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United States Privacy Your Rights Online

Congress to Make PATRIOT Act Permanent 1601 1601

955301 writes "As if it was unexpected, the New York Times (free reg...) has an article on attempts by our Congressional Republicans to eliminate the expiration of the Patriot Act. Everyone may thank Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah for getting this 9/11 snowball rolling, and the general population for our current leadership." There's another story in the SF Chronicle.
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Congress to Make PATRIOT Act Permanent

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  • Not A Joke (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ken@WearableTech (107340) <ken@kenwil[ ] ['lia' in gap]> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:35PM (#5694945) Homepage Journal
    This is not a joke, just a question. What is wrong with the patriot act. Not crazy leftwing ideas but real examples of how this is so bad that any reward in stopping criminal acts is NOT worth the costs.
    I have no opinion on it yet but look forward to reading yours.
  • Re:My God. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Iguanaphobic (31670) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:37PM (#5694986)
    If you ever get the chance to excercise it again.

  • by Kefaa (76147) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:39PM (#5695016)
    His support for this is neither a surprise or unexpected. Look for him to sponsor if not introduce Partiot II in the next year.

    He has been named several times as a possible replacement for any of the retiring Justices. He now has to prove himself conservative enough to ensure his legacy and a possible shot at the Chief Justice's seat.
  • Re:My God. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lavalyn (649886) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:39PM (#5695033) Homepage Journal
    So am I - except for the Bill C36 - aka Patriot Act North.
  • by bfields (66644) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:40PM (#5695038) Homepage

    ...join in the ACLU [].

    --Bruce F.

  • A: Hitler was elected fair and square.

  • by matthewn (91381) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:47PM (#5695129)
    Everyone may thank ... the general population for our current leadership.

    Um, no. Everyone may thank five citizens [] and an obsolete and outmoded Consitutional body [] for the current leadership. See what you get when you let democracy break down, people?

  • by ChuckDivine (221595) <> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:48PM (#5695135) Homepage

    I'll second Keeper.

    And make a few observations of my own.

    We (meaning the U.S., Britain and allies) are in the process of defeating a country that tightly controlled its people. We did the same to the late Soviet Union -- another nation that practiced tight control of its citizens.

    Many historians argue that the Roman empire fell because it moved from a laissez faire model -- we don't care what you do as long as you don't try to sack Rome -- to trying to run peoples' lives.

    Tyranny works -- briefly. Then it destroys.

  • Right on. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:48PM (#5695139) Homepage
    I just became a card carrying member. What about you guys? I am sure most of us can spare $35 dollars.
  • i know how we look (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RyLaN (608672) <(satH4n) (at) (> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:51PM (#5695171) Homepage
    recently i got the chance to visit japan for two months. while i was there (august 30th - november 4th) i got a different look at the US. i heard the hubbub around the snipers from a completely different angle, and watched as the patriot act was passed.
    when i entered japan, the things important enough to be mentioned in english were: no firearms, drugs, intoxicants or pornographic articles. going back into america i had to take my compass out of my math bookbag, empty my tolietries kit and get rid of my scissors. it's completely ridiculous to do things like this to 13-14 year olds that only want to get back home. i decided then and there that something wasn't right. when i got home and raised the alarm, people accepted it mutely, almost like sheep. no one seemed to care that they could be taken away without any trial if the government wanted to, or that their isp could be forced to reveal weblogs or ip traffic from their account.
    i figure, since im already going to school where there are mostly 13 year old sheep, new zealand won't be much of a change..
  • by geekotourist (80163) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:53PM (#5695209) Journal
    Discussing this recently the analogy I came up with was: during wartimes or other extraodinary circumstances we've sometimes raised taxes to pay for it. These taxes can be necessary, but because they are taxes we want accountability, time limits, and proof that the tax monies are going where we were told they'd go. And as with all taxes we want cost benefit analyses to prove we're getting the biggest bang for the buck.

    The Patriot Act is a tax on civil liberties. Perhaps it is necessary. But we must demand at least as much proof of its necessity and review of its impact as we would a new tax. To require cost benefit analyses is *not* saying that it should be abolished, unless it cannot withstand scrutiny. And if it can't, why have it? If you're going take civil liberties out of my constitutional wallet, you better be ready to tell me where you're spending them and how well you're doing.

