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Kerry's Record On Electronic And Civil Rights 328

Posted by timothy
from the reason-listens-to-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "John Kerry lambastes John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act, positioning himself as a crusader for civil liberties. The question is, how much substance is there to his rhetoric? This article was an eye-opener to me, in evaluating just that. Slashdotters tending to be passionate about the Patriot Act, encryption, and electronic monitoring - subjects this article tackles with respect to Kerry."
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Kerry's Record On Electronic And Civil Rights

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  • DMCA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pig Hogger (10379)
    Will Kerry rescind the Clinton-passed DMCA???

    However, since Shrub certainly didn't do it while he had 4 years to do it, we can be sure he won't if he wins four more wars.

    • Re:DMCA (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phleg (523632)
      Repeat after me: "The President is not in the Legislative Branch. The President is not in the Legislative Branch."
    • Repeat after me, too: "The President is not in the Judicial Branch. The President is not in the Judicial Branch."

      Civics lesson (continued from the Eighth Grade): Once a bill is voted on and passed by both Houses of Congress, the President either signs it into law or he vetoes it. He can either explicitly veto it, or he can simply ignore it (called a "pocket veto").

      Once he signs it, there is little else (as in nada, zip, nuthin') he or a successor can do on his own but enforce it.

      He can ask Congress to a
  • Article text.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Clockwurk (577966) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:54PM (#10638611) Homepage
    For John Kerry, the specter of Attorney General John Ashcroft trashing Americans' civil liberties has been a useful campaign prop. In campaign stops, Kerry has promised to "end the era of John Ashcroft and renew our faith in the Constitution." In a Kerry administration, he promised the liberal group MoveOn last year, "there will be no John Ashcroft trampling on the Bill of Rights." In his 2004 campaign book, A Call to Service, Kerry accuses Ashcroft and the Bush administration of "relying far too much on extraordinary police powers."

    In contrast, Kerry positions himself as a civil libertarian -- or at least as a proponent of a reasonable balance between liberty and security. "If we are to stand as the world's role model for freedom, we need to remain vigilant about our own civil liberties," Kerry writes in A Call to Service. He calls for "rededicating ourselves to protecting civil liberties."

    Kerry, like every other senator in the chamber except Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), voted for the USA PATRIOT Act in the wake of 9/11. Now he is co-sponsoring the SAFE Act, a bipartisan measure that restricts some of the powers that the PATRIOT Act granted the government. Furthermore, he is critical of the package of proposals from Ashcroft's Department of Justice (DOJ) that has been dubbed Patriot II. Citing his experience as a prosecutor -- he was an assistant district attorney in suburban Boston in the '70s -- Kerry writes, "I know there's a big difference between giving the government the resources and commonsense leeway it needs to track a tough and devious foe and giving in to the temptation of taking shortcuts that will sacrifice liberties cheaply without significantly enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement. Patriot II threatens to cross that line -- and to a serious degree."

    Sacrificing Personal Privacy

    This isn't the first time Kerry and Ashcroft have been at odds over civil liberties. In the 1990s, government proposals to restrict encryption inspired a national debate. Then as now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and electronic privacy groups locked horns with the DOJ and law enforcement agencies. Then as now, Kerry and Ashcroft were on opposite sides.

    But there was a noteworthy difference in those days. Then it was Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) who argued alongside the ACLU in favor of the individual's right to encrypt messages and export encryption software. Ashcroft "was kind of the go-to guy for all of us on the Republican side of the Senate," recalls David Sobel, general counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

    And in what now seems like a bizarre parallel universe, it was John Kerry who was on the side of the FBI, the National Security Agency (NSA), and the DOJ. Ashcroft's predecessor at the Justice Department, Janet Reno, wanted to force companies to create a "clipper chip" for the government -- a chip that could "unlock" the encryption codes individuals use to keep their messages private. When that wouldn't fly in Congress, the DOJ pushed for a "key escrow" system in which a third-party agency would have a "backdoor" key to read encrypted messages.

    In the meantime, the Clinton administration classified virtually all encryption devices as "munitions" that were banned from export, putting American business at a disadvantage. In 1997 Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) pushed the Secure Public Networks Act through his committee. This bill would have codified the administration's export ban and started a key escrow system. One of his original co-sponsors was his fellow Vietnam vet and good friend from across the aisle, John Kerry.

