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Senate Trashes Civil Liberties; House to Vote Today 963

Posted by michael
from the fly-the-flag-upside-down dept.
The U.S. Senate passed its version of the "anti-terrorism" legislation last night. The Washington Post, CNN, and Wired all have stories. There are terrorists under every rock, and we must destroy our freedom in order to save it. Remember: gamblers are terrorists too. The House is apparently going to drop their version of the legislation and vote on a copy of the Senate bill.
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Senate Trashes Civil Liberties; House to Vote Today

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  • I hope I did my part (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dimer0 (461593) on Friday October 12, 2001 @12:58PM (#2420911)
    After reading the original story here about 3 weeks ago, I sent letters and emails to my representitives and congressmen. I even called an office. This is the first time I've ever done anything like this - I feel very strongy about this issue.

    I received no auto-replies, no real replies, no acknowledgements, nothing.

    Guess who's not getting my vote at the next election?

    I swear, I'm gunna run for some public office and end this crap.
    • by Jaysyn (203771)
      I did the same...no responses on any fronts. Face it they just don't care. Now they are trying to "sheild college students from gambling. Welcome to thought control. Welcome to the beginnings of the police state.

      Jaysyn
      • by kilgore_47 (262118) <kilgore_47@NoSPam.yahoo.com> on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:23PM (#2421092) Homepage Journal
        If this (American Govt) is democracy, maybe we should give something else a try.

        They won't be getting your vote, but they'll still be getting enough other moron's votes that it won't matter. And so what? If they didn't win, the other guy would be just as bad.

        (now some god-loving america-is-great sheep can mod this "troll" or "flaimbait" because they can't accept that fact that their system isn't working. Eat my ass, I've got 50 karma and I'm not going away.)
        • by maxpublic (450413) on Friday October 12, 2001 @02:24PM (#2421543) Homepage
          Kilgore might be right. After decades of watching the political process in action I'd say that over time it's become considerably worse; or perhaps, that the people who supposedly represent us are less interested in appearing to care than they once were.

          Trying to enact effective laws to correct course is an impossible task, as others have pointed out. Campaign finance reform? From a corrupt congress? I don't think so. Term limits? From the guys who spend their whole lives trying to stay in office as long as possible? Fat chance. Doing away with the electoral college so that a vote from Rhode Island counts as much as a vote from California? Not on your life!

          The system that we have seems to be failing in major ways, unable to adapt to a changing world; and like any organization that finds itself incapable of adapting and under increasingly vocal critical scrutiny it lashes out with action intended to silence the critics and establish effective control over those that might upset the apple cart.

          Call me a pessimist, but I no longer believe that it's possible to repair my government through established means - including electing the right officials (my choices in the last presidential election: Gore and Bush. Aside from the last name, what exactly were the major differences between the two? And everyone else, including Nader, was completely sidelined). When your choices for candidates all come from the same money-ticket you have zero chance of getting Congress or the President to substantially alter the system. Even the courts, which until recently I held out as the last possible hope for a strong check on government excess, don't seem to be immune from being influenced to toss aside their views and vote in line with the power structure (Supreme Court...a complete about-face on the 14th amendment re the presidential election...a refusal to substantially justify the decision...etc.)

          I don't advocate a violent 1776 response, although our Forefathers certainly did (and published many papers on why armed revolution against an unresponsive government was a dandy thing). I don't have a particular yen to get shot rushing the Capitol building. But if my government decides that it won't listen to me, and will even attempt to coerce me into accepting limited freedoms (or none at all), then perhaps I'm no longer obligated to pay attention to my government on a number of issues.

          The question for me becomes: which issues? And if a sufficiently large number of people react in this manner, won't the government - like all governments throughout history - resort to violence to enforce its edicts? No power structure can stand to be ignored; loved or hated, yes, but ignored? No way.

          So if the established system won't respond, what do I do outside of the established system as a form of protest?

          Max
          • by jgerman (106518) on Friday October 12, 2001 @02:40PM (#2421638)
            Aside from the last name, what exactly were the major differences between the two?


            Ummm, the first name? Just kidding couldn't resist.

          • by Roofus (15591) on Friday October 12, 2001 @03:50PM (#2421996) Homepage

            Shit Max. You said alot of things I've been thinking in the last two weeks. Aside from a violent revolution, the only other way I can think of to fix our governtment is to infest the public offices. I don't mean infest it with geeks, just somebody other than CEOs or lifetime politicians. I believe that the founders of our government never intended public office to be a career, just a public duty that everybody ought to fufill in some respect.

            We need to get more honest, caring, American citizens into office. I don't neccessarily mean congress - I mean mayors, state senators, governers, county commisioners, etc.

            And we should also get over this whole party thing. It's complete bullshit. Nobody can completely agree with the views of either party, so basically it comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils.

            So there you go, we can either A) Do nothing and get raped. B) Try to overthrow the government and get killed. C) Try to get into office, and not get raped or killed!

    • by spudnic (32107) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:03PM (#2420936)
      Don't be so upset. I'm sure your email was read (or at least scanned) by your friendly neighborhood FBI/CIA/NSA/whoever agent!

      At least someone cares.
    • by VP (32928) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:10PM (#2420979)
      I swear, I'm gunna run for some public office and end this crap.

      You should. This is how things can be changed.

      But you should consider that getting elected and preserving the principles for which you want to fight may be close to impossible. You need to study the actual and perceived needs of the people you are going to represent, and see if they are anywhere near the ideals you follow. You will also have to join a major political party, and learn to navigate the petty and not-so-petty conflicts, personalities, and agendas.

      Utlimately you need to persuade the people that it will be to their benefit to elect you - and I believe there are very few people that can do that, and remain principled.
  • Online Petition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Erasei (315737) on Friday October 12, 2001 @12:58PM (#2420913) Homepage
    A friend of mine had sent out a mass email about the ATA telling all of his friends to "Sign this, we have to protect our kids!", yet it did not mention the actual text of the Act at all. Our government is using fear to pass laws, simple as that. The question really comes down to: Do you want to feel safe, or do you want to be free? Personally, I stand by Patrick Henry "Give me liberty, or give me death."
    The sad thing about it, most Americans don't care enough to read up on the acts they are signing petitions to support.
    • The Next Step (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:31PM (#2421171) Homepage Journal
      See what you can do with groups such as the ACLU to take any issues to court and challenge on constitutional grounds. Your "Rights" are protected by the Constitution, therefore, the courts would be obliged, to toss it out.