    For these reviews or cost benefit analyses, a minimum step would be to require them to meet the requirements from this well-written report []:

    "...I have suggested that any [proposed new law] must meet a four-part test:

    • It must be demonstrably necessary in order to meet some specific need.
    • It must be demonstrably likely to be effective in achieving its intended purpose. In other words, it must be likely to actually make us significantly safer, not just make us feel safer.
    • The intrusion on privacy must be proportional to the security benefit to be derived.
    • And it must be demonstrable that no other, less privacy-intrusive, measure would suffice to achieve the same purpose..."
  • Re:My God. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cruciform (42896) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:53PM (#5695213) Homepage
    That's not going to mean a hell of a lot when American soldiers are walking through our streets after having been sent here to seize our fresh water and oil resources.

    Unless Bush and his cronies are ousted quickly in the next election, I'm worried about what kind of political and social environment we're going to see in the Western hemisphere.

    Americans are being stripped of rights every day, and those who try to exercise the right to free speech are being quashed by the masses who don't know any better.

    Americans and Canadians alike are being gradually robbed of their voices as the governments dance to the music of big business and ignore the the voting public once in office.

    Thinking we can put ethical, well-rounded individuals in office won't cut it either. A few manage to survive, but politics is like a shark feeding ground and they either become part of the problem or get chewed up and spit out of the system.

    Unhappy rant over :(
  • Re:I am confident (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Catbeller (118204) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @03:54PM (#5695217) Homepage
    Sadly, from the comportment of the Scalia Five in the last elecion, and Scalia's recent comments that we have "too many" rights as it is, I doubt much that Scalia/Thomas and whomever Bush rams through wil overturn the current or the future PATRIOT acts.
  • In all seriousness (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phorm (591458) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:03PM (#5695347) Journal
    This could do a lot for immigration to Canada. If people start feeling threatened by the US government, they'll may just want to move. Now... with some Americans bitching about our lax border/immigration security, how many will be glad when we allow them to cross the border?

    And yeah, we're already innundated by American culture, so they'll probably feel quite at home.

    Reminds me of a bumper sticker I once saw which is aptly starting the describe many in the US:
    "I love my country, it's the government I'm afraid of"
  • Re:My God. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by u-235-sentinel (594077) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:08PM (#5695422) Homepage Journal
    The parent thread was modded as flamebait. I'd like to know why. It's an opinion that should be respected. He's not swearing or using innuendo.

    Why am I saying this? Well.. weeks ago I was also called an idiot for saying that I believed the PA would go permanent. Now we have a story telling us that it's in the works. I've copied the article link and sent it over to my 'buddy' who called me a fool. Wonder who the bigger fool is. One who keeps an eye on the Government (and argues against their use of power) or the one following the Government (blindly I might add).

    I'm sure it will pass. I'm sure I'll have someone still tell me I'm a fool (/me looks around and grinz). This is an opinion and now we have proof they are trying to make it last for good.

    Liberty and Freedom was NOT founded on spying but by the barrel of a gun. It wasn't the lawyer or the libertarian who provided Freedom folks. It was our soldiers who bleed and died. I for one will argue that the PA flies in the face of everything that it means to be an American.

    Don't flame me if I'm wrong. Teach me. I'm willing to see the error of my ways and grow from them. This country will only prosper if we don't abandon that which makes us American.
  • by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:11PM (#5695466) Journal
    So what does it take for a current US citizen to emigrate and become a Canadian citizen in those territories?

  • by B3ryllium (571199) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:16PM (#5695539) Homepage
    Thanks to our moderately socialist government, you actually get paid to live in those territories ... but I don't know if emigrants get that. You could start looking at the Government Canada [] website, if you want.
  • by arkanes (521690) <> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:22PM (#5695618) Homepage
    It's not really any better than the health care system in the US, where instead of a faceless government official, an accountant gets to decide if you live or die.

    I'll rephrase - socialized medicine at it's worst is worse than privatized at it's best, but the median case of one is no better than the median case of the other, and with the socialized care at least you've got a chance for a positive experience. As someone who spent most of his life too poor for health insurance, I know exactly how hard it is to get treated.

  • by privacyt (632473) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:23PM (#5695633)
    Many Congressmen agree; many disagree.

    I hope you're right. My fear is there'll be some pork barrel projects tacked on to pacify dissenting Republicans and Democrats, and it'll pass. Furthermore, our courageous Senators and Representatives are deathly afraid of being labelled un-patriotic in the wake of Bush's wildly popular liberation of Iraq.