    Proponents such as McCain and Kerry claimed that law enforcement could not get the key from any third-party agency without a court order. Critics responded that there were loopholes in the law, that it opened the door to abuses, and that it punished a technology rather than wrongdoers who used that technology. Some opponents argued that the idea was equivalent to giving the g
  • Well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:59PM (#10638641) Journal
    Kerry's record in this regard is awful. But so is Bush's. So, I guess that leaves us with Badnarik who has all rhetoric and no record.
    • Re:Well.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by node 3 (115640)
      Kerry's record in this regard is awful. But so is Bush's. So, I guess that leaves us with Badnarik who has all rhetoric and no record.

      And no chance of winning, so he's not really a choice, even if he's on the ballot.

      No matter how much we'd all like it to be so, without voting reform (specifically, something like Instant Run-off Voting, but there are other options), it's a two party, two choice, system for President. Vote accordingly then fight to change the way the system works.
      • Re:Well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:55AM (#10638945) Journal
        I'm not entirely sure but I think if any candidate manages to get 3% of the popular vote he'll receive some federal funding for the next campaign.
        • Re:Well.. (Score:3, Informative)

          by squarefish (561836) *
          I believe it's 5%- nader was short last time.

          The money also goes to the party for the following election, not the canidate.
          • Re:Well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by siriuskase (679431) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:53AM (#10639440) Homepage Journal
            Problem is, if anyone gets the 5%, they will raise the bar for the next election. It's the Democrats and Republicans holding up each end of the bar, after all. How high can the bar go before the general public notices and cares about what going on?

            Changing the electoral system in a way to benefit third parties can't be gradual, changes must be so swift and sudden that any attempt by the incumbents to retaliate by changing the law will be obvious and ugly.

        • And then what? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by melquiades (314628) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @03:55AM (#10639599) Homepage
          I'm not entirely sure but I think if any candidate manages to get 3% of the popular vote he'll receive some federal funding for the next campaign.

          And then what?

          Maybe if you're really, really, lucky, your candidate will gain popular support ... and five, ten years down the road, they win!

          A third party president! How exciting!

          And then what?

          The two major parties are going to start nipping at the heels of your platform, reorganizing their own positions to eat into your party's base. You'll have to compromise, build coalitions, to remain in power. Eventually, the political coalition-building will tip to the point where one of the three parties is no longer viable.

          And, voila, after all your hard work, after all those votes that sacrificed immediate advantage for the long-term hopes, you're right back where you started: two parties, both of them sprawling coalitions that don't really please anybody all that much, but please about half the population juuuust enough.

          Even if you win, you lose.

          This already happened once. Back in the 1850s, the Democrats and the Whigs where the two major parties. A third party came along, got their candidate elected, chaos ensued, and within five years, the Whigs were defunct, with the political boundaries redrawn, but only two parties left. That third party was the Republicans.

          Yes, ponder that: the Republicans were once a third party.

          The problem is, you can't escape Duverger's law [wikipedia.org]: as long as we have plurality votes, we'll only have two viable parties, except in times of extreme political chaos.
          • The UK has a tri-partite system that works fine and has been doing so for a good while.

            Daniel
            • As an ex-member of the Liberal Democrats, I'm not sure I agree with you. The UK has a two party system with an additional "spoiler" party. The result is that, at least from 1979 to 1997, Britain had an immensely unpopular government that was difficult to get rid of. The current government seems, to me, to be more representative of how the British see themselves and is fractionally more popular than that government, but only because the "spoiler" at the moment is not a natural home, at the moment, for ex-Tor
              • Oh I'm not saying it works well as a general system, just that it's sustainable. I think any system which consists of essentially electing a tyrant for a number of years is not a democracy. No single person should be in charge of a country like that. The Swiss system is a better solution (the president is a figurehead, the actual executive power is held by a federal council).

                Daniel
          • You have to actually read the wikipedia link to know that Duverger's "law" is not absolute. There are counterexamples and there is no reason to believe that the US couldn't be one of these.

            Our system was designed so that we could vote for the man (or woman) we think is best for the job. If he's on the ballot then there's nothing wrong with voting for him. If you say that a candidate is "stealing" someone elses votes then I say they weren't his votes to begin with. A vote for a third party isn't someone
            • You have to actually read the wikipedia link to know that Duverger's "law" is not absolute.

              Yes, I actually read the link, and of course it is not absolute -- just like the "law" of supply and demand, it's not an absolute rule, but rather a general tendency that we can use to inform intelligent decisions.

