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PATRIOT II Legislation Leaked 851

Posted by michael
from the goodbye-FOI dept.
Buck Mulligan writes "The Center for Public Integrity reports that it has obtained a copy of PATRIOT II -- a huge law enforcement power grab that is intended to build on the USA PATRIOT Act. It's called the 'Domestic Security Enhancement Act.' CPI says it would increase domestic intelligence gathering and surveillance while reducing judicial review and public access to information. For more on the first PATRIOT Act, see the EPIC page."
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PATRIOT II Legislation Leaked

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  • Patriot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:33PM (#5259123)
    "It is the duty of a patriot to protect his country from its government"
    -Thomas Paine
  • by mraymer (516227) <mraymer AT centurytel DOT net> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:34PM (#5259133) Homepage Journal
    Umm... I'm just curious... No reason, really. I just want to know. I mean, just in case I'd ever make, you know, an extended visit. ;)

    It's kind of sad that the government actually needs more power than what's provided by the first Patriot Act. It's also ironic that it was called the Patriot Act, because it doesn't make me feel very patriotic...

  • by 1stflight (48795) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:35PM (#5259134)
    For if we don't we deserve what we get, and anyone voting to keep the current Bush administration, must be insane.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:35PM (#5259136)
    Privacy is not for the boring. Those of us with colorful lives want privacy. But if you're lame and boring you dont really need privacy, and dont care about those who value it.

    Unfortunately the majority of people dont want privacy except _maybe_ in the bedroom.
  • hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stinky wizzleteats (552063) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:35PM (#5259137) Homepage Journal

    Apparently terrorists have tragically gone free due to the inability of investigators to pull up their credit records.

    I also like the bit about how the use of encryption in the commission of a crime would be a felony. Recursion anyone? Sounds like a blank check search warrant on anyone using PGP to me.

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kypper (446750) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:36PM (#5259147)
    We passed similar legislation to the original anti-terrorism act shortly after the US government did.

    In fact, most of the 'western' countries followed suit like lemmings walking off of a cliff... and the opposition in Canada thought we weren't doing enough! I'm convinced that if Stephen Harper was in power, we'd pretty much be Americans.

    But don't thank your lucky stars that just because our government is inept that it isn't going towards 1984... get out there, create/join a new party (eg CAPP, Patriot, etc) and VOTE these bastards out.
  • by Sri Lumpa (147664) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:38PM (#5259159) Homepage

    I think it's too bad that I never had the occasion to visit the States before because it's got a lot of great places to see but with the way things have been going politically I wouldn't feel secure.

    Let's hope that they can come back from these dark times like they did from MacCarthism.
  • Oh yay... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CoolVibe (11466) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:39PM (#5259166) Journal
    The "land of the free" is going to be less and less free. Damn I'm glad that I am a european citizen.

    Now, If we could only get the British gov to stop proposing similar dumb laws (ie. EUCD) that make the EU look more like the USA.

    If this one goes through, I've got yet another reason to avoid going to the USA and working/living there.

  • by sterno (16320) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:44PM (#5259201) Homepage
    Okay, the odds that this legislation would get passed right now is really slim. I mean, without the pressing fear of imminent terrorism, there's no motivation for it. So, I'm wondering if the DOJ's intent in drafting this was to keep it on the shelf until the next terrorist attack happens. Then they would come out and explain that they couldn't stop it because they didn't have all the powers they need, and conveniently they'd have legislation ready to roll.

    I'm very glad this has come out at a time when our heads are mostly screwed on straight so we can shoot it down in the light of day.
  • no difference (Score:3, Insightful)

    by taxman_10m (41083) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:49PM (#5259231)
    Why do you think electing a Democrat would make any difference?
  • by kahei (466208) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:49PM (#5259232) Homepage

    Remember what Sen. Feingold said about a *return* to an era of invasion of privacy and harrassment.

    In 20's and 30's america labor leaders and other troublemakers could expect to be spied on, harrassed, framed for this and that (John Steinbeck never went to a hotel alone for fear of
    being framed for rape).

    In the post-war era it wasn't so bad, but even then there was McCarthyism and spying was done on suspected communists that'd raise quite a few eyebrows now. It's really only since the civil rights era that Americans have come to expect the very high level of privacy and fairness that our generation has enjoyed.

    Rather than sinking into a new and unexpected bad patch, it's more that along good patch may be ending.
  • Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rtech (647652) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:50PM (#5259238)
    My physical body is in America... but really, there are places I'd prefer to be where my heart is. Canada, where are you? Am I allowed to pass through the Iron Border? Or does America have to seize my computer at the border for illegal MP3s, PGP encryption, movie trailers and more?
    I can't stand the way the USG is handling this. If Americans would stand up for their rights instead of being in a stupor over "terrorism", we could get our hard-earned rights back. One of my Canadian friends from online has called me an honorary Canadian and is offering me safe haven should the USG ever come after me lol.
    Enough rambling... go talk to friends and more, print out pamphlets, write your Congresscritters, do something constructive towards repealing and destroying these evil policies.
  • by sielwolf (246764) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:52PM (#5259247) Homepage Journal
    "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

    Of course this was a popular quotation for Timothy McVeigh. The second part of the quote: "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

    Makes one think.
  • by Cerlyn (202990) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:52PM (#5259249)

    Keep in mind that the alleged document is draft legislation. It may be that everyone has put what they want in it, and it will be tempered down before it is handed to Congress.

    It also might be yet another proposal where a group proposes something insane in order to gain more minor consessions. If so, hopefully Congress will recognize when someone keeps crying "wolf" that the wolf may not be there.

    But what if the "wolf" does come along and someone says "if we had X, we could have caught them before this disaster." What should Congress do then?

    ***Your IP Address has been logged for reading this comment. Thank you for your cooperation.***

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:54PM (#5259259)
    This is a wakeup call for EVERYONE OF US IN THE UNITED STATES to write to our congressmen and women. Do so in a sincere, intelligent manner so we can make sure this gets shot down before we really feel the brunt of it.
  • by fleener (140714) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:55PM (#5259267)
    That's what happens when you sit idly by watch the Nine Gavelers in Black give the Ring of Power to George Orwell Bush. He protects America by destroying it.