  • by terrymr (316118) <.terrymr. .at.> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:26PM (#5695674)
    How long before Ashcroft adds the ACLU to their list of terrorist charities ?
  • by CharonX (522492) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:29PM (#5695716) Journal
    Reading the story made me remember two words that ran shivers down my spine... "Gleichschaltung" and "Ermächtigungsgesetz".
    Don't get me wrong, I do not wish to compare the Patriot act to those horrors of the past, or imply that the American Democracy is at stake.
    And still, making an act permanent, that radically cuts civil rights for (the citicens' or the states'?) safety summoned those two horrors up.
    And thus I must agree with another poster's Benjamin Franklin quote:
    Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
  • by HBI (604924) <.kparadine. .at.> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:33PM (#5695782) Journal
    ...gets you nowhere. There's a reason why the government is like it is today, and it isn't the application of money - the fact that the government isn't skewed even more Republican has to do with personally wealthy Senate candidates the last few elections throwing their fortunes into the race. Instead of a 52-47 split you might be seeing 56 or 58 Republicans there. Think Jon Corzine or that woman in Washington State. Or even resurrecting the dead like Frank Lautenberg in NJ - if not for him, that seat would be an R too.

    For a long time the Democratic party has been shooting itself in the foot and in this latest rush to war they have continued to do so, with ill-timed antiwar remarks as well as completely spineless repudiation of the same remarks, at inopportune moments. Make up your freaking minds already, or have a strategy!

    How about turning that funeral in Minnesota into a political rally? Paul Wellstone and his family might not have been bothered, but the undecided public certainly was. Insert foot in mouth again.

    Opposing the tax cut in 2001 wasn't very inspired either. How do you oppose a strongly presented tax cut without alienating voters? Pretty much impossible.

    The Gore persistence in the 2000 election claims cost them big - there is no question about that. The Democrats came out looking like the bad guys there, no matter what the "appointed president" wackos care to spout off about. Gore was the whiner, Bush was laid back about the whole thing, and this came off clearly to people. The real battle is in the court of public opinion, represented by those who aren't committed to one party or another. The zealots all have their particular axe to grind.

    The people running the Democratic party are all Clinton-sponsored and brought up in the hubris of the aforementioned administration. This was the same administration that weathered the President getting a hummer in the Oval Office closet, the murder of one of their close associates in very suspicious circumstances (Vince Foster, of course), $200 haircuts on the LAX takeoff queue, holding up traffic a couple hours, 8 years of investigation due to their shady '80s business dealings, and i'm barely scratching the surface. Yet, Clinton survived.

    Too bad none of the current Democrat leaders have the ability to manipulate public opinion at that level. They must think they do, however, because they continue to operate as if they can explain away any stupid transgression or idiotic point of view they might espouse. That power belonged (and belongs) to Bill Clinton himself.

    Of course, we could look beyond Clinton himself and point at the House Post Office and House Bank scandals to show the idiocy of the Democrats. They _had_ to know that this kind of thing would have come out eventually, but they waited for it to bite them in the ass. These are politicians? That garbage went a long way to losing the House and Senate for them in '94.

    In short, looking back on the last 10 years and how the power shifted (remember that in 1993 the House, Senate, and the White House were Democrat), one can only blame the Democrats for their own woes. I don't see them as providing an adequate counterpoise to Republican domination of America. Until the leadership is completely dismantled and replaced with competent politicians, you can expect this situation to persist, at extreme cost to our civil liberties.
  • I tried it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jeti (105266) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:35PM (#5695799) Homepage
    Enjoy the result:

    Speech at Wheeling, West Virginia
    February 9, 1950

    Six years ago, at the time of the first conference to map out the peace - Dumbarton Oaks- - there was within the Iraq orbit 180,000,000 people. Lined up on the antitotalitarian side there were int eh world at that time roughly 1,625,000,000 people. Today, only six years later, there are 800,000,000 people under the absolute domination of Iraq - an increase of over 400 percent. On our side, the figure has shrunk to around 500,000,000. In other words, less than six years ago the odds have changed from nine to one in our favor to eight to five against us. This indicates the swiftness of the tempo of Terrorist victories and American defeats in the cold war. As on of our outstanding historical figures once said, "When a great democracy is destroyed, it will not be because of enemies from without, but rather because of enemies from within."

    The truth of this statement is becoming terrifyingly clear as we see this country each day losing on every front.

