Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government United States

Will ACTA Be Found Unconstitutional? 260

Posted by timothy
from the but-it's-a-leaving-document dept.
DustyShadow writes "Harvard's Jack Goldsmith and Lawrence Lessig have an interesting op-ed in Friday's Washington Post, arguing that it would be constitutionally dubious for President Obama to adopt the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) as an executive agreement. '[T]he Obama administration has suggested it will adopt the pact as a "sole executive agreement" that requires only the president's approval. ... Joining ACTA by sole executive agreement would far exceed these precedents. The president has no independent constitutional authority over intellectual property or communications policy, and there is no long historical practice of making sole executive agreements in this area. To the contrary, the Constitution gives primary authority over these matters to Congress, which is charged with making laws that regulate foreign commerce and intellectual property.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Will ACTA Be Found Unconstitutional?

Comments Filter:
  • I hope so. (Score:2, Insightful)

    This isn't just piracy anymore.
    It's Big Brother. And it's all linked together, you're always locked to BB.
    Screw it.
    • Re:I hope so. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @10:50AM (#31639456) Journal

      Yes.

      But if I say something like "This is why I don't like Obama. He's just a continuation of Bush's anti-liberty/anti-individual rights policies," I'll get modded down.

      Watch.

      • Re:I hope so. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by multisync (218450) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @11:49AM (#31639894) Journal

        But if I say something like "This is why I don't like Obama. He's just a continuation of Bush's anti-liberty/anti-individual rights policies," I'll get modded down.

        Watch.

        Right. Cause no one with a right-wing bias ever got mod points. You contribute a lot to the discussions here, and should know better.

        What I'd like to know from the "right" is where is the outcry over this? You and I may not agree on the value to the individual of universal health care, but why isn't the well-organized right wing anti-health-care-reform sect holding ACTA up as an example of Obama sacrificing personal liberty to appease a few corporations?

        If Sarah Palin is really interested in preserving the personal liberties of the citizens of your country, and not just in getting herself on the ticket (or getting speaking engagements and selling books), she should show some leadership on *this* issue.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357)

          "What I'd like to know from the "right" is where is the outcry over this? "

          A: Few people know about ACTA, unless they are nerds, geeks, moderately serious pirates, or representatives of the industries with a stake in ACTA

          B: Few people who HAVE heard of ACTA care one whit. They don't understand the potential, and don't care to explore the possibilities. Doing so would move them uncomfortably close to the line of becoming a nerd, geek, or pirate.

          C: Few people who have a clue have the balls to speak up. It'

  • by cbope (130292) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:30AM (#31638646)

    I believe the only hope in passing ACTA was to keep it secret. The cat's out of the bag with the leaked and commented document. Yes, I've read it and yes it's very scary. Much of it goes way beyond countering counterfeiting and piracy.

    Now that the public has access to the leaked document, hopefully a lot of people will read it, make their own conclusions, and let their representatives know how they feel about it. That's the way to defeat this. At least here in the EU, our MEP's have said wait a minute, let's take a deeper look into this.

    If ACTA passes as it is today, we are all going to be screwed. Keep up the pressure on your elected representatives.

    • by flyneye (84093) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @09:31AM (#31638990) Homepage

      I wrote my senators and congressman. It took 5 minutes of my time using copy/paste after I wrote the first one.
      Finding their contact pages was easily googled , just put in the term" [your state here without brackets] senators" and another "[your state here without brackets] congressional district map" should get you there. Bookmark for future reference. Without any input from people, these clowns will pretty much do whatevers convenient for them at the time. Speak up and be heard, they are your voice and this is your interface for representation.
      If you do nothing or maintain and spread the false attitude that your opinion won't be heard, you have no right to complain about your government.
      Your message may not be personally read, but the information is used like poll info to let them know what their constituents are thinking.
      Get on with it, pull up a tab and DO IT NOW!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I wrote all 535 (well almost - a few I couldn't locate). And before you say I shouldn't do that, I'm merely following the example of folks like Tim Geitner, Congressman Murtha, Charlie Rangel, Vern Buchanan and so on.

        Apparently the American House/Senate now operates on the same principles as the Old Roman Senate. (For those that don't get the reference, replace Roman Senate with Star Wars' Senate.)

      • by WNight (23683)

        They KNOW what we're thinking. That's why they rush to pass ACTA.