      The only thing to fear is what the FBI, CIA, etc., get away with while waiting for the courts to toss this out, in whole or part. Next year will be an interesting election year, be sure to write these things down, go to campaign rallies and then call the representatives on the carpet for it! In the meantime, you can still make yourself heard by stomping into your local Senators branch-home-offices and telling them where they went wrong. Writing into newspapers isn't half bad, either, be sure to be articulate, tho.

  • WTH? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by trilucid (515316) <pparadis@havensystems.net> on Friday October 12, 2001 @12:59PM (#2420914) Homepage Journal

    All right, related to the earlier story on our reps not paying attention to us, how *DO* we shine the light of reason into our government?

    Perhaps it's time for more than letters, calls, and emails to our reps. Maybe it's time for a bunch of us to get together and get out in our communities and spread the word.

    The reps may not be listening to a horde of geeks, but chances are good they'll start hearing us loud and clear if a more balanced mix of their constituents pipes up.

    Now we have another problem (or rather a few). How *do* we get people (average Joe/Jane) to listen, and even discuss these issues? Everyone still seems on edge after the 9/11 attacks, but I'd like to believe that energy could be channeled in a positive direction.

    Anyone got a site up specificially to discuss this stuff? I'll email all my friends the link.

    • Re:WTH? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Russ Feingold (the lone dissenter) has a Fan Club site at http://www.feingoldfanclub.com where this is being actively discussed (with some pretty violent defenders of the legilsation).
    • Re:WTH? (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheLanMan (112303)
      Try looking here:
      http://www.limitingcopyright.com or http://www.amfcc.org
      Not completey on the mark, but close..
  • Upheld (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dilly Bar (23168) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:00PM (#2420920)
    So, maybe I am giving too much credit to the checks and balances system, but won't these new laws still have to be upheld by a court?
    • Re:Upheld (Score:3, Informative)

      by acroyear (5882)
      A circuit court does have the right to say "we will not accept cases brought under such-n-such provisions of this act", but only after the president signs it. This is what initially happened to the CDA, particularly the no-abortion-speech provision; the court knew it was gonna be a problem and said that would be thrown out at the first instance.

      But technically, a court can't address the constitutionallity of a law until after the law has actually been used to prosecute someone or a civil case has appeared before the court that was not eventually settled out of court.

      (OT follows) The latter has been important in much of the patent issues -- there's usually a settlement in 99.9999% of patent court cases because stocks get hurt during long trials, so no court has really been in the position to actually address the issue of the legitimacy of a patent or of the current patent law.

    • Re:Upheld (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Happy Monkey (183927)
      First we need someone willing and able to break the new law and take the case to the Supreme Court. The checks and balances were supposed to be a deterrent to making unconstitutional laws, but they've become an excuse. Lawmakers now just throw laws with happy names (PATRIOT, USA, etc) at the wall, and see what sticks, letting the courts scrape the crap away.

      I wonder if theress a list of the number of laws each legislator has proposed/voted for that were later ruled unconstitutional. Too bad there's such thing as "voice votes".
    • by pq (42856) <rfc2324&yahoo,com> on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:25PM (#2421110) Homepage
      So, maybe I am giving too much credit to the checks and balances system, but won't these new laws still have to be upheld by a court?

      US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says she foresees unprecedented restrictions on democratic rights in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. She declared flatly, "We're likely to experience more restrictions on our personal freedom than has ever been the case in our country." Read the article here [wsws.org], or find it on yahoo etc - it was widely reported.

      Do you see a check or balance anywhere in sight? I see a big blank check being handed to Congress by one of the justices on the Supreme Court, but besides that...

      • while her comments are distrubing, I do have confidence that in the future, like in past episodes of reactionary decisions in the supreem court, we will see a backing off from these stances. in the next 10 -15 years, a more liberal (not democrat, justices should not have party ties, just political ideology such as liberal, conservitive, Libertarianist, athoritarianist) set of justices will be present, times will be good and all the bad decisions made today will be over turned tomorrow. the government is living. 30 years ago we were pro working man as we wer 30 years prior to that, in the 20, 50, and today, the government is more business oriented. in 10 or so years we will be back to a personal emphasis and hopfully it will not be as a result of some catastroph from businesses getting to much control.
      • Very disturbing comments. However, how well they can throw out the constitutional proceedures without a formal declaration of martial law is questionable in terms of the next court.

        The constitution is not something that even the Supreme Court can effectively throw away for the long term. If they do, I for one will think about emigration...

        That being said, that article does seem a little slanted and I don't know what will happen. I think that with a formal declaration of war, civil liberties could be TEMPORARILY suspended, but that the last country that tried to live in a perpetual state of war was Germany, from 1932 until they were split up...

        Where is O'Conner getting these ideas from? Mein Kompf?
  • The lone cowboy... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by killthiskid (197397) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:02PM (#2420931) Homepage Journal
    Only Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) did not vote for this... and he tried last ditch efforts to include privacy.

    Even my own, Sen Tom Daschale (D-South Dakota) voted for this, and I too wrote him a letter.

    Sigh, I wonder what 'unintended' consequences this will bring about... how it will be abused...

    And, I wonder how it will HELP... this is an anti-terrorism bill. I'd like to see some follow up someday that shows specifically how these new laws HELPED fight terrorism.

    I hate the comparision, but this 'war on terrorism' is starting to feel a lot like the 'war on drugs'... and open-ended, make it up as you go sort of deal with no clear goals and lots of shady undercurrents.

    And no one defined moment where we can say, there we've won, it's over...

    • We are at war with terrorism. We have always been at war with terrorism. Boot lace supplies are up 3.5% this year.
  • by Lawmeister (201552) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:02PM (#2420932) Homepage
    Hatch is quoted "current law perversely gives the terrorist privacy rights.... We should not tie the hands of our law enforcement and help hackers and cyber-terrorists to get away"

    First off, obviously Hatch doesn't know the differences between a hacker and a cracker.