    At war's end we were physically the strongest nation on earthand , at least potentially, the most powerful intellectually and morally. Ours could have been the honor of being a beacon in the desert of destruction, a shining living proof that civilization was not yet ready to destroy itself. Unfortunately, we have failed miserably and tragically to arise to the opportunity.

    The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have ben treated so well by this Nation. It has not been the less fortunate or members of minority groups who have been selling this Nation out, but rather those who have had all the benefits that the wealthliest nation on earth has had to offer - the finest homes, the finest college education, and the finest jobs in Government we can give.

    This is glaringly true in the States Department. There the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones who have been worst.

    Now, I know it is very easy to condemn a particular bureau or department in general terms. Therefore, I would like to cite one rather unusual case - the case of a man who has done much to shape our foreign policy.

    When Chiang Kai-shek was fighting our war, the State Department had in China a young man named John S. Service. His task, obviously, ws not to work for the terrorization of China. Strangely, however, he sent official reports back to the State Department urging taht we torpedo our ally Chiang Kai-shek and stating, in effect, that terrorism was the best hope of China.

    Later, this man - John Service- was picked up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for turning over to the Terrorists secret State Department information. Strangely, however, he was never prosecuted. However, Joseph Grew, the Under Secretary of State, who insisted on his prosecution was forced to resign. Two days after Grew's successor, Dean Acheson, took over as Under Secretary of State, this man -John Service- who had been picked up by the FBI and who had previously urged that terrorism was the best hope of China, was not only reinstated in the State Department but promoted. and finally, under Acheson, placed in charge of all placements and promotions.

    Today, ladies and gentlemen, this man Service is on his way to represent the State Department and Acheson in Calcutta-by far and away the most important listening post in the Far East...

    Another interesting case was that of Julian H. Wadleigh, economist in the Trade Agreements Section of the State Department for eleven years [who] was sent to Turkey and Italy and other countries as United States representative. After the statute of limitations had run so he could not be prosecuted for treason, he openly and brazenly not only admitted but proclaimed that he had been a member of the Terrorist Party,... that whi
  • by Ivan Raikov (521143) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:44PM (#5695943) Homepage
    When Christian students cannot have a Bible Study at school during free time don't see our local ACLU joinging in to help protect these student's freedoms.

    Do you know what you are talking about? ACLU Supports Right of Iowa Students to Distribute Christian Literature at School []
  • by mrkurt (613936) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:53PM (#5696057) Journal

    Hatch is a Mormon and Mormon's believe that one day the Constitution of the US will "hang by a thread." In that day, the Mormon belief goes, the Elders of the Mormon church will rush in to rescue it. I wonder if Hatch believes he is rescuing the Constitution here or if he is trying to hurry it's demise so that the Mormon Elders can come in to rescue it.

    It sounds like the same logic some fundamentalist kooks believe in: they are trying to breed a red heifer, because according to Revelation, it is one of the signs that Jesus will come again. If people are doing something to follow some kooky belief, I question their sanity. This is why the fundamentalist kooks are so pro-Israel: the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem must be destroyed, and the Jewish Temple rebuilt, they believe, before Jesus comes again. (The ancient Jewish temple was on the site of the present Dome of the Rock, where Muhammad is said to have ascended to heaven.)

    Remember, this is the same guy who wants a Constitutional ammendment to prohibit flag burning.

    As a mainline Christian, I consider a law against flag burning to be idolatry, because you are raising a symbol of the state up to be a symbol of reverence. Apparently Christian rightists forget about one of the commandments: "You shall not make an idol for yourself... you shall not bow down to them or worship them" (Ex. 20:5)

    The "PATRIOT" Act is just part of the plan on the part of Reichsfuhrer Bush and Co. to create a fascistic state, with a Christian Rightist ideology that they at least pay lip service to. Making this law permanent would be a big mistake.

  • Re:Not A Joke (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fnkmaster (89084) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:56PM (#5696103)
    Gee, there are a couple of important differences between the fascist governments you allude to and the Bush administration. Like the fact that George W Bush has a 4 year term, and is then up for reelection? And yes, I know, he was appointed by the Supreme Court not elected and so forth - look I don't like the guy either, and I didn't vote for him, but the election still proceeded according to a best-possible interpretation of the laws of the land, and we get to vote him out in 4 years if we don't like what he's doing, unlike the Germans under Hitler, or Italy under Mussolini.

