Quick note mike, no matter what people say the US is not a democracy, it is a republic. Stop calling it a democracy.
It is a democracy in the modern sense. It's not a pure democracy, though.
Of course they do not read every single e-mail. That is obviously stupid. But, false positives do exist (and, if you filter enough e-mails, you will find them) and, further, it would be extremely naive to believe that the NSA does not possess the ability to target specific users (indeed, I would be quite worried if they do not possess the capacity to do so). Giving the NSA free access to everything that every user has done gives them the ability to run smear campaigns and the like without any real oversight.
Further, gathering more data does not always make the NSA more effective at detecting terrorism. Because, like you say, they cannot possibly read all of it. Gathering more data and running that data through filters means that they spend so much time chasing irrelevant leads that they don't have time to deal with the genuine ones. Focussing more on individuals who they know are a potential threat means they can investigate those people properly. Sure, you might miss some things doing it that way, but you also miss plenty of things using automatic filters, and there is a trade-off between the two.
No, they have analysts who can weed out false leads, and USA is remarkably effective at tracking dangerous people.
The US is pretty good at tracking down people like Bin Laden, it's not so great at finding terrorists (especially smaller-scale ones) before they strike. And, no, I'm not going to accept "but the NSA claims they stopped 5 million terrorist plots last year" as a response, because from what I've heard the NSA counts arresting some kid for making a nasty comment about Bush or Obama as "stopping terrorist plots".
Ganking Bin Laden was a masterwork.
Sure, getting Bin Laden was pretty good, but I don't think that tapping the entire internet is why they got him.
They have, yes, but the amount of focus that goes on preventing terrorism is massively out of proportion to the number of people who die from it.
More people would die if USA just let terrorists have their way.
I never said "let terrorists have their way". That is a dumb ad-hominem argument.
And, no, this is not a theoretical concept. Just about every dictatorship in the world either came into existence or continues to exist on the basis of "emergency laws". Hell, the Nazis got power in Germany because they were able to exploit a genuine terrorist attack to ban their opponents and ensure they could bypass the constitution.
Your knowledge of history was shallow. Nazi Germany got first voted into with large popular support and formed a government because nobody else was able to.
They did, yes, but they did not at the time have a majority in parliament, or the votes necessary to pass the acts needed to turn Germany into a dictatorship. The Reichstag fire provided them with the ability to enact emergency laws that allowed them to bully the other parties into voting in a dictatorship (or just to ban them outright, as they did with the Communists).
I doubt it somehow. The EU is quite capable of defending itself.
France and Britain literally ran out of bombs while bombarding Libya. Europeans are not prepared for operating without American support and NATO structure.
It is true that the EU does somewhat assume NATO is going to be there in a crisis, because we know it will be, but if it was not we could defend ourselves perfectly well.
>EU can defend itself
Honestly, the only nations I think that would be even CAPABLE of doing so would be Germany, Switzerland, and maybe France on a good day.
Yeah, individually, but the EU has a defensive commitment that is seperate to NATO. If an EU country gets attacked, the rest of the EU will step in and defend it.
Democracy in pure form only works in very small communities. Nation states cannot ask citizens about every damn thing, so citizens put their trust into elected representatives. NSA is empowered by American government after all.
Sure, but part of the process is knowing what those representatives are allowing to happen and acting accordingly. If we do not know what the government is up to, then we do not have a democratic system in any meaningful sense, because the representatives do not have to justify their decisions.