        All a "representative democracy" does is make a dictatorship look like you have some say. It combines the worst aspects of mob rule and tyranny.

        How about this: "Dear Rep, I do not agree you have the power to sign treaties for me - in your dealing, please make clear that you do NOT speak for everyone."

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Since ACTA is classified, a note like that would probably be forwarded to the FBI to find out how the fuck one of their constituents got ahold of it in the first place.

        I think there needs to be another Doe v. Ashcroft type case where someone sues over it anonymously.

    • by Valdrax (32670) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @01:01PM (#31640650)

      If ACTA passes as it is today, we are all going to be screwed. Keep up the pressure on your elected representatives.

      Oh, and which party do you think is going to object to a stilted treaty that puts the desires of one of America's few export industries over the needs of petty citizens? Democrats and Republicans are overwhelmingly in favor of stronger copyright. No previous extension of the reach of copyright has faced major opposition.

      Here's what will happen. You'll get the bill before Congress. Someone will motion for a voice vote. With their hands washed clean, the bill will pass without any record to let us hold the people who voted for it responsible. No muss, no fuss, and the only people who lose out are us little people.

      That's how the Sonny Bono Act was passed. That's how the DMCA was passed. That's how this monstrosity will pass if it ever gets before Congress.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:32AM (#31638654) Homepage

    Ok, let's read Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution:

    He [the president] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;

    So, how is a trade agreement not a treaty?

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:37AM (#31638670)
      It is not being called a "treaty" because then the senate would have to vote on it, giving the American public a small window of opportunity to review it and decide whether or not we want it. Copyright lobbyists know that would be bad news for them, since they have not yet convinced the American public that their business interests are more important than our rights and freedoms (but they are working on that -- brainwashing schoolchildren and all), so they convinced their friends in the White House to sidestep democracy. Really, these people have no interest in freedom or democracy, unless it applies to them and their business; when it is inconvenient, they are quick to abandon it.

      What is scary is that we have a president who stands with them on it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

        It is not being called a "treaty" because then the senate would have to vote on it, giving the American public a small window of opportunity to review it and decide whether or not we want it.

        If you're right, I'm really concerned and sadenned. Bush et al weren't proscuted for committing torture, perhaps simply because they refused to accept that choice of terminology. If the other two branches of government let the same, humiliatingly vapid technique keep them slapping down Obama regarind a treaty that he

        • by WNight (23683)

          The US and the shit they spread - ACTA/DMCA, Iraqi/Afghan war, torture mentality, killer cops, etc is covering the whole world, where do you hope to go?

          Would it be too much to ask for you to stay there and fix the problem? Excessive lobbyists could catch a little "civilian lobbying", politicians who don't do what they say (or break the law) could be hung...

          Not only would it help the world, but you'd be able to stay home and it wouldn't suck. Clean up your yard.

          • Not only would it help the world, but you'd be able to stay home and it wouldn't suck.

            I'm one person out of ~309 million. For all practical purposes, I have no capacity to fight this zeitgeist.

            Clean up your yard.

            It sounds like you're blaming this on entirely the U.S. While I do hate the U.S.'s role in exporting antisocial policies, I'd like to point out that other countries are free to not adopt them.

            Also consider that having a highly productive members of society "vote with their feat" can be influential

            • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

              I'm one person out of ~309 million. For all practical purposes, I have no capacity to fight this zeitgeist.

              So was Gandhi. Imagine if all of the great leaders in this world had simply said that?

              • So was Gandhi. Imagine if all of the great leaders in this world had simply said that?

                For every Ghandi, there are probably tens of thousands of would-be Ghandis that effect little or not significant change.

                Also, one reason leaders like Ghandi are effective is because there's a sizable number of other people who have the same sensibilities, and are just waiting for a leader to organize them. Part of my despair about the U.S. is that the majority of persons here seems to place little value on the rule of law

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by krou (1027572)
        Isn't it likely to get passed anyway since the US is really a plutocracy [wikipedia.org]? I'm not sure the American public have as much say on it as you think; the public mouthpieces (i.e. the media) would make sure they argue the case for it to sway public opinion. Maybe there'll be one or two minor concessions, but I doubt it. And what do you mean "it is scary is that we have a president who stands with them on it"? Did you really expect Obama be different to any other US president that have all continually been pro-co
        • by khallow (566160)

          Isn't it likely to get passed anyway since the US is really a plutocracy?