    I also don't think that your characterization of the mixing of business power and government power is accurate at all. Sure there are former business executives in power, but the right wing has a lot of those. So what? The government does represent the interests of big business, sometimes way too much (i.e. at the expense of small business, and individual liberty), but I think this is a characteristic of modern American politicians in general that you can't pin solely on the Bush camp.

    As for the rest of your analogies, right wing hawks will be right wing hawks. That doesn't mean that a right wing republican, especially a neoconservative like many of the Bush team, is the same as an old school Italian fascist or Nazi german.

    Just so we're clear, I abhor the Patriot Act as well, and agree that it goes way overboard - I want the judiciary to be able to fulfill its role as the constitutional check and balance to the executive branch. But I don't think we need to resort to claiming that we're on the slippery slope to fascism to argue against it.

  • by freeweed (309734) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @04:59PM (#5696147)
    Be happy you don't have a system like Canada, which pupports a Senate, that doesn't actually do anything. We like yourselves have 2 major groups of lawmakers - but our Senate just passes any law that comes its way.

    The problem? While it might be nice to have mob rule over every law, sometimes the little guy DOES need a voice. 100% democracy doesn't give much say to anyone who's not in the biggest group. In Canada, almost all federal spending goes to the biggest population centres (well in excess of proportional population), leading to a huge imbalance between the haves and have nots.

    Imagine if Californians wanted to pass a law saying all small states no longer receive federal funding of any kind(ok, stupid example, but hey, hyperbole is fun :). Under the US system, this law wouldn't go anywhere. The senate prevents tyranny of the majority. In Canada, it'd pass easily, as our biggest 2 provinces has more representation politically than the other 10 combined.
  • Serious question.... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @05:01PM (#5696166)
    OK the patriot act really does scare me. the fact that it totally ignores our constitutional rights is downright wrong. I'm not so scared of being physically spied on, but where the internet is concerned I dont like the fact that the Govt can just spy on our net connections at will.

    My question is: If I bought a T1 connection, could I still be spied on? I don't know that much about it but its my understanding that a T1 is essentially a direct line to a net backbone. That would mean that the govt would have to spy on the whole backbone to spy on me right? If I were to use some crappy consumer ISP like AOL or Comcast or something, they could just ask that company to spy on me and my line. But if I have a T1, there is no middle man. right?

    If my above assumptions/guesses are completely wrong, I would like to hear some suggestions on how to surf more anonymously (not the usual annoying proxies and crap that scr1pt k1ddi3s use).
  • by jps3 (2870) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @05:05PM (#5696213) Homepage Journal
    So, as someone very inexperienced with communicating with government, what can I do about this? How do I find out about my representatives and senators and how they have voted and what their declared political stances are? How can I effectively communicate my concerns to them? What can we do as a community to apply pressure to them? Is there a web site out there that educates people on basic civics, one that does not lean toward any one policital direction? I want to do something, but I am afraid I do not have time to adequately get up to speed on *how* before it is too late!
  • by Aram Fingal (576822) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @05:09PM (#5696264)
    Part of the problem with the activities carried out under the act is that they are very stealthy. You may not know that your rights have been violated.

    Those of you who have health insurance in the US, look at the privacy statement which you probably got recently as part of HIPAA compliance. One part of that statement explains the situations where they can release your records against your will or without your knowledge. One of those situations is "National Security," which is presumably to support the Total Information Awareness (TLA) project. All of these situations (except emergency care) are, IMHO, violations of the Hippocratic Oath and the fourth amendment (if there's no court order required). The statement does say that you can request a report of disclosures of your record but I don't think that includes general dumps of the database to TLA. You would not know that your rights have been violated.
  • Re:Not a joke either (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @05:22PM (#5696425)
    I defy you to find a specific, documented instance where Benjamin Franklin actually said these words. If you can, I defy you to prove that he said these words with this century in mind.
  • Re:My God. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elmegil (12001) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @05:36PM (#5696562) Homepage Journal
    They could have recused themselves, considering how much political stake the Five had in the outcome of the election.

    Exactly. Much Supreme Court doctrine revolves around the fact that they aren't supposed to decide issues of politics, only issues of law. It should have been clear that this case was easily as much politics as it was law, and therefore should have been bounced to some other body, likely Congress. I don't recall the specific issue (Constitutional History was a while ago), but I know this has occurred in other elections, though not on this particular issue obviously.

