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President Bush Blocks NSA Wireless Tapping Probe 1063

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the don't-look-here dept.
scubamage writes "By denying security clearance to federal attorneys from the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) seeking to gather evidence in the NSA illegal surveillance scandal, President Bush has effectively blocked the Justice Department's investigation into the matter of who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place. The president is apparently able to strictly control who does and does not have security clearance to examine documents regarding the program, citing that giving more people access would endanger national security. His denial is the first of its kind in American history. To quote the article, 'Since its creation some 31 years ago, OPR has conducted many highly sensitive investigations involving Executive Branch programs and has obtained access to information classified at the highest levels,' chief lawyer H. Marshall Jarrett wrote in a memorandum released Tuesday. 'In all those years, OPR has never been prevented from initiating or pursuing an investigation.'"
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President Bush Blocks NSA Wireless Tapping Probe

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  • by Threni (635302) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:39AM (#15755497)
    > President Bush has effectively blocked the Justice Department's investigation into the matter of
    > who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place

    He sure as hell wouldn't have done that had it been an opportunity to point the finger at any of his rivals. Even if he wasn't responsible, he's now responsible for the cover up. If American voters aren't happy with his decision they can always vote him out. I'm sure by the time of the next election there'll be some other bogeyman to deal with - presumably lebenese or syrian terrorists, angry at all the US built/paid for planes and tanks pounding lebenon.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:39AM (#15755501) Journal
    Of course, he is going to block it. Funny thing is, this investigation had no teeth to start off with. It basically said that we are going to do everything in our power to check every little corner if you will allow it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:43AM (#15755509)
    We need to revoke your rights in order to protect them. History will look back upon George W. Bush as the undoing of what it means to be American.
  • by Betabug (58015) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:43AM (#15755511) Homepage
    And with it the separation of the powers of legislative, executive, judiciary functions. Americans should say "thanks for the good times, farewell". With a bit of goodwill, you will still see these things in history books for a few years.
  • by CurtMonash (986884) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:43AM (#15755514) Homepage
    Juvenal is the ancient Roman who asked "Who will watch the watchmen?" [] For George Bush, the answer is evidently "Preferably, nobody."

  • by Zediker (885207) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:46AM (#15755527)
    If there was a vote for impeachment that the public could vote in, I would vote. But the only things I can do, is spread the word, and send a letter to my congressman. Then hope my congressman helps set up the process for impeachment. So, technically, the only way this is going to get started is if my congressman wants to discipline the president. Otherwise, everything I do and say is for naught.
  • Biased much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigtallmofo (695287) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:47AM (#15755529)
    First of all, that headline... While it may be technically true, it's misleading. Then the write-up that convicts the entire program even before an investigation (which is apparently now stalled) has been started by calling it "illegal actions". That might be putting the proverbial cart before the horse.

    Let's try re-writing the headline and summary:

    Senator Kerry Blocks NSA Wireless Tapping Probe
    By failing to win the presidency, Senator Kerry has effectively blocked the Justice Department's investigation into the matter of who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place.

    There you go - this entire thing is really Kerry's doing. And though misleading, it's technically correct.
  • Surprised? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Soupy69 (988115) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:47AM (#15755536)
    This was inevitable. The only thing that amazes me is that people genuinely thought this would go somewhere
  • sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:49AM (#15755539) Homepage
    Lie, Whitewash, Stonewall.

    Rinse, Repeat.

    These are dark days. And we still have two and a half years to go.
  • Illegal Actions? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by isa-kuruption (317695) <kuruption&kuruption,net> on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:58AM (#15755574) Homepage
    ... into the matter of who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place.

    Ahem, sorry to get "technical", but the actions haven't been proven to be illegal yet. They are "allegedly" illegal, since no one has been convicted of a crime (if that will ever happen).

    But this is typical spin... the fact is that part of the power of the President, of all Presidents, is to decide on the classification of information within the executive branch of government. When something is classified as "top secret", it requires the President to say, "hey this can now be released to the public" before it is legal to actually do so. This is why we've been having these leak probes (although they haven't gone anywhere). It's called access control... it's there for a reason... and it's not to hinder an investigative probe into misconduct, but to prevent the hindering of investigations into terrorist activities.
  • by Peyna (14792) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:05AM (#15755609) Homepage
    And with it the separation of the powers of legislative, executive, judiciary functions. Americans should say "thanks for the good times, farewell". With a bit of goodwill, you will still see these things in history books for a few years.

    While I would agree that this administration seems bent on creating an all-powerful executive branch and removing the independent judiciary, that really isn't what is going on in this case.

    The OPR is part of the DOJ. The DOJ is a huge part of the executive branch. That's why Bush has so much power over the DOJ. The executive telling the executive what to do has nothing to do with separation of powers.
  • Re:Truth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:11AM (#15755624) Homepage
    Then too he has an odd definition of freedom. He seems to think freedom and democracy are exactly the same thing.

    Don't get me wrong... Democracy and voting play substantial roles in assuring freedom. But they're not the only things.

    Take for example the cohabitation law struck down in North Carolina recently. A democraticly elected majority said: an unrelated man and woman can't live with each other under the same roof unless they get married. Its fornication and society won't stand for it.

    That's not freedom. Freedom says you can run your personal life pretty much any way you want to and its nobody else's business.

    I don't think Dubya gets that.
  • by plague3106 (71849) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:12AM (#15755630)
    Its suprising because it goes against the idea of checks and balances. Not that Bush has any respect for the Constitution at all; he's more included to setup a Christian run state than anything else.
  • Re:Truth (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i_should_be_working (720372) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:13AM (#15755635)
  • by Da_Weasel (458921) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:18AM (#15755665) Homepage
    I'm sure "Who will watch the watchmen?" was a clever question during the time of the Roman Empire, but the answer is simple. A circle of watching needs to be established. Something like the concepts behind the US government that are currently falling apart....Judicial, Executive and Legislative are all suppose to keep each other in check. Currently the Executive is doing as it damn well pleases....

    Government watches the people, the people watch the watchmen, and the watchmen watch the government.
  • Re:Biased much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:18AM (#15755667) Journal
    Then the write-up that convicts the entire program even before an investigation (which is apparently now stalled) has been started by calling it "illegal actions"

    The program does indeed break the law. Only two points remain in-the-air - Who authorized it, and will Congress make similar future programs legal.

    But breaking the law breaks the law - If you get convicted of "murder"ing your (literally) braindead spouse the day before congress passes an exception for assisted suicide, you still go to prison for murder.

    Bush (or someone VERY high up, which the proposed investigation would determine) broke the law (again). I want to see Bush or Cheney do the perp walk. So do the majority of Americans at this point - It might have taken most of the sheep six years to catch on, but they've finally noticed that every time the wolf appears, some of them vanish.
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:18AM (#15755671)
    It already IS a Christian-run state, by the simple fact that Christians are the overwhelming majority in the US. What I think you mean to imply is that he would like the Christian ideals further forced upon all in the US, even non-Christians. For instance, he would like to ban stem cell research, abortion, and gay marriage because they conflict with his notion of Christian values.
  • That's it exactly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tony (765) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:19AM (#15755676) Journal
    Umm, just exactly _what_ illegal actions occured?

    That's the question we'd like answered. It appears the President used his position to order wiretaps without bothering to get judicial authorisation, which is illegal. Or, at least, was at the time. That's the point of the investigation, to learn exactly what was done, when, by whom, and for what purpose.

    If the President illegally ordered wiretaps, it's a Very Big Deal.
  • well, almost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:21AM (#15755693) Homepage Journal
    "By denying [...], President Bush has effectively blocked the [...] investigation into the matter of who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place."

    Technically, yes. Pragmatically, he has made it very, very obvious that it was either he himself or someone very close to him.
  • by s31523 (926314) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:23AM (#15755701)
    I would agree that using this power to track terrorists is something that might have a need to be done, but, my problem is that the yahoo's in power are not that honorable and use the "great latitude" to listen in on non-terror related conversations which might be illegal in nature but were obtained illeagally. Then this information is probably used to get legitimate warrants because all of a sudden some "anonymous person" called in something. If I trusted the powers in charge I would have no problem with secret phone tapping (as if this hasn't happened in the past...), but the current administration here in the US has demonstrated nothing but dishonest behavior and lost my trust.
  • by Tony (765) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:26AM (#15755714) Journal
    It's called access control... it's there for a reason... and it's not to hinder an investigative probe into misconduct, but to prevent the hindering of investigations into terrorist activities.


    So why is the President using it to block an investigative probe into misconduct? If he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:26AM (#15755716) Homepage
    Am I the only one who finds it funny that the Department of Justice is not part of the Judiciary branch? Historically it makes sense since it is a cabinet department of the executive. But considering it is often responsible for investigating misconduct of the legislative and executive branches, it is very odd. It sounds like the Judiciary branch needs an investigative arm.
  • by cgenman (325138) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:27AM (#15755726) Homepage
    "Yeah. You know that whole Watergate hotel thing you guys are investigating? I'm going to have to ask you to stop. New policy, you know. You got that memo, right? Great. So if you could just not look into that, that'd be great." - Nixon

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:28AM (#15755730)
    If the U.S is at war, I give the Commander and Chief great latitude in how it conducts that war. I give him the benefit of any doubt whatsoever that he's conducting this war and listening to those calls for the benefit of the security of the U.S.

    So, in other words, if the administration can make sure your country is continually at war or under threat of attack, you will stand by and let the people in that administration do anything they want and ban any and all investigations into their actions.

    Welcome to Stalinist Russia. Don't touch that dial.

