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Arguments from the Kids' Table

July 11, 2008

ISSUE: The rules that require us to report to a secret court that issues warrants which allow us to secretly monitor the communications of our citizens are too restrictive of our ability to protect the country from terrorism.

REASONABLE REPUBLICAN ARGUMENT: We need greater flexibility to monitor these communications without first getting a warrant from the secret court. AND… Corporations who may have helped us monitor communications in the past should be protected from civil lawsuits brought by their customers who may have been subject to unwarranted surveillance.

REASONABLE DEMOCRAT ARGUMENT: Greater flexibility to secretly monitor the communications of our citizens is perfectly reasonable, so going forward we should eliminate the need of first getting a warrant. HOWEVER… Corporations shouldn’t automatically get retroactive immunity for helping us do this in the past when it used to be illegal.

UNHINGED OFF-THE-MAP LUNATIC ARGUMENT: There’s a secret court to allow the government to spy on people?! WHAT THE FUCK? That’s bizarre and frightening. Look, we should be demanding more transparency in government, not less. If our society worked they way they told us it would in 9th grade Civics class, at the very least, “they” should have to go to a regular, non-secret court and get a warrant before conducting this kind of surveillance. In reality, however, “they” can’t be trusted with the power that “they” already wield, let alone even more.

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