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So what can we do about this as Americans?

Here are a few things:

* Call - don't email - call your representatives and express, politely, the fact that this kind of thing is Not OK. Writing a letter on paper is good too, apparently. Stop reading and do this now.

* Donate money to groups like the EFF.

* Volunteer with groups like the EFF.

* Use and support stuff like GPG.

* Don't bitch and moan about "woe is us, it's impossible". That only makes it easier for those who would deny us our rights.

* This will be a difficult, and quite likely drawn-out struggle. Don't give up. Keep working at it.

What would I be calling to tell them? That the government shouldn't be able to, through proper channels, obtain a warrant requesting specific named information regarding an investigation of a specific individual for things that violate US law?

If we disagree with the laws, ok: protest for legal reform. If we disagree with the things revealed by Snowden, ok: protest that. But what happened to Lavabit was the government behaving properly: they obtained a narrow warrant for specifically the data they needed as part of their investigation, they tried to work with Levison to fulfill the warrant, and only after days of being stonewalled did they escalate to ensure compliance.

It was at that point of escalation where they start to step outside the law and begin to act unlawfully and unprofessionally. They demand everyone play by the law, then the minute they find some push back, they stop playing by the law. But then they _are_ the law and they can do whatever they want. So let's not pretend they are anything but a bunch of unprofessional bullies who don't like being on the receiving end of their own game-play. Yes, they can do what they did. No, this 'justice' system is not interested in a fair trial. They can do basically anything and get away with it. Who holds the government to account? In the end people choose to believe the propaganda (land of the free, justice blah blah) so they can sleep easy at night. But it's all complete bullshit. And before and after power reigns.

Use GPG-encrypted email and decentralized services that won't put people like Levison in jeopardy on behalf of one of their users.

I don't think that getting agitated about the NSA spying is really going to help.

I think that there is a bigger problem with our democracy and, with so many people not voting anyway, it is about time that the people of people of the U.S. decided to not actually bother to vote, to not endorse the system and to effectively deliver a government that has no legitimacy.

Obviously this will let the 'bad guys in', but, with no popular mandate, will they be able to govern any better than someone like Ceausescu?

During the peak Bush years when the alternative was some hideous warmonger in the making like John Kerry, scores of do-gooding actors and celebrities were doing their hardest to get people to vote. As if voting and democracy would change anything. In America you need a compelling 'vote for RON' (re-open nominations) or a 'vote for nobody' type of campaign rather than these 'vote because your great-great-great-great-grandmother fought for your right to do so' schemes that actors etc. come up with. Clearly the people behind a successful 'vote for RON' campaign can have a political platform, a network and such like, so, if an illegitimate government exists then candidates can be found.

Start up mentality. Can it be applied to the problem in hand?

I'm really at a loss. I would say we could vote, but I seriously have visions of the first day of office where tapes of the kennedy assassination are shown in smoke filled rooms or something like that. So few keep their word when they take office, it seems impossible to pick the right candidate.

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