  • by Tom (822) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:29AM (#15755737) Homepage Journal

    Bush is acting like someone who has no responsibility and nothing to lose or gain. Which is exactly what's the case - he won't be re-elected anyways, so why act responsibly? His only hope of continuing to be in power is to become a de-facto dictator, by declaring some emergency situation and delaying the next presidential election, potentially forever.

    And it's not like the "checks and balances" would work anymore. The same country that once almost impeached a president because he had an extramarital blowjob sits on its hands in regards to one who intentionally deceived the nation, started a war based on lies, essentially raped the Constitution and pissed on the Bill of Rights.

    You did nothing about that so far. So Bush - who has nothing to gain from acting responsibly, remember - will continue down that road, and at this time I give it a 50:50 chance that there will be no presidential election in 2008.
  • Re:Get real. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:29AM (#15755742)
    So the question on the table to the people who belive in the Constitution is this: how do we convince the people who are this afraid of terrorists that a totalitarian state is not the solution to terrorism?

    Simple. Let America become a totalitarian state. It won't last, but it will scare enough people for the time that it does last to buy another two hundred years of freedom, after maybe a twenty year civil war.

    We have failed to learn history. Now we have to take our medicine and repeat it.
  • by dedeman (726830) <> on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:30AM (#15755747)
    and it's not to hinder an investigative probe into misconduct, but to prevent the hindering of investigations into terrorist activities.

    Are you sure about that? If so, how do you know? If Nixon were to classify activities at Whitewater as "investigations into terrorist activities", would that be more palatable, or more correct, or an attempt at avoiding embarassing surveillance?

    When something is classified as "top secret", it requires the President to say, "hey this can now be released to the public" before it is legal to actually do so.

    Yes, this is true, but we're not talking about the declassification of program details, the issue is the inability for a branch of the judicial department to review the legality of a program.

    I'm all for the keeping of certain details of the activities of the US classified, but when those actions breech the sanctity of the freedoms that we enjoy as US citizens, I take issue, as should we all, as is our duty as Americans.
  • Re:Don't you mean (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:32AM (#15755765)
    Off topic? This is pretty fucking on-topic. The headline says "President Bush Blocks NSA Wireless Tapping Probe" and there's no such thing. There is a warrentless wiretapping probe, but no wireless tapping probe.
  • by frazell (990151) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:36AM (#15755791) Homepage
    The activity is illegal because it violates the US Constitution. If you are unfamiliar I'll do you the nice favor of quoting the document the president swore to uphold for you.

    Amendment 4 to the US Constitution
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    The president should not be allowed to act in a secretive and unrestricted manner, especially when we are at "war". Our system of government was designed so that no part of it supersedes the other and more importantly the president was designed to be strictly regulated by the legislative branch. The founders of our country believed the national government should not be overwhelmingly powerful and forgetful that is is an extension of the people not something that supersedes the people.

    People today act like terrorism and related actions are something that are new and the founders did not have to deal with them. It only shows the lack of understanding one has with US history. If you look at the reasons for independence as well as the war of independence you will see that terrorism, as we see and define it, was very common in America. The King of England not only killed colonists and burned down whole towns, but he hired mercenaries to do the same things! Our constitution serves us well in times of war and in times of peace. After all, it was written in a time of war!

    The best quote i have ever read to summarize the mindset you have is the following: "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security" - Benjamin Franklin
  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:37AM (#15755793)
    If any entity can declare itself immune from investigation or oversight, then they are effectively declaring themselves immune from the law. Ergo, the probability that the acts in question were "illegal" are inversely proportional to the odds that President Bush authorized them. Okay, so I'm being facetious, but the fact is that the acts can't be considered "illegal," ever if he can block investigation, and thus any chance of impeachment. I'd like to see someone, anyone, explain this in any way where it means something other than "the law doesn't apply to President Bush."

    What sickens me is not so much that a politician would do this (who wouldn't want to have veto power over any investigations into their own conduct?) but that so-called "conservative" pundits will side with him. The side that ostensibly sides with limited, toothless government will enthusiastically support a President's authority to place himself beyond the reach of the law, just because that President is from their own party. It wouldn't be so grating, but I'm a conservative, one who believes in limited government, the fallibility of man, etc. I actually have the political principles that they claim to have (at least when a Democrat was in the White House) and so, in calling myself a conservative, I'm placing myself in the same wacko, Orwellian club that they've infected. But what else do I call myself, politically? I was reading James Bovard when Clinton was in office. I was concerned about runaway government. I was frightened by Ruby Ridge and Waco. I even agreed with a few David Horowitz articles.

    But at the time the Republicans were right about where I was (though I couldn't have cared less about Clinton's sex life). After 9/11, they all went effectively crazy and I was left feeling like a schmuck because I actually thought they believed in small government and freedom, as I do. I'm effectively left without a party, because the Democrats are no better. I could vote Libertarian, but I really doubt the efficacy of that. It's a bit surreal to vote, to care about politics, in a nation where no one really cares about freedom. There is no political principle at work in either main party, and there isn't really a fiscally conservative/Amnesty International/ACLU/Torturewatch/anti-death-penalty etc party for me to vote for even as a weak compromise. There is just nothing. No, I don't believe it's a conspiracy. I'm just part of a ridiculously small minority of people who are abhorred by what's going on, and would be regardless of what party was running the show this week.

    I'm beginning to understand how the abolitionists felt at the very beginning, when they were the only ones saying "slavery is wrong." When I tell people "torture is wrong," and I have to argue the point, that leaves a very surreal, bizarre, and uneasy feeling in the back of my mind for the rest of the day. No one cares. I don't really see any way we can prevent a headlong slide into totalitarianism. If Bush outright suspended the next election, I'm convinced that at least 40% of Americans would support him. His base, the evangelicals (especially the Christian Reconstructionists) would definitely support him, because that's what they're after anyway. But I just don't think Americans at large think or care about any of this. It's not a very encouraging outlook to have on things.

  • by Divide By Zero (70303) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:37AM (#15755796)
    What illegal activity?

    That's kind of the point, isn't it? We can't find out because investigators can't be cleared.

    And if somebody Authorizes it, is it still illegal?

    Maybe. It depends on the activity. The President is not above the law.

    If Foreign terrorists are calling you here in the U.S, I want to know why and I don't give a hoot what you claim is legal or illegal.

    If my government is spying on me, I want to know why and I don't give a hoot what you claim is illegal or legal.

    Now that we've gotten our wish lists out of the way, let's focus on reality. This country has elected and appointed officials and laws that govern them all. Just because the President says it's legal doesn't make it so.

    If the U.S is at war, I give the Commander and Chief great latitude

    That's a big if. Congress hasn't declared war, and only Congress is empowered to do so. (US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8) The "War on Terror", as with the "War on Drugs", is a slogan, not a declared state of war. Commander-In-Chief he may be, but the President does not have the Constitutional authority to declare war in this country.

    Your blind faith in the government is your right, and don't let me stop you from having it. I don't have that same faith. I believe that a government with nothing to hide does not deny security clearances to ITS OWN AGENTS. (Remember, DOJ is Executive branch.) I believe that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and power that goes unchecked and unquestioned is absolute. I believe that the administration has been doing things in my name (as a citizen) that I don't approve of, and the legislature and courts are complicit.

    Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong about all my suspicions regarding the President and his staff.

    Problem is, I can't know, because the President has blocked investigators from finding out.
  • by TheSwirlingMaelstrom (580923) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:38AM (#15755805)
    You are deceiving yourself: of course there will be another election in the US in 2008. It will be another joke, and another Republican puppet will be elected. The ruling party needs to maintain the illusion of democracy -- at least for a while -- or there likely will be a public backlash. =8-P
  • by ilovegeorgebush (923173) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:40AM (#15755817) Homepage
    It's called access control... it's there for a reason... and it's not to hinder an investigative probe into misconduct, but to prevent the hindering of investigations into terrorist activities.

    Though I don't deny there is a great threat from terrorism, I am disgusted at the overuse of 'terrorism'. I sincerely believe that Mr Bush & perhaps Mr Blair use this as a means to get what they want (think Blair & the Anti-terrorism law - allowing police to hold people for 28 days under the anti-terrorism act).

    I just don't like the way you phrased that. It is so common and pretentious - do you actually believe that the information gathered by these NSA probes were solely in the name of "The War Against Terrorism"?

    What I do think is that this article is a classic case of media-hype. Like you've rightly said, it's his right as a president, and indeed his job, to make such decisions in the interest of security. I don't however, believe these were his motives this time - he's covering his already shit-smeared back.
  • by rts008 (812749) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:41AM (#15755824) Journal
    I think that the current moderator's are on crack , or sumthin'.
    While I agree with you, I think you should have been modded "insightful", or "interesting". I don't see how any of this is "funny".
    Am I missing something here?
    Note: I honestly do see your point, but WTF is funny about this?
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:42AM (#15755827)
    Something that's been bothering me for the last few years about the cry from the administration for utmost secrecy in its actions is the way they never get around to saying exactly whom they're trying to hide information from. When all is said and done, is there any reason to believe that al Qaeda has intelligence gathering capabilities beyond watching satellite television?

    We've had secret court cases before, we've had secret sessions of Congress, we have a whole series of safeguards that were apparently deemed necessary and proper when our foe was something as formidable as the KGB, why are we to believe that a non-state has the resources to do better? It would seem all that is needed to maintain secrecy from al Qaeda is to keep the information from being stored on USB drives in Baghdad. Does the administration really believe there are al Qaeda spies that highly placed in the United States government?
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:43AM (#15755836)
    Oh, come on now... it's not that bad. The private lawsuits are progressing through the courts, where the same cry of "national security" was not given credence. All that happened here is that the president told another part of the executive branch to back off. If he told a congressional investigator to back off, or ignored an order from the judicial branch... well, then the days would be much, much darker. While I don't necessarily agree with what Bush is trying to do, I at least take some comfort in the fact that he has so far not been immune to checks and balances: he got smacked down on Guantanimo, didn't he?
  • by ereshiere (945922) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:44AM (#15755840)
    Bush is acting like someone who has no responsibility and nothing to lose or gain. Which is exactly what's the case - he won't be re-elected anyways, so why act responsibly?

