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Bill Could Restrict Freedom of the Press 747

Posted by Zonk
from the who-needs-news? dept.
WerewolfOfVulcan writes "The Washington Post is carrying an article about a disturbing Senate bill that could make it illegal to publicly disclose even the existence of US domestic spying programs (i.e. NSA wiretaps)." An aide to the bill's author assures us it's not aimed at reporters, but the language is ambiguous at best. From the article: "Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the measure is broader than any existing laws. She said, for example, the language does not specify that the information has to be harmful to national security or classified. 'The bill would make it a crime to tell the American people that the president is breaking the law, and the bill could make it a crime for the newspapers to publish that fact,' said Martin, a civil liberties advocate."
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Bill Could Restrict Freedom of the Press

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  • fuck (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:37AM (#14905649) Homepage
    I hope you people are willing to exercise your 2nd amendment rights in order to protect the 1st. But for some reason, I doubt it.
  • Typical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:37AM (#14905650)
    So what is all this "Land of the free" I keep hearing about?
  • by dynamo52 (890601) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:37AM (#14905654)
    I for one am planning to write a letter of protest and sending it to every member of he Senate.
  • by RunFatBoy.net (960072) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:38AM (#14905658)
    While not perfect, the media is a crucial factor in the check and balances system. Once the media is supressed, branches of the government have free reign. -- Jim http://www.runfatboy.net/ [runfatboy.net]
  • Yeah whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:39AM (#14905662)
    An aide to the bill's author assures us it's not aimed at reporters

    And the patriot act wasn't aimed at drug enforcement, but that certainly didn't stop it for being used for exactly that purpose.
  • Coup (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tengoo (446300) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:50AM (#14905687)
    Six or seven years ago, if I were able to read today's headlines, maybe I'd think that a Coup d'etat had occurred in the states.
  • Re:Coup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dynamo52 (890601) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:51AM (#14905694)
    Six or seven years ago, if I were able to read today's headlines, maybe I'd think that a Coup d'etat had occurred in the states.

    No, just a facist takeover through a manipulated electoralprocess

  • Re:fuck (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:54AM (#14905701)
    Yeah, like "we the people" stand a chance against the U.S. Army. Unless we can get China to sell us tanks, nukes, and tactics training, our best bet would be to co-opt the military.

    Actually, I can't think of a single (successful) revolution in the past couple hundred years that hasn't involved the military turning against its own government. Excluding France, natch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:55AM (#14905702)
    It seems that the U.S. government is doing many things now that would never have happened 10 years ago.

    Movie about 9/11: WTC building 7 fell in exactly the same way as WTC 1 and 2, and it was NOT hit by an airplane. ALL the collapses looked exactly like controlled demolitions. Loose Change [google.com].
  • by mejesster (813444) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:55AM (#14905705)
    I will confess my initial reaction was pure shock and horror, however the worst case scenarios pictured in both the article and slashdotters' heads don't seem likely. It's a clear violation of the first amendment right to free speech to abridge political speech, and NO supreme court, conservative or liberal, would interpret otherwise. I will say, I'm shocked at how Republicans in Congress are pandering to this administration's bizarre and invasive agenda.
  • Re:fuck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flyingsquid (813711) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:56AM (#14905707)
    I hope you people are willing to exercise your 2nd amendment rights in order to protect the 1st. But for some reason, I doubt it.

    The irony of the NRA is that they continually argue that guns are vitally important to protecting our rights, but they've never used guns to achieve their aims. Instead, they show just how effective writing letters, donating money, and voting on the issues can really be.

    If people out there really want to protect our rights, it's really simple, and it doesn't involve threatening to shoot people, shooting people, or getting shot. Just go to the polls this November, and vote against the Republicans, who have been letting Bush trample all over the bill of rights (I'll give you one guess which party the bill's sponsors belong to). If they lose a few seats in the House and Senate, that will keep them from doing quite as much damage, and tell them they need to clean up their act.

  • So they want to make it illegal to report a crime.....

    Talk about stupid. Hopefully the Supreme Court would see fit to nuke this bill from orbit (should the US suffer the misfortune of this insane bill not being stillborn).

  • Re:fuck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Green Salad (705185) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:58AM (#14905714) Homepage
    Citizen: There is no need to exercise your 2nd amendment rights!

    Just like with your 2nd amendment rights...you may now exercise your 1st amendment right to free speech after the requisite 3-day waiting period from the day you file your application to speak freely.

    Don't forget to bring a valid national identification card. Your application for free speech will not be processed without valid ID.

    We just want to make sure you have a reasonable cooling off period and won't say anything dangerous to society. We'd also like to make sure that you've had no prior convictions related to saying anything dangerous before granting you permission to speak freely.

