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FISA Bill Vote Today, With Telco Immunity 465

Posted by kdawson
from the freedom-on-the-march dept.
Bimo_Dude writes "Today (June 20), Steny Hoyer is bringing to the House floor the latest FISA bill (PDF), which includes retroactive immunity for the telcos. The bill also is very weak on judicial review, allowing the telcos to use a letter from the president as a 'get out of liability free' card. Here are comments from the EFF. Glenn Greenwald, writing in Salon, describes the effect of the immunity clause this way: 'So all the Attorney General has to do is recite those magic words — the President requested this eavesdropping and did it in order to save us from the Terrorists — and the minute he utters those words, the courts are required to dismiss the lawsuits against the telecoms, no matter how illegal their behavior was.'"
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FISA Bill Vote Today, With Telco Immunity

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  • Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:27AM (#23874625)

    As far as I'm concerned, every single member of Congress who votes in favor of this bill is guilty of treason.

  • On both sides of the isle. Both parties have lost their way and are now off in despotic cuckoo-land. Whatever we have become, if they have their way we will certainly be no Republic any longer. The only option is to boot every damn representative who votes for this bill regardless of party. They clearly do not represent a constitution of a nation ruled by laws and not men.

    I say we start with Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer, and Bond.

  • Re:Treason (Score:1, Insightful)

    by dedazo (737510) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:33AM (#23874705) Journal
    It's really not possible to defend supporting something like this, but it's not useful to exaggerate and accuse them of high crimes, either.
  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:33AM (#23874711)
    "In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy."

    Corrupt government officials passing legislation favoring corrupt companies is the antithesis of capitalism.
  • by justdrew (706141) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:33AM (#23874713)
    they are lawbreakers. our president is guilty of high crimes and TREASON. impeach, jail for life.
  • by Spacepup (695354) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:35AM (#23874727)
    Since both presidential candidates are in congress, they way that they vote on this bill should be the tipping point for anyone on the fence between the two. Unless of course they both vote for this, then they should both be tarred and feathered.

    Heck, we should tar and feather them anyway...every presidential candidate should learn what it feels like before they reach that office.
  • Re:Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeiler (1106393) <{go.bugger.off} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:36AM (#23874743) Journal

    Which is satisfactory evidence that you do not know the definition of the word in United States law. Start with the Constitution [archives.gov]--article III, section 3.

    This is a monumentally stupid move, and (IMO, IANAL) illegal, but it is not "treason."

  • Re:Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:37AM (#23874757)

    That's fine, but are you going to do something about it or just bitch online? You yanks always make a big deal about your right to keep and bear arms. Well, that right isn't worth much if once in a while you don't start actually putting bullets through the brains of those treasonous authoritarian fucks.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:38AM (#23874765)

    "Just remember who voted for this when elections come up."

    We're talking about Congress here. They have a better chance of dying of old age and/or indicted than of being voted out of office.

  • by freedom_india (780002) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:38AM (#23874767) Homepage Journal

    You all talk here and you leave out streets and the congressmen.
    I bet a month's salary (to be donated to ACLU) that the bill WILL pass.
    Because none of you guys protested like your dads and moms did during Vietnam War.
    Sitting on your collective asses will not achieve anything.
    God save you guys from your president.

  • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:41AM (#23874827) Homepage Journal
    It sounds like fascism to me. Just my .02$
  • by mbone (558574) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:41AM (#23874831)

    As the new de facto leader of the Democratic Party, and as a Senator, Barack Obama could stop this with a word. What will he say ? Will he stand up for liberty ? Or betray it before he even gets elected ?

  • by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:42AM (#23874855) Journal

    You forgot the most important quote that should be on your chain:

    "Any government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you've got." - attributed to Thomas Jefferson

    To translate for those hard of reason: "Any government big enough to redistribute the fruits of other people's labor to YOU by force, is big enough to take everything it wants from you, also by force. It is also big enough to run your life, and kill you or enslave you on a whim or a trumped up charge. It can also watch you and make a panopticon of your daily life. And you will like it, and clamor for it to change only enough that you won't notice the ubiquity of the abuses. Yes indeed, you will... like it." - Me

  • Boxes... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:43AM (#23874869)
    Many people have been on their soap boxes for a while now, and nothing is changing.