              If you say that a candidate is "stealing" someone elses votes

              I said no such thing.

              Our system was designed so that we could vote for the man (or woman) we think is best for the job.

              No it's not. [slashdot.org]

              A
          • Re:And then what? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jmorris42 (1458) *
            > And, voila, after all your hard work, after all those votes that
            > sacrificed immediate advantage for the long-term hopes, you're right
            > back where you started: two parties, both of them sprawling coalitions
            > that don't really please anybody all that much, but please about half
            > the population juuuust enough.

            Yes, but they won't be the SAME two parties. Not just the names will change, scramble things up badly and the new parties that emerge will not resemble the ones that exist now. Who kno
            • Yes, but they won't be the SAME two parties. Not just the names will change, scramble things up badly and the new parties that emerge will not resemble the ones that exist now. ...

              You're absolutely right, but...

              On the other hand, if the Libertarians ascended they would acrete in a large chunk of the free market Republicans and that portion of the Democrats who still espouse Civil Rights as an individual concern.

              ...no party with a truly libertarian platform is going to command a quorum in the United S

              • > ...no party with a truly libertarian platform is going to command a
                > quorum in the United States in the forseeable future.

                Exactly correct. So in the scenario of the Libertarians becoming ascendent they would be 'selling out' more and more principles to gain supporters. But Libertarian thought would still be the underlying principles guiding the party.

                Think of the current Democratic Party as a good example; all of the most influencial thinkers are Socialists and that philosophy, limited by what i
                • Think of the current Democratic Party as a good example; all of the most influencial thinkers are Socialists and that philosophy, limited by what is politically possible, guides most of the Party's actions even though they can't even use that word in public.

                  I think you're projecting a bit too much of your own idealism onto the Democrats. They're not nearly that consistent, and your generalization doesn't hold well.

                  Right now that BIG issue is Capitalism vs Socialism.

                  Again, I think you're overgeneraliz
          • Actually, what you have described is a good thing, and one of the ways the US government is supposed to work and evolve. The US government opperates on comprimise, in fact, all non-totalitarian governments do. This is because it is basically impossible for a group of 2 or more people to agree about everything, so comprimises are made. The position of a third party is that they wish to draw the comprimise in a particular direction; and, if they manage to reach a point that they have popular support, and f
        • > he'll receive some federal funding for the next
          > campaign

          The Libertarian Party receiving money from the Federal government?

          That sound you heard was of thousands of Libertarians suddenly crying out in terror, and suddenly silenced.

        • I think candidates who use Gentoo should automatically receive public funds, because Gentoo is the best distro. **Shameless plug in an unrelated topic**
      • Re:Well.. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by nelsonal (549144)
        He gets my vote, regardless of wasted or not. Now I live in Montana, and am sure that the difference between the two leaders will be signficantly more than 1 (or 1000 or 100000) votes but even if I could somehow have forknowledge that my vote would cost my second choice (Bush-by a narrow margin according to voter choice's survey) Montana's 3 electoral votes I would still vote for him in the hope that it would drive both parties that much closer to the LP ideals. Crap I voted libertarian for the Senate can
      • Re:Well.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mbourgon (186257)
        Vote accordingly

        I live in a no-way-in-hell-are-we-a-swing-state. We don't even get TV ads. I plan on voting Libertarian. Sure, it won't change things (at least not WRT the President), but IMO if enough people do that, it'll cause the party to look and see that they're losing people due to some of the more extremist positions.

        Heck, Nader/Badnarik/etc can still change things. In a swing state, 5% of the vote would send it to the other candidate. That affects opinions and policies, if only because "ot
      • And no chance of winning, so he's not really a choice, even if he's on the ballot.

        With the winner-takes-all setup of the Electoral College right now, unless you're in a battleground state your choice doesn't really matter as much anyways. In Georgia, George Bush will take the electoral vote. I could convince every single person I know to vote for Jesus H. Christ this election, and it wouldn't make a damned bit of difference.

      • nd no chance of winning, so he's not really a choice, even if he's on the ballot.

        I love this argument! People aften don't see the "other benefits" involved with voting your concience instead of the lessor of two evils likley to win. If a party losses an election because of a third party canidate, it should force that party to study why and incorperate the differences into thier platform next election.