    Funny that we would fight communism for 50 years only to see the eastern block fall and America gleefully embrace the oppressive Big Brother powers of a secret government.

    At this point I have to wonder if some of the more ultra right-wingers like Ashcroft are arranging global annihilation so they can see their biblical end game fantasies come true.
  • by Druegan (646568) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:57PM (#5259276)
    America has been a "police state" for the last several decades... Everything our society does is regulated, the Feds have power that would be abhorrent to the framers of the constitution... They've been doing it for years covertly, in small ways... the real truth of the matter is that the US public doesn't know, and for the most part, doesn't WANT to know, just what the government routinely gets away with. As long as they can shop at the Gap, drive their SUV's, chat on their cellphones, Check their email at AOL, and watch the latest network tv drivel, they're happy.

    Now at least the govt is being OPEN about its facist tendencies.. which makes it easier to resist, if anyone is left who has the heart. Ben Franklin said it best, I think... something to the effect of "Anyone who would trade freedom for security deserves neither."... And history will show, gets neither as well.

    Oh, how Babylon the mighty has fallen.
  • Re:I can only hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:59PM (#5259284)
    This will most certainly be toned down to garner acceptance and pass. People will then heave a sigh of relief that some of the more extreme measures were not implemented. This will of course overlook the fact that significant erosion of rights and freedoms have occurred. The more extreme current elements will then seem a lot milder next time round and slowly bit by bit we will find ourselves our liberties removed and we are living in a police state, controlled by a dictatorship and wondering how it happened.
  • Re:no difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:00PM (#5259290)
    But there is a difference. You are the reason why we have Bush in office today. It is large amounts of the moderates and the slight lefters who don't see a difference so don't vote. I guarantee the right wing can see a difference between Bush and Gore...

    Democrats and Republicans are very a like in many ways, but the ways that they differ are prohaps the most important. Mostly it is on matters of human freedoms, like this the Act that this story pertains to.

    It IS important to vote.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:01PM (#5259301) Journal
    Folks, here in USA, W. has had the government start tapping the phone network at OC-48 and OC-192 level. Our e-mails, our conversations, our pixs have been being watched for some time now. It is all being done with machines. That is no big deal. The real problem is 2 part:
    1. We willing gave up many of our rights to W. in this last year for a security that we can not have.
    2. We are allowing W. to remove the oversight committee's that prevent abuses that the likes of Nixon (watergate - I am not a crook) and Raygun (sandanista - I do not remember) did.

    In the future, things will get worse becuase we allowed future abuses. This government was set up to prevent it, and now in the name of security, we are giving up the important checks and balances. These last 20 years have done more damage to these than at any other time in history (the WW2 damage was temporary, these are permanant). BTW, folks, clinton has been part of these stripping of rights as well.
  • by Madsci (616781) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:02PM (#5259303)
    "To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."
    Thomas Paine (1737 - 1809)

    You know of whom I speak.
  • by quintessent (197518) <my usr name on toofgiB [tod] moc> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:04PM (#5259315) Journal
    Next year will be too late. Call/write/harass [house.gov] your congresscritter NOW.
  • Re:Just what... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Warin (200873) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:06PM (#5259331)
    You are totally missing the point.

    Sure, you can do whatever you want now that you did pre-patriot. But once you start allowing your government to errode your freedoms, you are going to run into problems. What if Partiot Act V includes restrictions on computers that are on non trusted platforms. Suddenly you become a 'terrorist' if you dont want to play nice with Microsofts latest behemoth of an operating system. But because you didnt stand up for your rights and your freedoms back when they werent taking away anything that affected you directly, there is no one left to stand up and say 'Wait, this is wrong'

    There is a famous saying that goes:

    'In Germany, they first came for the communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics. I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak up.'

    I am not trying to compare the USA to Nazi Germany, in spite of the current administrations seeming desire to take away some of the fundamental rights that are entrenched in your legal system. I am just saying that if one keeps their head in the sand, you'll never see the lion sneaking up to bite your backside.
  • by kahei (466208) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:07PM (#5259334) Homepage
    Ah, well, you see FDR had a war, like Churchill and Lincoln. If you want to be considered great you need a war. Problematically, Bush doesn't have a wa -- oh, wait...

  • Benjamin Franklin (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:08PM (#5259341)
    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Letter to Josiah Quincy, Sept. 11, 1773.
  • by Edgy Loner (44682) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:08PM (#5259342) Homepage
    No conspiricy, just good politics.
    A big part of getting what you want is knowing when to ask. Another big part is being prepared. These people aren't stupid. That's what makes them dangerous.
  • Re:Hail Bush! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:09PM (#5259346)

    But what is the USA going to do about him ?

    i can tell you to save you even thinking
    absolutely nothing

    heil himler
  • My God. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EZmagz (538905) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:20PM (#5259414) Homepage
    After glancing at the summary of the actual report (12MB pdf? No thanks.), only one thing crossed my mind:

    BE AFRAID. BE VERY, VERY AFRAID.

    I'm far from being considered a "political" guy, but this absolutely scares the shit out of me. DNA database??? Prohibition of Disclosure of Terrorism Investigation Detainee Information??? Sounds to me like a blank check for the gov't to do whatever the fuck they please. I'm trying not to be paranoid, but the people spearheading this seem to represent everything our forefathers stood against.

    Let's pray that this thing never gets passed.

  • by Jerf (17166) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:20PM (#5259416) Journal
    Surely at some point the provisions restricting judicial oversight become a slam dunk case for overturning due to fact the Constitution laid out the judicial system? Frankly, I thought the first Patriot act went overboard with that. Congress can't just tell the Court system to go stuff it.

    I also don't understand why... well, I do, but for rhetorical purposes let's say I don't... the need for security necessitates less oversight by the court system. Once you've got the guy in custody, what's he going to do to the country while rotting away in jail waiting for judicial review? Is Congress seriously concerned that the judge is going to just let a criminal go? They're not in that business, assuming the government has enough evidence to back up their case. Oh, hey, think maybe the government wants the right to make wild accusations?

