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Telecom Immunity Bill Hides Spying Provisions 202

Posted by kdawson
from the some-compromise-means-capitulation dept.
Corrupt notes an Ars analysis of the FISA bill of which the telecom immunity provision has been getting all the attention. Timothy B. Lee enumerates the ways in which the bill loosens current protections on domestic wiretapping and opens up whole new areas to government eavesdropping. "The legislation eliminates meaningful judicial oversight of eavesdropping between American citizens and foreigners located overseas, and effectively legalizes dragnet surveillance of domestic-to-foreign traffic. It stretches out the judicial review process so much that the government will in many cases be able to complete its surveillance activities before the courts finish deciding on its legality."
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Telecom Immunity Bill Hides Spying Provisions

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  • Judicial oversight (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Intron (870560)
    The legislature can try to eliminate judicial oversight, but its still up to the courts what evidence they will accept. If they decide it was obtained in an unconstitutional manner, they can throw it out.
    • by pembo13 (770295) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:00PM (#24103241) Homepage
      Who says it ever gets to the courts?
    • by hypnagogue (700024) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:05PM (#24103313)

      its still up to the courts what evidence they will accept.

      When would the courts decide this? You are implying that there would be a trial.

    • Seriously? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nil0lab (94268)

      You think the intent is to gather evidence to take to court? For this rev of the executive branch? Seriously?

    • by gothmogged (161673) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:16PM (#24103467)

      You're missing the point. The oversight process in this bill permits spying to take place for thirty days to four months before being forced to stop. The govt can spy for thirty days (plus the 1 week before submission of certification) even if judicial oversight rejects their case the moment it is presented.

      The timeline assuming the agency's goal is maximizing the spying time:

      0 day - spying begins without any preamble
      1 week - Gov must submit certification for review
      1-30 days + 1 week - judge must returns review
      if judge objects
        30 days after review- the govt must stop spying
        unless they appeal to FISA
            then they could have another 30 days

      If the judges and courts have full queues that could push the whole thing to four months.

      Assuming it gets rejected they presumably (IANAL) cannot use the evidence in court. Nonetheless they were legally empowered to look through your internet/telephone underwear drawer for over a month. How are you feeling about your 4th amendment rights now?

      The article goes on to describe how the constraints make this law very easily abused to include spying upon americans for a wide variety of pretexts. That is the other half of the problem.

      This is a terrible law even if you ignore autocracy being implemented by the telecom amnesty provisions.

    • Privacy Rights (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EgoWumpus (638704) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @02:53PM (#24104915)

      You are assuming the evidence is being used against you. As it turns out, if the cops illegally search you, and find evidence of wrongdoing on the part of someone else, that other person has no grounds to appeal the illegality of the search. Nor, unsurprisingly, do you have grounds to object to the search - the recourse for an illegal search is that the results cannot be used against you. Thus, you have no recourse if they're going after someone else.

      Note that this is a double-edged blade; if they find something searching someone else's stuff on you, you have no recourse. Before this legislation the evidence could be thrown out because the telecom tap was illegal. Now, it's not.

  • Does this bill loosens the rules for US-to-Canada communications? Because, oh my god, what if the NSA did know about my next vacation to Quebec City...
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      America is becoming more like Sweden, and not in the good way.

    • Well, I fully expect that AT&T et al will soon announce, for efficeny purposes, all calls/data will be routed through a station in Mexico/Canada. Hey, I bet the AG could then categorize them as "international" calls and spy on them!

  • Yello (belly) alert (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:39PM (#24102899) Journal

    More murders are committed every year on American soil than all the American terrorist deaths in the 21st century. The difference between terrorism and ordinary murder is the intended victim - politicians.

    It wasn't the world trade center or even the Pentagon that created the hysteria over terrorists. It was the plane that didn't make it out of Pennsylvania, the one aimed at Congress.

    My government is run by cowards.

    • by Tenrosei (1305283) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:44PM (#24102989)
      I like to believe that the reason we have more murders then terrorist deaths is because we want to prove that we can do it better than outsourcing can.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SputnikPanic (927985)

      The difference between terrorism and ordinary murder is the intended victim - politicians.