        This, of couse is just hypothetical, I'm not really sure it is likley any of the two dominant parties wi

        • People aften don't see the "other benefits" involved with voting your concience instead of the lessor of two evils likley to win.

          If you are talking about me, you are 100% wrong. I fully understand and appreciate the benefits of voting for the best, but no-chance-in-hell, candidate. But if you vote for that person, you are not voting for President. If you don't mind giving up your presidential vote (ie: both main candidates are equal enough from your point of view), then vote your conscious, just don't pre
    • Re:Well.. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jerf (17166)
      This is largely why I will be voting for Bush. I disagree with the rhetoric on the war, I think it is going as well as can be expected. (Please, this is not a request to "correct" me on this; I've heard it all before. I mean, sure, feel free to whack that reply button, it's your right, but don't expect me to suddenly see the error of my ways or anything. Caveat over.)

      But I don't love everything Bush has done. His administration is disturbingly secretive, and while I freely concede the need to keep some thi
      • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by edalytical (671270) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:36AM (#10638839)
        You take away the war issue, and there isn't much reason for a Slashdot type to vote for either one of them.
        Um, Outsourcing!

        Let's see Bush is for it. Kerry is against it. Hmm, Kerry gets my vote.

        • by Jerf (17166)
          Good point. Not enough to sway my vote on my personal value scale, but good point. Thank you.
        • Re:Well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:50AM (#10638912) Journal
          Does it really matter what the president's opinion on outsourcing is anyways?

          I mean, what's Bush going to do, propose tax increases for big companies?

          Outsourcing is caused by business being really expensive here in the US--in fact, so expensive that moving entire factories and buildings overseas ends up saving the company money.

          I'm not really a Republican (because somehow they've gone crazy in the last 10 years or so) but it would seem that legislation that would make inland business less expensive would be more of a Republican thing.

          • Re:Well.. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by scotch (102596)

            Does it really matter what the president's opinion on outsourcing is anyways?

            Probably not much. The stronger critique of the Bush adminstration is the alleged tax break given to out-sourcing companies. I never did hear Bush respond in the debates to this break, so I'm not sure what the counter-argument is. Ideally, the US government might be tax-neutral towards outsourcing. Some might support an administration that would take efforts to prevent outsorceing. Bush answered the outsourcing question wi

            • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

              by nelsonal (549144) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:33AM (#10639152) Journal
              It's not as much of a tax break as it sounds. Most countries tax income earned domestically. So take Diagio (the parent of Guiness) they tax the income it earns in the UK. The US taxes the income of Anheiser-Busch globally with a tax credit for foreign taxes paid, with a major loophole (if you reinvest the proceeds in the foreign country you can deferr the taxes). The loophole is designed to allow companies to earn tons of money in foreign countries, but they have to spend it in the foreign country--hence the pro-outsourcing tilt of the group. Both sides should know that it mostly equalized our tax law with foreign competitors (which US companies scream bloody murder about) as opposed to really supporting outsourcing.
              As an example take a Toyota factory in Ohio the US would tax the domesitic subsidiary of Toyota for the profits from the cars built in the factory and Japan would not. If Ford were to do the same thing in Osaka, however, the US would tax income both from cars exported to Japan and cars built in Japan. This puts Ford at a bit of a disadvantage to Toyota, and lots of companies lobbied hard for the tax break to equalize them. Now you know a bit more about the "outsourcing tax break."
              • Thanks for the analysis. Question. Does this apply to people or just corporations? That is, if I'm a US citizen living abroad and making money abroad (dual citizenship, if that helps), does Bush's tax break apply to me as well, or do I still need to pay US income tax?
                • Re:Well.. (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by will_die (586523)
                  First off the US considers you a citizen or not a citizen, thier is no such thing as dual citizen as far as the US is concened.
                  As a US citizen you have to pay taxes on money you earned no matter where it was earned. Now there are a few things that subtract from the amount you have to pay the US tax office.
                  1) If the US has an agreement with the opposing country you can subtract a portion of what you paid that country from the US taxes. 2) This is the primary benifit. If you are out of the US(your primary
                  • You can have dual citizenship until you are 18. The only way this could happen is if you are born on foriegn soil to American parents. You have the citizenship of the country you were born in, and America recognizes your citizenship because your parents are American.

                    Turn 18 though, and you must choose. I know because my cousin had dual Italian/American citizenship.