    Then the comment about giving the terrorist privacy rights... unfortunately terrorists are a subset of people... and this legislation is going to hammer PEOPLE's privacy rights - at least in the US.

    Sorry to see this happening, and I sure am glad to be a Canadian right now.
  • But then I remembered I live in the UK.

    Unfortunately, what goes on "over there" soon enough comes round "over here".

    What can a foreigner do to stop the "Leaders of the Free World" leading it up the garden path?
  • by Foamy (29271) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:03PM (#2420938)
    Not that I disagree with the sentiment of your chosen title, but "Senate Trashes Civil Liberties;" is merely inflammatory rhetoric. I'd prefer that Slashdot editors list their specific grievances with the legislation and ask us what we think about those complaints.
    • by mattdm (1931) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:12PM (#2420998) Homepage
      Whatever. Slashdot isn't journalism. And it's certainly never been about being unbiased.
    • by BVD (1495) on Friday October 12, 2001 @04:00PM (#2422032)
      Wrong. I watched the entire amendment debate last night on CSPAN. I saw the lack of logic. I saw people openly admit that this bill was un-constitutional (I swear). They are trying to trash the forth. They really don't care.

      Feingold was very well spoken. He was very direct. No one gave a single valid objection to any of his amendments. They simply tabled them. Something wierd is going down. There is more to this than just a knee-jerk reaction to the bombings. And for once, Slashdot is not being inflammatory.

      I hate resoning by example (people always choose extreme ones either way), but Feingold reasoned that this bill would allow the Feds to wiretap you w/o a warrant if you use the Library's or a work computer in a way other then directed. In other words using your work computer to look at monster.com causes you to fall under the definition of a terrorist and thus you give up all forth amendment protections when dealing w/ and work computer indefinetly. This is not good. The senators understood this example. They did not disagree with it. They went ahead and tabled the amendments anyway. The fix was in. I don't know why but the whole attitude on the floor was wierd. ( I watch alot of CSPAN, things were out of place )
  • Give me a minute... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xtermz (234073) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:04PM (#2420942) Homepage Journal
    to put on my asbestos suit.....
    ... ok ready..

    First of all, this does not fall under the ben franklin remark about sacrificing liberty for safety etc etc...

    terrorism is a semi-expensive business... it takes money to train people to fly a 757 into a tall building, pay off people, etc etc.

    Osama and co. obviously is using one of the oldest tricks in the book to launder money.. gambling.. how many people complained when we shut down the mob run casinos in vegas? not many. why? because it helped shut down that element.

    Osama and friends are more like pissed of rich boys than they are 'good muslims'. Chances are we wont find him, so the next best thing is to make it very crappy for him to live...

    it's also been shown that they have used the net to transmit messages, and now maybe even TV.. if putting harsh restrictions on cryptography can hinder him as well, what all is lost? It's because of paranoia and people continually fighting the governments efforts that these people pulled off what they did. We complained about military spending, intelligence, etc... and now look what happened..

    we say we want the govt to protect us, so when will we let them do their jobs?
    • by terrymr (316118)
      Bullshit !!!

      How many things will you let be taken away in the name of protecting the people ????

      I can understand many of the measures proposed but clamping down on online gambling is just attempt to sneak some other agenda in to so called anti-terrorist legislation.

      Why should all kinds of legitimate technology be thrown away because they *MIGHT* be used by terrorists. Encryption protects all kinds of things we take for granted ATMs, Credit card & bank transactions etc. do you want your accounts to be compromisable in order to prevent terrorism ??? The needs to be some calm logical thought here not just nee jerk reactions.

      The intelligence services couldn't keep their eyes on a relatively small number of *KNOWN* terrorists so why is letting them monitor everybody going to help ?
    • by kindbud (90044) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:18PM (#2421051) Homepage
      .. if putting harsh restrictions on cryptography can hinder him as well, what all is lost?

      Since restricting lawful people from using strong, backdoor-free encryption has no effect on bin Laden's use of strong backdoor-free encryption, what is lost is the ability of lawful people to use strong backdoor-free encryption.

      How hard is this to understand? I am willing to give up some liberties for a short while, as long as doing so contributes to the effectiveness of our response to this problem. I am not willing to give up any liberties at all otherwise, and certainly not for window-dressing activities like national ID cards.

      Effective limitations on liberties for a short time, with clearly stated goals and intent, and a sunset period - sign me up. Throwing up our hands and giving Carte Blanche to the police - hell no.
    • It takes a lot of money to be a terrorist? Really?

      Ask Timothy McVeigh... if you could, that is...
  • by NickV (30252) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:04PM (#2420945)
    but nobody even seems to care about the fact that Anthrax has been confirmed in New York City [cnn.com].

    Yes this is going to seem like a flame, but here goes my karma anyway...

    You see, we need a balance between security and freedom. Obviously the previous balance wasn't good enough because Downtown Manhattan and the Pentagon were given a serious blow. Civil liberties are not ENDOWED rights, they need to be restricted to keep people safe, in times such as these. It is not A BORN right to be allowed to drive in downtown manhattan. Privacy is not a BORN right... it's a civil liberty.

    Ok, we'll get them back after all this is over. Most of these provisions (the one the Senate passed in particular) has a SUNSET clause. Nobody seems to mention that. These are temporary restrictions to aid in the keeping the people safe.

    But then again, arguing for restricting civil liberties on /. is like arguing for expanding civil liberities at the NSA. One ferverant zealot forum vs the other with no real middle ground.

    How important will PGP be to you when your entire home is destroyed by bombs/planes or wiped out by plague?
    • by Ill_Omen (215625) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:11PM (#2420997)
      Ok, we'll get them back after all this is over. Most of these provisions (the one the Senate passed in particular) has a SUNSET clause. Nobody seems to mention that. These are temporary restrictions to aid in the keeping the people safe.
      Actually, the Senate version explicitly does not include a sunset provision. The House version of the bill includes the Sunset provision, and the Senate would like for it to be removed (or extended from two to five years)
    • This war won't be won, ever. It could theoretically last forever because it has nicely been described as a fight vs vague shadowy people who could be hiding in any country including our own.

      Any such sunset clauses could last forever. Granted I haven't read it yet, but the summaries I've heard haven't put me at ease.
    • People in Afghanistan have no freedom. Does that mean they are perfectly secure?