          No. Wealth is not the only power in the US.

          Did you really expect Obama be different to any other US president that have all continually been pro-corporate?

          Who says ACTA is pro-corporate? Sure ACTA is supported by the usual *AA suspects. They tend to be corporations. But it is opposed by corporations as well (Google, for example). Like most such legislation, there are both winners and losers on the business side. There's no universal "pro-corporate" face here.

        • by khallow (566160)
          Keep in mind that they would need 2/3 support in the Senate for this treaty. Given that the Democrats don't have that amount, that means some Republican support from a group that has in the recent past been very keen on obstructing Obama initiatives. Sure, that vote could happen as you expect, but it'll result in more work and a few bruises that Obama can avoid merely by bypass the Senate and the Constitution.
          • They needed 2/3rds for health care too.. See how much that stopped them?
            • by sl3xd (111641) *

              You need 60 votes, not 2/3, to break a filibuster and close debate. That's not quite the same thing as needing that many votes to pass a bill. It's worth noting that a filibuster is much easier to do than in years past where the senators had to be present to defeat a vote to close debate. Now a senator has to do is say they are filibustering and go home - they don't even have to be present or speaking to filibuster anymore. Whatever happened to a reading of the works of Shakespeare on C-Span? Oh well..

    • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:41AM (#31638684)

      How is a "police action" (a la Vietnam) not a war? Hairsplitting and semantic quibblings go far in the world of politics. After all, nobody is more powerful than the politicians and courts themselves to challenge them, and so long as they give themselves the appearance of expertise and authority political consensus can do whatever the hell it wants.

      • by Vancorps (746090)
        I believe the new definition is one where a draft can be constituted versus one where a standing army alone is deployed. This of course is not the definition I agree with but it seems to be the one that they role with seeing as how congress has not declared war officially. Naturally expecting congress to do their job would be too much to expect. They could have stopped the ridiculous spending of the Bush era thus preventing Obama from using the new powers that Bush assumed. This would have extended to Iraq
        • No, if the troops are used for more than 90 days, war must be declared by congress. They don't have to use the specific words, "we, the xxxth congress of the US, declare a war on blahbahstan." A "force authorization" is also a declaration of war, in the same way that "warranted search" does not mean that there needs to be a specific document with the title of "warrant." There are circumstances which warrant search.

          It might be nice if we did require them to use those specific words, though.

          • by Vancorps (746090)

            I specifically said that the definition in use is not the correct definition. You are correct on what the actual definition is but congress has not declared war on Iraq and we've been there for many years now. There have been many engagements lasting longer than 90 days that we have participated in without a declaration from congress.

            Hence my statement about Congress stopping Bush from spending trillions on Iraq. Many thousands of died as a result and there is no declaration from Congress.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Thiez (1281866)

      > He [the president] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;

      The key is not to have any Senators present, or just 1 who supports ACTA ;)

    • IIRC, NAFTA also isn't a treaty.

      > How is a trade agreement not a treaty?

      Treaties are more complicated than one line in the Constitution. Not only is there international law regarding what constitutes a treaty and how a treaty's to be interpreted (See the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, for example), but most countries, including the United States, have their own jurisprudence on what constitutes a treaty and what legal effect it has.

      Regarding sole executive agreements, the President can make t

  • More proof (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:34AM (#31638656) Homepage
    This just goes to show that ACTA is really all about policy laundering.
    • by shentino (1139071)

      Whoever came up with the idea to classify it should be commended for devilishly twisted smarts.

      Nice end run around the first amendment's "petition the government for a redress of grievances" there, making the subject of the complaint a federal offense to even discuss.

  • The Constitution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:37AM (#31638664)

    Appeals to the Constitution are not necessary. Modern political thought is wishy-washy on the Constitution--it's something to trot out as a convenience if it agrees with you, but also safely ignored if the Constitution runs contrary to your agenda. And, hell, whose to say you can't just reinterpret it through a postmodern perspective (as a "living document")?

    The sheer amount of 5-4 decisions on the court should indicate that the court makes political decisions, and not merely informed, unbiased interpretations of law. The fears, wants, desires, and agendas of the judges affect constitution rules moreso than whatever the constitution itself says.

    • by tm2b (42473) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @09:11AM (#31638850) Journal

      The sheer amount of 5-4 decisions on the court should indicate that the court makes political decisions, and not merely informed, unbiased interpretations of law.