    This is a very good point. Limiting the President to two terms has caused the first term to be all about the President's re-election campaign, while the second term is filled with scandal. Nixon had Watergate, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Clinton had Ken Starr/Monica. Though he's been extremely lucky that his opponents have been too flatfooted to get much of anything out of them, Bush has had more scandals than all of these guys put together.

    For an amendment designed to prevent a de facto monarchy from taking over, the two-term limit has had the intended consequence of encouraging Presidents to act arrogantly and irresponsibly with their power.

  • No accountability (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DuctTape (101304) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:45AM (#15755842)
    What we have here is no accountability, no checks and balances, no responsibility for actions. Basically what we have here is a monarchy.

    And either some "emergency" will be declared right before '08 elections, preventing the polls from opening and a transfer to the next president, and/or Prince Jeb will be next in line and will win courtesy of Diebold.


  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:48AM (#15755855) Homepage Journal
    BTW, what 'rights' are being revoked?

    The Fourth Amendment. Currently, under the rule of King George, law enforcement can invade your home at will and without a warrant.

    Do you think being on an international call during a time of war should somehow be protected from surveillance?

    We're not a war. Congress has not declared a war on any person or nation.

    I'm tempted to ask, "What are you saying on your calls anyway?" but that will set the slashbots off.

    What I say on my calls are none of yours and the governments business. Especially if I make those calls in the privacy of my own house. Making such calls on a cell phone in public is another matter since everyone around you can hear your yammering.

    Doesn't anyone work on corporate email systems?

    That is a private entity who owns the equipment and the communication pathways. That is completely different than having a publicly financed telecommunication system where everyone and their grandmother are communicating.

  • by deanj (519759) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:50AM (#15755867)
    "If there was a vote for impeachment that the public could vote in, I would vote. "

    Fortunately for the rest of us, there's not.
  • by Enry (630) <`enry' `at' `'> on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:51AM (#15755869) Journal
    For instance, he would like to ban stem cell research, abortion, and gay marriage because they conflict with his notion of Christian values.

    Had to be repeated.

    //supports abortion rights, stem cell research, and gay marriage
  • by fudgefactor7 (581449) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:51AM (#15755871)
    How is this action taken by the President not obstruction of justice? Or at the very least interferance with official acts of government?
  • by GundamFan (848341) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:51AM (#15755872)
    Would we? Unfortunatly yes. The voting population has a very short memory and attention span.
  • by Coocha (114826) <coocha AT vt DOT edu> on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:52AM (#15755877) Homepage
    Your comment is on point. But I'd give him less than a 50% chance. To delay the 2008 election successfully, he would need a strong military backing. Based on the fact that top-level generals have been retiring due to the handling of Iraq, I don't think he and Rummy have the respect they keep saying they have in the Pentagon.

    If he were to try, it'd be an interesting show. Congress would be up in arms, on both side of the partisan fence. Revolution is a mild term, but imagine how nice it would be if such an event was the catalyst for sweeping government reform. We can always dream I guess.

    The beginning of your comment is more likely. Bush knows he's a lame duck, so he'll fritter away his final months in the frat-boy nonchalance we've grown accustomed to seeing. And history will look back on him as the asshat he has been.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Simon Garlick (104721) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:52AM (#15755882)
    You have two and a half years to go only if Bush allows elections to take place normally. Looking into my crystal ball I forsee a terrible threat to the USA from, um... evildoers... who seek to um... destroy the American way of life. Elections might have to wait a little bit -- you know, just until the emergency passes.
  • by cluckshot (658931) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:53AM (#15755886)

    The parent of this post is absolutely correct. The coming election will see any realistic choice who might dare to challenge the forming dictatorship having his character assassinated by this NSA data. Release a little private data here or there just so that it paints a picture you want and suddenly a potent political threat becomes a laughing stock in the eyes of the general voting public.

    I have read the RFP's for this program. It is total information awareness. There is no limit to it. The real issue here is the construction of a system that not even the NAZI SS could in their wildest immagination have dreamed of being able to achieve. I know there are people here who will see this in a partizan light. It isn't the case. This is a genuine threat to the existence of a democratically elected congress. It threatens the career of anyone daring to speak up on real issues. Warning to my non-USA friends, this program knows no borders!

    The program has nothing what so ever to do with fighting Al Qaeda. To prove this ask yourself the following question. What since 9/11/2001 has the United States of America done under President Bush's leadership to convince the Arab peoples that their culture is broken and that they need to do something about it in order to end this endless cycle of war and destruction so that they may prosper and live in peace? (Answer: NOTHING!) Honestly this means that 100% of the activity since that date has impinged on American Freedom or destroyed American Treasure or destroyed American Soldiers and always it has encouraged and reinforced the opposition making the situation worse. Every American regardless of party should wake up to the seriousness and awful reality of this situation. At the cost of nearly 20,000 soldiers, and a trillion dollars in treasure and the expense of privacy and freedom Americans are now in more danger than they were before.

    This condition is not a press report. It is a fact known from contact with soldiers who are out there dealing with it. When soldiers fresh back from Bagram Afghanistan report that "It was better than being in jail" (a quote) and the ones from Iraq report that they are garrisoned in etc, this is a lost cause by mismangement at the limit.

    Mods get a life if you cannot stand the truth. Post against the point of view if you want, but don't shut up the truth.

  • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:54AM (#15755888)
    as any Democrat who assumes the office would presumably want to push their own agenda and not get muddled down in such a big and ultimately pointless fight.

    big? definitely. pointless? dunno, what about all this truth and justice stuff...
  • by cduffy (652) <> on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:54AM (#15755893)
    The Constitution was originally structured with the Senate being elected by the state legislators, not the people. Why? To provide some smaller group able to check the "tyranny of the majority", where a majority of people take actions which are morally unsupportable or otherwise wrong.

    If we wanted the majority to rule unchecked, for that matter, why bother with the electoral college? Why, for that matter, bother with Congress at all -- or the bill of rights? One could simply implement a direct democracy where legislation is decided on directly by popular vote, and this would permit the majority to bully and abuse minorities as much as they see fit.

    The popular vote and "the will of the people" sometimes are in favor of morally corrupt, unrealistic or otherwise faulty proposals. Having some check on public opinion was a major part of the original design of the US Constitution, and is still important today.
  • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:55AM (#15755896) Homepage
    get the party nomination in the first place.

    The Democrats have a history of silencing voices within the party who have the nerve to push for real change or accountability. The party would never allow their presidential nomination to go to anyone who was pushing for an indictment of Bush or his cronies. Radical or even strongly progressive voices within the party are either ignored completely (see Dennis Kucinich), or they seem to end up in mysterious plane crashes like Paul Wellstone.

    The Dems and Reps are BOTH beholden to corporate interests and Wall St. bankers. Choosing which of the 2 major parties to vote for is simply choosing WHICH set of corporate swine you want pulling the strings in DC.
  • by tourvil (103765) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:56AM (#15755904)

    I would bet that 60 years ago, a majority of Americans would have been against interracial marriage. Does that mean that the government in power should have pushed for an amendment banning it? (Maybe they did, I honestly don't know.) Of course today that would be an absurd proposition to most people, hopefully because they would see that it's discrimination and infringes on people's liberty. I wonder if our society will ever feel that way about gay marriage...

    There's a difference between following the minority and protecting the minoritiy's rights.

  • by MrShaggy (683273) <`moc.hsuh' `ta' `nosredna.sirhc'> on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:57AM (#15755906) Journal
    I think that it shows the Puritanical nature of your politics these days;. Recently a columnist (can't remember who) was talking about how the difference between Canada and the US is just that. It comes down to how the US perceives sex has being a harmful thing. The sense when Jacksons boob hit the world, we were saying up here, what is the big deal ? Yet all these massive fines were being passed onto people. What happens when someone suggests that we go and 'eliminate' the president of Venezuela? Nothing. We gasp that this guy (name is escaping me), could say this. But nothing happens.

    When one of our more interesting, and influential leaders , Trudeau passed away, his wife and his Girlfriend were there. Not to mention the kids from both mothers. We knew that he messed around, but he got the job done. Bush isn't getting the job done. Kinda sad what this crazy loon haws done to the rest of the world, and that there is no way to deal with this. I think once you guys go through your midterms this fall, (depending on the Diebold situation), you might be in a decent position to do the impeachment thing.
  • by Don853 (978535) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:04AM (#15755958)
    The bigger problem is that the Democratic party has just been incredibly disorganized and suffered from a lot of infighting over the last 5-10 years. I am of the opinion that in 2004 the Democrats lost the election far more than the Republicans won it.
  • by isa-kuruption (317695) <kuruption&kuruption,net> on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:07AM (#15755969) Homepage
    Why does it have to be what he has to hide? Why isn't it about what he's trying to accomplish by protecting the American people from another terrorist act? Since this is his claim, and it's a reasonable claim, why are you so suspicious to think the President is lying about it? Do you think he implemented such a program for other reasons? Or do you accept his explaination and question his methods? If the former, then you're more concerned with bashing him than actually getting answers. If the latter, then you can not say he's hiding anything, but simply trying to protect the information that gives sensitive details about a program used to protect Americans (and probably others in the world).
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:08AM (#15755973)
    I support congress impeaching a president for lying.

    By that approach, George W. Bush should have been impeached pretty much right after taking office, and about 400 times since.