    We'll be using the ballot boxes in a few months, and the two major choices will change nothing.

    Looks like it's time to start stocking up on ammo boxes.
  • You Deserve It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geggam (777689) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:48AM (#23874949)
    You gave up your weapons to feel safe because you don't want the responsibility.
    You gave up your rights to feel safe because you don't want the responsibility.
    You feel safe because you abdicated your responsibility to ensure the govt did not run over the people.
    Look ! Its American Idol. You can quit reading now.
    You are safe.
  • Re:Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:49AM (#23874967)

    There's one small detail that you are overlooking.

    Companies shouldn't be breaking the law just because the government tells them to!

    And if they do, they SHOULD be punished! As should the people in the government that told them to break the law.

  • Re:Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nursie (632944) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:52AM (#23875023)

    I don't see a single mention of the rights of the citizens of the USA in there, just a lot of talk about business and government becoming best buddies and scratching each others' backs.

    What happened to by the people, for the people?

    These days it seems to be more "buy the people".

  • nixon is not dead (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:53AM (#23875047)

    he's alive and well. in spirit, at least.

    didn't FISA come from nixon era wiretapping?

    so all the 'progress' we made since the nixon days has been overturned.

    so, would that make bush the 'new nixon'?

  • by nuzak (959558) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:56AM (#23875085) Journal

    "Any government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you've got." - attributed to Thomas Jefferson

    Doesn't sound anything like him. Mark Twain perhaps.

    Thing is, most of the "smaller government" people want government out of the places they want their private craven, corrupt, superstituous, hateful ideologies to rule instead. They consider it "judicial activism" when the courts say that government should stay out of proscriptive definitions of marriage, for example.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:57AM (#23875115)

    "Maybe one of them will impress / surprise us. Let's watch."

    Nah, they'll be too busy campaigning to show up to vote.

  • by crazytisay (1283264) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:00PM (#23875163)
    This type of encroachment on civil liberties was commonplace during the Red Scare and through the Vietnam era. There was backlash, some high profile scandals, and we got the FISA. 9/11 was the impetus for changing the balance of power back to the state. Since the passage of the PATRIOT Act, the government has been steadily grabbing at more (unconstitutional) powers to surveille its citizens. Hopefully there will be public backlash, but the power structure of the country is quite a bit different from previous eras. I would argue the US is more corporatist than in any previous era, and now we're fighting on two fronts. Hence the telco immunity provisions. Corporations and the state are getting a bit too cozy for my taste, and capitalism be damned, I don't want to end up in a facsist state.
  • Re:Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:02PM (#23875191)

    They took an oath to uphold the constitution of the U.S.A. This is a violation of that oath. I would call this treason, yes.

  • Re:Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gat0r30y (957941) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:04PM (#23875207) Homepage Journal

    companies cannot trust the word from our government
    Um, companies shouldn't blindly obey any order from the government without running by legal.
    If your a stock holder in one of these telecoms wouldn't you think they had some obligation to verify that what they were doing was indeed legal (it wasn't) and that they did not face exposure due to it (they should be exposed, and face serious consequences)?

    Being that the cort took some time to determine that the governments actions were indeed illegal shows that it was in the gray area of right and wrong
    No, it was not a gray area - it was illegal, it was illegal when they did it, and it's still illegal. They knew it was illegal and they did it anyway - no legal dept. worth its salt could have possibly signed off on this sort of an action without knowing that it was never going to see the light of day. They were exposed from the inside - and they deserve to be punished for breaking the law, just because they are a corporation doesn't mean they get to skirt responsibility for their actions.
  • by grocer (718489) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:07PM (#23875243)
    It is possible that the Democrats will sweep into Congress as well as the White House in Nov. and purge the influence of Bush and his legacy from the hallowed halls of Washington...although not particularly likely considering Obama is merely a tool of the Chicago political machine and the democratic leadership... What this really means is we'll get touchy-feely torture and compassionate wiretapping by our new Democratic Overlords...oh joy! I'm officially ashamed to be an American let alone admit I've voted...at least if I didn't vote, I wouldn't be part of the problem. Has anyone of these clowns ever read the Constitution? What is so challenging about English? No unreasonable search and seizure. Not a hard concept.
  • by corsec67 (627446) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:08PM (#23875257) Homepage Journal

    They will eventually run out of funding while they chase down all of the worthless leads.