    Sometimes, for laws like this, I wish you could bring a case before the Supreme Court for judicial review without an actual complainent. I understand the reasoning for not allowing this and generally agree with it, but in cases like this it's sad you have to wait for someone to be screwed over, and willing to spend years of their life fighting back, before the law might be overturned.
  • by g4dget (579145) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:22PM (#5259421)
    I mean, without the pressing fear of imminent terrorism, there's no motivation for it.

    Why do you think Bush is poking his fingers into the eyes of the Arab world? Why do you think we keep getting upgraded to "orange alerts"?

    Creating fear and starting wars gives politicians power.

  • what's in a name? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pizza_milkshake (580452) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:22PM (#5259423)
    Like Microsoft changing the name of Palladium to a 5 word, unacronym-able phrase the US gov't names an act to take power away from citizens of the US the Patriot Act.

    Who would dare oppose something called the Patriot Act? That's great fodder for political campaigns ("John Congressman says he loves America, but he voted to raise taxes and even supported terrorists by voted against the Patriot Act").

    A vote against the "Patriot Act" is a vote for Osama!

  • Re:no difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FreeLinux (555387) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:23PM (#5259428)
    both current major political parties want one thing: Big, caretaker government.

    No, it is the majority of the American people that want "Big, caretaker government". For some reason the majority of the general American populace seems to feel that the government should and worst yet, could provide the omnipotent and benevolent protection of a diety.

    This is why acts such as the Patriot Act are so easily and quickly passed by such a majority. The government obviously, cannot really provide such a level of protection but, they are still all too happy to accept the power supposedly necessary to provide it. The fact that the majority of the people actually believe that any government could provide such a level of protection speaks volumes about the intelligence of the man on the street.
  • by flewp (458359) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:26PM (#5259454)
    Well, protecting our freedoms by taking them away is pretty logical. Soon we won't have any freedom to protect.
  • by leereyno (32197) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:28PM (#5259464) Homepage Journal
    This kind of slow, incremental wearing away of human rights is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany.

    People need to wake up and understand that there are ALWAYS people who want to disenfranchise the rest of us. The wolf is ALWAYS at the door. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

    There are three things that people can do.

    1) Vote
    2) Join the ACLU
    3) Joine the NRA

    The reason for the first is obvious. The reasons for the second and third are that the ACLU is a strong champion of individual rights, even if they are part of the loony left. The NRA is of course a strong champion of individual rights as well, even if they are part of the loony right. I'm a member of both and give generously to them.

    Laws like this can only come to pass when our representatives in congress are not representing us. The only way that situation can arise is if the voters in general have not been holding them accountable. Any legislator who would put forward legislation intended to deny us our rights is a traitor because they have broken their vow to defend and protect the constitution. Should we re-elect such a person? I'd rather elect a pig straight from someone's barn to office than see someone like that remain in power. The american political landscape is dominated by party politics and this is a big part of the problem. People will vote for someone because of their party, or will vote for a party because that is what they've always done, or because they've been suckered by the propaganda that both major parties just love to spew out. It is sad to see so many people led around by the nose and irritating to have to hear them regurgitate the propaganda that they've swallowed down with relish. Look past the propaganda and bullshit. Be willing to vote for a different party. Become informed about issues that matter and the party's agenda on these issues. If people would do this then a lot of this kind of bullshit would cease to exist.

    Lee
  • by mcdade (89483) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:30PM (#5259475)
    Even the Germanys don't want anything to do with America, isn't that a huge sign?? A country that had been bent on world domination for so long, doesn't even want to touch the USA with a 10 foot pole. You might wonder if they know something based on experiance. Hell, don't jump in bed with a madman trying to turn the country into a policed state!.

    The USA is passing laws for unlimited gov't control and secrect agencies. People disappear for no good reason or explaination and get deported (least they aren't gassing them on the way out, they wait till they get them to their home country and then just bomb the shit of it.. All's fair in love and war.) And all this time anyone who doesn't think this is a good idea is called unpatriotic and an america hater. I do beleive this all happened before, started with a guy named Hitler.

    You know, say what you want about Clinton, but in the 8 years he was in office, there wasn't one major war.. Vote in two Bush's and you get a war for oil everytime.. oh but wait I guess the second Bush wasn't really voted in .. was he.. damn America is full of stupid people..
  • Re:Just what... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MKalus (72765) <mkalus.gmail@com> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:33PM (#5259491) Homepage
    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    Because I am paranoid.

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
    Version: PGP 8.0

    iQA/AwUBPkVNY1or0GSY5Ro/EQL3gQCgvjlcARWqEjOJkz2w HM Kl0QAoKlQAnjqn
    dnQfZn8CVrvcIClgKrVNX/Vo
    =0uHK
    - ----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {ionsahmaet}> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:33PM (#5259494) Homepage Journal
    what are athe chances that this was puposely leaked? An old stand by of politicans and 'negotiations' is: Demand something completely out of the question. After it has been shot down you can introduce something far less controversial/evil/far reaching. With huge sighs of relief, everyone will agree because 'Wow. This is way better than the first thing that was proposed.'

    I would love to know what members of Congress wrote what part of the bill. Of course, the guy who admitted sticking a 'Can't sue this drug company for causing birth defects' in the completely UNrelated, mis-named Patriot Act has got off scott-free - no media attetion, no questions about conflict of interest.

    Where are the angry voters? I read (online, ironically) that it is thought that people like the ones who post to the YRO stories spend all of their outrage posting to discussion boards and clicking polls.

    I am guilty of that as anyone else, "Ahh. George Bush IS coke snorting dumbass who has more command of swallowing pretzels than the english language."

    I feel better, and job well done. Well I'm preaching to the choir. We need reforms in the US and quick - sadly, it seems the most outspoken Geeks are the most insular ones and don't vote, organize, or spread the word.

    We need someone charismatic who can get the message across to regular Joe.