    The lies themselves don't bother me so much (every politician does that). It's when the lies get people killed and shit on the Constitution where I have a real problem.


  • by chanda3199 (786804) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:13AM (#15756014)
    I've considered your words and you are right. It will take some time to consider my actions, but thank you for calling me out in such a blunt way. What good are ideals of freedom if no action is taken to protect and regain personal liberties?
    Again, thank you. I will take this to heart.
  • by tbannist (230135) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:21AM (#15756069)
    Yes it is. So why don't you grow a pair and tell your government that you are not their bitch and you won't stand by while your rights are systematically stripped from you. You seem to be willing to sell your freedom for the appearance of security. Americans have died for their ideals, you disgrace yourself and your country by cowering in fear and giving up the principles they fought for, because you're afraid of terrorists.
  • Re:war? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pedestrian crossing (802349) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:21AM (#15756075) Homepage Journal

    Wars end when when somebody is defeated.

    And there is the rub. If you declare war, you can declare an end to the state of war. If you don't declare war, you run on "political expediency", and effectively you have a state of "war" without end.

    I argue that Congress -did- abdicate their responsibility. It is not just their privelege to declare war, it is their responsibility to recognize the necessity and play their part. Then, yes, they get out of the way and let the CiC run the actual war.

    By abdicating their responsibility to declare war, they have set us up for a constitutional crisis.

    War declarations are not a prosaic artifact of the Constitution, they are a serious responsibility to be used as necessary.

  • by rts008 (812749) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:21AM (#15756078) Journal
    I surely see your point, but to not try is just as criminal as what's going on.

    Not that it carries much weight, but if you do so, then at least your mind can rest easier that you done all you could.

    I know it seems futile, but if we all don't do anything, then no changes take place- keep some hope, try to do your best, and maybe it will work out okay.

    BTW, the "If there was a vote for impeachment that the public could vote in, I would vote." idea is a good one, too bad that will probably never happen, the congresscritters would be too afraid it might (and should) apply to them also.
  • The Supreme Court (bless them!) ruled that the President only has "extraordinary wartime powers" as a temporary expedient to quickly do things that would take Congress too much time.

    I'm not sure I've heard that, though I have heard that such "extraordinary powers" most certainly do not extend to denying constitutional rights, no matter what Hollywood may tell us.

    For example, I'm pretty sure that the Supreme Court later determined that Lincoln's suspension of Habeus Corpus was, in fact, unconstitutional. Also, the Supreme Court determined that the suspension in 1942 of civillian rule in favor of military courts in Hawaii was also unconstitutional (and this was a territory, not yet a state, that had just been attacked by a foreign power's military, and even under those incredibly exceptional circumstances the constitution wasn't permitted to be suspended).

    Here are some remarks by the former Chief Justice in 2000 [], and again in 2002 [], that address the question of civilian versus military judical authority in wartime.

    Can anyone provide clear case evidence of the court determining that the President *can* suspend certain civil rights or federal laws in wartime? So far as I've ever been able to ascertain, every single time a President has gone "too far" with the wartime powers argument, he's been rebuffed years later by the Supreme Court, which tells me, at least, that any argument that a president has special lattitude in wartime is a crock, at least from a legal perspective. From a practical perspective, though, since it's always taken the Court years to get around to it, it's certainly been proven true. (though if the Court can decide a presidential election question in a matter of days, you'd think they could handle these other serious issues more quickly, too...)

  • by mysticgoat (582871) * on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:27AM (#15756110) Homepage Journal

    Clinton was impeached because a powerful clique within the Washington beltway thought that he just had to be culpable for something illegal, somewhere along the line. After spending a couple of years and more than $50 million on an incredible investigation, the Monica Lewinski episode was all they could come up with.

    Lying about the blow job wasn't the cause of Clinton's impeachment. It was simply the only excuse for impeachment that the Lord High Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr could find.

  • by db32 (862117) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:32AM (#15756147) Journal
    Step 1. Repeat that exchange for every other person you know that has said the same as you were saying. Step 2. Have each of them who start to stand up like you do the same. Step 3. Wait for this to generate enough people standing up to be taken seriously.
  • by kalirion (728907) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:33AM (#15756158)
    The coming election will see any realistic choice who might dare to challenge the forming dictatorship having his character assassinated by this NSA data.

    Why bother when the electronic voting machines make it so much easier to change the vote count to anything they want?
  • by zoney_ie (740061) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:41AM (#15756212)
    If it is a Christian-run state, then how is it that the state acts in the most un-Christian of ways?

    Most aspects of the way American society and economics work should be abhorrant to Christians. It is "survival of the fittest" and believing in a lie that anyone can make it to the top (in order to placate those at the bottom).
  • by Alexandra Erenhart (880036) <> on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:43AM (#15756234) Homepage
    The name's Hugo Chavez. And I don't like him either. One thing is to have balls to say what's wrong, and another completely different is to be blunt, rude and to look down on other people.

    And all the posts that I've read so far are making me scared to go live there. My fiancee is texan, and next year we're getting married and I'm going to live there. My country might not be the best of the world, but at least our politics still work, and we still have privacy in our personal lives. And we don't pick on fights with other countries, even if Bolivia wants our sea or Argentina refuses to sell gas to us =/
  • by Roody Blashes (975889) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:46AM (#15756257) Homepage Journal
    If you are a miswired conservative lunatic and will mistake this post for some sort of anti-right-wing bashing campaign, or a miswired liberal lunatic who will mistake this for a sweeping acquittal of left-wingers, kindly skip to the last paragraph, then come back to read the rest. Thanks.

    It's not that the dems are "disorganized". This is a lie, and a very effective one, perpetuated by a group of people who have something to gain by the loss of others: republican politicians and their supporters.

    The problem here is that the republicans have realized that propagandistic nonsense made into a platform through the use of empty platitudes like "liberal senator from Massachussettes" and "with us or against us" and "cut and run" are far more effective campaign platform statements than actual plans. Democrats, like Kerry, who compiled and published a vastly detailed series of positions, continue to assume that the voting population is intelligent and interested and so they continue the uneffective campaign strategy of actually putting forward a platform.

    Republicans, on the other hand, have spent the last ten years crafting devious ways to boil ultra-complicated issues into stupid, insultingly simplistic sound bites. As a result, they come off as "speaking to the common man" (in fact, they're simply assuming the typical voter is an idiot incapable of absorbing and understanding and forming an independent opinion on a complicated topic and talking down to them) while the Democrats then come off as "elitists" (another empty piece of slander used against any republican foe who attempts to take in a complete view of any topic rather than boil it down into troglodytic black and white views) for trying to honestly discuss matters openly.

    That's why people like Hillary Clinton get so little support from democrats. They're trying to abandon the honesty platform and mimic the republicans, which is insulting, and so we tell them to take thier stupid little campaigns and shove 'em.

    The Democrats are not "disorganized", for the most part. They're simply engaging in the same old-time campaigns of the 40s and 50s when people expected their candidates to be open and honest about their opinions and didn't expect them to simply say "trust me, you don't need to know anything because I can handle it all for you, honest, oh, and by the way, I saw my opponent picking Stalin's nose on the train in this morning".

    When it comes right down to it, republicans and republican supporters rely primarily on propaganda. They seize on sound bites and meaningless slander ("idiotarian", "moonbat", "elitist") while the democrats - generally speaking, not all of this is entirely true of all memmbers of each party of course - continue to make the mistake of assuming that they can treat voters like competent people who are interested in honest participation in the political process.

    Naturally I feel obliged to point out that all this is merely observation, not a damnation of republicans and veneration of democrats. I in no way particularly trust either party when it comes to actually being elected to power, and if you think that the dems aren't going to be just as corrupt and stupid as teh republicans I might remind you that CALEA, Communications Decency, and the DMCA all came into being under the watch of, primarily, Democrats, and that the primary reason for the takeover of the republicans in the 90s was disgust with a Congress run by democrats that was just as corrupt as the current republican Congress is today.
  • by gsurbey (715956) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:47AM (#15756266) Homepage
    And what is the definition of a local monopoly? How does one become a local monopoly? And industry standard agreements, why must a competitor follow those? Keep in mind that the only one who may use force in free markets is the government, for instance if a company "forces" another company or individual to do something then that is already illegal. There is no need for a specialized law in that instance. In a free market nobody can force anyone to do anything.

    nice try, no dice, it is zero sum.. every dollar is accounted for.. most of it goes to profiteer capitalists right now when it shouldnt.

    You are wrong sir.

    "Trade is a non-zero-sum activity because all parties to a voluntary transaction believe that they will be better off after the trade than before, otherwise they would not participate." - []
  • by redragon (161901) <codonnell@mac.cSLACKWAREom minus distro> on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:47AM (#15756271) Homepage
    Right. And right now about the only people with "freedom isn't free" ribbon bumper stickers are people who support Bush. Those things piss me off royally, because this administration has done more to make me less free than any other, and it just keeps getting worse.

    However that ~50.5% of the people who voted for Bush are going to read this and think, "oh, that liberal press," or "they'll (? who is they anyway ?) say anything to make little old Bush look bad," or "but he just seems no nice and down to earth." Really, we just don't want to hear anything [] that doesn't fit with our already held beliefs.
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:48AM (#15756275) Homepage Journal
    Actually it makes sense to me. The basic division of government goes like this: the legislature makes the law, the executive enforces it, and the judiciary judges. As part of enforcing the law, the executive branch investigates people and arrests them.