      This is a vast oversimplification. Try telling that to the families of those killed in a certain Israeli pizza shop or in the WTC.

      I agree that we should not tolerate the constant creep in executive powers, all of which is being made in the name of national security, but let's not lose our perspective on the nature of terrorism either.

      And about the FISA bill, make the effort, call your senators and let them know where you stand.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:03PM (#24103277)

        Wake the fuck up. Our senators don't give a flying shit about you and nor have they ever cared about what citizens believe. They are not there to represent you, me, or anybody, except they are there to represent the government of your state, nobody else. It is the house that represents you, not the senate. The house has already passed the law therefore the senate will just pass it as well since clearly the people that were suppose to represent us has failed us all.

        Senators only care about one thing, money and power, and they're getting both with this bill. So, we're fucked and there is nothing we as citizens can do anything about it cause the government went corrupt a long time ago and it just continues to get bigger and bigger.

        • by psbrogna (611644)
          Can't we, as citizens, vote?
          • by sm62704 (957197)

            Can't we, as citizens, vote?

            When the corporate press convinces voters that a vote for any candidate not in either wing of the corporate party (Republican wing and Democratic wing) is wasted, you effectively have a one-party system.

            As Mojo Nixon said in Burn Down the Malls, "you can vote for one fool or another". As the late Walt Kelly said via Pogo, "we have Tweedle dumb and Tewddle dumber".

            The only vote wasted is a vote not cast. Any candidate on enough ballots to win should be in any debate and his/her vi

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by harp2812 (891875)

            Can't we, as citizens, vote?

            We can. I do. It's been working great so far, hasn't it?

        • Well, AC, since you're the self-appointed genius here, what do you suggest? All I can do is work within the framework of a representative democracy. I call and write my representatives and I try to vote the bums out every opportunity I get. What would you have me do? Stew, however uselessly, in my contempt for Washington? Or perhaps there's a bastille I ought to be storming?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sm62704 (957197)

            In a novel or story (can't remember its name, sorry), Robert Heinlein mentioned four boxes: Ballot, jury, ammo, and soap. Slashdot is the fourth box, as is the comments sections of the online editions of the mainstream newspapers.

            Lets try and avoid the third box if we can.

      • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:05PM (#24103311) Journal

        let's not lose our perspective on the nature of terrorism either

        We already did. Forty thousand people die on American highways every single year. Those deaths are no less traumatic to the families than the WTC deaths to those families, or those murdered by non-political murderers.

        I want some of that homeland security money to go to guard rails.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ArcherB (796902)

          We already did. Forty thousand people die on American highways every single year. Those deaths are no less traumatic to the families than the WTC deaths to those families, or those murdered by non-political murderers.

          There is a difference between a terrorists attack or murder and accidents. Accidents, while unfortunate, do not leave the grieving yearning for revenge. Grieving is bad enough, but adding the rage that comes from knowing that ones who killed your loved one still live and breathe just makes it that much worse.

          I want some of that homeland security money to go to guard rails.

          I agree that highways should get much more funding, but there is a highway fund for that. Rather than using national security money for that purpose, how about we eliminate something like corn, dairy

          • by sm62704 (957197)

            I mean we need less spent on DHS and more spent on highways. And yes, I agree that subsidizing today's corporate farming (among other things) is stupidly wasteful.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:13PM (#24103429) Journal

        The difference between terrorism and ordinary murder is the intended victim - politicians.

        This is a vast oversimplification. Try telling that to the families of those killed in a certain Israeli pizza shop or in the WTC.

        How is it a vast oversimplification?

        Generally speaking, the entire point of terrorism is to further political or ideological goals.
        Most people define terrorism by the motivation and intent of the attack, not by the scale.

        As an example, the difference between terrorists (Beltway Snipers) and mass murderers (Columbine HS shootings) is entirely one of motivation and intent. Or another example would be hostage taking. What differentiates bank robbers who take hostages from Hezbollah or Hamas taking hostages? Why do we not call hostage-taking-bank-robbers terrorists?

