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> We can't fix this by working within the system. That's what the Church Committee tried to do. They failed. There is no reason to think their twenty-first century counterparts will not fail again.

So take it to the logical conclusion and disband the state completely.

Or more to the point, be intellectually honest, and argue for the thing you actually want, instead of disguising it with smoke and mirrors about the supposed "impossibility of oversight".

The Church Committee was actually brilliantly successful, if the Snowden leaks are any indication of their effect on NSA. Instead of simply breaking the law outright, they employ every possible trick in the book to get what they need while staying within the confines of the law. Never mind that those interpretations don't hew to what you think the law should be, they were trying very hard to stay within the lines.

Smoke and mirrors? That's rich. What is the definition of "impossibility of oversight," if not the knowledge that you can lie to Congress with impunity?

These agencies are running completely open-loop. They can't be reigned in by the rule of law, because the modern security state exempts them from it.

This is about emotion, not logical conclusions. Today, the number one threat to our freedom comes from the prospect of terrorist attacks on US soil. Even with this fact, we see endless complaints about the NSA. However, even the NSA's biggest critics can't answer simple questions about the supposed danger they pose:

  1. Cite a single example of an American citizen suffering
  any type of loss or damages resulting from the NSA's actions.

  2. Make the case for the US government unilaterally crippling
  or disarming it's signals intelligence capability.
I chalk it up to a bunch of tinfoil hat types and libertarians living in a fantasy world. When you look at the threats to freedom in the world today, the NSA falls at or near the very bottom of the list.

>Today, the number one threat to our freedom comes from the prospect of terrorist attacks on US soil.

This is only because of the actions the US government would certainly take in response, i.e. eliminate various freedoms that still remain.

(I wonder if it's appropriate to speak of 'freedom' anymore? Most of the stuff in the Bill of Rights seems more like revokable privileges at this point.)

> This is only because of the actions the US government would certainly take in response

Happy to see that you agree. To take your assertion a step further, the US government would likely take such action through the legislative branch, duly elected by US citizens. It is those citizens who would demand that legislators take action.

To some extent, the US government does merely reflect the paranoia and action-at-any-cost attitude of its citizens, as it, and they, go about their daily business of paying mere lip service to freedom and little else. They're also complicit in seeing to it that the culture they govern continues to promote this social trait.

Even so, a democracy which has voted away all its freedom, still can no longer be described as 'free'.

Also, re-reading your previous post, for part #1, parallel construction means there are numerous, in fact literally uncountable (without top secret clearance, anyway), examples of that. Which, to my mind, is a solid start on #2.

In theory, the whole reason those legislators are there is to insulate the country from knee-jerk reactions on the part of the citizenry (or a vocal component thereof.) The framers understood that direct democracy wouldn't be sustainable.

Instead, what we've seen since 9/11 is that the legislators themselves are the ones who are afraid of their own shadow. Just as nobody marched in the streets after 9/11, demanding that George Bush invade Iraq, nobody begged the NSA to implement ubiquitous domestic surveillance capabilities with no effective oversight. These are crimes of opportunity.

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