      Not really. It just suggests that cases where the law is clear (and thus would have larger majorities) don't tend to make it to the Supreme Court.

    • The sheer amount of 5-4 decisions on the court should indicate that the court makes political decisions, and not merely informed, unbiased interpretations of law.

      There's other evidence for that conclusion as well. On NPR a few weeks ago, there was an interview with some guy who studies the SCOTUS. He claimed that there have been numerous times that a Chief Justice bribed other Justices, who were on the fence, to rule the way he wanted them to, by offering to them the privilege of authoring the majority op

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        That doesn't seem to make much sense, though. "Here buddy, if you flip-flop your political position I'll give you the ability to publicly endorse mine!"
      • If you listened more carefully to the broadcast, you'd have noticed that they explicitly said that it is a very, very subtle and very, very faint way of trying to convince somebody. I.e., you're not going to convince somebody who has some legal objections to a law. But you might get to sway somebody who is really on the fence over it... in which case it is similar to "If you vote with us, you'll get to go home tonight instead of continue to sit in this jury box."

        • If you listened more carefully to the broadcast, you'd have noticed that they explicitly said that it is a very, very subtle and very, very faint way of trying to convince somebody. I.e., you're not going to convince somebody who has some legal objections to a law. But you might get to sway somebody who is really on the fence over it... in which case it is similar to "If you vote with us, you'll get to go home tonight instead of continue to sit in this jury box."

          I think you're only arguing about a quantitat

    • by bhagwad (1426855)
      Make that "living and breathing" document!
    • by feepness (543479)
      After all, it's just a godamn piece of paper.
    • The sheer amount of 5-4 decisions on the court should indicate that the court makes political decisions, and not merely informed, unbiased interpretations of law.

      And with five dedicated to ruling for the benefit of the largest corporations, ACTA is a shew-in.

  • by mrmeval (662166) <mrmeval@nOspam.gmail.com> on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:38AM (#31638678) Journal

    Do we need a new revolution?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151)

      "Do we need a new revolution?"

      Things aren't difficult enough to drive revolt.

      People don't revolt when there is no freedom (the odd exception of the American Revolution aside), they revolt when there is no feud.

      • they revolt when there is no feud.

        Two things:

        1) There will always be a feud somewhere, so that condition would never apply.

        2) I expect you meant "food", not "feud".

  • Change is Coming? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ada_Rules (260218) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:50AM (#31638726) Homepage Journal
    Not a surprise at all. Conservatives were more than willing to cheer as their rights "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" were destroyed by the Patriot act as long as the party in power had the right letter in parenthesis as they talked about it.

    Liberals are dancing in joy about a law that confiscates wealth from all citizens to give to the insurance companies as long as we call them evil as will fill their pockets. I suspect no complaints from them about this attack on the Constitution because it is 'their guy' doing the attacking.

    The answer is certainly not moderates who a are pretty much happy to give up any right as long as you do it slowly.

    Enjoy the scenery on the road to serfdom because when we get there, I think we will find that the collectivist paradise promised by the political elite will leave us wishing were we are the promised land of the "South of the Border" tourist trap. Hopefully we will at least get a nice bumper sticker out of the deal.

  • So what we're saying here is that this is above his paygrade... right?
  • by prefec2 (875483) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:59AM (#31638782)

    We really do not know what is really discussed in the ACTA context. But the few things which leaked are not compatible with the German and the French constitution. It is against rules in the European human rights agreement and the Lisbon-Treaty (which made the EU a little bit more democratic). The European Parliament has expressed their concern that ACTA is not discussed in the public, which is not very democratic, but big companies especially US-companies can have treaty documents. So a elected parliament is kept in the dark while the money jerks are directly involved. In short the parliament is pissed. And they will dismiss it, just they did with the SWIFT-spying treaty between the EU and the USA. When do executive politicians learn that we life in a democracy?

  • by russotto (537200) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @09:04AM (#31638808) Journal

    If one were to take a time machine back to October 2008 and show them an article dated 2010 labeled "President claims power to implement agreement by executive fiat" or some such thing, you'd think that obviously McCain won, right?

    Just more evidence that Obama = Bush.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If one were to take a time machine back to October 2008 and show them an article dated 2010 labeled "President claims power to implement agreement by executive fiat" or some such thing, you'd think that obviously McCain won, right?