        The GP is 100% correct.
        The difference between terrorism and ordinary murder is the intended victim - politicians.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SputnikPanic (927985)

          I live in the DC area and I very vividly remember what those three weeks of the Beltway snipers were like. But the snipers were not terrorists; they were spree killers. They had no political agenda or ideological goals. They may have had a terrorist-like effect on the DC area, and I'm sure they were thrilled by that, but mostly they were twisted fucks that got off on killing people.

          In any case, I'm not entirely sure what your point is. You say yourself that terrorism is typically defined by the motivati

          • by Peter La Casse (3992) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @02:19PM (#24104441) Homepage

            But the snipers were not terrorists; they were spree killers. They had no political agenda or ideological goals.

            According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org], "A series of trial exhibits indicated that Malvo and Muhammed were motivated by an affinity for Islamic Jihad."

            • by AmaDaden (794446)
              That does not make them terrorists. It makes them religious fanatics. Terrorism "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism [wikipedia.org]). They are terrorists because their goal was to spread terror. To be terrorists due to religion they would need to want to spread terror to coerces people to do something their religion makes them believe is right. They never forced anyone else to do anything so it's not coercion. They were more like crazy cultists then Jiha
          • by TubeSteak (669689)

            I live in the DC area and I very vividly remember what those three weeks of the Beltway snipers were like. But the snipers were not terrorists; they were spree killers. They had no political agenda or ideological goals.

            The idealogical goal came out during the trials.
            4th paragraph down http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beltway_sniper_attacks#Malvo_testimony [wikipedia.org]

            In any case, I'm not entirely sure what your point is. You say yourself that terrorism is typically defined by the motivation or the intent of the attack -- and I agree with you on that -- and then in the next breath you then define terrorism as having to do with the intended victim. Which is it?

            Both.
            The politicians are victimized (harmed) every time their constituents get blown up or slaughtered because they (the politicians) refuse to accede to terrorists' political/ideological demands.

            What politician was targeted in that Sbarro's in Israel?

            Hamas' goal is the removal of the Israeli State. It isn't much of a leap to see that all Israeli politicians were the target of that attack, and every other attack.

            • That trial didn't take place until 2006. The sniper shootings were in 2002, and I can tell you, when we were in the midst of it, very very few people regarded the sniper shootings as ideologically inspired terrorism. It may have been conjectured on occasion, but generally speaking, everyone including all the profilers and other "experts" on television thought we were dealing, if you recall, with some lone, white crackpot. To the Washington region, this was not terrorism in the same sense as we think of w

              • Replying to my own post for purposes of correction, since I don't want to speak for another person's comments. I should have said that the initial contention was interpreted to be speaking corporeally rather than symbolically.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by wooferhound (546132)
        Yes, it would be cool to Slashdot our senators . . .
      • by Klaus_1250 (987230) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:51PM (#24104005)

        This is a vast oversimplification. Try telling that to the families of those killed in a certain Israeli pizza shop or in the WTC.

        That is a vast oversimplification as well. The fact that people died in the 9/11-attacks is very very tragic, but they were not the target of the attacks, they were collateral damage. I'm pretty sure the attackers didn't care about the deaths of "infidels", but they were attacking the symbols of Americanism (note that I'm not writing America/USA or Americans here). Collateral damage was acceptable for them. Just as it was when "the Coalition" invaded Iraq. Just as it has been in every major conflict.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Toll_Free (1295136)

          The problem with YOUR oversimplification is that with terrorism, collateral damage IS the political agenda furthering mechanism.

          If they only wanted to blow the towers up, they could have done it at night. They WANTED the Americans dead. Go look at the video of Osama dancing during the newsplays of the day (9/11). He was happier than hell that it took out much more than he ever expected.

          Sbarro? Yup, again, the terrorists could have blown it up when it was empty. Empty buildings don't scare politicians N

          • by Klaus_1250 (987230) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @05:33PM (#24107411)

            collateral damage IS the political agenda furthering mechanism

            Sorry, but I disagree. At least in the 9-11 case. 9-11 was about the symbols. If it was about people, they would have flown all 4 planes into Skyscrapers and they would have done it at a slightly later time so all 4 buildings would have been packed with people.