    I'd do it, but I'm watching last night's Farscape on my Linux PVR while posting to the Our Government Sucks, But I'm Comfortable With Complaining About It, So Back To Buffy And Let Someone Else Handle It board. /Irony

  • Re:Just what... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by doonesbury (69634) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:34PM (#5259505) Homepage
    There's a bit of a fallacy in your argument, dear sir. Let me explain:

    Take, for example, the new federal law that all foreign nationals from certian countries be required to register with the government: several [alternet.org] news [thislife.org] artivles [boston.com] about how this process has revealed that many people have been detained. Not a problem... except they're being detained without the right to a lawyer; habeus corpus has been suspended for them (they do not know what evidence and what crimes they are being charged with -- something out of Kafka's "The Trial", I believe); and currently reporters can't find out who's being held, why they're being held, or even how many are being held.

    This extension of the PATRIOT Act makes these things legal. Which means they could charge you, and not only could we not know why, or if, you are on trial -- you wouldn't even be able to get a lawyer.

    Next, let me admit, you're right, I haven't had any civil liberties restricted directly that I know of. Let me stress that last point: you talk of wiretapping. I wouldn't know if someone was tapping my lines, because with the PATRIOT Act, if I was labeled a terrorist, it wouldn't be private or public knowledge; it would be completely unknown, as the request would go to the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Again, I reference this Real Audio file from This American Life, it gives the details. This court meets in secret; it's documents are not published and not for review. So not only would you not know if you were being wiretapped; no one would.

    Finally, if I had been hauled off to jail out of the blue, I probably wouldn't have access to a computer to check on Slashdot, and be able to read and/or post to your question; jails of this sort tend not to let people have access to computers.

    I'm not worried that they're coming for me today; I'm worried that if, in the future, I expouse beliefs that are opposed to what the government believes, I will become labeled a "terrorist", and will have my rights unilaterally suspended. What happens to my neighbor this week can happen to me next week -- so I want what's fair for *everyone*.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:34PM (#5259509)
    At this point I have to wonder if some of the more ultra right-wingers like Ashcroft are arranging global annihilation so they can see their biblical end game fantasies come true.

    (Sadly, I must post anonymously.)

    I have been thinking the same thing for years. Look at the war in Iraq. It's so illogical and the Bush administration knows it's going to unleash mayhem. Right-wingers eagerly encourage and incite the kind of global instability. I've seen these people so obsessed with armagedon that's it's truly frightening to realize these religious dolts are running the gov't and have access to nuclear weapons.

    I agree with you 100% and have been warning people for years. These people are religious fanatics. They believe absolutely in everything written in the Bible... and if they have the power to make it happen, they're going to.
  • by waytoomuchcoffee (263275) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:41PM (#5259575)
    Section 404: Use of Encryption to Conceal Criminal Activity.

    In recent years, terrorists and other criminals have begun to use encryption technology to conceal their communications when planning and conducting criminal activity. Title 18 of the United States Code currently contains no provision on the use of encrypted communications to plan or facilitate crimes. This proposal would amend federal law to provide that any person who, during the commission of or the attempt to commit a federal felony, knowingly and willfully uses encryption technology to conceal any incriminating communication or information relating to that felony, be imprisoned for an additional period of not fewer than 5 years. These additional penalties are warranted to deter the use of encryption technology to conceal criminal activity. In addition, it does not address the issue of whether software companies and internet service providers should give law enforcement access to "keys" for the purposes of decoding intercepted communications.


    "Attempt" to download a copyrighted work from Kazaa and email someone about it using PGP = 5+ years in federal prison.

    Ironic that it is section "404".
  • by Jagasian (129329) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:47PM (#5259629)
    There are more than two parties in the USA.
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:58PM (#5259735) Journal
    But what if the "wolf" does come along and someone says "if we had X, we could have caught them before this disaster.

    Then hopefully someone in Congress will be smart enough and have the guts to say bullshit. Not a single thing can stop a person who is dead set (literally) to destroy something. If you pass laws requiring everyone to be strip searched upon leaving their house, and to wander around nude outdoors, someone will swallow C4 and a detonator.

    Which of these rules will stop the terrorists? Stripping everyone of their citizenship on suspicion? Giving FBI agents the right to spy on my personal email, without telling me, until the guy gets fed up with his low pay and decides to use a loveletter to my girlfriend to try and blackmail me? Or shall the CIA monitor everything my company does, so that they can get their stock orders in early when we get a 50 million order from overseas?
  • by daveschroeder (516195) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:58PM (#5259742)
    I don't have any problems with any of the key points brought up in the article, when applied to terrorism. As I read through the sections thought to be the most egregious, I'm just nodding along going "mm hmm", "sounds good", "hell yeah", and "why aren't we already doing this?"

    The only problem, of course, is who defines "terrorism"?

    Think about that for a while.
  • by j3110 (193209) <samterrell@NospAm.gmail.com> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:04PM (#5259781) Homepage
    How many people had to die for freedom, because appearantly it only takes 3000 deaths to take it back. More people die every year of the flu, but I don't see acts of congress trying to prevent flu as serious as these. Aids will kill more people this year, but the government isn't sinking the kind of money they used to fight Afghanistan to find a cure. This isn't about American lives, it's about changing our govenment to a police state. We're going to war with Iraq for 2 reasons. #1 oil, #2 to try to keep Bush's popularity up amongst the red-necks. He's the most horrid president that the US has ever seen. Even if his policies tend to show that he wants to rid the US from dependance on oil, he has done so much to harm freedom and the economy. From his tax plan to having the DOJ pretty much drop the MS issue, he's screwed the economy to the point of practically no return. The job market is getting thinner. He has allowed or worked to create many laws that break the fundamental rights of Americans. The Patriot Act should be unconstitutional because we are given freedom from unreasonable search and seizures. Don't depend on the courts saving you though, because the whole MS issue has only taught us that they can't be trusted either.
  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:05PM (#5259783)
    CIA death squads", do some reading, and feel scared.

    I did. I am scared of the nut cases who wrote this stuff.

  • Re:I can only hope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by donm7112 (648789) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:07PM (#5259796)
    Don't just sit there and hope, you fools. Do something! Write to your representatives in the U.S. Congress. (www.senate.gov and www.house.gov) For every letter they receive they assume there's one hundred other people out there thinking the same thing. Democracy in the the U.S. isn't dead yet. It will die if people don't stop being so complacent and not doing their part to protect their rights from fascist idiots like John Ashcroft.
  • by layingMantis (411804) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:09PM (#5259809) Homepage


    what a sad world we live in, when someone like me, someone who is generally anti-political, someone who despises the self-serving two choice system we have today, can say right now that he'll vote for whoever the crappy Democrat candidate will be in the next election. George Bush is that repugnant.