      What the Senate has passed reduces our freedom significantly without increasing our security one iota. Read the Act as passed in the Senate and explain to me how it would have prevented the 9/11 hijackings.

    • by bigdavex (155746) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:20PM (#2421067)

      Civil liberties are not ENDOWED rights


      I disagree emphatically. So did these guys:


      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, . . .

      The government can protect rights, but the rights themselves are not granted by the government.
    • Misinformation (Score:5, Informative)

      by Carnage4Life (106069) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:25PM (#2421111) Homepage Journal
      but nobody even seems to care about the fact that Anthrax has been confirmed in New York City

      So how will these laws prevent someone from putting some Anthrax spores in an envelope and mailing them to you? This is how the NBC reporter supposedly got the disease in case you didn't know.

      Ok, we'll get them back after all this is over. Most of these provisions (the one the Senate passed in particular) has a SUNSET clause. Nobody seems to mention that. These are temporary restrictions to aid in the keeping the people safe.

      This is incorrect. Read the Reuters article about the bill passing [yahoo.com] or any other major news story about the USA act. The Senate voted for No SUNSET on their version of the bill. That's right, congress believes ecret searches of the homes of suspects and treating people like the US is soviet Russia should become the new American way of life.

      The House is pressing for sunset provisions to this law but the Senate is trying to convince them otherwise and according to the current slashdot article (you read the links right?), it looks like the House may have been convinced to throw out their objections except for a token disagreement about the wiretap sections expiring in 2004 but even that has provisions that allow it to be overruled if the government feels that it violates "national security".
    • We bitch about civil liberties on /. [...] but nobody even seems to care about the fact that Anthrax has been confirmed in New York City
      This is known as a non-sequitor. I care. I also care about having our government walk down the path that so many others have already trod. "We need to protect our citizens, and to do that we need to restrict some of your rights" is the calling card of the totalitarian dictators of the world. Perhaps our current president will not take unfair advantage of this opportunity... however, we're setting the ground-work for the next president, or the one after that.
      Most of these provisions (the one the Senate passed in particular) has a SUNSET clause.
      Hmmm... I think you need to do a little more research. The Senate bill has no such clauses. The House bill suggests removing some measures in two years, but it looks like the compromise will remove only one provision after 3 years and the president will have the discression to extend it to 2006....

      Check out CSPAN. It's your country too!

      How important will PGP be to you when your entire home is destroyed by bombs/planes or wiped out by plague?
      Here's the question back at you: how important is it NOW to make it illegal for me to use PGP? Right now, millions of people encrypt traffic of various sorts from email to web traffic to corporate VPNs. Replacing that hardware and software will take years. By then, we'll be back where we were in 2000. Yes, there will be terrorists using strong crypto. Yes, there will be terrorists using stegonography. Yes, there will be terrorists using various media outlets to transmit seemingly innocent messages. And, yes, it will be illegal for me to hide my credit card number from law enforcement.

      Yep, big improvement.

    • How important will PGP be to you when your entire home is destroyed by bombs/planes or wiped out by plague?

      How important will a ban on encryption be when it does absolutely nothing to stop those things from happening? Less freedom does not automatically equal greater security. Would you feel more secure if you knew that you could be detained indefinitely for no reason? Would you feel more secure knowing that everything you do or say is being monitored by people you don't know? Would you feel more secure if you were forced to wear a ball and chain around your legs at all times? And remember, the criminals are the ones who, by definition, don't follow the law, so additional restrictive laws aren't very likely to stop people who are willing to break more serious laws. If you want to get people to stop complaining about losing freedom, you had better be able to show how the loss of that freedom is justified. If there isn't a Damn Good Reason(TM), then the freedom shouldn't be taken away.

    • sunset provisions?? (Score:5, Informative)

      by denshi (173594) <toddg@math.utexas.edu> on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:46PM (#2421289) Homepage Journal
      Britian passed their own Anti-Terrorist legislation back in the 70's when there was a bombing a week (minimum) somewhere in Europe, and the IRA was really out of hand. They included time-limits (or 'sunset' clauses) as well. Of course, these have been extended more often than US copyrights. Check it out! Celebrating 29 years of "temporary" measures!! [freeserve.co.uk]

      We can expect precisely the same behavior over here in the States. Power needs to control. The government will never willingly return power to the populace -- such an act is simply not in its nature. It is only returned by massive, sustained acts of civil disobedience, for instance, in the legal viewpoint, the 60's were a reaction to the laws passed during the World Wars. It took an entire generation to restore some liberties lost during the previous decades of crisis. With this bill, we have just plotted a course for our children to follow.

      Other posters rebutted you, but I should reiterate: civil liberties are in fact endowed, natural rights -- read the Declaration of Independence. Moreover, freedom and security are not polar opposities. It is largely because of our freedoms that America has developed into a vibrant, productive society capable of providing for everyone and thus removing the desperate incentives that drive terrorism. There are many places in the world far less free, with far less safety.

      Oh, and I'm not worried about anthrax -- the infection rate is too low to be effective in the face of our fully mobilized medical resources. But there are other, simpler bateriums that can be spread in other fashions. My advice to you -- drink filtered water.

    • by joss (1346) on Friday October 12, 2001 @02:05PM (#2421414) Homepage
      > we need a balance between security and freedom

      Big implicit assumption here is that there is a conflict between the two. I would argue that there isn't. Reducing freedom often reduces your security too. This is because, the freedom any government is most keen to irradicate, is the freedom to disagree with it. For instance, Germany wasn't a very free place before WWII, the lack of freedom and rampant patriotism allowed their leaders to drag them into a war which seriously decreased the security of the German people.

      "Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
      Herman Goering

      The proposed law concentrates on classifying things like cyber-activism as terrorism. Most of this legislation is not aimed at reducing the chances of someone releasing anthrax at the super-bowl, it's aimed at reducing protest and dissent, which they are expecting for good reason.

      The talk about innocent civilians being killed in Afghanistan misses the point IHMO. A question which is probably of more relevence to Americans is: are we benefitting from this action ?