            If they only wanted to blow the towers up, they could have done it at night.

            They could, but seeing they were mediocre pilots at best, it would have been a hell of a lot more difficult at night. In fact, having flown myself (gliding), I'm pretty darn sure they wouldn't have been able to hit the pentagon at night. VFR without a horizon, without clear ground sight, lots of blinking lights is and no proper training/experience, is rather a silly gamble.

            He was happier than hell that it took out much more than he ever expected.

            He was happy that the towers fell. No-one figured that would happen. The things were designed to survive a plane crashing into them. Skyscrapers normally don't collapse because of fire. I doubt the terrorist had the knowledge by which they knew the towers would fall.

            Sbarro? Yup, again, the terrorists could have blown it up when it was empty.

            I wasn't talking about Sbarro in my post, just 9-11. In all honestly, I don't even know that attack. But I believe that it refers to a attack in Israel. That's a different kind of Terrorism, which is much more about hatred between two civilian populations. The Terroists attack on 9-11 were about US hegemony, hence they attacked those symbols. If they wanted to attack civilians, they would have crashed a jet in the stadium during the Superball. Or they would have crashed all four jets in places with lots of people. If there would have been only 100 people working in the WTC, they still would have done the same.

            Collateral damage in the case of the US led invasion is completely different.

            Tell that to the families. Do you actually think they care whether family members die by a terrorist attack or a military attack?

            Terrorism is designed to MAXIMIZE collateral damage, or the idiots with the bomb vests wouldn't fill them full of (insert small projectiles like nails, screws, etc here).

            Some terrorism is, some terrorism isn't. Not all terrorism is the same. Read a good book about it. Look at some documentaries about the topic. (There is actually a good one about a terrorist group in Iraq. While being terrorists, they denounce the attacks on civilians f.i.).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gnick (1211984)

      It was the plane that didn't make it out of Pennsylvania, the one aimed at Congress.

      Admittedly off-topic, but I'm curious. You really think that the 4th plane was aimed at Congress? I've always assumed that it was a second striker for the Pentagon. The first Pentagon plane hit an area that was under repair and didn't house any top brass. That was easily obtained information - Something that I assume that the planners knew. But putting a second plane into the other side would have made a mess - Heavily populated especially during an evacuation due to the impact from the first plane. A

      • by sm62704 (957197)

        Whether they fear death or fear loss of power, the cause and effect are both the same - we lose our rights because of their cowardice.

  • I pointed this out in a recent story about revolts among the BO community, and was modded troll for daring to question the integrity of his holiness.

    Thanks slashdot for helping them cover it up until it was too late.

    Barack is incapable of evil, so supporting this like he is must be good, right?

    • "...modded troll for daring to question the integrity of his holiness."

      You are forgiven my son. [fist bump]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gQuigs (913879)

      www.pledgebank.com/AS-IF-Privacy

      I drew the line on telecom immunity, although maybe I should not have been so specific. I would prefer if others would draw the line with me..

      "I will Vote Third Party for President If Telecom Immunity Passes Into Law but only if 100,000 other registered voters will do the same."

    • BO? (Score:2, Funny)

      by nil0lab (94268)

      Get some deodorant.

    • Mod parent up (Score:2, Insightful)

      by akzeac (862521)

      Having also been downmodded for critizing Obama, I think it's definitely time to end the witch-hunt against detractors that has begun to permeate this community.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dreamchaser (49529)

        I've suffered the same fate from misguided moderators. It would be great if people realised that flamebait/troll/overrated does NOT mean 'I don't agree with this guy'.

        Obama scares the hell out of me. He's no different, and possibly worse, than your average politican yet his followers seem to think he can walk on water and part the Red Sea. What really scares me is not that he's hoodwinked so many people though; it's his absoulte lack of experience combined with his absolute dishonest that scares me.

        • I've suffered the same fate from misguided moderators. It would be great if people realised that flamebait/troll/overrated does NOT mean 'I don't agree with this guy'.

          Obama scares the hell out of me. He's no different, and possibly worse, than your average politican yet his followers seem to think he can walk on water and part the Red Sea. What really scares me is not that he's hoodwinked so many people though; it's his absoulte lack of experience combined with his absolute dishonest that scares me.