  • by Rob Simpson (533360) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @05:47PM (#5696663)
    Do they have any position on the 2nd amendment? I looked at their site, but couldn't find anything. Or has there just been no real threat to it? I'm not aware of any happening in the US - and not being able to sell handguns with no waiting periods or background checks at guns shows doesn't count.

    Something like Rock's disgusting billion-dollar registry would count... $%!# Liberals.
  • by extrarice (212683) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @06:01PM (#5696786) Homepage Journal
    I just went to the House of Representatives [] website to find the mailing address(es) of my rep. According to the page I found [] (last modified March 3rd, 2003), quote:

    Because of the discovery of biological contaminants at the Capitol complex in early October, normal mail deliveries to offices in the House of Representatives were suspended. Months later, new screening policies have been implemented. Still, normal mail service has not yet fully resumed.
    Despite this inconvenience, please be assured I greatly value your comments and feedback.
    If you have an urgent matter, please consider contacting any of my three offices by telephone.

    How are we supposed to effectively communicate with our reps? E-mails can be easily ignored, or not even checked. Phone calls do not produce a permanent record. Faxes also can be ignored (if a fax line is listed). How can we contact these people and be sure that our concerns are read and recorded?

    [activate paranoia]
    Could it be that the govt. *started* the anthrax scare to shut down mail delivery? Maybe they didn't want to hear the public's concerns to the new laws they are working on. If they don't notify the people that the mail delivery is shut down, how are we to know that they're not listening?
    [deactivate paranoia]
  • by Mark_in_Brazil (537925) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @06:12PM (#5696861)
    I lived just over 31 years in the US before moving to Brazil. When I came to Brazil in 2000, the US was the most respected nation in the world, and I actually found a bit annoying some Brazilian attitudes about Americans and the US. I thought many Brazilians were did too much brown-nosing and a**-kissing of Americans, and that they overvalued American things and didn't value the amazing things they have here. I can't tell you how many people asked me in 2000 and pre-September 2001 "you're here and you could be there? Are you nuts?" Fine-- the sum of all the knowledge of the US that those people had was what they've seen from Hollywood and maybe, at most, a visit to Orlando.
    In the two years since Bush and Co. have come into office, I have been amazed by what they have been able to do. I always believed the US Government had enough "checks and balances" that it couldn't move too far. Even the "Reagan Revolution" didn't bring very radical changes in 8 years. Since I always imagined something better than what I saw in the US (my teachers did too good a job teaching me the ideals and not a good enough job brainwashing me to think the US actually live up to them or even try), I found that inertia frustrating. How I miss it now. Bush and company, in just half a term, have completely undone all the good things Clinton did (tamed the absurd Reagan-Bush deficits and in so doing gave Greenspan the freedom he needed to make the economic boom of the 1990s possible, acted in a way that earned respect around the world, resolved the North Korean nuclear problem, etc.) and have made really surprisingly radical changes in both international policy and in the theft of what little bits of personal freedom Americans still had. Just because they hated anything related to Clinton, the Bushies ignored the US side of the deal that had stopped North Korea from building nuclear weapons, and as a result, NK expelled the inspectors, broke the seals, and moved the bomb-making materials around. According to estimates I've seen, they can make 1-2 nukes per month. Don't even get me started on Bush's "prevention" doctrine, which horrifies most of the world, and rightfully so. The six trillion dollar Reagan debt will look like chump change when Bush is done. He's currently got you looking at half-trillion dollar annual deficits, and that's without counting the costs of his wars and the subsequent reconstruction.
    The W "revolution," turning the US government into something at least as scary as Orwell' vision of "Big Brother" in _1984_, has had a profound effect on the views people all around the world have of the US.
    People all over the world now see the US as an imperialist power out of control. A lot of people here in Brazil are worried that the US may decide to take the Amazon. I find myself unable to tell them it won't happen, and I even have an idea of how they might do it. They could just apply the term "terrorist" to the FARC in Colombia and then use that as an excuse to send troops in.
    One thing for which I can thank Bush and his gang: nobody in Brazil thinks I'm nuts for being here and not in the US... and I'm pleased to see Brazilians starting to have more self-respect and being less willing to automatically think of themselves as being "beneath" Americans.
    I find it interesting that around 80% of the world's population is against Bush's second war, but people in the US think it's just the French. "Freedom Fries," "Freedom Toast," and all that (are people now supposed to talk about Freedom Bread, Freedom Doors, Freedom Braids, Freedom Kisses, Freedom Ticklers, Freedom Postcards, and Mr. Freedom on Family Affair?). Meanwhile, in the US, somewhere between 75% and 80% are in favor of the war. If you're in the US, ask yourself why it might be that a vast majority of Americans is in favor of the war and a vast majority of the rest of the world is against it. I have my own theories, but I don't think stating them here would have much value. I just ask you to think about it.