      Trying to irradicate terrorists with bombs is like trying to clean a windscreen with greasy fingers. You might shift the original bits of dirt, but you make a far worse mess in the process. The problem is not a few makeshift training camps in Afghanistan. Where did the terrorists learn to fly planes, where had they
      been living for the past few years ? The root problem is the hatred in people's hearts. If you want to understand the hatred, don't read CNN, read some middle east papers and see what they say. Even if it's nothing but a pack of lies, it's worth knowing what the US is accused of.

      To figure out whether this action might make us safer, there are two questions to answer:
      (1) will it decrease the hatred (particuarly amongst muslims) ?
      (2) will it make terrorists think that attacking the west is a bad idea ?

      I'll leave the answer to question (1) as an exercise for the reader. The answer to (2) is less obvious, but I don't think you need a degree in psychology to figure it out. The kind of people capable of flying planes into buildings,
      or releasing anthrax at a football game, will not be swayed by logic. It was never their strongpoint. Since we seem to believe we
      can secure our goals through terror and bombs, I don't see any reason to expect better reasoning from terrorists.

      For a hint as to where the push for war comes from, look at http://english.pravda.ru/main/2001/10/11/17799.htm l (disclaimer: yes of course this article contains propoganda, but then what doesn't).

  • Oh come on! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rkent (73434) <rkent@@@post...harvard...edu> on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:05PM (#2420947)
    Come on! It's called the "USA Act"* -- you'd have to be some kind of pinko commie terrorist bastard to vote against it, wouldn't you?!

    * Yes really -- it's the "Uniting and Strengthening America Act."
  • Oh boy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:05PM (#2420953)
    "Despite my misgivings, I have acquiesced in some of the administration's proposals because it is important to preserve national unity in this time of crisis and to move the legislative process forward," said Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.

    Translation: I'm scared shitless to vote against any bill with "anti-terrorism" in the title. You really have to admire the lone dissenter, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, for having the sack to vote against it. Too bad he'll be lucky if the voters of Wisconsin don't hold an emergency election to kick him out, nevermind re-election. You know your in trouble when CNN is singling you out in the second paragraph.
  • I know Liberty Island has been closed due to the proximity of the 9-11 terrorism and a potential target itself. However I see this as a metaphor for the tightening of freedoms in USA.
  • How can I find out which of our esteem elected "representatives" added these riders? I sure would like to know if someone I voted for added something that I didn't like. Maybe then I wouldn't vote for that person next time! What about those who spoke out against it? I'd like to vote for them again if I can!
  • Im serious, dont be knee jerk about this, how about some details!
  • House version (Score:3, Informative)

    by pyros (61399) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:08PM (#2420968) Journal
    The link on the House dropping it's version mentions that the House is considering an amended version of the Senate's Act, to include expirations on measures.
  • One of the sections of the bill is (logically) aimed at cutting off terrorist funding, too. To whit:

    In addition, the Senate bill incorporates money-laundering measures aimed at breaking up terrorist financial networks. For example, the bill would bar U.S. banks from doing business with offshore "shell banks" that have no physical office or affiliation with a legitimate bank.

    Now, that's all well and good, but understand that these shell banks (often located in the carribean, when they're located anywhere) are also used by unscrupulous tax dodgers to make large portions of their income invisible to the IRS. So, this measure could also increase tax revenues substantially, since... well... it's not exactly the poorest of the poor who use these tax dodges :)

    Not that it really justifies the bill as a whole. This just might be another interesting (and good!) side effect of it.

  • My family lives in New York City. My sister was telling me that she had to submit to a full body search when she went to a concert at Madison Square Garden earlier this week, and I expressed a concern for her civil liberties. She told me that she didn't, of course, enjoy submitting to a full body search, but that she would gladly give up some of her freedoms in these "terrifying times" if it would even potentially be a deterrent to terrorists. The thing that she (and many other Americans) do not realize is that the laws that are being enacted to enable the authorities to infringe on her freedoms in these terrifying times are a slippery slope-- as stated in the Washington Post article [washingtonpost.com], there is no "sunset," or expiration, date on these laws. I sent her a funny article [theonion.com] from the Onion [theonion.com] this week, and she was offended: this is not something to joke about, she said. "I'm scared right now. I see soldiers on the street corners and it makes me feel awful, but if that causes one potential terrorist to think twice about attacking me or mine, I'm glad to have them there." I don't know how to respond-- I'm glad, as well, if they're a deterrent, but it's really a question of how imminent the danger is, and whether we can ever really know how imminent danger of terrorist strikes is. If we don't know (and how could we?) I'd rather have the civil liberties. Failing that, I'd rather know that, when the fear dies down, we'll be able to restore all that we've lost.

    I think that the real issue is not that these bills are passing, but that they're passing without expiration dates; that they're potentially part of a much longer-term loss of our civil liberties. That is a slippery slope that we cannot afford to start down.

  • Albeit sneaky to put a gambling item into an anti-terrorism bill, /.ers should look into exactly who wrote this bill and who's voted for it and against it. Keep in mind that with the way congress works, had this bill been voted out in committee, it could take quite some time for a new bill (with the good parts of this one) to get back into committee and pushed throught the house and senate. Many of your representatives may vote to push a bill through a committee looking to get it out there for it's good parts, thinking that the good outweighs the bad.

    Do you think that just because this nation is in the midst of a war and crisis, that the lobbyists are any less active than they would normally be? Absolutely not. Remember most of the law voted into existence in this country is written part or in whole by lobbyists who are trying to obtain some political or corporate advantage by getting the law passed.
  • Okay, EVERYONE knows those crazed people who hijacked those planes used the internet, so as a response restrictions on Online liberties are necissary.

    Though not many people know, they also used telephones! Doesn't this scare you, that a phone can be used for terrorist activities?! We should let the FBI wiretap everyone on a whim, so that we can be protected! But wait, they also used CARS! Can you believe that?! I guess that means renting cars should be outlawed and one should have to get govt approval to buy a car of their own! All these things and MORE need to be limited for our own protection.

    Fucking stupid if you ask me.
  • by tuffy (10202) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:14PM (#2421012) Homepage Journal
    The Onion [theonion.com] is always good at these sorts of things.