      Just more evidence that Obama = Bush.

      With all due respect, and with as much restraint from trolling you as possible... I have a simple question for you:

      Do you honestly believe that any of the presidential candidates (not counting the libertarian ones) would act in a significantly different manner on this issue? In other words, do you believe that members of the Republican or Democrat parties won't bow before the pressure of large, copyright-vested companies?

      Waiting for your honest reply.

    • by will_die (586523) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @10:56AM (#31639494) Homepage
      Can we just stop all of this!
      There is no reason to keep insulting Bush by everyone doing this comparison.
    • by PPH (736903)
      Mp>That's not really fair. The kind of stuff that Obama promised to deliver, which was within his power to do so, he's doing. Like healthcare legislation.

      Back during the last campaign season, there was a petition going around asking Obama _NOT_ to grant telecoms immunity for their handling of warrantless data requests. He gave it to them in spite of the desires of his constituency. And now, he's likely going to sign ACTA into law, executive decree, or whatever.

      Both of the above are examples of lawmakin

  • Can NAFTA be next? And all the other IMF treaties? It's a little late in the game to start worrying about the rule of law now, isn't it?

  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @09:43AM (#31639050)
    Didn't we just pass legislation that for the first time forces private citizens to buy a product from a select set of other private citizens. The constitution is no longer relevant to the party in control of our government. [wikipedia.org] They have deemed it something that can be reinterpreted to mean whatever they need it to mean at the time. All they need to do is redefine what words mean and suddenly the constitution means all sorts of things!

    Here's a few examples:

    1895: Wage is now the same as income! Democrats begin their long march towards socialism! [wikipedia.org] With the help of the Socialist Labor Party of the 1890's, they pass an amendment so they can now collect income tax from everyone! The sucking noise begins.

    1935: Now retirement and health care are a RIGHT [wikipedia.org] and the government is required to provide for the "happiness" of the people by collecting money from one group of people and giving it to another. Democrats, unhappy with the difficulty of getting constitutional amendments, so they decide to craft laws that skirt the letter of the constitution, arguing that social security/medicare is an retirement benefit to the people, while arguing to the SCOTUS that it is a tax. When the SCOTUS rules the initial law unconstitutional, democrat FDR runs personal smear campaigns against SCOTUS justices and has them replaced with justices that are willing to interpret the constitution the way he needs it. And thus begins the largest ponzi scheme in world history! [wikipedia.org].

    begin rant:
    The government then took from the ponzi err. social security fund as frequently as pleased to and for whatever reason it deemed important enough to do so. Which was of course any reason. Now, were this a REAL business, at this point the CFO would be thrown in jail, but this is the U.S. government! They buy the jails! Social security has been bankrupt for decades, the debt is around 17 trillion. But this week, for the first time, even on paper, the government is giving out more money in social security than it is taking in. [nytimes.com].

    I ask you, if the government can force you to buy something from someone, is there anything there anything the government can't force you to buy? And if the government can arbitrarily come in and tell me what I must buy, what I can buy, and what I can't buy, can we truly say we live in a free society?

    And for you fools in control. What makes you think the next generation is going to pay any attention to the laws you so haphazardly pass when you completely ignore the laws of the previous generations? That's anarchy! :end rant

    I would be remiss to point out that Thomas Jefferson was like a fricking Nostradamus in predicting what would happen in this country. And how can I possibly follow the words of Jefferson with my pathetic waxing? So adieu!

    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of the
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098)

      I sure hope you were bitching this much when the Patriot Act was instituted, Guantanamo was opened and the President was handing out Executive Orders like they were candy.

      Any document is a living document, because the use of language changes. It is absolutely impossible to interpret any document in the same exact that a completely different group of people interpreted it 200 years ago. Heck, we can't even agree on what documents exactly say that were written 2 weeks ago.

      • Who can say it better than the father of the U.S. Constitution?

        "...I entirely concur with the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution. And if that be not the guide in expounding it, there can be no security for a consistent and stable, more than for a faithful exercise of its power. If the meaning of the text be sought in the changeable meaning of the words composing it, it is evident t
    • Chill out and have some orange juice. This is advice from someone who chose not to spend mod points on you :p
    • by schmidt349 (690948) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @11:06AM (#31639562)

      To start, I checked into your Teddy J quotes and discovered the following:

      #1 is a lie. Jefferson never said that and I challenge you to show me the original publication where he did.