    Too bad they would be spending the money the took from me while doing that.
  • Re:Treason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by waa (159514) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:16PM (#23875397) Homepage


    Their oath of office is little more than "... to defend and protect the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic..."

    Article 1, Section 9 of the US Constitution states:

    "No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

    Which means that just as the parent stated, each "representative" who voted YEA on this bill is guilty of violating their oath of office, for passing an illegal and UNCONSTITUTIONAL bill, and therefor is guilty of treason.

  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:16PM (#23875413) Journal

    No sir! I want to go after those who committed the act. The request means nothing without the following action. Remember, words are NOT deeds. They are only words. The sinner is the actor. The leaders have no power without the followers. That would include everybody all the way up to Hitler. There...Godwinned.

  • New laws (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Verteiron (224042) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:17PM (#23875423) Homepage

    I think we need a constitutional amendment. It should read:
    "Any bill that comes before the Congress to be passed into law must be able to be summarized accurately and without loss of detail into 50 words or less. Once this is accomplished, the original multi-thousand page document shall be thrown out, and the 50-word summary presented for passage into law."

    And perhaps another one:
    "Anyone who attempts to add text to a bill that is completely at odds with or irrelevant to the bill's title shall be considered guilty of treason and put to death immediately in as brutal a way as possible."

  • by goathens (924972) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:20PM (#23875491)
    I called my representative and his clerk assured me he would reject the bill. The role states that he supported it. Is it bad form to call his clerk back and inform him he's on my s**t list and I'll be voting for whoever isn't him next time?
  • by Bimo_Dude (178966) <bimoslash&theness,org> on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:26PM (#23875575) Homepage Journal
    The only compromise I see here is that the legislators are so willing to compromise the rights of the citizens. The house approved this as a payoff to Bush for not vetoing their war spending bill. What a freakin compromise! They just said, "Hey! Don't veto the war funding that you requested, and we'll be happy to tear up the fourth amendment, too!"
  • Re:Treason (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tgrigsby (164308) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:26PM (#23875577) Homepage Journal

    I beg to differ. The president most assuredly is guilty of high crimes, and the Congressmen that pass a bill to grant immunity to the president for violating his oath of office have themselves violated the Constitution and therefore their oaths of office by way of primary action and complicity. They will have raised the president above the law, assumed themselves above the law by granting such, and by doing so will have betrayed the American government and the people from which it derives its powers. That, sir, is treason.

    It took over 200 years, but the Tories may be about to finally win the war...

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:32PM (#23875691) Homepage

    No, that's a really *really* good idea, actually. And I'd advise you to tell the people you know about the stunt he/she pulled.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:37PM (#23875749) Homepage

    (B) the subject of a written request or directive [from the Executive Branch] indicating that the activity was
    (ii) determined to be lawful.
    Now, there's nothing wrong with the Attorney General making a legal opinion - that's pretty much his job:

    The original duties of this officer were "to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the President of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments."
    What happens when you instruct the courts to drop any case against any action that has been "determinaed to be legal"? Folks, you have the wonderful choices of:
    a) the Legislative branch instructing the Judicial branch to obey the Executive branch
    b) an Executive branch that essentially makes its own law on what's legal and not
    c) creating government-sponsored thugs outside the law, free from the restrictions of the government
    d) all of the above
  • by hedwards (940851) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:45PM (#23875875)

    That's what I've been trying to figure out. What the telcos were doing was illegal when they did it. Granting immunity, on the hopes that they'll know it's illegal and behave better next time is asinine.