    The fools who voted for Dubya can consider themselves responsible for this steady erosion of our rights, and the steady consolidation of power by Big Brother. But hey, at least the economy is humming right along! Oh, wait.....

  • Re:no difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:17PM (#5259856)
    Republicans are more likely to give me more leeway with my own property,

    Not really. Sure, Bush blabs on and on about tax cuts, but then jacks up government spending. Here's a big clue - your taxes are, in the long run what govenment spends. Nothing more, nothing less. It can't be anything else. Tax cuts don't do anything to reduce what you are are going to have to pay if there is no control on government spending, for the simple fact that the effect of deficits is a hidden tax that takes effect on the value of the dollar.

    The only REAL way to control taxes is to control spending. That is something that Clinton did far better than Bush ever dreamed of.

  • Re:Patriot? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rodgerd (402) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:22PM (#5259878) Homepage
    Try exercsiing your right to bear arms for the purpose of defeating tyranny, I dare you. You'll be an ex-citizen enemy combatant in Guatanamo Bay before you can let off a clip.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:31PM (#5259914)
    Speak for yourself, Mr. Colorful. I lead about as archetypically boring an existence as one could want -- complete with receding hairline, suburban home, and concern about high-quality public schools. In short, there's little about me that you wouldn't be able to guess from my ZIP code. I also happen to think that true patriots pledged their lives, property, and sacred honor specifically to PREVENT what John Ashwipe and company are trying to ram through Congress. These so-called leaders are reactionary crybabies who are afraid of freedom. Sorry to hear that Canada kinda sucks in the freedom department too...I was thinking of looking at some property up there, just in case :^).
  • Re:I can only hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heybrakywacky (307744) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:37PM (#5259937)
    Oh, it would be nice if that was the truth. Let me point you to one of my senator's, Dianne Feinstein's, statement dated 10/10/02 [senate.gov] on why she voted on the resolution authorizing the president to go to war in Iraq. Here's the excerpt that is most relevant to this discussion:

    I serve as the Senior Senator from California, representing 35 million people. That is a formidable task. People have weighed in by the tens of thousands. If I were just to cast a representative vote based on those who have voiced their opinions with my office - and with no other factors - I would have to vote against this resolution.

    And yet she didn't. This is not surprising to me anymore. The government has become stacked with people who have become completely removed from the people they supposedly represent. They don't seem to see much of any reason to listen to the masses, to listen to the people who voted for them in the first place.

    Unfortunately, when you look at the political landscape post-9/11, the stakes have gotten that much higher in the decisions these people make, in wilful ignorance of popular opinion. They seem much less interested in what their constituents think than in what their buddies in Washington will think of their dissent. Couple this lapdog behavior with an Administration that has shown nothing short of contempt for the will of anyone that doesn't agree with them, and you have the continuing murder of the Constitution that we see today.

    Personally, I've gotten to the point where I don't believe that representative government works in the current climate anymore, because no constituency is accurately being represented. Where does that leave us? I don't know for certain, but all roads look pretty dark from here on out.

  • by Gorobei (127755) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:38PM (#5259943)
    Section 501 takes care of that in one fell swoop: support a group the USG doesn't like, and you can be stripped of citizenship...

    Section 501, "Expatriation of Terrorists": This provision, the drafters say, would establish that an American citizen could be expatriated "if, with the intent to relinquish his nationality, he becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United Stated has designated as a 'terrorist organization'." But whereas a citizen formerly had to state his intent to relinquish his citizenship, the new law affirms that his intent can be "inferred from conduct." Thus, engaging in the lawful activities of a group designated as a "terrorist organization" by the Attorney General could be presumptive grounds for expatriation.

  • In related news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:49PM (#5259987) Homepage Journal
    Constitution 2.0

    We the Government...
  • Re:hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:50PM (#5259994)
    I also like the bit about how the use of encryption in the commission of a crime would be a felony.

    Now, I don't mean to defend the proposed changes, but this sort of thing is common. Certainly, here in the UK, I'm allowed to carry tools (hammer, crowbar, etc) with me - no police officer is going to stop me for it. However, if I use those tools to steal a car, or break into a building, I'll also be charged with going equipped to do so.

    Same thing here, I imagine - use PGP, fine. Use PGP whilst commiting a crime, get done for the crime and for using PGP whilst commiting it.

    Yes, I agree that it makes people who use PGP look suspicious even when doing no wrong - but I can't imagine that the courts would put up with too many search warrants being issued for searches based solely or mainly on use of encryprion that failed to turn up any evidence of wrong doing. Being able to apply for a search warrant and actually being awarded one are two different things.
  • Re:Patriot? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:00PM (#5260047) Homepage Journal
    "We shall soon be obliged to meet in cellars, or in darkened rooms with closed doors, and speak in whispers lest our next door neighbours should hear that freeborn citizens dare not speak in the open."
    -- Emma Goldman, Anarchist, 1902.
  • Relevant Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WCityMike (579094) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:01PM (#5260053)
    "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil."

    -- John Ashcroft, before Senate Judiciary Committee [cnn.com], December 6, 2001

    It's remarkable how John Ashcroft is the karmic successor to Joseph McCarthy; we're in a modern-day Red Scare, but with a very sympathetic administration and a apathetic public. The potential for (further) permanent damage to Americans' civil liberties is very real and very frightening.

    Am I exaggerating? Well, can you tell them apart [morons.org]?

    FWIW, link to ACLU coverage [aclu.org] and a Google News search [google.com].

  • by Lodragandraoidh (639696) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:03PM (#5260069) Journal
    Remember the scene in the movie "Minority Report" where the team is searching for the hero - and drop the 'bugs' into the building - and everyone has to stop what they are doing and assume the postion to get scanned.

    Its coming. When Federal Agents come knocking on your door because an electronic filter decides that your purchase of certain books, your web browsing propensities, and some people you met in passing at the coffee shop (caught on video) - adds up to something dangerous (to the state), and the agents don't need a search warrant to invade your privacy and tear apart your home in search of something that isn't there.