                • The way I understand it is that it depends on how long you spend in the foreign country. If you spend over a certain percentage of days actually living and earning a wage in that country, you are not subject to American income taxation.
            • Bush answered the outsourcing question with answers about increased education opportunities. Education helps, but I'd rather he give a firm answer to the crticism.

              Actually, education does not help.

              As long as the people willing to do the job for less money have the education sufficient to do that job, you having more education will not get that job for you.

              Some might even support more agressive means to prevent outsourcing (taxes, trade resticitions, embargoes, etc).

              I'd start by killing any "free trade"

        • Outsourcing (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by sybert (192766)
          Bush is for it, he gets my vote.

          I have personally been involved in developing IT services for Foreign Companies, Foreign Governments, and International Organizations. Anyone who is against free trade in services loses my vote. And for the economy as a whole, service exports (insourcing) are increasing much faster than service imports (outsourcing).
        • Dude, that is like saying that you are against educating children.

          The president can not really affect outsourcing directly . If they try to do this with taxes, EU/WTO will slap trade sanction, since taxes against world economy are in many cases illegal.

          Meanwhile, if Kerry manages to get Congress to increase the minimum wage, we will see more pressure for outsourcing (as everybody's wage will start going up, due to inflation). In the long run the falling value of the dollar will eventually balance this out
          • Libertarians are not your friends either. They will want to ease restrictions on work (and workers).

            I'm not sure that's completely a bad thing, at least, not in terms of restrictions on who can be employed and where.

            Part of the rush towards outsourcing has been because Americans over-priced themselves during the late nineties, Slashdotters frequently said they wouldn't accept a programming job that paid less than six digits. At the same time as this was happening, there was a backlash against H1-Bs, H1

        • > Outsourcing!
          > Let's see Bush is for it. Kerry is against it.

          Even though he has publicly announced that outsourcing can't (read won't) be stopped...

          http://in.news.yahoo.com/041009/43/2h7og.html [yahoo.com]
      • Re:Well.. (Score:2, Insightful)

        I'd like to make an observation and ask a question, if I may. My obvservation is that you seem to be siding, and I know I'm mangling this quote, with the evil you know over the evil you don't. Whether you're right or wrong in doing so--if you are doing so--is not my place to say.

        As for the question, I base it on these two quotes from your post:

        OK, I understand the war is a big deal [...] For me it is a big issue, but not big enough to call myself a one-issue voter.

        and

        [...] there isn't much reason for
        • by Jerf (17166)
          How do you reconcile those two statements?

          Read them more closely; there is no contradiction. "I'm not a one-issue voter on the war, but on all the other issues I care about there is no difference, so it is the only one I have to consider." There is no contradiction there, just more nuance than you are probably used to seeing on Slashdot.

          BTW, Troll? Moderation is officially broken on Slashdot. You can be a lunatic in favor of Kerry, but post a reasoned opinion that with reluctance semi-endorses Bush and y
      • Re:Well.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Proteus (1926)

        You take away the war issue, and there isn't much reason for a Slashdot type to vote for either one of them.

        Separation of Church and State. Now, I'm not saying Bush has crossed the line here. I'm even one who defends the idea -- if not the current implementation of -- faith-based services [0]. And, I am aware that Kerry is religious, and that such will affect his decisions.

        The primary difference, to me, is that Bush is unwilling to look at his decisions outside the context of his spiritual beliefs. H

      • If you believe that Kerry and Bush are roughly equal on all the issues that affect you, you're significantly under-informed. Make sure you're not getting your understanding of Kerry's position from any of the US news stations, pro-Bush right-wing pundits or from Bush and the rest of his top level staff. Kerry's positions on a number of the items you speak of have been repeatedly distorted with little or no effort shown by major "news" organisations to check facts, correct mistakes or do anything other tha
      • This is largely why I will be voting for Bush. I disagree with the rhetoric on the war, I think it is going as well as can be expected (Please, this is not a request to "correct" me on this; I've heard it all before. I mean, sure, feel free to whack that reply button, it's your right, but don't expect me to suddenly see the error of my ways or anything. Caveat over.)

        In other words, let's not be so silly as to bring reality into this: the war is going well, so any facts brought forward are just "rhetoric".

    • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by scotch (102596) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:56AM (#10638950) Homepage
      When questioned about the Patriot act and civil liberties in Debate two, Bush said
      BUSH: I really don't think your rights are being watered down. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't support it if I thought that.

      and little else (see this for the full text [debates.org]. Kerry said:

      KERRY: Former Governor Racicot, as chairman of the Republican Party, said he thought that the Patriot Act has to be changed and fixed.

      Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, he is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said over his dead body before it gets renewed without being thoroughly rechecked.

      A whole bunch of folks in America are concerned about the way the Patriot Act has been applied. In fact, the inspector general of the Justice Department found that John Ashcroft had twice applied it in ways that were inappropriate.

      People's rights have been abused.

      I met a man who spent eight months in prison, wasn't even allowed to call his lawyer, wasn't allowed to get -- finally, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois intervened and was able to get him out.

      This is in our country, folks, the United States of America.

      They've got sneak-and-peek searches that are allowed. They've got people allowed to go into churches now and political meetings without any showing of potential criminal activity or otherwise.

      Now, I voted for the Patriot Act. Ninety-nine United States senators voted for it. And the president's been very busy running around the country using what I just described to you as a reason to say I'm wishy-washy, that I'm a flip-flopper.

      Now that's not a flip-flop. I believe in the Patriot Act. We need the things in it that coordinate the FBI and the CIA. We need to be stronger on terrorism.

      But you know what we also need to do as Americans is never let the terrorists change the Constitution of the United States in a way that disadvantages our rights.

      Saying there is no problem doesn't make it go away.

      You may be right about the records. The record isn't everything for this issue, though. Sinse almost everyone on the hill voted for the Patriot act, correcting it will either take politicians admitting they were wrong (aka flip-flopping), a massive turnover of congress-critters (you can thank gerrymandering for that not happening), or some intervention by the supreme court (hopeful). Badnarik is another possibility, but pretty remote.

      • Re:Well.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MindStalker (22827)
        But he said and you quote.

        "I believe in the Patriot Act. We need the things in it that coordinate the FBI and the CIA. We need to be stronger on terrorism."

        Combined with all the other quotes in his article, it sounds as if kerry believes law enforcement should have many powers, but they should just be expected to not abuse those powers. Whats going to keep law enforcement from abusing those powers? Nothing, according to all of Kerry's statements.

        This is unrealistic, and a complete ignorance of the idea o
        • Well, neither candidate is ideal, most of us can agree on that. But on one hand we have someone who says there is no problem, and on the other we have someone who seems to think there might be some problems, either in execution or definition, and who at least is considering legislation to correct the problems. So the point stands, there is a some difference in the candidates here, perhaps not as much as I'd like, but if you're trying to support Bush with this tactic, it seems pretty weak to me.
      • "Former Governor Racicot, as chairman of the Republican Party, said he thought that the Patriot Act has to be changed and fixed."

        I've seen this quote used several times in various places, but everyone misses the most dramatic part: Marc Racicot (pronounced: Ras-coe), was first on the list for AG...ahead of Ashcroft. But he turned down the position because he was just finishing two terms as Gov. of MT, and wanted time off to spend with his family. This didn't get much coverage in the news, except in MT.
      • The obvious problem with everything he said is he didn't actually say how he would fix it. He just reeled of all the sound bites against it he learned from Howard Dean and the ACLU.

        Well all that crap was in there when he voted for it. If he had a problem with them he should have done something about it then. Instead he voted for it because everyone in Congress was afraid they would be branded as unpatriotic if they didn't vote for it so they abandoned their oath to uphold the constitution out of politica
    • Right to bear arms is a fundamental Civil Right in the US. Kerry is awful in this department.

      I'm voting for Badnarik, and we need a strong third party to help create a new, healthier political system without these two bought and paid for parties that "represent"

      However, I want to be free from Mobocracy, and believe in a constitutional republic with armed civilians and with NONE of the rights being collective, all being individual.

      The right to speak freely, pursue religion, marry a dog or same sex, freedo
      • Right to bear arms is a fundamental Civil Right in the US. Kerry is awful in this department.

        What utter fscking BS. Kerry is a gun owner and a hunter. He has never advocated taking all guns away from Americans.

        You are just another one-issue deluded voter who wants to twist "a well regulated militia" into unregulated ownership of any and all weapons capable of killing people. Well here's a clue for you: The founding fathers didn't intend for you to be able to buy .50 caliber machine guns, bazookas, sh
        • Kerry is a hunter? I also suppose "everybody got one" means four guys come out of the woods with three geese? Please allow me to respectfully disagree.