          I don't think he's absolutely dishonest, but he's misrepresenting himself as a "principled" person.

          He's just like everyone else on the hill. He may not be a bush, but he's closer to clinton than he is to kennedy.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          What we need is a moderation "-1, I Don't Agree" that will let us override that to +/-0 in our preferences. That way they have something that will fit, will do the same thing, and will allow troll/flamebait to actuall function properly.

          Hey, they added over/underrated - why not this?

    • by shipbrick (929823) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:26PM (#24103597)
      That's something that scares me about Obama. He seems to be capable of doing no evil, according to many of his supporters. When some negative aspect regarding him is brought up, it is simply dismissed without regard. Which, in some sense, is reminiscent of Bush and his supporters. I'm not saying Obama is or will be as atrocious as G.W.(I pray to zombie-jesus that no president during the rest of my lifetime will be as bad as W). I'd just like to point out that we shouldn't exempt Obama from the scrutiny and skepticism that should always be employed.
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:40PM (#24102913) Homepage Journal

    What do we have to be so darned worried about? It's not like the President would compile an "Enemies List" of people to wiretap, or something. This is America, right?

    oh crap [wikipedia.org]

    • by Gat0r30y (957941)

      Bill Gates, Microsoft CEO: Nixon hated MS-DOS.

      21 is clearly the best.
      On another note, This is America - where presidents make lists of American citizens to spy on, the House will hold hearings on who is unamerican and vilify whoever they have to to maintain control over the people through constant fear mongering. Its the American way!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ArcherB (796902)

      What do we have to be so darned worried about? It's not like the President would compile an "Enemies List" of people to wiretap, or something. This is America, right?

      oh crap [wikipedia.org]

      With respect to the fairness doctrine, I present the following:
      FileGate [wikipedia.org]

      The incident caused a firestorm of criticism because many of the files covered White House employees from previous Republican administrations, including top figures such as James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, and Marlin Fitzwater.

  • Is it just me? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:47PM (#24103037)
    Is it just me, or does anyone else remember how in the 80s we were always being told that the Russian government (oooh, these evil Ruskies!) spied on their people and that the US was above that sort of behavior? And is it any surprise that it's essentially the same people in power now who are FOR this sort of governmental behavior? I guess as long as they got a boogeyman somewhere......
    • by MrMunkey (1039894)
      Don't forget about how we view China today. It's the same thing. They have the "Great Firewall of China" and do a lot of active listening to their citizens and we view them in a negative way.
    • No, no, no. The USSR sent political dissidents to the Gulag in Siberia where they were tortured. We send dissidents on a tropical vacation to Guantanamo! It's totally different.

      </sarcasm>, just in case someone misses it ;)
  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:10PM (#24103371)

    If people don't start swamping their representatives with letters, calls and e-mails telling them to strangle this evil piece of legislation in its cradle, a lot of the things that make the United States a place worth living in will start sliding away.

    Bin Laden must be laughing himself sick. One terrorist act that kills fewer people than died every single day during WWII, and the US starts throwing the rights and freedoms its heroes bled and died for down the nearest toilet...with enthusiastic applause from hysterical soccer moms and authority-worshiping lackwits.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:28PM (#24103633)

      Bin Laden must be laughing himself sick. One terrorist act that kills fewer people than died every single day during WWII, and the US starts throwing the rights and freedoms its heroes bled and died for down the nearest toilet...with enthusiastic applause from hysterical soccer moms and authority-worshiping lackwits.

      And the most depressing thing is that he, himself, predicted it whie the rubble was still smoldering.

      "I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The US Government will lead the American people - and the West in general - into an unbearable hell and a choking life."
      - Osama bin Laden [cnn.com], as quoted in his only post-9/11 interview, ca. November 2001, and as aired on CNN in early 2002.

    • ...a lot of the things that make the United States a place worth living in will start sliding away.

      I think you misspelled "continue."

  • by wooferhound (546132) <tim@woofeMENCKENrhound.com minus author> on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:14PM (#24103441) Homepage
    When I was in school I learned that our government is a system of Checks And Balances. What the article is telling me is that the Telcom bill is removing all of that as unnecessary.
    • by kalirion (728907)

      Hey, at least we have The System left. That's the most important part, right?