    The NSA was profiling peace activists and human rights activists during the 60s and 70s - intercepting and analyzing their communications during the 1960s. During that time this was abused, and it was stopped for a reason. Now we are starting to do this again - civil rights will suffer. Witch hunts the likes of the communist scare of the 50s will happen in secret as people mysteriously disappear without habeus corpus rights. The government has been removing large amounts of information that was public knowledge a year ago. What else are they doing under the ospices of secret executive orders? Why do we have to give up our rights to protect this country? If something smells bad, it generally means it is bad; this smells bad.

    We will probably wake up as a people when things get too unbearable. Hopefully it won't be too late (I have faith in the sense of democratic principles and right and reasonable government by the majority of people when push comes to shove). Just hope you are not one of the Minorities...
  • by hughk (248126) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:07PM (#5260088) Journal
    Most of this is pretty dangerous anyway because the new powers are just so open to abuse. For example, stating that someone is no longer a US citizen if they behave against US interests is a great way of putting that person beyond the reach of the courts (say,. like John Walker Lindh). Who decides that the person is no longer a citizen? Is a peace protestor to be so declared as against US interests? There are no checks in this, the legislations must be killed.

    One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.

  • by (eternal_software) (233207) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:13PM (#5260109)
    "When the people fear the government, you have tyranny. When the government fears the people, you have freedom."

    - Thomas Paine
  • by TheJesusCandle (558547) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:14PM (#5260112) Homepage
    This kind of slow, incremental wearing away of human rights is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany.

    People need to wake up and understand that there are ALWAYS people who want to disenfranchise the rest of us. The wolf is ALWAYS at the door. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

    There are three things that people can do.

    1) Vote
    2) Join the ACLU
    3) Joine the NRA


    The reason for the first is obvious. The reasons for the second and third are that the ACLU is a strong champion of individual rights, even if they are part of the loony left. The NRA is of course a strong champion of individual rights as well, even if they are part of the loony right. I'm a member of both and give generously to them.

    Laws like this can only come to pass when our representatives in congress are not representing us. The only way that situation can arise is if the voters in general have not been holding them accountable. Any legislator who would put forward legislation intended to deny us our rights is a traitor because they have broken their vow to defend and protect the constitution. Should we re-elect such a person? I'd rather elect a pig straight from someone's barn to office than see someone like that remain in power. The american political landscape is dominated by party politics and this is a big part of the problem. People will vote for someone because of their party, or will vote for a party because that is what they've always done, or because they've been suckered by the propaganda that both major parties just love to spew out. It is sad to see so many people led around by the nose and irritating to have to hear them regurgitate the propaganda that they've swallowed down with relish. Look past the propaganda and bullshit. Be willing to vote for a different party. Become informed about issues that matter and the party's agenda on these issues. If people would do this then a lot of this kind of bullshit would cease to exist.
  • by Polyphemis (450226) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:18PM (#5260128)
    I disagree.

    I lead a fairly ordinary life and I don't do anything particularly 'colorful' or unusual, but I still want privacy because, frankly, the level of control and oversight they're seeking falls into the realm of 'none of your fucking business.'

    I'm not hiding anything, I just find it disturbing that they want to routinely monitor me as if I was the leader of a terrorist organization. One concern of mine is that if they ever managed to put up the surveillance measures that they wanted, they could then start wheedling away at the legal system and begin outlawing some mundane activities, then find a reason to arrest or detain me.

    I don't want to have to live in a country where I have to be afraid of what I do or say for fear that I might piss off the wrong person and disappear.

    I do realize that that's pretty bleak and paranoiac, but when I read newspaper articles about hundreds of innocent people ("terrorists") being jailed for months without any charges, I start getting nervous. Also read an article somewhere or another about some guy making a wisecrack about a 'burning bush' and then being jailed for three years. That's not a country I want to live in.
  • Sad. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel,hedblom&gmail,com> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:35PM (#5260193) Homepage Journal
    It looks as if the United States is turning into just another USSR. The irony of the USA becoming its own biggest enemy is stunning. Whatch out for that one party system, its obviously the next step.

    Can you say Yes Master like a good totalitarian state citizen?
  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:52PM (#5260274) Homepage
    There are three things that people can do.

    1) Vote
    2) Join the ACLU
    3) Joine the NRA

    There's more things than that that one can do, but that's a good start. Voting won't make much of a difference, as you've usually got two canidates who aren't that different, and that's even assuming that your vote will make a difference.

    I'm not terribly familiar with the NRA, so I'll pass on that.

    But the ACLU, definately. I finally got off my ass and did it. I just became a `card carrying member of the ACLU.' (I wonder if I'll be sent a real card :)

    Thank you for visiting our website and also for your generous membership contribution to the American Civil Liberties Union.

    It is because of the support of friends like you that the ACLU has been able to do so much to protect and expand individual rights in this country for the past 81 years.

    Thank you for helping us hold the line in this alarming political climate.

    You can join too [virtualsprockets.com]. You don't have to give them a lot of money -- just having them list you as a member increases their bargaining power.
  • by EEBaum (520514) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @05:13PM (#5260362) Homepage
    10 People get mad at republicans so they vote democrat.
    20 People get mad at democrats so they vote republican.
    30 People get mad at third parties because they didn't win, and therefore the republicans and democrats they're mad at win.
    40 People get mad because they are voting for people they're mad at, rather than people they'd be happy with.
    50 People get mad because the system doesn't provide them with any good choices and the winner-takes-all-system bites.
    60 People get mad at politics in general, say "screw it" and go on with their ever-worsening daily lives.
    70 People get mad about abortion or taxes or racial issues or the personality of the people in office, or are just having a bad day.
    80 People get mad enough that the politicians notice them and promise to solve their problems.
    90 Politicians pander to people's special interests and hand out chocolates and puppies.
    100 People like politicians again.
    110 People get mad eventually because the politicians utterly fail to do anything constructive.
    120 GOTO 10
    130 People get mad enough that the system sees great, sweeping political reform for the benefit of all.
  • Yeah, but.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @05:17PM (#5260389)
    [plugs ears]
    BILL CLINTON! BILL CLINTON! BILL CLINTON! BILL CLINTON! BILL CLINTON!!!!!!