    You are right that there is a kind of conflict of interest if the people in charge of the executive are committing crimes and don't want to investigate themselves, but there is a check on this built into the constitution. The congress is the most powerful branch and it can hold hearings and investigate. People can be held in contempt of congress, and they have to testify under oath. So congress can serves as a judiciary over the executive branch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:48AM (#15756288)
    "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

    So it is ok for the founding fathers to stop their government from abusing its power, but it is not all right for us?
  • by tinkerghost (944862) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:49AM (#15756292) Homepage
    There are currently 2 kinds of conservatives in politics
    1. Conservatives in a classical sense are concerned with minimal government interfierance in the publics lives, small government, and fiscal responsabilities. In a sense they attempt to preserve the governmental structure with minimal changes - allowing society to grow & evolve around the existing structure.
    2. Neo Conservatives are concerned with a 'conservative' social agenda - which is neither conservative nor social in nature. They attempt to preserve a non-existant social order through increasingly restrictive government interfierance.
    The problem is not with the issues, it's with the people in power, and the people who put them there. The last presidential election only about 60% of the people elligable voted - that's 40% of US citizens were too damn lazy to get out of their chair and flip a lever in a voting booth. If you know there is this huge untapped pool of people - how do you get them to vote? - You create a polarizing issue - one in which the status quo supports the other person and change supports you. Why? because people who are happy - or indifferent with how things are - will stay too lazy to vote - so you gain votes, and the other guy doesn't.
    Can you create polarization on the real issues of how do we spend tax dollars responsibly? It's accounting for gods sake - even accountants hate it!
    But, if I tie spending billions on something wastefull, to spending a couple of million with a polarizing issue - stem cell research - I can polarize the whole issue, get enough votes, and get my billions to waste.

    Face it, the only people who are really left without parties nowdays are the centrists like you & me. You can't make a platform based on ballanced fiscal responsibility, social equity, and personal responsibility. Only by creating a coalition of special interest groups can you get into office, and only by apeasing them can you stay there. I know one person who voted for Bush last time - why ? He was pro life --- she hated his spending policy, his military policy, and his general social policies, but he was pro life so she voted for him.
    Polarize and win - if you can get enough people to vote for you for 1 issue and ignore all the others, you win. If you try to be ballanced and effective, you loose. It's really become that simple in American Politics.
  • essentially, yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by misanthrope101 (253915) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:50AM (#15756299)
    The Corporation is a legal entity designed to insulate the owners and managers from responsibility, while allowing them to reap benefits. So yes, I support legislation restoring a degree of responsibility. I loved the documentary The Corporation, and I actually enjoy quite a few Lefty-type documentaries. I particularly liked The Merchants of Cool (if I remember the title correctly). I am a libertarian not in that I think unfettered capitalism is all that great, only that I think it sucks less than everything else. Plus, I don't think that what passes for capitalism really is anything like a "free market," so to support large government-subsidized corporations, with their government-protected markets and government-sanctioned immunity from responsibility, it really isn't "free market capitalism" you're defending.

    But I admit I always get a little cautious when it comes to solutions. I distrust any top-down solution, however seemingly well-designed. I think the only way to really get away from the worst abuses of capitalism is for us to stop buying all this crap, and to ethically stop putting the profit motive first. But I'm no ascetic myself, nor do I expect anyone else to be, so I can't be very optimistic about the outcome there. It isn't very insightful to observe that the world would be better if people were better, but I think that's the only improvement we can really hope for. The world is this way because we are this way. I don't think we can come up with any solution to "implement," from the left or the right, that will cure the problems that we ourselves have gone to such great lengths to create.

    Corporations exist because we want them to--we want the ability to go into business, make a buck, but not be bothered by actual responsibility for the debts and problems our decisions incur. Well, gasp, that isn't very f-ing healthy. Extrapolate that to the large scale, and you have Enron and Haliburton. So to me, this isn't just a left-vs-right type of thing. The enemy is us, because no one is immune to self-interest and greed. I have no idea how that could be changed.

  • Re:war? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:53AM (#15756320)
    Perhaps this is an exerpt from a longer bill wherein the Congress declares war? Granting the president war powers != declaring war, although the outcome is largely the same. Nonetheless, the person you're arguing against is correct. This is not a declaration of war. That involves 1.) declaring war, and 2.) declaring who we're at war with.

    Bonus question! This authorizes force against those responsible for attacks on the United States. Please explain how this bill justifies a multi-year occupation of Iraq?
  • Re:war? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:03AM (#15756404)
    A resolution is not the same and carries much less weight than a declaration (see Article One, Section Eight of the US Constitution). Resolutions are for the naming of Post Offices and stating opinions; that's why the Constitution say "Declaration of war" and not "Resolution of war".

    With that said I hardly think the >50k dead Iraqis the US has killed would see much of a difference.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:05AM (#15756423) Homepage Journal
    If they really wanted to and these shennanigans pissed them off they could defund the NSA, censure or impeach Bush. If the Democrats do well in November, we might see just that sort of thing happen.
  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:16AM (#15756494)
    So you're saying I could be "part of the solution" by voting straight Democrat? Wow, you've made an insightful, cogent argument. Only not. Did you miss the part where I said I was frightened by Ruby Ridge and Waco? Has it escaped your notice that most of the Democratic party opposes withdrawal from Iraq? You're acting as if the Democrats have been staunch defenders of American liberty throughout the Bush presidency, when in actuality they shafted us right along with him. Your party, if in fact it ever stood for anything, is dead. Your candidates are cowards. Yes, my choice is between your cowards and the Christian Dominionists, but that doesn't make your candidates any less repulsive. I liked Kerry (on occasion) during the election, but ultimately he still supported the Iraq war. But he "would have done it differently." Wow. I'm floored.

    Where does the Democratic position on Iraq leave me? Even assuming I believe the laughable assertion that we're there to "liberate" Iraq, I don't actually believe that it's the job of the US government to save the world. I'm real sorry that the UK installed Saddam, and I regret that the US and the rest of the west tolerated, funded, and supported him for decades, and I'm embarassed that we were so shocked an appalled over his gassing of the Kurds that we doubled his financial assistance after he did it, but I still don't think it's our job to ensure that every Iraqi child gets a pony. But neither major American party is coming out and saying "this is none of our damned business." They're all hedging and sliding around, but none of these jerks is really coming out and saying that we have no business at all over there, nor did we ever have any business over there. So to vote for your party, and be part of this "solution" you offer to me, would be to support the very policies that I find so objectionable.

    What I want to know is this--exactly how is "more of the same, only different" really being "part of the solution?" How will that fix my wagon? Answer that, and I'll respect you. Otherwise, you're a hack, and you're no better than the O'Reilly crowd that Dailkos ridicules so justly.

  • Re:Truth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lxy (80823) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:17AM (#15756504) Journal
    Can you please explain to me why Doug Thompson is the only one reporting this story? If so many congressional leaders and presidential aides heard the same thing, why did they rush to Doug Thompson? His reporting career is shady at best, as is his current employer.

    If this really happened, wouldn't you think it'd go to a LEGITIMATE media outlet? With all the liberal press out there, are you telling me that no one else was interested in running a story like this?

    I call bull on this. Doug Thompson can't even name his source (which he claims to be multiple) and his alleged sources have the first instinct to run to tabloid media. Yeah, uh huh, sure......
  • by eddy (18759) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:17AM (#15756506) Homepage Journal

    The neo-conservatives need to project an formidable opponent, that's how they got and intend to keep control. It very plainly laid out in the first episode of The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear []

  • How is it fortunate? Even the right side of the isle is starting to leave support for this president in droves. Illegal wiretapping, two (that's right, two) botched wars (the Taliban just took back two towns in Afganistan), extreme secrecy, Vallery Plame, calling for the State Secrets privledge across the board, botched operations after Katrina, Scooter Libby, Carl Rove, prosecution of reporters, prosecution of private citizens under the Espionage act, Free Speech zones, Halliburton, $7 trillion national debt, between $200-$400 billion spent in Iraq against estimates of $8B, depletion of the National Guard, NSA blanket collection of phone records, NSA collection of airline records, secret laws that dictate conduct at airports, secret laws that you are governed by but CANNOT READ. The tip of the iceberg.

    And now the ability to squash investigations against himself. It's like killing someone and then having the power to say "um, no - you can't investigate me".

    This presidency is perhaps the worst in the HISTORY of the United States. Its abuses of power, power grab, secrecy, and corruption know no bounds. The president has lost the support of all but the most extreme NWO right wing. Clinton was impeached for "lying" to the public, but Bush has been involved in every scandal listed above, and sits atop his throne with pure immunity against the checks and balances of this country.

    Never before have I come to expect to learn of some new executive branch abuse on a daily basis.

    Besides, over 700,000 people already HAVE voted [] to impeach him, as useless as this website may be.

    Bush and his yes men have moved the right further left than it has ever been. Right and left have reversed roles in the 20 years since Regan. It's almost impossible to grasp the sheer size, power, secrecy, and surveilance of citizens of and by the federal government at this point in time.

    This presidency is a farce, and I shudder when I think that 2.5 years remain.
  • by Oblio (1102) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:21AM (#15756536)

    Christianity has (and will continue to be) stretched in many different ways, all stemming from disagreements on the correctness of the bible. Translations are questionable, scripture inclusion and exclusion was a political process of the early church, some people reject the old testament, some people don't care for "Paulism", etc. etc.

    I think your argument has a lot more weight if you are talking about Catholicism, as doctrine is defined as flowing downhill. But it is no coincidence that there are a large amount of "sects" which have differing interpretations of Christianity, all while being ostensibly "Christian" themselves. I don't really know of any protestant heretical belief's for example. :) Even inside Catholocism there are many doctrinal questions that are constantly being debated and changed.

    On top of all of that, many Christians have no particular desire to codify their beliefs into law (thus forcing those beliefs on others), preferring that such morality is willfully practiced by adherents to the religion.