      #2 is found in his First Inaugural Address. It was probably a slap at John Adams' Alien and Sedition Act, a law that looked a lot more like the Patriot Act than the health care bill.

      #3 is from another private letter. It's regularly trotted out during any controversial social legislation. Read Hirschfield (The Power of the presidency: concepts and controversy, 1982, p.311) on how this is a red herring.

      #4 is from a political tract from 1779. You will note that it could just as easily be applied to the Patriot Act, the military-industrial complex, or just about any other Republican-built object of left-wing derision as it can be to social legislation.

      #5 is a paraphrase of a section in a letter from 1802. The true quote reads "If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." Here is the following quote: "Their finances are now under such a course of application as nothing could derange but war or federalism. The gripe of the latter has shown itself as deadly as the jaws of the former." In other words, he would have winced had he seen the bill for Iraq War II, or read the justifications of the neocons.

      #6 was in a letter shortly before his death about how the federal government was "consolidating power" by, get this, using the power granted to it by the Constitution (namely the commerce clause). The states are not individual republics. We tried that under the Articles of Confederation and it went over like a a lead balloon. Like it or lump it, they are subordinate in power in the regards enumerated in the Constitution to the power of the federal government. If the Fed chooses to wield that power in a heavy-handed way, it's probably stupid and possibly unethical but not unconstitutional.

      The present deficit is a function of the fact that the Republicans by and large write the tax laws whereas the Democrats by and large write the social legislation. The Republicans refuse to raise taxes to pay for the social legislation, and the Democrats refuse to cut spending in the social legislation to match the current tax income. It's being caused by the present political climate of obstructionism, not by your insane theories about the gradual communization of the US. If FDR had wanted to make the US into a socialist state he would have done nothing, waited for the economic climate to bottom out, then blame all the Wall Street fat cats, order their imprisonment, seize their assets, and nationalize them. Poof. Now we're a socialist state, and it didn't take all that sneaking around!

      Do you know why Roosevelt created the social safety net? It was partly to stabilize society so we didn't have happen here what happened in Germany and the Soviet Union, where agitators appealed to the people's suffering to gain their complicity in revolutionary policy. It was partly to expand the number of consumers to encourage a restart in the production economy. But mostly it was because it was the right thing to do, because a lot of average Americans were starving to death, working like slaves, and your beloved "free market" wasn't doing a goddamned thing to help them. FDR's problem was actually that he didn't spend enough -- it took the massive deficit spending associated with the war to finally terminate the crisis.

      The present health care situation is a national crisis on the order of the food and work crisis provoked by the Great Depression. Thousands of people die every year because they can't afford basic medicines like penicillin and Nitrostat, or they can't afford to see a doctor to prescribe these medicines. Health care decisions are being made by bureaucrats whose only concern is protecting the value of the shareholders, and this excuse rubber-stamps their denial of benefits to thousands more Americans who then go bank

    • by shentino (1139071)

      I agree with you 100 percent.

      I also realize that I can't do a fucking thing about it with special interests running the show.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Omestes (471991)

      Democrats begin their long march towards socialism! [wikipedia.org]

      You really don't know the definition of socialism, or how that term doesn't apply to Obama in the slightest, right? The healthcare bill was about as far from socialism as one can get. Its fascist, or purely corporatist, not socialist. If it was single payer and universal it would have been socialist, if it had the so-called "public option" it would have had socialist aspects. We got neither, therefore we did not get socialism. Obama is

  • Mr. President, do you *want* to drive geeks to joining the teabagger Republicans?

    There's enough crap on the internet about your imaginary violations of the Constitution that you should probably avoid actually violating it.

    Sign ACTA and I'll de-friend you on Facebook. No, really.

  • Short answer ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @11:19AM (#31639650)

    Will ACTA Be Found Unconstitutional?

    Yes.

    Will Obama sign it anyway?

    Yes.

  • that USA is the nation with the least to worry about from ACTA. Mostly because its various "piracy" additions come from USA in the first place, and is mostly about exporting DMCA to other nations.

  • by Upaut (670171) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @02:18PM (#31641332) Homepage Journal
    A few people seem to have forgotten how Democracy works in this country, as is lined out by our constitution:

    First we have the Soap Box (The right to peaceably assemble, freedom of speech, etc.)