    "It is therefore urgent," Rumsfeld continued, "that all Americans be quiet, stop asking questions, accept the orders of authorities, and let us get on with the important work of defending liberty, so that America can continue to be a beacon of freedom to all the world."
    • by deacent (32502) on Friday October 12, 2001 @02:50PM (#2421694)

      Ironically, that attitude is part of the reason that the US is in this mess. The US government has this tendency to support whatever foreign government appears works to it's best interest, without regard for that government's human rights record. Often, it is easier for the US to work with a totalitarian power since that power can ensure cooperation with the US, rather than be swayed by the opinion of the populace. The US helps them stay in power so that they can supress anti-US sentiment (at least on the surface) and other more useful favors. In the meantime, those being surpressed become quite angry at the US. Over time, they can grow to truly hate the US because the life the US has provided for them is the antithesis of what the US likes to portray itself as promoting (freedom and democracy).

      Curtailing civil liberties may be a good solution in the short term to reduce the likelihood of another attack, but it does not address the root of the problem. I wouldn't mind these restrictions if they were temporary and if the US actually began doing something meaningful to help establish some freedom and democracy, even if it meant that those receiving this expressed anti-US sentiment. But I don't expect to ever see that.

      Sadly, the US citizens tend to be too wrapped up in their own lives to learn about this situation. Not that it's incredibly obivious. The media is often a little more interested in letting us know about 's problems than reporting about US supported regimes oppressing their populaces. Besides, who wants to hear about all of that terrible stuff when you feel like you can't do anything about it.

      I'm reminded of a Churchill quote. During WWII, one of his advisors suggested closing down museums, etc. to reduce spending. He responded, "Good God man! What the hell are we fighting for?" Seems even more appropriate today.

      -Jennifer

  • by andy_from_nc (472347) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:14PM (#2421017)
    since the moderators generally vote down things they don't agree with. However against half the provisions of this bill I am, I do agree with one thing: wiretapping an individual not a line. Before you hit that downgrade button, listen up. If I have email, a phone, a cell phone, wireless network access and all, I can easily just alternate or use one, none or all. In the old day, wiretapping your phone was sufficient. Now, its not. However, the protection is not gone... they still need a warrant, there is still a line of defense.

    I do think voting down the amendments was a bad thing. Please read the bill or at least the summations before commenting. Overall this is a bad bill, but that provision should be passsed (with the amendments attached)!

  • I have a very sick feeling in my stomach right now, for several reasons:
    • I have always, and do still applaud Russ Feingold on taking a stand. I'm from Wisconsin, and this man has done everything in his power to enact at least some campaign finance reform, while here standing up for civil rights. At the same time you just know (you KNOW) that come re-election time the scum who's going to run against Mr. Feingold will say he is an "enemy of America" or some such bullshit because he's the only one willing to stand up. That makes me want to puke.
    • I swear to God that the next housewife I see simultaneously waving her little flag around while proclaiming that she'd "certainly give up some freedoms to be safe".... god, it's so frustrating living in a world like this.

    Let's be real here, there have been people with little or no education for a long time, people who knew nothing about the political process, or what the king was actually doing, or what the dictator was planning, but everyone has always rallied around the concept of freedom. Jesus, what did people fight for for the last 6 millenia? And our countrymen would now lay down and give up so that they could be "a little safer".


    President Bush, how exactly will a missle defense shield, email tracking, and shutting down online casinos do anything when the terrorists used box cutters, sent messages through the mail, and had money wired to them Western Union?


    I think the great American democratic experiment is almost at an end... wait... a little longer... its done. So, what's up next? Oligarchy? Sounds good to me I suppose. Where do I send my RIAA tithes?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:18PM (#2421049)
    http://www.house.gov/writerep/ [house.gov] is the address to go to if you want to send a quick email. Letters are best but the vote is today.
  • More freedom lost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:19PM (#2421056)

    DMCA
    SSSCA
    USA Act

    Now I think you Americans have also given up the right to call your country 'Land of the free'.

    Someone will probably mod this as funny but really it's sad.
  • An old quote (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjbe (173966) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:23PM (#2421089)
    "Nobody's life, liberty or happiness are safe while Congress is in session" (Mark Twain I think but could be someone else)

    I guess the one thing that really worries me about all this is not that the government wants to go after terrorists. I'm even willing to give them the benifit of the doubt about their intentions with the bill. The question I have is how do you define "terrorist"?

    I know this sounds silly at first glance but it isn't. Everyone sort of assumes we know what we mean by a "terrorist" and Congress passed laws in order to help deal with them. But these laws will be with us even if we win this "war". And we as citizens will have to live with the consequences of them for years afterwards.

    I think taking a significant amount of time to make sure the proposed rule changes don't cause more harm to the citizens than grief to the terrorists is not a particularly silly thing to ask for. Given the speed which with this bill was passed, I'm not convinced it will to more good than harm. I'd like to think it would but I've seen far too much to not be cynical about the prospects.
  • by daoine (123140) <moruadh1013@@@yahoo...com> on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:25PM (#2421112)
    Yahoo link:
    http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20011012/us/attack s_congress_16.html [yahoo.com]

    The House is saying that it won't pass this thing without some changes -- It specifically mentions the wiretapping clauses, and brings in the idea of money laundering as well (adding something that's potentially useful, whoda thunk?)

  • This is horrific (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twitter (104583) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:58PM (#2421371) Homepage Journal
    The most frightening things here are internet snooping, "secret search", and As wired put it:

    Right now, the USA Act says that system administrators should be able to monitor anyone they deem a "computer trespasser." ...the USA Act still allows police to conduct Internet eavesdropping without a court order in some circumstances. [amemdments would have] Preseved the privacy of sensitive records -- such as medical or educational data -- by requiring police to convince a judge that viewing them is necessary. Without that amendment, the USA Act expands police's ability to access any type of stored or "tangible" information.

    It's almost too much to belive. Agents of my government may now view all records related to me without warrent. Those records will now contain anything any "system admin" decides to collect about me. If enough computer records can be collected to convince a judge that my house should be searched, I might not ever be informed.

    How long before the "system admin" is required to collect information? Might my competitors and enemies create false records for me? I'm sure the FBI will now be equiped with M$'s most secure tools. How can anyone be secure in their house and possesions knowing that their government may have bugged it? Do I have to sit behind a bookshelf to write this?