    They were well aware that they weren't being provided appropriate paperwork the last time otherwise, they'd be itching to have their day in court. Letting them off the hook for what was obviously illegal is hardly teaching them a lesson for the future.

    Really, what ought to happen is the people at the top making the decision to comply with the illegal orders should go to prison.

  • Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rombuu (22914) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:45PM (#23875891)

    I'm glad to see this finally happen.

  • Re:Treason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jeiler (1106393) <{go.bugger.off} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:03PM (#23876187) Journal
    Almost--I changed the usage of a word to mean something the original author did not intend, in order to support my argument. This is precisely what you did by redefining "treason" in your earlier post. Since you were close (but not quite correct), I can't give you the five points, but here's a gold star for effort.
  • by freedom_india (780002) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:16PM (#23876395) Homepage Journal

    No. Anyone who votes against this bill is made sure that he never receives campaign funds from telecoms.

  • As someone posted above, from the constitution, "No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." This means that the legislative branch cannot pass a retroactive law, either to provide immunity or to prosecute people. This bill is unconstitutional, but it will take a hell of a fight and a lot of money to get the supreme court to rule on it as such.
  • by DoctorFrog (556179) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:50PM (#23876899)

    I believe SCOTUS determined that while it was unConstitutional to make past actions illegal (so as to prosecute actions which at the time were not against the law), it is okay to pass legislation which makes prior illegal acts retroaxctively legal.

    I can't recall the case off the top of my head, but it was a civil rights case; I want to say Loving vs Virginia, overturning the illegality of interracial marriages.

  • Blackwater (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hektor_Troy (262592) on Friday June 20, 2008 @02:04PM (#23877085)

    Granted, so far it's "only" about illegal wiretaps against U.S. citizens. But essentially this says "If the PotUS says 'do task A for me', then the company that does task A cannot and will not be held liable, even if it breaks the law."

    So far that task has been (and might still be) "spy on U.S. citizens"

    What's to stop the next task from being "rough up U.S. citizens who mouth off against the government"? Or "kill U.S. citizens who are a pain in the ass"?

    Sure, that's a big slippery slope, but then again, I'm sure if you went back to say ... September 2000 and asked people on the street, they'd probably say that the U.S. government would NEVER allow such a thing. Of course, they'd probably say the same thing about torture (or whatever phrase you'd like to use instead), suspension of habeas corpus and a lot of other things that have happend in less than a decade. Even "small" stuff like purposely revealing the name and occupation of an active CIA agent working abroad.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Friday June 20, 2008 @03:19PM (#23878217) Homepage

    I wanted to add this before I responded: I am thinking in the context of a real democracy, not America. In my opinion, it's a fascist state nearly beyond repair.

    That is not capitalism, but corporatism.
    Which, again, is the end result of free market capitalism, because people are and always will be greedy and corrupt. Corporations get so large that they hold power to coerce government, so it matters very little that they can't use guns to enforce their will. They use lawyers and politicians instead, who do have access to them.

    What is this based on? Do you have any supporting evidence that "greed wrecks society", or should we just accept what you say?
    Without a law, explain why DuPont wouldn't stop dumping paint in the Hudson if it saved them money.

    The other is a matter of what you consider society. In America, so far that has meant the privilege of living comfortably at the expense of other cultures. It started with the indigenous population, spread to slavery, and now we are nice enough to kill foreigners who happen to be nearby the resources we consider necessary to our lifestyle. I consider this morally reprehensible and the worst kind of greed. You may believe otherwise.

    Corruption only becomes a concern to the public when it is backed by force, something which only the government can apply.
    The government has to have force, otherwise they aren't a government. The corruption of a corporation, or the collusion of government and a corporation are inevitable. You can either eliminate the corporate entity or the government. I choose to eliminate the corporation.

    And that official will be replaced by another corrupt official. As long as the government is able to manipulate the economy, individuals and businesses will flock to them to get manipulation in their favor (otherwise they risk seeing unfavorable legislation forced against them).
    The government has to establish law and enforce contracts. If you can point out a society that you would like to emulate that has done otherwise, I'd love to hear about it. When corporations have less rights than people, it will be less of a problem, as the corporations who don't have a positive impact for the society they operate in are dissolved.