    Christianity is almost as malleable as Buddhism. I would think that the only difference would be that the Christians claim the "truthfullness" of their documents while Buddhists are less concerned with the accuracy of scripture than with the message.

    I don't think the grandparent was making any claims of values but rather political claims of what he supports legally (which are two very different things).
  • by Gulthek (12570) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:27AM (#15756583) Homepage Journal
    Actually it's just choosing which theme to use for the same set of corporate swine.

    In other words: different style, same content.
  • by vokyvsd (979677) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:39AM (#15756672)
    Maybe ten million other people are thinking to themselves, "I could vote Libertarian, but I really doubt the efficacy of that." Grow a pair and do it.

    Remember the Simpsons episode where Kang and Kodos ran as Republican and Democrat candidates for president, and someone said he'd vote for Perot? The response was, "What, and throw your vote away? Mwahahaha!" Both major parties count on that sort of response.

    What sort of terrible candidates would the Reps and Dems have to put on the ballot before you would vote Libertarian, or for some other third party? For me, that happened last election. When will it happen for you?
  • by jsebrech (525647) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:41AM (#15756698)
    God is not malleable, the bible is not malleable, Christ's teachings are not malleable, they are there to read and to live by.

    First of all, God may not be malleable, but your idea of him definitely is. Secondly, the bible is man-made (anyone having studied its history is forced to conclude this), so a valid opinion is that it is not the whole and accurate word of God, but rather a human perversion of God's message. There are many conflicting documents of christ's teachings, and once you start doubting the bible's accuracy and completeness, it's only a small step to doubting what was and wasn't a part of christ's teachings.

    So, yeah, depending on where your beliefs lie, you can be a christian (someone who beliefs that christ was the son of God and sent to save us) and have completely different beliefs than what current bible canon dictates they should be.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:44AM (#15756733)
    Okay, so everyone recognizes the problem, i.e. massive corruption by design. Given that everyone recognizes the problem, isn't it now the portion of the plan to fix the problem? Such as, for example, by forcing all political parties to only take campaign funds from the gov't or something?
  • by Atzanteol (99067) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:55AM (#15756831) Homepage

    Personally I could care less if the NSA wants to spy on everyone. Good luck with that. I have nothing to hide.

    "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged."
    - Cardinal Richelieu [] (translated)

  • Re:war? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lobsterGun (415085) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:55AM (#15756832)
    Really, this has nothing to do with Iraq.

    As for the civil liberties intrusions, El Presidente is merely excercising "all necessary and appropriate force"(in thisn case tapping out phones) in order to determine who amongst us "planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks"

    If that is an "appropriate" use of force should be the focus of this debate. The whole "we never declared war" argment is a distraction from that.
  • by The Spoonman (634311) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:09AM (#15756961) Homepage
    because you're afraid of terrorists.

    Only the ones that run the US. I stopped being afraid of Osama a looooong time ago.

  • by ereshiere (945922) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:11AM (#15756983)
    Are you actually suggesting that the political spectrum in this country has moved leftward in the last 20 years? Well, points for counterintuitiveness, but that's just absurd.

    When universal healthcare was attempted, it failed miserably and Clinton had to declare that "big government" was finished to regain any footing after Republicans took over Congress. Bush has hardly appealed to moderates, ever--the gay marriage amendment was introduced simply to inflame his fundamentalist Christian base in the 2004 election, for example. Liberal politicians have virtually zero chance on a national level in the U.S. The Democratic party is hardly "dominated" by MoveOn (and they most definitely do not appeal to Greens--Ralph Nader is a complete pariah because of the 2000 election); every Dem politician tries their best to run away from people like Michael Moore and even Howard Dean (look at Obama's recent comments about Democrats and religion). Only Russ Feingold is the closest to a national liberal politician right now.

    Yes, under Bush, there is more government than ever, but this is hardly left-wing, unless you consider libertarians to be right-wing. Conservatives want to expand the reach of government as well, to get the terrorists (which is why we're talking about the NSA wiretapping right now), to stop Terry Schiavo from dying, to prevent gay marriage, etc. The budget has exploded out of corruption and Bush's constant requests for more war funding.

  • by uberjoe (726765) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:14AM (#15757016)
    When you start talking about impeachment (mmmmmmm peaches) just remember who the number two and three in this country are. (shudder) For the non-americans, or clueless americans in the /. crowd that's Shotgun Dick Cheney, and Dennis Hastert. Neither of whom I would want to be President.
  • History will look back upon George W. Bush as the undoing of what it means to be American.

    I don't think history will be too kind on the Bush Administration. I think its time in office will be seen as a point of inflection for the course of the United States. The point at which it's preeminance in the world began to fade. Consider the status of the US in many spheres. It is in decline across the board.
    • In political circles, the US is no longer the great mediator or leader of the free world, and has lost much of the goodwill of its cold war allies. International esteem for America is at its lowest ebb since Vietnam. Possibly more so.
    • In the sphere of rights, the US is leading the way back into the bad old times of state supremecy over citizens, weaking separation of church and state, as well as rolling back decades of womens rights and bucking the trend when it comes to homosexuality.
    • In science, again the US is losing its lead, with things like patents, intelligent design and science funding cutbacks all stifling ongoing progress. Much development is taking place abroad. India, China and the EU now have their own, new rival space programs, while NASA struggles with aging technologies.
    • Militarily, the US has been broken by Iraq and the War on Terrorism. It's military is streched thin fighting shadows and imagined threats, and this weakness has been sensed by countries like Iran, North Korea and Sudan.
    • In culture, Hollywood and Big American Media has lost its dominance in the age of the internet, as well as to emerging media producers in Hong Kong and Bollywood. Foreign consumers no longer buy into, American culture as a sign of modernity, as they once did.
    • And of course, in financial circles, once the United States' most influential sphere, we find a country with a massive deficit, and the dollar no longer alone as the world's standard currency. The American markets no longer shake world markets as they did. Ben Bernanke does not generate as much waves as Alan Greenspan.

    Much of this was inevitable. America was never going to maintain its position as the world's premiere nation for eternity. However, the Bush administration has accellerated, rather than retarded this decline. History will see the administration's time as a watershed period in history for America, when "Americian" ceased to be synonymous with "progressive" and "enlightened".
  • Re:Truth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rob the Bold (788862) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:20AM (#15757061)
    Then too he has an odd definition of freedom. He seems to think freedom and democracy are exactly the same thing.

    I've been thinking about what dubya means when he talks about "freedom", and I've decoded it to mean "corporate freedom from government oversight". He's not referring to personal freedom at all. Personal freedom doesn't return value to the shareholders and it doesn't really contribute to the bottom line.

    Your North Carolina example illustrates this. Protecting "fornication" from prosecution doesn't do anything to boost profits at the factory hog farm. OTOH, Relaxing environmental standards to allow corporate hog farmers to dump more untreated waste into the stream does boost profits at the plant by eliminating "unnecessary" costs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:21AM (#15757069)
    Personally I could care less if the NSA wants to spy on everyone. Good luck with that. I have nothing to hide.

    So you don't care about selling other people down the river so long as it's no skin off your hide. Good to know.

    The more we know, the better we can craft a believeable patsy.

    (Never trust a government further than you can overthrow it.)
  • by Darby (84953) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:23AM (#15757089)

    Bush and his yes men have moved the right further left than it has ever been. Right and left have reversed roles in the 20 years since Regan. It's almost impossible to grasp the sheer size, power, secrecy, and surveilance of citizens of and by the federal government at this point in time.

    The rest of your points were good, but this is just idiotic beyond belief and it is truly typical of the extreme ignorance of the most basic political definitions typical of the vast majority of Americans.

    The Right has not been moving left. The entire fucking country has been moving farther and farther to the right since WW2. Reagan's presidency was when we had a massive acceleration of this headlong race to fascism.

    Let me guess, you think that because the Repugs are spending like drunken sailors that they're "left"?!?
    Seriously, wake up.
    The right and the left *both* stand for big oppressive government and always have by definition. The only difference is what they want to use the power of government against the people in order to accomplish.

    The right believes that the wealthy elite are inherently better than the rest of the people and the power of government should be used against the people to keep them down.
    The left believes that all people are equal and wants to use the power of government against people to enforce this "equality".

    Nowhere in the makeup of either the left or the right does freedom, liberty, small government fiscal responsibility or anything of the sort even exist. Those are the things that they are *both* absolutely opposed to.

    Here is an article [] that lays it out very clearly.

    If the Republicans were far "left", then there wouldn't be massive widening in the gap between the rich and the poor and a slide of the middle class into poverty as we're seeing. We would just all be equally poor.

  • Dear USA, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trawg (308495) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:30AM (#15757157) Homepage
    Good luck with this stuff. Seriously.

    It seems you've already started to vote away your freedoms. If the rest of your country is going to take this lying down, maybe it's time for the rest of you to start taking up the arms that you've so rigoursly been defending the right to own (regardless of the cost in your society) to start taking control of your country back from the religious oligarchy that is currently in charge.

    You dragged one President through the mud because he cheated on his wife. Now you've got another one breaking your laws and turning your country into the sort of place that people fifty years ago used to write books about to prove points totalitarianism.

    Instead of posting about it on Slashdot, maybe the time has come to start educating your less savvy friends and family that maybe they should stop watching Fox and start engaging their brains to figure out what is best for their country, their family and their friends.

    Until you figure out a better way to spend untold billions of dollars and priceless amounts of human life, we, the undersigned, consider ourselves at great personal risk of your policies, attitudes, and actions.

    Signed sincerely,

    The Rest of the World. (Please consult an atlas for our exact location relative to the United States.)