    Seriously, this is a prime example of what Bush, and especially the MEDIA are doing. Has Bush taken responsibility for ANYTHING? It's been two years and they are still shrieking BILL CLINTON at the top of their lungs anytime something goes wrong. The damned media is STILL obsessing about Bill's wang while Rome burns.

  • by freestyle-fiend (633507) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @05:19PM (#5260405) Journal
    > Ariel Sharon has his ground and air forces ready
    > to "secure" the oil derricks this time. And once
    > he gets his hands on them, the Jews will have them
    > forever.

    This is not a racial or religious issue. It is a national and class issue.

    The idea that Jews are all bad is nonsense. It is just the Israeli government (like Bush, Blair, Hussein, Bin Laden, the Palestinian suicide bombers and others who use violence inappropriately) who are at fault.
  • by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @05:29PM (#5260446)
    Yes, I fear the end of the world they read about in Revelations is what they are trying to bring about. I think it was Voltiare who said that someone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. That is certainly true.
  • Re:I can only hope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by I Am The Owl (531076) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @05:32PM (#5260455) Homepage Journal
    Exactly. One of the things I learned in my psychology class is that a good way to get what you want is to first ask for something outrageous and then seem generous when you concede to what you really wanted in the first place. This is exactly what Congress is doing.
  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @05:52PM (#5260538) Homepage
    The EFF [eff.org] often has views similar to the ACLU [aclu.org]. If you don't agree with the ACLU, perhaps the EFF is more your speed?
    but, to me, they have gotten too politically-oriented
    Plato (427-347 B.C.) said it very well --
    Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
    I don't care for politics either. But also know that there's lots of people out there who will happily take my rights away from them if I let them, and I don't plan on letting them do so without some sort of fight.
  • Re:I can only hope (Score:0, Insightful)

    by duck_prime (585628) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @06:07PM (#5260605)
    I can only hope that this gets toned down if it does pass...
    This is the most moderate comment I've seen. There seems to be a slashdot consensus that Bush, Ashcroft et al. really are trying to turn America into a fascist dictatorship.

    This is plain silly. Everything I've read about Bush and Ashcroft indicates they really are trying to fight terrorism. It should be clear that patriot I and now II are responses to restrictions on domestic intelligence-gathering that really did go too far.

    I've seen the highlight article, now slashdotted, but haven't seen the original text. Before you go out and move to North Korea, read the dam' thing and write your congress-lifeform.

    There are certainly sections of the law I'd strike.

    201, 202 ... have to go. FOIA is a good thing.
    301-306 ... why not? I don't mind having a DNA database of suspects.
    312 ... lifting domestic intelligence gathering restrictions. I can deal with this one if they get rid of 201, 202 (so we can FOIA and see who/what are being investigated, as a curb to abuse).
    405 ... no bail for terror suspects. If these guys don't represent a flight risk, I don't know who does.
    501 ... expatriation of terrorists. I see what they had in mind there, but it is a little too creepy. On balance, get rid of it.

    The moral of the story: the administration is not being evil for the sake of being evil. They're trying to fight terrorist infiltrations. They're going a bit too far ... that's why people leak draft legislation, and that's why we have debates on it in congress, slashdot, and other widely-respected forums. (Did I just say slashdot?)

    As an excercise ... think about the threat that each section tries to counter. Okay ... you don't like Patriot II, so what's your solution?
  • Re:no difference (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @06:38PM (#5260719)
    Quote from a very pro Bush, pro war* classmate re: the rapidly growing national debt: "If we keep electing Republicans, we won't have to pay back the debt!"
    Somebody doesn't know what inflation is...

    *When asked why we should go to war with Iraq, he answers "why not?" He also doesn't want to get drafted, but is more than willing to let others die fighting a war if Bush says so. I can't tell if this guy is truely a narrow-minded, pigheaded moron, or just likes pissing off people. Either way, he's wasting oxygen.
  • by psykocrime (61037) <mindcrime@cpp[ ]ker.co.uk ['hac' in gap]> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @06:40PM (#5260734) Homepage Journal
    No, it's not premature. It's never too early to start worrying about protecting our civil liberties. You can believe my Congressional representatives are going to be receiving letters and phone calls about this, starting next week.

  • by baptiste (256004) <mike@@@baptiste...us> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @06:54PM (#5260819) Homepage Journal
    I marvel at how people think Dubya hung the moon and is the master of all that is righteous and good. But if people actually look below the fake surface of things, the black undercurrents become very visible.

    The fact that our government would even consider such laws is monumentally scary. Why do Republicans believe that govenment oversight is such a bad thing? Did you notice that the only requirement was a group being designated a terrorist organization by the Attoreny General You can't be serious! One man could simply wipe out a group of people's citizenship - where are the checks and balances?

    What kills me is how they sell this stuff. "Oh - so you think someone raisin gmoney for Al Queda shouldn't have their citizenship stripped?", etc, etc, etc. No - they shouldn't - try them, imprison them, but you can't honestly think stripping someones citizenship so easily is a good thing.

    It is amazing how a group that believes Muslims shoudl rule the world knocked down the WTC and thus allowed Republicans to lay the ground work to rule the US for geenrations with tatics the communists would have used. How ironic and sad that my country is being taken over by conservative and religious zealots and nobody seems to care because it might, just might, allow them to prevent a terrorist attack (yeah right)

  • Bush's New Math! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by g8oz (144003) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @07:10PM (#5260912)
    Bush's New Math!
    2003 = 1984

    "In order to save our freedom we had to destroy it"
  • Re:no difference (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @07:19PM (#5260953)
    The difference is that Bush at least attempts to make a case that invading Iraq is within or national interest whereas when Clinton bombed Yugoslavia he didn't even bother. Is that really a difference?

    You've pointed out two situations where US involvement was hardly in our direct interest. In one, the President made no bones about this, and his decision was basically sound. Even if it hadn't worked, it wouldn't have destabilized all of Europe and risked thousands of US deaths.

    In the other, the President tries to invent some hokey explanation for why a much more dangerous war is in the US interest. And we all know it's nonsense, but we don't seem to care.