    The ends do not justify the means, ever. A few temporary positives are not worth giving up all your rights.
    That's an empty phrase. Which rights are automatically taken away from you in a well regulated economy?

    I can agree with that, although you seem to think the fault lies with the businesses, whereas for me, because the state is the entity actually applying the force on the public, I see the state as to blame.
    In America, there's no difference between the desires of business and government. In any case, you can choose to concentrate power in corporations where no one has oversight or the power to change anything, or concentrate it in limited local government, where you do have the power to change something.

    The military industrial complex is a very real entity, and they make hundreds of billions of dollars each year as a reward for manufacturing weapons, as long as they collude with the government to provide false pretenses for war. If the arms dealers were under government oversight, they could be dismantled by the constituents of the democracy. Of course, real democracy -- that is, the will of the general population being accomplished, is the greatest threat to our current government, and thus, the symbiotic corporate structure attached to it. That's why they deeply despise public opinion, and proudly ignore it. That's why there's a constant barrage of media on the ineffectiveness of government. They want to make sure people don't use it.

  • by Bimo_Dude (178966) <bimoslash&theness,org> on Friday June 20, 2008 @03:46PM (#23878703) Homepage Journal
    Re-reading my GP post, I guess it wasn't clear enough. I'll try to speak more slowly this time around.

    This is not "just to try to get evidence against Bush because you haven't been successful in finding anything else you could actually prove he did illegally," as you say (I hope you weren't trying to put words into my mouth). The telecom companies knowingly broke the law, and the people within those companies who made those decisions should be prosecuted as well as sued by those affected. The administration should also be held to account for those illegal requests.

    As for your question about evidence... I think there is already enough evidence out there to impeach him as well as many others in the administration, and prosecute them all successfully. Impeachment has to come before prosecution, and that is "off the table."

    This isn't about Bush. It's about the balance of powers in the government. It's about corruption. I won't deny that I despise Bush (that's another rant for another day), but I would despise any president that has arrogated this amount of power to the Executive. I would despise any president that is complicit with this level of corruption. Bush happens to be the current top crook; in a few months, we'll have a different top crook.

    I'll sigh, too. This all is certainly worthy of it.

  • Re:Treason (Score:2, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Friday June 20, 2008 @03:56PM (#23878895) Homepage Journal

    Shhhh! Don't go around making sense! They'll put you in Gitmo!

  • Re:Treason (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MSG (12810) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:38PM (#23879513)

    Maybe it's why your rulers didn't see fit to give you that right.

    Rights aren't granted by government, they're taken away. Rights exist in the absence of government.

    Which is to say that "his rulers" saw fit to strip their citizens of that right.

  • Re:Which telecoms (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Drathos (1092) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:39PM (#23879529)

    Cancel their service and go where?

    To make matters worse, you don't even have to have that company as your provider. Odds are that when you make a call to someone, your call is still going through one of the companies that complied with Dubya.

  • by Moof123 (1292134) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:44PM (#23879599)

    Yes, June 20th should really be turned into National Waterboard your Representative Day, but at this point it's up to the Senate. I'm not sure how many of them are ALREADY wiretapped (Bush must have some sort of amazing leverage...), but clearly they have lost any sort of perspective as to why the Dem's got the boost in the last round of rigged elections. So I propose we The People go out and give our elected reps a taste of their own medicine.

    A round or two of a stress positions while in extreme cold followed by a good old waterboarding session might do the trick. We can then staple gun a tracking device on their cranium and see how THEY like losing their rights. Maybe barcode tattoo them too, so they'll have an idea about what this whole Real ID thing is all about.

    How's the job market in Canada?

  • by stinerman (812158) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:47PM (#23879635) Homepage

    voting for a republican is more effective than simply not voting for a democrat at removing democrats from office because it not only denies them their vote, it grants their opponents an extra vote.

    And voting for a Republican often has the nasty side effect of electing Republicans, who are, at last glance, worse than Democrats.