    PS, if you could take money out of politics, you might find - as a completely surprising corollary - you make your country a better place for your citizens.
  • by 1lus10n (586635) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:32AM (#15757164) Journal
    Freedom implies being free. If the government controls everything you do and can selectivly persecute based on random unknown criteria then you are not free by any english definition of the word that I or oxford am aware of.

    Furthermore making the statement that only people with something to hide should fear the government ignores 2000 years of governments taking any chance they get to increase their power and violate citizens rights. Do you really think that the party in power would be able to resist the temptation to spy on citizens who would pose a threat to their political power and/or policies ? Not terrorism, just plain old politics. Hell the republicans have already been found guilty of spying once in the past generation, now they have gone hi-tech and tried covering all of the bases for anyone to find out whats actually going on. No, the democrats are no better, and thats a large part of the problem. With two ultra-corrupt all-powerful groups like this, how can anyone stand against them and fight for their rights.

    The govenment doesnt need to know everything to investigate terrorism. Not to mention that even with the computers analyzing the calls and emails it doesnt change the fact that we knew a good deal about 9/11 before it happened. Having knowledge means NOTHING, the most important thing is what you do with that knowledge. The government is too damn big and full of know-nothings to be able to handle information correctly, especially large amounts of information. Just look at katrina, iraq, social security, global warming and countless other things they continually fuck up because they mishandle or misunderstand the simplest data sets and concepts.

    We need a smaller government who handles our country and its needs first. Freedom is not free, but sacrificing freedom for security is a bad exchange and will make our entire society bankrupt.
  • by Darby (84953) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:32AM (#15757175)
    The game could change if a vindictive Democrat becomes the next president.

    No, the game could change if a person with a scrap of integrity got elected.
    It doesn't take a "vindictive Democrat" to not give one of if not the worst traitors in our nation's history a get out of jail free card.
    All it takes is an honest person.
    Now, the odds of getting that are pretty slim, but your extremist partisan view that only a "vindictive" Democrat" would give a shit about honesty, integrity, decency, or any of the list of supposed "American Values" is really pretty sickening to people like myself who have too much integrity to have ever voted for one of the major party candidates.

  • by DaggertipX (547165) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:35AM (#15757201) Homepage
    Thank you, I needed a poster child for for the apathy our country is showing in defending the liberties and freedoms we fought so hard to attain.
    By the way... Do you see any correlation of the criminalization of daily civil activites that are occurring? DMCA, Patriot Act, etc types of restrictions... Do you think the progression towards that type of restrictive lifestyle is going to reverse on it's own?
    Ok, so - with that in mind - it is easier and easier to label pretty much anyone a criminal, these days and getting worse. Next, firm documentation that you did the "illegal" act in question (wiretapping, etc -check).
    If everyone is a criminal, there is no one left to challenge the incumbent authorities.
    Wiretapping alone, while I still wouldn't want it, isn't the evil. The evil is behind all of these connected events that you so naively think could never come back to haunt you, or one of your loved ones.
    But don't worry, keep your chin up, YOU haven't done anything wrong have you? No, of course not. None of your friends and family have either, right?
    So when our rights to criticize our government go out the window, at least you'll be sleeping easy. Safe from terrorists and communists and any other 'ists' the administration deems the proper scapegoat to further their own agendas.
    For what it's worth, I have nothing to hide either, my life is pretty much an open book. For anyone I care to share it with, that is - and that just so happens to not include the NSA.
  • by Roody Blashes (975889) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:36AM (#15757214) Homepage Journal
    But, that's what I'm getting at. It's not that they "don't understand them", it's that they don't pander to them. Bush's campaign was specifically designed not to contain much actual information. Instead, it was meant to convey the idea that Bush was in control, had all the answers, and that he understood the needs of the people so well that they didn't need to know about their needs themselves.

    Kerry, on the other hand, took on more of an inclusive role by providing a lot of information and then explaining his position, apparently assuming that people either knew what was going on, or were willing to find out. In a sort of sordid irony, Kerry's approach was exactly the OPPOSITE of elitist: he presented the information with the belief that he was talking to intelligent people who wanted to be involved in the political process and who would understand how he had reasoned his positions.

    Bush, on the other hand, ran a campaign of emotion where he talked to the people like they were children who simply needed hand-holding. His campaign was EXTREMELY elitist and conveyed the idea of a supreme leadership that would care for a flock so the flock, which was too ignorant and weak to understand, didn't have to worry about things.

    For whatever reason - I'm not a psychologist so I don't understand it - Bush's cooing beat out Kerry's inclusionary approach. Maybe people just need to feel sheltered from a problem rather than a part of the solution to that problem, I don't know. Whatever the reason, the point remains: Kerry and democrats ran a (relatively) honest and straightforward old-fashioned campaign whereas Bush and the republicans ran a campaign largely based on emotional inclusion. Kerry's approach was almost that of a business-first task force and Bush's was more of a nurturing, familial campaign. Bush's was largely "trust me" and Kerry's was more like "join me".

    Now, mind you, I didn't directly address any of the procedural complaints you made against the campaigns. I don't necessarily disagree with the points you make on them though. I'm just less interested in that than I am in the psychological approaches of each campaign and how that seemed to impact things.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:48AM (#15757322)
    It's funny that the Republicans went through so much trouble to develop a coalition across the country in order to retake the Congress and Presidency, and then promptly destroyed it pandering to the Bible Belt. The Party apparatus selected the PNAC people and surprise, surprise, they manufactured an irrelevant war in Iraq destabilizing the Middle East. They road in on the backs of the Moral Majority crackpots and catered to such pressing issues as denying equality to homosexual coupling, banning Federal funding for medical research on embryonic stem cells, funneling government money into "faith-based initiatives," and interfering with the "morning after pill" and opposing the HPV vaccine. Their rise is funded by companies that sponsor proganda outlets like junkscience whose intentions are to discredit science in the public mind to prevent being held responsible for externalities.

    The uncrazy members of the Republican Party need to regain some control over its decision-making processes. The Republican Party is handing out pork, retarding scientific progress, potentially endangering the welfare of the environment of the U.S., and making the global condition more like 1984 than anyone should be comfortable with.
  • by lynx_user_abroad (323975) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:57AM (#15757411) Homepage Journal
    Right. And right now about the only people with "freedom isn't free" ribbon bumper stickers are people who support Bush.

    It's a great line: "freedom isn't free" It's got such a great ring to it most people don't realize it's completely false.

    Freedom is free. It's Liberty which is not.

    Freedom is granted to every living thing. Both the bird in a tree and the bird in a cage are free to fly as far as their wings will carry them. One the one in the cage lacks is Liberty. And it lacks that Liberty because we have taken it away.

    This administration has made a partcularly profitable joke out of mixing up freedom and liberty to confuse people. Orwell would have recognised it as thought control by destroying the language. If Freedom and Liberty are used interchangably, neither retains it's meaning; they both become, literally, unthinkable.

    Those things piss me off royally, because this administration has done more to make me less free than any other, and it just keeps getting worse.

    This is not correct. This administration has neither made you more free nor less free, because your freedom is not under their control. They're just claiming credit (and apparently in your case they've been effective) for something they didn't do. But your liberties are. And it is correct to say that your civil liberties are being impacted.

    Watch the language. In other words listen. There's some very revealing words being used.

    You'll hear quotes about "Coaltion Casualties" (that's our side, right?) and "Insurgent Casualties" (that's their side, right?).. But even Fox News will tell you about that "other" force in Iraq: the "Civilian Casualties" (whose side is that? Wait a second, I'm a civilian.).

    They won't support any increase to the minimum wage because that would be an infringement on our Freedom to work as cheaply as we might want to, or our Freedom to hire people on the cheap.

    And don't even get me started on what "Family Values" and "Personal Responsibility" relly mean.

  • by mrsbrisby (60242) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:07PM (#15757517) Homepage
    Christianity really isn't a philosophy that can be adapted individually, like buddhism. It has well defined principles guiding morality, as defined in the entire Christian Greek scriptures.

    I agree completely.

    Now excuse me while I sell my daughter into slavery, murder all the people at the seafood resturaunt, and anyone I can find eating pork.
  • by gsurbey (715956) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:07PM (#15757522) Homepage
    it's fraught with hundreds of billions of miles of red tape
    What entity creates red tape? Government. And that is why monopolies cannot exist without government intervention/regulation supporting the propping up of the monopoly. Therefore in a truly free market without regulation there are no monopolies; there is only what the consumer chooses.
  • Dear scubamage, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by funwithBSD (245349) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:08PM (#15757527)
    PlePlease don't add analysis and opinion in the summary without declaring that it is yours and yours alone.

    The word illegal does not appear in the article, nor has anyone shown that the wiretaps did not comply with the law. Democrat Senators that would *love* to pin this on the President came away from the full briefing subdued and dropped the matter. Continued pressure has come primarily from those senators who were NOT at the briefing and thus are talking into their hat.

    A careful reading of the law shows that any communications terminating outside the US is subject to surveillance in the interests of national security. It is not a civil or criminal court (nor is it admissible in such courts) and does not fall under the same rules. Even the judges on the supposed panel that would issue such warrants have said it is not in their realm of control. They are there to protect the rights of US citizens and legal residents who are being investigated solely within the confines of the US. There are some notable exceptions to that, any communications to a foreign powers embassy here on US soil is not protected either, because the embassy is technically (and legally) on "foreign" soil.

    Any US citizen that thinks communications exiting the US borders are subject to the same protections as domestic communications is a fool, and ignorant fools at that.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:20PM (#15757625)
    I was living on neither side of the fence. I was living ON the fence. Quite pointy there, I tell you. The end of the Cold War was, as you point out, the bankrupcy of the SSSR. Mostly, though, it was also brought along by the fact that the people there didn't want to live in a dictatorship anymore and that even the best propaganda couldn't keep them in anymore. People were fleeing their countries, and that's usually the sign that a country is about to die. Funny enough, the development some of those countries took in the last 2 decades makes a lot of people want their dictators back. So... something went wrong, I'd say.