          Now down to the Constitution. In no other place in the Constitution, will you find any qualifiers for an enumerated right. Only in the preamble of the Constitution will you find that. The reason is obvious. It describes exactly WHY the people shall have the right to keep and bear arms. It is because a well regulated militia is necessary for a free state. In
    • Kerry is not the perfect, ideal candidate of libertarians. Who'd have thunk it?

      Next thing you know, some nutcase will be claiming that plurality voting [wikipedia.org] requires voters to make compromises. Compromise is for weenies.

      Sure, it's impractical and probably contrary to your interests in practical terms, but the symbolic gesture will buoy you with a smug sense of moral superiority for years: I say, cast your ballot for the candidate who you agree with completely on everything.

      That's why I'm casting a write-in
  • irrelevant (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nusratt (751548)
    If you're the kind of person who's horrified by the Gang Of Bush's encroachments on civil liberties, then you're likely to be someone who's also concerned about an entire constellation of related issues.

    In that case, you're also likely to be someone for whom there's no doubt that Kerry will be at least a marginal improvement.
    • Re:irrelevant (Score:5, Insightful)

      by demachina (71715) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:19AM (#10639094)
      "In that case, you're also likely to be someone for whom there's no doubt that Kerry will be at least a marginal improvement."

      I'm pretty sure Kerry will be bad, different bad, and the calculus of badness is pretty hard so I'm not sure I'd be so bold as to say Kerry will be a "marginal improvement", I'd just stick with they are both going to be inevitably bad. What do you expect when you have two spoiled rich kids, Yale grads, Skull and Bonesmen, elite of the elites, never done an honest days work in their lives.

      Though I should qualify there is a big plus in having different parties controlling the White House and Congress because grid lock is a big plus when both major parties have gone insane and are completely corrupt, since it slows them down, they can't make major policy changes and are confined to colluding to hand out the massive pork to their friends. Gridlock is kind of like a straight jacket for the criminally insane. So if the Republicans hold Congress, having Kerry in the White House would probably be a marginal improvement and vice versa.

      Me I'm taking the long view so I think it would be best if Bush/Cheney win, the Republicans get 60 seats in the Senate, build their lead on the House, and get the Supreme Court stacked early in the next term. It would be especially good if the election looks really tainted, rigged and stolen.

      Why you ask? Have I gone insane? Well no, you see I'm pretty sure the Republicans will tilt in to an insane binge of right wing extremism in the next term if they hold power and especially if there is another terrorist attack to use an excuse. In fact I'm willing to bet they will stage their own attack if Al Qaida doesn't oblige, like the Anthrax letters. Terrorist attacks are pure gold when you are trying to seize power.

      Why is this good? Because things might get so bad it might wake up sane Americans that their government is no longer of the people, by the people or for the people, and it doesn't really matter which party has power because they are both screwing the people. If Kerry were to win people might say, whew, glad thats over, and not realize Kerry and the Dems are screwing them pretty much the same as Bush and the Republicans, just with a different style.

      Maybe, just maybe, if things gets really bad people will wake up and unite to do whatever it takes to take their government back, either peacefully through a real third party, or if it appears the Republicans are stealing the elections using as much force as is necessary, something which I'm pretty sure all the founding fathers would bless. The founding fathers knew and feared tyrannical government and they thouroughly expected one would eventually seize power in America despite their best efforts in the Constitution to prevent it and we are pretty close.

      The U.S. is in desperate need of a renewal of its Democracy and ping ponging between really bad Republicans and really bad Democrats is precluding that rebirth. America needs a Master Reset and a reboot to clear a corrupted system.
      • Re:irrelevant (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kris_J (10111) *

        I'm pretty sure Kerry will be bad, different bad, and the calculus of badness is pretty hard so I'm not sure I'd be so bold as to say Kerry will be a "marginal improvement", I'd just stick with they are both going to be inevitably bad. What do you expect when you have two spoiled rich kids, Yale grads, Skull and Bonesmen, elite of the elites, never done an honest days work in their lives.

        I'm sorry, but this is crap. While Bush was busy running one previously successful company into the ground after anoth

        • Now, I'm not attempting to make a comment on the validity of either of you two's insights, but let's recap what just happened here:

          GP Poster: "Bush is bad, but Kerry will be bad because of A, B, C, D, and E as well."

          Parent Poster: "E is wrong. Therefore, your entire conclusion is wrong and you are a slimy Republican."