  • by RingDev (879105) on Friday June 20, 2008 @05:02PM (#23879817) Homepage Journal

    Okay, I like Obama's stance on a lot of the issues, but this is just retarded.

    "Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance - making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people."
    So Bush's wire taps were illegal, meaning they were/are in violation of existing laws. So we're going to make a NEW law that makes it illegal for Bush to break the existing law?

    He already broke the law, why would he care about breaking the law that would prevent him from breaking the law?!!?

    Laws are designed to govern people that follow them. People who place themselves beyond the law will not be effected no matter how many laws are created. More laws will not make them change their behavior.

    Punishment is the answer. Even if the punishment can not change their behavior it can limit their ability to affect others.

    We've already determined that Bush's wiretaps were illegal. He broke the law. The answer isn't to create more laws, the answer is to enforce the laws that we already have!

    -Rick

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Friday June 20, 2008 @05:50PM (#23880301) Homepage

    People by definition aren't corrupt. You can assume that by definition but then there is no reason for anyone to take you seriously.

    People aren't corrupt? And I guess they aren't jealous, vain, or "bad" in any way. It's just that they don't have the free market to liberate their true good will. I don't think I'm the one who has a credibility problem on this issue...

    Let's break this down. A corporation offers an elected official money...

    That's an oversimplified example. More often, the corruption is that political favors are done with no money involved until the corrupt official exits office and gets a cushy job with the benefactor of his dishonesty. If there's no big salary at the end of the election, the people in politics for greed will be forced to directly break the law instead of skirting around loopholes and handing multi-billion dollar contracts to friends and associates. Dick Cheney is a great example.

    Now, I ask you how to stop this from happening... You would rather go after the companies. The problem is that there will always be new companies, and they will always find a way to entice politicians. The problem is not with the companies, but with the politicians willing to accept the bribes. That is where to place the blame. Officials who are charged with upholding rights, are freely violating them in exchange for bribes.

    The government is going to exist. Companies don't have to exist in their current form. You hit the nail on the head when you said there will always be new companies - many of them, in fact, which remain small because as soon as they reach a certain size, they are probably going to start doing bad things. And if they do then they'll be split up by the government, if they are doing their job, and you end up with many competitive entities instead of large uncontrollable behemoths.

    Without a law preventing private ownership of the Hudson, the Hudson would be privately owned, and that owner has a right not to have their property destroyed by surrounding property. They could practically sue DuPont out of existence if that happened. When the government decides it owns a piece of property, and does not bother to treat it as a property owner would treat their property, then you end up with situations like this - the Cuyahoga River fire comes to mind.

    If natural resources are privately owned, all you're doing is creating a natural monopoly. What's going to stop Hudson River Co. from charging $1,000 a day for access for it's non-business partners? They could bankrupt shipping companies overnight, buy them up, and continue abusing their power until it destroyed the local economy for everyone else except for them. And if you don't think companies will destroy themselves so the top members of management can walk away with a few hundred million dollars, you don't watch the news very much. The EPA is not cleaning up after the government. They're cleaning up after companies who destroyed their own property to make huge sums of money.

    In straight capitalism, corporations do anything for a profit. They'll clear-cut a forest, dump raw chemicals into lakes and rivers, and put people in the belly of coal mines and work them to death. Before regulation arrived at the beginning of the 20th century, employees and the environment were being obliterated because they were cheap or free. Only after massive public protest did the government step in to limit the damage.

    Wanting the most product from your money and work is not by itself immoral, and that is all that is represented by the word "greed".

    Greed is obviously subjective. The problem with the free market is that companies have no rules. If they can make a profit marketing a known carcinogen to children, they will do it, have done it, and continue in countries where there is no regulation.

    You have not shown that to be true.

    There isn't a single counter-example that I can think of, unless you cons

  • by tom's a-cold (253195) on Friday June 20, 2008 @07:29PM (#23881115) Homepage

    Corrupt government officials passing legislation favoring corrupt companies is the antithesis of capitalism.
    Don't know much history, do you? Unless it's just a vocabulary problem and by "antithesis" you meant "epitome."

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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