    The potential for abuse is unlimited. Such observation can easily be used to harrass. By posting the comment, "Israel is unjust for driving the Palestinians out of their land and keeping them as slaves in concentration camps that lack plumbing, sewerage, power, medical facilities, and schools. It is beyond my comprehension that a people who suffered such things at the hands of others two generations ago could behave this way.", do I become a suspected terroist? Does the FBI then dig into my wife's medical records?

    The terrorists have won. We are swiftly becoming the enemy we defeated in the cold war. Rights of free speech, publication and privacy are being stripped away faster and more permenatly than I had ever thought possible. You don't think encryption and the web as a collection of peers will survive digital rights managment do you? Say good bye to the free press of the digital era. With such massive ability to harrass, you don't think people will dare speak their minds about controverial subjects, do you? Say good bye to rational public debate. Our government will soon make the UK's privacy invading cameras and other Orwellian nightmares look like child's play. YOU WILL CONFORM AND CALL IT FREE WILL.

    This legislation is perminant. God help the supreme court see it for what it is.

  • The Details, RTFL (Score:5, Informative)

    by joel_archer (124897) on Friday October 12, 2001 @02:01PM (#2421387)
    Read The Fucking Legistlation, before you post (this is going to blow my Karma all to hell). In summary (if you want the EXACT language, look it up yourself):

    Authorization of "roving wiretaps," so that law enforcement officials can get court order to wiretap any phone a suspected terrorist would use. Current law requires a court order for each phone number, which most say is outdated with the advent of cellular and disposable phones.

    Allows the federal government to detain non-U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism for up to seven days without specific charges. The administration originally wanted to hold them indefinitely.

    Allows law enforcement officials greater subpoena power for e-mail records of terrorist suspects.

    Relaxes restrictions on information sharing between U.S. law enforcement and intelligence
    officers about suspected terrorists.

    Makes it illegal to knowingly harbor a terrorist.

    Triples the number of Border Patrol, Customs Service Inspectors and Immigration and Naturalization Service inspectors at the northern border of the United States, and provides $100 million to improve technology and equipment on the U.S. border with Canada.

    Expands current measures against money laundering by requiring additional record keeping and reports for certain transactions and requiring identification of account holders.

    Eliminates the statute of limitations for prosecuting the most egregious terrorist acts, but maintains the statute of limitation on most crimes at five to eight years.

    I don't feel any safer, but I don't feel any less free either! Exactly what is it about more border guards do all the /. fear so much?

    • by daoine (123140) <moruadh1013@@@yahoo...com> on Friday October 12, 2001 @02:29PM (#2421570)
      Two more -- I think these are a little freakier
      • Expanding the ability to subpoena voice mail
      • Expanding the ability to subpoena ALL electronic data
      I think that the points you bring up are pretty useful, and I'm not sure anyone has a problem with them. I don't think anyone would argue with the illegal to harbor a known terrorist at this point in time.

      But thinking back to an earlier story about shopping habits [slashdot.org], I think people are having a bigger problem with the little things slipping through the cracks, and the lack of a time limit on them. Taking all these little things and throwing them together result in one big database that knows a whole lot about you, and it does feel a little Big Brother-ish.

      It's imperative to pass laws that enable the people dealing with the actual situation to do their job effectively, but at the same time, these laws are being passed in a VERY short time-span, and it's dangerous to not have a way out of the scenario if there are repercussions for the general population.

    • Re:The Details, RTFL (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Galvatron (115029)
      Yeah, really. I WANT to be upset about violations of liberty, but I've been reading what it states, and I see no violation. Nothing about backdoors in crypto, nothing curtailing speech. Hell, the Brady handgun bill was a bigger blow to the Bill of Rights than this garbage.
    • "Makes it illegal to knowingly harbor a terrorist."

      You mean that used to be legal?!

  • We're screwed. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Catbeller (118204) on Friday October 12, 2001 @02:22PM (#2421530) Homepage
    The police of the U.S. would be able, it seems, to access any record about an individual whatsoever, without warrant. Am I right here?

    I heard "someone" on National Public Radio this morning interviewed. They were speaking about "network analysis", and the conversation was quietly interesting. NA covers credit card purchases, credit profiling,that sort of thing.

    He said that law enforcement on the Federal level wants access to our marketing data.

    You heard me right.

    He said that businesses had more information about us than the government did -- implying, to me, some surprise that the government doesn't have as good a set of data on its citizens as biz does, and that that obviously, in the light of the new day, this should be rectified.

    The Feds want to apply network analysis, the same kind of tech used to track your credit history, to be applied to everyone's data, so that they can work up a pattern of questionable behavior and jump on someone before they actually do a deed.

    You heard me. Pre-emptive law enforcement.

    Good enough for terrorists, for now. But remember, the current admin wants to expand the definitions of "terrorism" to someone who gets unauthorized access to a network or computer system. And I gor-un-tee that they will add more definitions of a "terrorist" as the decades wear on in their weary way.

    We've lost a big one. One dissenting vote.

    Americans are too stupid, and ignorant, to understand the freedoms that they are giving up, the implications of what they are doing for future generations and the current world, and to undertake rational risk analysis of the current, tiny, threat of the bin Laden nutcases.

    Americans scare me.
  • by Catbeller (118204) on Friday October 12, 2001 @02:52PM (#2421701) Homepage
    Federal law enforcement, given shape and purpose by Ashcroft, an old Nixon/Reagan/Bush man, is grabbing everything they can off of the shelves, throwing it into a sack, and running for the exit before the spell wears off and the storeowners notice that they've been robbed.

    I mention the Nixon/Reagan/Bush connection, not as a flame, but as a real indicator. Nixon, Reagan, and other very right-wing leaders hated the "liberal" press, believed that freedom was too free, and that law enforcement was hamstrung by civil liberties.

    Let us not forget that Hoover, the chief of Fed law enforcement for almost a half-century, ran a despotic organization that nailed people he didn't like, blackmailed presidents and congressmen and citizens with information he obtained from spying, and was himself a security risk par excellence because of his secret homosexuality and cross-dressing.

    Nixon used the CIA to spy on and destroy his "enemies", which he saw as threats to his admin and by extension the country. The "enemies" were the press, members of congress, and a hell of a lot of citizens.