    • When I was in school I learned that our government is a system of Checks And Balances.

      Ah, you were not paying close enough attention. Our government is a system where checks tip the balance. Checks written to the re-election fund of each person in congress that is...

  • Im shocked I tell you, SHOCKED!

  • It stretches out the judicial review process so much that the government will in many cases be able to complete its surveillance activities before the courts finish deciding on its legality."

    Without having read the article: is that really new? The current FISA provision allows agencies to start wiretapping 72 hours before filing a request.

  • Encrypt and use secure OSes. Yes, that will make evasdropping harder, but the bad guys already use these security technologies. This is not about catching ''terrorists'', this is specifically to evasdrop on normal citizens, for example to evaluate public opinion and identify people with unwanted views. Highly unethical (read: evil. These people can only hope that theire is no after-action evaluation after they die. They would all go to hell.), but politicians typically have no morals anyways, except for sho

  • 12% Approval (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @02:04PM (#24104215) Journal

    Here's an interesting stat, everybody tends to like (tolerate) their Senator and Congress Critter, however Congress and Senate have about a 12% overall approval rating.

    These numbers really don't make sense, not at all. Each congress critter / senator is part of the whole and thus part of the problem for everyone who isn't part of that 12%.

    FISA is just a symptom of the problem of overly complex and burdensome legislation. I'm sure there is SOME part of FISA that you (everyone) would agree is okay perhaps even needed, however that is over shadowed by all the parts that you (everyone) don't like, hate, despise or whatever.

    Which is why, almost overwhelmingly, we don't like FISA as a whole. The process sucks, because just enough people like each part to get it included into the whole, but the whole is untenable.

    This directly mirrors our view of congress, we like the part we voted for, but no the aggregate whole.

    Personally, I'd like to see a new Constitutional Ammendment that every 8 to 16 years, the nation as a whole votes on all the congress critters and senators as an aggregate group, Yes / No. And if they get a "NO" then they (the aggregate whole lot) can never run for any office ever again (not even honorary town dog catcher), and lose whatever pension they might have coming.

    It is time to clear out the deadwood.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by plasmacutter (901737)

      A constitutionally mandated 10 year sunset date on all laws should also be enacted. They cannot be renewed by simple riders either. The laws must be re-drafted from scratch.

    • Get realistic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sjbe (173966)

      Personally, I'd like to see a new Constitutional Ammendment that every 8 to 16 years, the nation as a whole votes on all the congress critters and senators as an aggregate group, Yes / No. And if they get a "NO" then they (the aggregate whole lot) can never run for any office ever again (not even honorary town dog catcher), and lose whatever pension they might have coming.

      Exactly who is going to enact such vindictive and short sighted legislation? That would be a great way to further expand the power of the executive branch so maybe Emperor Bush would be in favor. Darth Cheney would certainly approve.

      Really, I think we already have enough cowardly, pandering, and/or dogmatic leadership as it is. Realistic term limits (say 12 years max in either branch of congress) would substantially accomplish your goals. Not that I expect those to ever get into law either.

      • by Applekid (993327)

        Exactly who is going to enact such vindictive and short sighted legislation? That would be a great way to further expand the power of the executive branch so maybe Emperor Bush would be in favor. Darth Cheney would certainly approve.

        Please. At least the Executive branch has term limits.

        Unfortunately there is no way Congress/State Legislatures will provide the 3/4 majority to amend the Constitution to limit the "ruling class image" of their own Senators and Representatives the way they did to the President.

    • The real fact is, people always think its the "other" guy that is the problem, their representative is the "good one". Just like when public school discussions come up, the one you send your kid too is the best, its not like those "other" schools.

      While I don't favor the idea of removing choice from our voting ability, term limits make sense because we really have no choice. Being able to choose one side of the same coin over another is not a choice. Democrats and Republicans are most often the only peopl

  • by kenp2002 (545495) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @02:08PM (#24104273) Homepage Journal

    Simple:
    People want to see something done to protect them even when it isn't possible.