    We actually dealt with our terrorists, and we won. The RAF was a german left-radical terrorist group that was very active in the 70s and 80s. There is no terror today in Germany anymore. I don't question that the US should deal with its terrorists, find their sources and make sure that those dry out, but I wonder where foreign wars come into play there. If I remember correctly, the RAF was funded and supported by some arabian nations, but I don't really remember Germany going to war with Libya and Iran. It was a different time, granted, and terrorism was a matter of capitalist vs. communist politics instead of the war of religions that it is supposedly now, but still, Germany dealt with it on its OWN ground. I.e. where the terrorism happened.

    About Iraq, I don't enjoy the existance of dictatorships either. Let's not go into the question whether or not some dictatorships exist not despite but because of US intervention, but I think we can agree that dictatorships are usually not really a source of stability. Yet, they are more stable than anarchies. I wouldn't complain if the US completed what it started in Afghanistan and then went on, but so all that's left is two countries in turmoil with no trace of stability on the horizon.

    Finally, to fight the reason for terrorism, you cannot fight the people. Fighting people only creates the will to fight back, but never peace. It might create submission when no other options exist, but as long as the air of defeat and oppression surrounds this submissions, the attraction to terrorism only grows. For a very drastic example, look up WW1 in your history books and how its "peace treaty" made WW2 possible altogether. The peace of Brest-Litowsk was no peace for conciliation. It was aimed at destroying Germany, which did only fuel the fascist ideology and led to one of the worst chapters in history. Peace can only be found when two countries meet as equals and try to accept each other as such. Germany and France were sworn arch enemies for almost a millenium, now they coexist and work together peacefully as the 2 most influential members of the European Union.

    It didn't become possible until they both accepted each other's existance. And that is the way out of terrorism. Acceptance of each other's existance. Yes, it might seem idealistic, but when you're from a part of the world where you see, wherever you look in history, that prosperity and peace starts with the acceptance of each other (with Germany and France being only a small example, there are many more, from Finnland down to Turkey), you tend to become kinda peaceful.

    War's never done anything good for Europe. We've had enough of it, about 3000 years of recorded history with about 200 years thereof peace. 'tis enough.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:22PM (#15757639)
    What you say may or may not be true.

    But we can't re-run the simulation from Day 0 - the fact is that we have monopolies here and now, and they will fight tooth and claw to maintain their power. Even if you were to deregulate everything immediately, the fact is that they now control so much capital that they could simply starve out any competitor by giving away their product for free. Then it's back to gouging customers.
  • by macdaddy (38372) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:23PM (#15757649) Homepage Journal
    Another way to put it is this:

    Democracy is not a spectator's sport.

    I wish I had the funds to post that on billboards across the country in the weeks leading up to an election.

  • by Moofie (22272) <lee&ringofsaturn,com> on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:26PM (#15757674) Homepage
    "In the 30's and 40's, there was a charismatic (however, very misguided) leader who achieved power in much the same way."

    Are you talking about Roosevelt, or Hitler?
  • by imthesponge (621107) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:28PM (#15757704)
    "Since its creation some 31 years ago, OPR has conducted many highly sensitive investigations involving Executive Branch programs and has obtained access to information classified at the highest levels... In all those years, OPR has never been prevented from initiating or pursuing an investigation."

    That may have something to do with it. Trust, but verify.
  • by Kamots (321174) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:44PM (#15757871)
    Hey Nixon was our leader and was acting in the nations best interest! Who are you to disparage him?

    More seriously, when someone's conduct is being excused because of thier position of power, then something is seriously wrong.

    There is no difference between me illegally listening to all of your conversations and the NSA illegally listening to all of your conversations. It's illegal either way, and you should be as outraged by it either way.

    I find it absolutely amazing is that there are people that will defend a government that is setting the precedence for being above reproach. We're looking at a situation where the government is saying that it can do whatever it wants and then can stop the courts or anyone else from finding out what it's doing. That doesn't sound like a healthy democracy to me.
  • by Locutus (9039) on Friday July 21, 2006 @01:23PM (#15758239)
    It is doubtful that a clearance would be limited to just one program so maybe Bush/Cheney are protecting prying eyes from 'seeing' what else is going on. And even if there is a one-to-one clearance system enacted, it would be likely that all the other 'things' going on behind the scenes of the US Laws are tied together via a few or the one "decider".

  • by gsurbey (715956) on Friday July 21, 2006 @01:27PM (#15758271) Homepage
    Your example case is representative of a negative externality in land property rights and therefore is a case of "the commons". In this case public easements should be allowed. The commons area of economics exists as the only exception to properties rights in the free market. The few cases of the commons are the only reason to have a need of government. However the commons cases are only an exception to the otherwise prevailing rule that the free market is always the most adept solution. What aspects may be governed over as a case for "the commons" however is always changing and open for discussion. According to the common's game theory I would say that today the need for easements, national defense, controling air pollution, and controling overfishing in the ocean are good examples of cases for the commons. However as an example I would say that for instance healthcare is not at all a case of the commons, and therefore government should not be involved in it at all. s []
  • points (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <> on Friday July 21, 2006 @01:42PM (#15758396) Homepage Journal
    1) Voting for a btter government should never make one feel dirty.
    2) voting blindly for a party is bad.
    3) Being able to relize that your party is doing bad things and voting against them is good.
    4) Democrates aren't as liberal any more.
    5) The republicans aren't republicans, there fanatics who care about religeon and making everyone adhere to there belief.

    I do not vote for any one party just to be voting for that party. I say these things because bad things are happening in are government and we need more people like you who can think for themselves.

    I saw a bumper sticker with a Picture of Geaorge Bush, and it said 'Enough is Enough'
    Enough is enough, indeed.
  • by db32 (862117) on Friday July 21, 2006 @02:34PM (#15758844) Journal
    It disturbs me how few people realize that. It got put in there because the first step in becoming a good oppresive state is to disarm the populace. It has happened throughout history over and over and over. I find it freaking histarical that the Democrats are so keen on disarming the populace and the Republicans are so close to creating their perfect terror filled "protective" state. This I suppose only makes sense if you don't still view Republicans and Democrats as opposing parties. I mean after all they all pretty much come from the same class ($$$), pretty much have the same interests (more $$$), pretty much do the same work (take our $$$)...They may bicker about things, but when it comes to things mutually beneficial (to them, not us) like any good businessmen they will work together.

    Incidentally...there is that line in our founding documents..."Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"
  • by Fallingcow (213461) on Friday July 21, 2006 @04:06PM (#15759605) Homepage
    I think you have to grant the president some level of autonomy, after all, he heads the executive branch

    "Executive" just means that it's the branch that executes the law. The use of the word "executive" is not meant to mean "most important", as it might in common speach when one identifies a business leader as being the "exectutive". This branch is an instrument of the law, and must at all times be held to the highest standards, and outside bodies must ensure that the executive branch always obeys the laws which it was created to enforce.

    Hypocrisy in the execution and application of laws is a mark of tyranny.

    I believe the USA *SHOULD* be held to higher standards, but like I said, this has become a spectacle.

    Bush has made it a spectacle. "Free Speech Zones"? Holding U.S. citizens for months without trial or even charges, thus blantantly and deliberately denying them their rights under the U.S. Constitution? Ignoring rules regarding judicial oversight and permission for wiretaps involving U.S. citizens?

    And that just scratches the surface.

    Bush is scum. He is a criminal. He has abused his office in a disgusting and inexcusable manner and he has made a mockery of it. That this nation's government has become a spectacle is largely his fault--though more than a little of the blame falls on his predecessors and his fellow politicians, he is certainly the biggest problem right now.

    Finding, reporting on, and fighting corruption and abuse of power are some of the chief duties of any lover of freedom.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Friday July 21, 2006 @06:02PM (#15760374) Homepage Journal
    The worst part?

    THe lowest ranks are the first to be held accountable if they obey illegal orders, and the first to get thrown in the brig if they refuse to obey illegal or unethical orders. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Even worse, they can get charged with treason or similar crimes if they choose to blow the whistle on such orders. Would you want to be in that situation? Would you or I make the correct moral and ethical decisions in such situations regardless of the consequences?
  • by db32 (862117) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:36PM (#15760874) Journal
    I think the group of voters he represents aren't standard dems. Most Dems and Reps are large groups of kneejerk reactionary wingnuts (I think our current administration, and the corresponding 'Dem'onstrations should be proof enough). I wanted Dean vs McCain just to see an interesting election because both of them seem very middle of the road and very capable of thinking for themselves.

    As far as the places with "gun issues" needing them, as per the standard Dem response. No...I think they don't have gun problems, they have people problems...and having a much higher population density than the rural areas that seem to behave much more sensibly...they have a much larger group of afformentioned kneejerk reactionary wingnuts. Tell me...what about gun control laws make sense? If you are going to use a gun to murder you really think you would give a rats ass on how you aquired said gun? There is an good chance you probably killed someone else in the aquisition of said gun. Owning a gun doesn't suddenly make you more likely to commit a crime...its not like there is 'essense of crime' built into every gun that oozes into your blood through contact. pretty much have the same number of criminals willing to use a gun to kill. Believing gun control laws work is like beleiving making the drinking age 21 stops people from drinking. It doesn' really only enhances the problem...because we rely on the law and fear of punishment to protect us, rather than sound education on said issues.

    This isn't an attack on Dems or Reps...its an attack on stupid...and I view the VAST majority of both parties as largely stupid. So the handful that aren't (and they do exist, no doubt about it) really need to find a new name to separate themselves from their stupid brethren :)

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.