    The FBI and the CIA were limited BECAUSE of the actions of the leaders that championed more power granted to law enforcement. Too many of you are too young to remember why those laws were passed. The law was abused by quasi-dictators who wanted power, naked and brutal, over their enemies. And such power is never enough for those types of personalities.

    Today, the beginnings of such power is being given back to the very people it was taken from 30 years ago. Literally. They didn't deserve it then, they don't deserve it now. no one does -- but they especially do not.

    Additionally -- not a single thing would have been changed on September 11th had this series of powers been granted prior to the attack. Nothing.

    The agencies responsible have all the power now needed to track and capture terrorists. They were doing so prior to the attack. The Feds just weren't mind readers, and the men struck simutaneously, and there was no chance to stop them.

    Finally, it amazes me that people who hate government in our lives have no problem with the current admin making a naked power grab under the cover of "fighting terrorism".

    They aren't going to wind up controlling terrorism. They are eventually going to wind up terrorizing us.
  • 1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eAndroid (71215) on Friday October 12, 2001 @03:02PM (#2421753) Homepage
    Don't forget that one of the major tools that the government of 1984 used to control its population was constant war. I'm not accusing the US government of staging the WTC attack, however they do seem to be taking advantage of it in a similar manner.

    I was at a talk by Naomi Klein a few weeks ago and she mentioned that she had heard a US Military official mention that they are expecting 20 years of war. Even if that is totally uncredible it still makes you think, "what if?"

    1984 may have only been 17 years off.
  • by neema (170845) on Friday October 12, 2001 @03:26PM (#2421868) Homepage
    Are these the right preventive measurements we should be taking?

    There are three vague aspects of criminal law. They split them up into the classic criminal, the socio-behavioral criminal and the conflict criminal.

    Now the theory behind the classic criminal is that he/she/they think out the crime before they commit it. Think about it in advance, look at the reprecussions, weigh the benefits and the detriments and make the decision.

    To combat these criminals, a process known as target hardening and situational prevention. Make it harder to commit the crime, catch 'em in the act, make examples and make punishments harsh enough to scare them off.

    But then you get to the other criminals. Socio-behavioral and conflict criminals.

    Socio-behavioral criminals are affected by factors just as social pressure, social interaction, social dysfunction, behavior dysfunction and social moral development.

    The general concept of preventing socio-behavioral criminals from emerging is to find the flaws in their society and environment and work on them.

    A similar concept behind the conflict criminology.

    A conflict criminal is suppose to be one who commits "crime" (crime by our definition may be rebellion by theirs) because of situations of oppression, injustice or inequality.

    A conflict criminologist would also most likely disagree with the anti-terrorism package proposal set forth as one would believe that this would just increase the injustice, inequality and oppression, at least in the eyes of the "criminal". For them, the real prevention methods would be to set forth to equalize the people and lift any oppression.

    Now of course, lets apply this to our own time. Osama bin Laden personally declares Palestine as a reasoning for America being devoid of safety.

    My personal opinion is that this won't work, because Osama bin Laden is more a conflict criminal, or a socio-behavioral criminal, then anything. So are most of these terrorists. Whether we agree with it or not, the guns and tanks and other support we give to Israel is being used to occupy Palestine and expand Israeli land. Palestenian people are being killed by our bullets. Palestenian kids are standing in front of our tanks and throwing rocks (as a kid of 16 years old, I find it a bit crazy and a bit admirable for a kid of my age to throw rocks at a tank coming torwards them. It requires either alot of balls or so much anger as an injustice that you simply don't care).

    So even if these changes to American privacy go through, how much good can they do before they're just being used against American people? Not only will the terrorists find other ways, but when someone is willing to give their lives to do something, it's very hard to stop them.

    Perhaps we should look torwards our foreign policy before we jump the gun and "declare war". The relatives and friends of the innocent "callataral" people who may get harmed by our bombings are potential terrorists, and so are the relatives and friends of the terorrists we imprison. Punishment is necessary, I agree, but so is prevention.
  • by wytcld (179112) on Friday October 12, 2001 @04:11PM (#2422088) Homepage
    No group is so over-represented in American government as the "Christian" right - a group which in no way represents the "real" Jesus (who was probably a variation of Dionysus in a Roman mystery cult [amazon.com]). The problem is that in a bit of realpolitic, our corporations (very few of whose executives are even remotely fundamentalist) decided that alliance with never-evolved was the only way to hold back democratic socialism - just like our former alliance with the Taliban was the only way to hold back imperial communism.

    Okay, slashdotters, the challenge is this: corporate America needs to be offerred a new ideological alliance which won't involve placating fundamentalist monotheists. As Andrew Sullivan noted in last weekend's New York Times Magazine, "it is a war of fundamentalism against faiths of all kinds that are at peace with freedom and modernity [nytimes.com]."

    So how do we do that? How do we build a political alliance that preserves freedom for economic activity (and emphasizes freedom in economic activity, rather than allowing corporations to band together to remove freedoms from individuals), while also preserving freedom from people who are too silly to see that their favorite interpretation of their favorite old text is not a direct order from the sort of God who would have us see free will as the crack through which evil enters an otherwise perfectly ordered creation (which is in fact the theology of our fundamentalists)?

    How do we extend open source to make freedom even more of an economic imperative? Just as America has found some strange allies in its struggle, so must we find ways to radically realign our domestic political alliances to regain the freedoms our current unrepresentatives are surrendering in our name.

  • by aozilla (133143) on Friday October 12, 2001 @05:01PM (#2422283) Homepage
    "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Think about it for a second.
  • by astroboy (1125) <ljdursi@gmail.com> on Friday October 12, 2001 @05:03PM (#2422293) Homepage
    I emailed one of my senators last week (P Fitzgerald, D-IL) and got an auto-reply with a ticket-number, which isn't exactly what I was expecting.

    About a week later, I got a very sincere-sounding form letter response. I can only assume my ticket got marked RESOLVED_WONTFIX

  • Sen. Russ Feingold has never disappointed me in the six years I've followed is career. He seems to me to be the politician with more integrity than any other I know about. His vote against the "USA" act reinforces my high opinion of him.

    Here's his statements about the liberty implications of the bills that are in consideration right now: feingold.senate.gov [senate.gov]

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