    Then we have the Mail Box (The protection of out letters, as well as the ability to write to our representatives in the government and tell them our views.)

    Then we have the Ballot Box (The electoral college, voting in senators and representatives that agree with your ideals, etc, in case the previous representatives did not work to your needs.)

    Then we have the Jury Box, (Where we can vote that a law or enforcement of a law is unjust. You do not have to vote guilty if a law is broken, you can vote towards nullification... True the courts are trying to ignore this right whenever possible, but we still have it. If you have jury duty, and think cannabis should be legal, and you are sitting in a trial for a non-violent offense of a guy growing pot for his friends and not receiving cash -as example, easier to convince the rest of them with this one- then remind the rest of the jurors that here and now you can work to end the prosecution of cannabis, and work to end the laws.... If you vote together, then he goes free despite being guilty of that law. There will be appeals, and the law will be reinforced by a jury of judges, but if that happens "every" time, the law will eventually be removed.)

    And then we have our right of last resort: The Ammo Box.... (The second amendment is not your right to go deer hunting with a rocket launcher, it is your right to not only bear arms, but to be trained in militias to use them. Until recently, many people would keep weapons from the war in their garage, thinking nothing else of them.... Someone on the block maintained his cannon from the war in his garage, just in case he was called again. But the second amendment as viewed by the author of it, George Mason, was to protect us from the threat of an overreaching government that no longer listens, or works for, the People. -"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." Now, if you really want to be patriotic, gather every able bodied friend you have, and organize a militia. Train together, express your desire to protect your town if those damn Canadians invade, or the British come back.... Or anything really. And, worst case, should America turn against Americans, you now have the last line of defense to bring the power back to the people. But at that point, its not about letters anymore. Its about being willing to die for your fellow American. Because there are good chances you will. You will die for your beliefs, and kill other Americans, the soldiers and such, before you fall. You better have noble reasons in your heart, and know that true, because your group will either be a rallying point for all others, or you will be wiped out, vilified by all, and forgotten.

    Then we have the Dirt Box (Re-hash of the Freedom of speech and press. The government does not have the right to hush out and kill an idea, and it gets harder all the time. Did we use these boxes in full in our lives? Will our actions and causes be remembered? Did we print and write and spread our thoughts like seeds into the wind, or was the most we did in life amount to a few +5 posts on Slashdot? Or did we manage to stop the corporatocracy, and bring back the Democratic Republic that we hold dear? Did we put a few extra term limits on each level of government, so that we will not just become a plutocracy in most things again? Where rick lawyers can no longer "retire" into a lifetime of politics- preserving the institutions that make lawyers rich in the first place? If you want to have a better system of health care, stop electing politicians that are former malpractice lawyers.... Lawyers will always make sure lawyers are needed in the future. If you don't like ambulance chasers, don't think he will do better running you local governmental institution.....

    And thats our government in a nutshell. If you don't like something, write down what you want to happen, start collecting signatures; even if it means missing the new episode of House you want to watch.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @03:31PM (#31641886) Homepage Journal

    "Harvard's Jack Goldsmith and Lawrence Lessig have an interesting op-ed in Friday's Washington Post, arguing that it would be constitutionally dubious for President Obama to adopt the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) as an executive agreement.

    It is unconstitutional to vote on changes to a bill and deem that vote as the bill in entirety having passed, and then sign that into law, and yet it happened this week. Where house leaders and the President have stated many times they don't care about rules and process, but about getting things done, don't expect ACTA to have to require 2/3 senatorial approval. Under the current admnistration, executive order will be deemed sufficient, Constitution be damned.

    Besides, how much has the Constitution mattered under any of the current and previous three administrations anyhow?

    We have the power to change things: stop reelecting the same douchebags into congress, and stop electing presidents based on looks or skin color.

  • Civil War (Score:3, Interesting)

    by headkase (533448) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @05:23PM (#31642760)
    You Americans have the beginnings of civil war on your hands... I'm not kidding: the raping and pillaging of your nation is beginning to bite even ordinary people in the ass. When that happens all it will take is for some kook to fire a potshot at Ferdinand [wikipedia.org] and watch it snowball from there. This'll be interesting, first time of a civil war with a nation that has nuclear weapons. Perhaps your military should just sequester them?

Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

Working...