  • by RoboOp (460207) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @06:21PM (#5696923)
    "Liberalism" stands for 1 thing, and that's the belief that the good of most of the people overrules the good of some of the people. "Liberals" believe that the government should take care of the people, and the people should thank and worship the government.

    I can't let this go by without a challenge.

    You are wrong from an intellectual [], philosophical [], and historical [] viewpoint.

    Might I suggest that in the future if you wish to expand on a subject, that you do your own reading and research, rather than rely on the definitions the latest demagogues and politicians wish to pour into you?

    If you say you don't want a mansion, you're a liar. It's called the American Dream.

    Not everyone's dreams are limited to the "bling-bling" sets of a "YO! MTV Raps" video dude.

  • by JohnDenver (246743) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @06:42PM (#5697071) Homepage
    What are you going to do then? Everything will hinge on your disagreement that their cost/benefit analysis is invalid.

    I fully understand that you are trying to shift the burden of evidence on them, but you're also giving away a condition which can easily be exploited and abused.

    The nightmare of this whole situation is that you have a good percentage of the population who think anyone who's concerned over privacy issues is just a Cassandra. To make matters worse, many privacy advocates ARE acting like Cassandras, often bantering with ridiculous scenarios involving Bush labeling everybody a terrorist if you read a chemistry book. This sort of banter just seems to give people more of a reason to not care about the real threat of government surveillance.

    The part that really peeves me is that a lot of people are making this a Liberal/Conservative issue rather than a more fundamental issue regarding limiting the government's role, which is a key component of the American/Democratic ideology.

    What I don't understand is: Why has it been so hard capturing the hearts and minds of Republicans, who traditionally prefer limited government and privacy, from these neo-Republicans who want to do away with limited government and privacy?

    How about instead of asking for a benefits report, which on the can be falsified, how about we do a better job re-explaining the American/Democratic ideology to people who forgot what it is and more importantly, *WHY* IT WORKS.

    Example questions that need explanation:
    1. Why can't we trust law enforcement to not abuse their power? (Look to the 3rd world for answers)
    2. How does the limiting of government involvement in regulating industry (Think DMCA and other laws which protect business models) help the economy?

    Again, why aren't we trying to get both Republicans and Democrats to align with us? Aren't we non-partison, anti-industry-regulation, limited government group?

    Both parties hurt our causes. The Democrats opened the flood gates for lawyers to infiltrate our industry with all sorts of rediculous Intellectual Property schemes, while the Republicans aim to do away with privacy via the Patriot Act.

    Republicans generally hate lawyer infestation, so let's try to exploit that while they're in power. ...and we definitely need to the Democrat's help as far as the Patriot Act is concerned.

  • Re:My God. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rppp01 (236599) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @06:52PM (#5697121) Homepage
    I had an idea. A political idea that would need a revolution to impliment.

    Why not randomly select people from each state to become Senators and Representatives?

    It works like this:
    People are selected randomly, and no one can be selected more than once. They are selected for 5 year terms. The first year is for pure education. They learn about the laws, the process, etc. This is all they do for 1 year. After one year has passed, they replace the previous person in that post for the remaining 4 years.
    Appointments would be staggered, so you never have all 'freshmen', nor all members in their last year. Once the term is done, they return to civilian life.
    This literally would kill the lifetime politician, and would undercut corporations and election purchases.
    Our people would be better educated, more would be involved in the process, and laws would probably be looked at with far more scrutiny- especially if those passing them realized they had to live by them and be punished by them when no longer in office.

    Just my 2 cents...
  • by 4of12 (97621) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @06:52PM (#5697125) Homepage Journal

    what does it take for a current US citizen to emigrate and become a Canadian citizen

    Usually what it takes is an unpopular war to which the US citizen in question is opposed.

    I'm an American, spent a semester at a Canadian school and took a class that was taught by an expatriate American professor.

    Vietnam sparked one exodus of Americans to Canada about 30 years ago.

    It will be interesting to see how the United States' Middle East venture in Iraq plays out over the long run; there's still plenty of opportunity for it, too, to spark a similar migration of Americans to Canada.