          I can just as easily say that your Democrat trick of "Bush Bad, Kerry Not As Bad (we promise)" doesn't work on anyone anymore. That is, with the minor exception of the average America

          • "That is, with the minor exception of the average American voter. D'oh."

            Not sure the average American voter is as bad as everyone thinks. They've been painted in to a corner election after election being forced to choose between bad and worse.

            The poll I want to see is:

            - Who are you voting for Kerry, Bush, Nader etc.
            - Are you voting for this candidate because you want to or because you hate the other candidates more
            - Who would be your preferred candidate for President if its not the one you are voting fo

        • He was a prosecutor only after he lost his first bid for a congressional seat, I think this around 1972 almost right out of Vietnam. He was following almost precisely JFK's footsteps but JFK won his congressional in 1946 while Kerry lost and it set his political career, and JFK emulation, way back which is when he did the prosecutor stint. If he had had his way he would have gone straight in to Congress like JFK, whose life he pretty much ripped off wholesale.

          Here is the The Globe [boston.com] on his forgotten middle
      • Why is this good? Because things might get so bad it might wake up sane Americans that their government is no longer of the people, by the people or for the people, and it doesn't really matter which party has power because they are both screwing the people.

        Those that have not woken up yet are not going to wake up.

        Until it is them being abused, most people are more then happy to accept the government's claim that the people it is abusing are "bad" people who want to hurt the "good" people in this country.

  • are stupid. Both parties are filled with a bunch of worthless liars. The only good one I can think of off the top of my head is Ron Paul ("Dr. No").
  • There's not nearly enough information there to have a suitable knee-jerk reaction. What am I supposed to do now, RTFA?
  • by Wylfing (144940) <`brian' `at' `wylfing.net'> on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:59AM (#10638964) Homepage Journal
    TFA goes to some pains to cast a bad light on Kerry, but it also tells a different story: Ashcroft's views on civil liberties have flipped 180 degrees. So it seems that the real lesson is that when Kerry transitions from the legistlative to the executive branch his views on civil liberties will completely reverse. Good to go, then.

  • I guess this article has been put in the "Your Rights Online" to be pushed in the face of the ppl who let politics out of their /. homepage ...

    • And I just read (part) of the FA and it's just putting spin on the various records and sayings.

      For example, for the usual securit means less privacy claims, Kerry says that nobody would disagree to lose a bit of privacy while Ashcroft says that only only the adversaries of peace would do that with phantom of lost liberties.

    • Obviously whenever some right-wing magazine writes an editorial, it's major news, especially to those who don't look at the politics section.
  • So after watching Ashcroft abuse the DMCA, Kerry pushed USA-PATRIOT, then was surprised that Ashcroft abuses it?
    This is the guy criticizing Bush for lack of foresight?
  • by sheldon (2322) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @10:53AM (#10641690)
    I'll even go further then argue Kerry voted for the Patriot Act.

    HE ACTUALLY AUTHORED PROVISIONS IN IT! AND SO DID JOHN EDWARDS!

    But let's get past the political hackery that Reason is promoting... "WHAAA! John Kerry voted for the Act, and now he's criticizing it, how can you trust him!? Whaaaaa!!!!" It's an amazingly thoughtless critique, even more so intellectually dishonest in that it criticizes Kerry for criticizing the Act.

    But the truth of the matter is the Patriot Act wasn't a well thought out bill, or one that was even debated thoroughly. What it was, was a collection of hundreds of little issues that various Congresscritters had brought up over the years, all jammed together. So when Kerry and Edwards wrote parts of it, they wrote the parts which deal with dealing with money launderers and things like that.

    And when they criticize it, they're complaining about the parts that allow the FBI to search your Library checkout records.

    And GW Bush would have you believe the opposite, that Kerry and Edwards are complaining about the parts they themselves wrote.

    The truth is... Parts of the Act are Good, and parts are Bad. AND THAT IS WHY JOHN KERRY IS SUGGESTING WE REVIEW IT!

    The reason.com article is intellectually dishonest in suggesting otherwise.
  • Manadatory service (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deanj (519759) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:05PM (#10644598)
    From:

    http://blog.johnkerry.com/blog/archives/000791.h tm l

    "As part of his 100 day plan to change America, John Kerry will propose a comprehensive service plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high school students"

"Pull the trigger and you're garbage." -- Lady Blue

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