  • by GhettoFabulous (644312) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @07:31PM (#5261008)
    "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

    "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

    "He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power."

    "For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury"

    It's all there in the D.O.I ladies and gents, which I consider to be a more important peice of America than the constitution. Maybe we should just change the date on it and send it right to Washington.
  • by bonch (38532) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @07:31PM (#5261009)
    1. too political? the protection of the rights of a citizenry from the power of the state is nothing if not political. it can't be anything but political!

    My point is that I feel the ACLU is too left-wing and takes cases based on political positioning rather than whether or not any rights are actually being trampled.

    2. if you aren't willing to defend the civil liberties of those who you disagree with (or disagree with you) then you're probably not committed to the concept in the first place.

    Forgive me for thinking the ACLU's efforts could be better spent on more important matters than chasing after Christmas references or protecting the pro-molestation literature of NAMBLA. There are limits to everything.

    3. state sponsorship of christmas is an explicit support for one religion by the u.s. government. "congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" and so on. if you are an american citizen you should read jefferson's treatise on this issue (the letter to the danbury baptists [loc.gov]) to get the full grok on the seperation of church and state.

    I'm fully aware of the issue. When the ACLU goes after elementary schools legally threatening them if they don't chance their little calendars to mention "Winter Break" instead of "Christmas Break," I wonder what the ACLU's priorities really are. Not only is it ridiculous to start with, but everybody knows the break is for Christmas anyway. Whose rights were being stomped because they got school days off for Christmas break? Surely there are much more important issues the ACLU needs to be spending its money and effort on than something so silly that children don't even regard it as a problem--only their uptight ACLU parents do. I dislike the overdone victimization mindset organizations like the ACLU endorse. Just my opinion.
  • by trolman (648780) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:07PM (#5261197) Journal
    It is obvious that the terrorist are winning.
    People are staying home.
    Police are wearing military style uniforms (and acting like the military).
    The National Guard is being deployed on a regular basis.
    The public is mostly pacified with mindless teebee news and news shows.
    And now the US Constitution is being used as toliet paper by the Congress.
    Today Iran compared the USA to the old USSR.

    I for one do not take this sitting down and hollar loudly; First to the local news opinion section. Then if bad enough I just write to the editors and let them have an ear full. Then I write Congress but a letter in the local media has much more effect than a letter to the person you didn't vote for last election.

    Do something, anything would be good.

  • Re:I can only hope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:23PM (#5261541)
    "And yet she didn't"

    What's this? Why, look, it's a soapbox!

    What exactly were you expecting? She is a United States Senator. This means she can do whatever she damn well pleases for six years. Anything. Until those six years are up, she can only really be held accountable by (get this) other senators. Heck, 9 times out of 10 she can't even be arrested!

    But what about the end of those six years? Most of us can't even remember what happened in the past five minutes, let alone six years. And we're the ones that actually try to pay attention to this stuff, unlike the disturbing 40% of US voters that vote along strict major party (ie. Dem/Rep) lines.

    "The government has become stacked with people who have become completely removed from the people they supposedly represent."

    You assume they're supposed to.

    Take a look at campaign finance reform (we don't trust them to write their own paychecks, but this is OK?). They limit how much the average person can donate to candidates directly. But, conveniently enough, the limits on donations to (and from) either of the two major parties or to a special-interest lobbyist are quite a bit higher. And these groups, in turn, spend (some of) the money on behalf of these candidates.

    They don't represent you. They represent their party and their pet PACs. The fact that they essentially require you to go through these groups to reach them should demonstrate that. Heck, your vote is just a vote, but paying for a mud-slinging TV spot can be worth thousands (votes and dollars).

    Alright, so I'm a political crackpot that believes in eliminating campaign donation limits and the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment. But still...
  • by Catbeller (118204) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @10:13PM (#5261798) Homepage
    1. The government didn't leak this document. A true patriot did. And that patriot is now the #1 target for Ashcroft to crucify.

    2. Bush/Cheney/Ashcroft were going to lob this firecracker in a few weeks, as the attack against the Iraqis goes into full swing. Get it? Standard Operating Procedure. Get the thing into law when no one is looking -- and Bush gets to decide when the distraction occurs.

    3. Spread the word. Yell it from the highest chatrooms. Only publicity can kill this thing.
  • Re:no difference (Score:2, Insightful)

    by r0ckflite (63420) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:35PM (#5262112) Homepage
    There is one overwhelming reason to vote Democrat. Some years ago the Republican party was hijacked by the religious right. These crazy people believe their god is the only god and that anybody who doesn't worship the Christian God needs to be saved, even if its necessary to kill people in order to save them.

    I watch these crazy religious nuts on the tv, out of morbid curiosity and they frighten me more than the islamists, truth be told. This is the reason I'd vote for a philandering lying stupid democrat over any republican that ran for office. I don't necessarily know who 'controls' the democrat, but I know who the republican pays homage to.

  • All Downhill (Score:3, Insightful)

    by r0ckflite (63420) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:51PM (#5262166) Homepage
    1. Something happens, people revolt.
    2. A new government is started. At that point things are as good as they're gonna get in that country (freedom wise).
    3. From that point on, the government gets more and more corrupt until
    4.Go to 1.
  • by jgman (136006) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @01:12PM (#5264891)
    Actually, you should check your facts. This bill passed 98-1 in the Senate and 357-66 in the House. The Late Sen. Wellstone was the lone dissenter in the Senate. Furthermore, a total of Seven Senators cast very reluctant votes. They felt that certain provisions of this act needed to be passed for the security of the nation, but overall had grave concerns regarding the bill. Their floor statement reflect that they felt the courts would strike down the worst provisions of this bill. Unfortunately this has not come to pass.

    Congress has an unfortunate history of passing bad legislation during times of National Crisis. Japanese internment, Gulf of Tonkin, etc...

    Remember, this bill was passed just over a month after 9/11. This country was collectively in a deep state of shock. As time passes, more citizens are waking up to what has been done in the name of National Security. Much of what the President and Congress has done, in my opinion, is little more than window dressing. Given time, public sentiment will turn against these intrustions.

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

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