem with any of the surveillance being done personally.

    Comment by mlah — May 23, 2006 @ 9:51 pm

  6. Mlah,

    You are correct about the latitude regarding warrantless surveillance. There is a 72 hour window. I’ll agree on the international nature as well. My sense is that FISA is pretty broad in those senses (I’m no lawyer either…I just play one on the internet).

    I would say that your paragraph comparing the Constitution and the rule of law is not too far off of my views, although I do have a question?

    Are you suggesting that a President has a duty to ignore what the President views as an unconstitutional law regardless of whether or not the SCOTUS has ruled on the issue?

    This is a key component of a theory of constitutional interpretation known as “coordinate construction”, which is primarily, if not exclusively, embraced by conservative legal scholars, etc (i.e. the Founders of the Federalist Society). It’s not mainstream but I don’t think it’s too far off the charts so to speak (I don’t think my views are mainstream either).

    The last argument in my blog focuses, albeit briefly and indirectly on coordinate construction without mentioning it by name.

    My views on the surveillance are a bit mixed, outside of the issues I present elsewhere.

    Comment by Geek — May 24, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

  7. conlaw geek. i’m not so sure i’d say that the president is required to disobey laws he deems unconstitutional, and that SCOTUS has ruled is constitutional.

    but, it may come to that.

    i find it humorous that the left brays at the moon when they think the presidency has been ‘hijacked’ by a tyrant. for some reason they think that one branch of government is susceptable to seizure by someone not loyal to the republic. somehow, they feel, or have just never contemplated, the those two branches of the govt becoming corrupted.

    our govt is more and more lookming like it has no interest in the the people anymore

    Comment by mlah — May 24, 2006 @ 10:11 pm

  8. Geek, you are automatically ascribing illegal actions to the particular NSA program you call “warrantless surveillance.” Now, since a search warrant issued by a US court is not valid outside the jurisdictional limits of the US, we can pretty much agree that there is no need for a warrant to surveille targets outside the US. If that surveillance shows a target outside the US interacting with a suspect inside the US, then there is still no law/Constitutional right being broken. If the NSA decides to further investigate the suspect who is inside the US, based on suspect’s interactions with target, then that is a different matter.

    For surveillance of suspect (who is inside US jurisdictional limits), there is need to identify what sort of operation it is. Is it law enforcement, or is it a military operation? Because, as MSM and every screeming mimi out there is clamoring on about, if it is a law enforcement operation, there must be a warrant, per 18USC and the Fourth Amendment. However, if it is a military operation, FISA specifically authorizes the Executive to tap phone lines without a warrant persuant to 50USC Ch36. This wiretap authority can be exercised for up to one year before requiring a warrant to continue. All that needs be done is that the Executive notify the respective Congressional oversight committees (which in practice means the chairmen and senior opposition members, and courtesy copy to the leaders of each chamber).

    AUMF specifically, and for the first time, gave legislative sanction to the use of military force against terrorists. Prior to that, terrorists were considered subject to law enforcement action, and were not recognized as agents of a foreign power subject to warrantless monitoring under 50USC Ch36. However, AUMF created a legislative condition where terrorists were elevated to the status of agents of a foreign power subject to all aspects of military endeavor. Congress is acting so upset right now because the AUMF did not specifically spell out this change in status, and they are worried that they could be called to carpet for additional de facto changes they may legislate into existence; it’s a power struggle between the Executive and Legislative at its most basic. However, de facto status change was nonetheless legislated into existence.

    I seriously doubt the Congress is willing to take this to SCOTUS, because there is every indication (based on past adjudication, especially in the 2002 FISCourt of Review ruling so oft cited by both sides of the issue) that they will lose, that the Presidential powers will be upheld, and that they will be faced with a loss of status and prestige. (Can you see now why Denny Hastert is so up in arms about the FBI seizing papers from Congressman Jefferson’s office.)

    Npw, do you call the Long War, formerly known as the Global War on Terror, a law enforcement operation, or a military operation? Because that should inform your classification of this “warrantless surveillance” activity.

    Comment by yup — May 25, 2006 @ 5:42 am

  9. Mlah,

    I also find it a bit hypocritical to hear suggestions about Executive Supremacy yet people seem to be perfectly comfortable with the idea of Congressional supremacy. I’m not sure anything will come around that has done more to impede on our personal liberties than the New Deal.

    We may take slightly different paths but I think we get to the same place.

    BTW to Yup, I did post a response to your post on my blog. I’ll try to put it up here.

    Comment by The Geek — May 26, 2006 @ 9:39 pm

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