    Politicians are doing exactly what they are supposed to do, get themselves re-elected by catering to those that elected them.

    The sad fact is most people didn't elect them though, just a small, focused, and motivated groups. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    Don't complain when they do this when your idea of participating in politics is going to vote.

    That is the smallest part of participation.

    It would be no different to say you ran a marathon after driving it in an SUV, getting out 10 feet in front of the finish line and crossing it. You didn't run a marathon and voting is just crossing the finish line of the political system. We are lazy.

    People are pissed at special interest groups because a group of people pooled their money, hired lobbiest, and worked hard to get their agenda through.

    A few Special Interest Groups
    NRA
    Teacher's Union
    Pharmacutical Companies
    Trade Unions
    Your Local Church\Syna\Mosq\temp\etc....
    The United Union of Gnome Collectors
    International Union of Bloggers
    Red Cross\Crescent
    GLBA-ETC (can keep up anymore with them...)
    PETA
    Green Peace
    Shriners
    Masons
    NAACP
    Free Press Ascc.
    WC3
    EFF
    YOUR EMPLOYER

    Which one are you a member of? Want your voice silenced or ignored? Every time you hear them say that special interest groups have to go, don't forget some of the ones above...

    If all the people complaining about special interest groups made thier OWN special interest group you'd dwarf the resources of all the others at $5 dollars a month. Informal servey at my local mall reveals the only people that complain about special interest groups involved in government, well, don't belong to one.

    We get the government we deserve and right now we deserve little if anything.

    Obama talks about change, but he's from the same democrates that have been running around for over a 100 years. What change was there? Mc Cain is a republican? Why keep flip-flopping between two parties that have shown in the last 100 years their primary goal is to grab more power for... well their own party.

    Seriously, we have no one to blame for this except ourselves. If we want change we need to stop listening to money, advertisements, and nicely laid out speeches and catch phrases and start listening to reason. The time for 15 minutes attention spans needs to come to a halt!

    '08 Looks like this:
    Hillary: "Why the hell would I vote for a women that didn't have the balls to throw out her cheating husband after at least 12 years of infidelity. If you can tolerate a traitor in your marriage where else would you?"

    Barack: "I've done little in congress, have no military campaign experience, and I am basically a closet socialist that lacks the balls to run as a socialist (not saying their bad). I'll bring change by following party lines and making sure that I keep my democrat backers happy..."

    Mc Cain: .... .... .... I think we have a pulse.... "The tubes need to be regulated..." .... can we get a canidate that isn't a fossil? Please...

    We have no sense of personal responsibility left as a nation and can't perform the most basic forms of critical thinking. We beg for Big Brother in our actions and expectations but condemn Big Brother in our words.

    We compain about the cops when they are there and bitch about them never being around when they're not.

    We have come to expect simple answers, simple solutions, in a world that has never been, nor ever will, be simple.

    We have become a planet (not just to pick on the US) of hypocrite.

    The environmental types complain about global warming and want ethanol but then bitch about people starving due to high food costs

    The capitalist demand free market but work hard and making sure patents and copyright are enforced by the government rather then market forces.

  • by Merlinus (8023) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @02:13PM (#24104331) Homepage

    There is a group on facebook to lobby Senator Obama and follow-up groups to lobby every Senator individually:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=17961184023 [facebook.com]

    Groups for Minnesota Senators Klobuchar and Coleman:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=17065979228 [facebook.com]

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=18283117073 [facebook.com]

  • I'm surprised, these attempts by the Executive to ease their lives gets so much attention, when far grosser violations of the Executive/Judiciary powers have been accepted/condoned for decades.

    The most glaring example is "licensing" in general, and licensing the drivers — taxpayers wishing to use the tax-payed public roads — in particular. The Executive government gives the licenses and is free to take them away — without any Judicial oversight and without having to convict the accused o

  • by joocemann (1273720) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @07:24PM (#24108763)

    Lets not vote for any congressman/senator that is in support. And lets stop using the telecoms in question. If its all of them, then so beit.

    I know my congressman was actually against it, so I've got less work to do that most of ya'll. Get to it.

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