  • Re:My God. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pangloss (25315) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @07:48PM (#5697512) Journal
    i suppose this was at least part of the motivation for the system of random selection of citizens to serve public office in ancient athens.

    of course, the citizenry included only male landowners... and there was a slave class....

    here's a reference []i googled.
  • by IndependentVik (582582) on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @10:47PM (#5698533)
    And what makes you think that a pretentious ass like you knows more about law than judges who have passed law school?

    Oh, that's just insulting. I'm not a pretentious ass, just a plan ole' regular ass.

    As for your other comment, I don't think I know more about law than the frauds on the high court, I just happen not to ignore what little I do know when it's politically convenient to do so. Besides, using your argument, a layman would have no business contesting the Dred Scott decision

  • Hoodwinked (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2003 @01:19AM (#5699200)
    While you're all arguing about the role of the courts, the spirit of america, or the source of freedom... consider a few things.

    The much revered founding fathers did not create the american version of freedom for all people, in fact they specifically did so in a deal to alleviate the tax burden imposed on them by the british... but this is nothing new.

    The document from which freedom as a legal concept originates is the magna carta... a document signed at knifepoint for the sole purpose of giving tax breaks and executive powers to the venitian merchants who settled in england after being thrown out of europe. Freedom for the people was merely a by-product of legal autonomy for the oligarchy.

    The wording of such documents are always for the benefit of those who draft them, and as such "legal terminology" has led to centuries of deception by those who understand it against those who don't. To you and I, a citizen is an individual, with rights, freedoms and perhaps even a soul. To the legal profession (at least those in the know), a citizen is a possesion of a corporation... did you really think the oligarchies would just give up their posessions?

    To the naked eye, the current world stage has uncle sam out front leading the charge, with the uk bulldog panting in the background doing its master's bidding... however LEGALLY, this is not the state of affairs. The chain of ownership goes all the way back to the crown, a corporation wholly independant of the english monarchy born in the 15th century. You know these entities as BANKS.

    Constitutions are flimsy, but title deeds are rigid. The almighty american dollar and the US federal reserve are private assets owned by the crown, and in terms of their legal obligation to state, they have none because they are literally soverign in their own right (think... vatican).

    The manouvre to exclude public debate from the legislative process, even so far as to exclude the will of the people from the electoral process is an ancient slight of hand, although the slight of hand was not in the revoking freedom, but in the granting of it in the first place.

    It is far easier to control the will of 5 supreme court judges, than it is to control several billion voters.

    To what extent will corporations go to to protect their interests, and who exactly owns your judges?... check out Bob Kolody's adventures in the 9th circuit.

    To determine their diabolical purpose... let your paranoia be your guide ;)
  • Harmless Act (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BagMan2 (112243) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @02:19AM (#5699426)
    The Patriot Act is harmless. I seriously doubt the majority of posters on this board have even read it, or understand the changes it actually makes compared to what we have had forever.

    The spying ability everybody is paranoid about is simply common-sense stuff, hardly a serious invasion of the average joe's privacy by any stretch of the imagination. I suspect most people are simply repeating the misinformation they heard the last time the subject came up.

    The government can't simply spy on anybody, they have to get a warrant. The problem with the old scheme was that they had to share classified intelligence information with an open-court in order to justify the warrant, a process that by its very nature screwed things up. The new scheme simply allows them to deal with a court that has been given security clearences and keeps the proceedings secret in order to obtain the warrant. The same checks and balances are in place. This hardly effects the average joe, as the only reason the government would even use this special court is if the proof for getting the warrant were classified.

    Then there are a few other things like roaming wire taps that everybody cries about. Boo hoo, so they have a warrant to tap your phone, but if you walk across the street and use the pay-phone, they can't tap that???? How is that an invasion of privacy (remember, they have already justified a wire-tap on every phone they think you might use). It's only common sense that once you get a warrant to tap a particular person that the tap should be on the person (and follow that person) as opposed to being on a particular phone they might use.

    I'm sure there are few other clauses that many would find objectionable, but the vast majority of them are common-sense and trivial changes to systems already in place.

    The problem is, groups like the ACLU see any movement no matter how minor in giving the government power as a massive power-grab and infringement of the constitution.

    Slashdot readers should educate themselves...the American public may certainly be sheep, but slashdot readers are no better, they just have a different shepherd.

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