    We have preserved your rights. Now move along before I arrest you.
  • by ucsckevin (176383) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:59AM (#14905715) Homepage
    Even if Media is excluded from the language of the bill, it will still have negative consequences. Primarily, I wonder how it could not stiffle or discourage whistle blowing, if said whistleblower feared running afowl of this new law. Leaks are often bad, but they are often important---otherwise the public would have no knowledge of bad policy. I would doubt, with all the trouble the patriot act had passing, that this would pass as well. Unfortunately, though, the past 20 years we've relied more and more on the courts to protect our freedoms. I wish it didn't come to that, because sometimes they mess up too (imminent domain anyone?
  • by scsirob (246572) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:00AM (#14905722)
    .. you will have to address the president as 'Mullah Bush'.

    This government is just as scary as those folkes they are trying to eliminate in the Middle East.
  • But anybody who tells them about the illegal spy program is going to end up in jail -- and the reporter will end up in jail on contempt of court charges for not ratting out his/her informant.
  • Re:Typical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Krach42 (227798) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:06AM (#14905748) Homepage Journal
    So what is all this "Land of the free" I keep hearing about?

    The first comment from my friend from Canada, who lives in the US said: "That's it, I'm moving back to Canada."
  • Re:Typical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:07AM (#14905750)
    Like in all fairy tales, it's something that was a long, long time ago.
  • by visualight (468005) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:10AM (#14905758) Homepage
    Most of them voted to renew the Patriot Act, and for a minute there I thought there was hope they'd make a big enough stink to get a few Republicans to disobey their leaders.

    If George wants this one, it'll pass too, probably with half of the Democrats voting for it.

    Doesn't the last 5 years seem almost surreal? WTF happened to our country?
  • by David Hume (200499) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:14AM (#14905770) Homepage
    Because leaker, like the bad guy who brought Nixon down, are always evil.
    The question is whether they are ever evil.
  • by SolitaryMan (538416) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:15AM (#14905772) Homepage Journal
    Or they could arrest people, hold them in jail for a while, charge them, and then before the courts can make a decision, drop charges and let them go with stern warnings. That way, the courts don't get a chance to shut them down since they have to have a real dispute, but the administration can use it to silence opponents.

    Note to self: never vote for this guy.
  • Re:fuck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:22AM (#14905793)
    What always shocks me about Americans is that they think that all their problems will be solved by voting for the other party next time. When are you people going to realize that both parties are playing for the same team?

    For those who don't believe me, I want you to try something for me. Wait until the Democrats get into power and for the post-election BS to wear off. I'll bet you a soda that they'll be pushing the same sorts of laws for the same sorts of reasons.
  • by jabbo (860) <jabbo@NOsPaM.yahoo.com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:24AM (#14905798)
    No. Wrong. It is *THAT FUCKING BAD*. Read the parts of the bill that are available or have been analyzed:

    The draft would add to the criminal penalties for anyone who "intentionally discloses information identifying or describing" the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program or any other eavesdropping program conducted under a 1978 surveillance law. Under the boosted penalties, those found guilty could face fines of up to $1 million, 15 years in jail or both.

    Any Senator or Congressman who signs this bill should hang for treason. I am not joking. Signing this bill would be high treason. Full Stop.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:28AM (#14905806) Homepage Journal
    Hey, why not? The NSA domestic spying already violates the 4th Amendment. And the Republican Congress is willing to violate the spirit of the 9th, "no ex post facto laws", to change the law just to try to make Bush's crimes, breaking the FISA and Constutiotion, "go away".
  • by ian_wolffe (625024) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:28AM (#14905807)
    Anyone familiar with the term should know what I'm talking about. I hereby propose we (the people) stop f'in around and propose a new amendment to the Constitution(tm) and: I. Criticism of the Government(R) is now a felony and will be tried as treason. II. Disagreement with the above statement shall be considered Terrorism(R). III. Disenting views shall be subject to provisions I. and II. above. IV. Buy more stuff. All in favor? I believe in one man, one vote. I'm the man, ergo I get the vote. All complaints subject to above four provisions
  • by BinBoy (164798) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:29AM (#14905812) Homepage
    An aide to the bill's author assures us it's not aimed at reporters

    And the Patriot Act is only used against terrorists.
  • Re:fuck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arrrrg (902404) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:30AM (#14905815)
    I'm sure I'm butchering this, but the response goes something like:

    the pen is mightier than the sword ... BUT, when the pen is taken away, the sword is our only hope of getting it back.

    I'm not a gun nut, but this makes some sense to me. OTOH, I don't know what chance a handful of civilians with handguns have against a military with long-range missiles, tear gas, sonic weapons, etc. I guess if you'd really rather be dead than have your freedom taken away, though, go for it.
  • by jabbo (860) <jabbo@NOsPaM.yahoo.com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:38AM (#14905838)
    Preferentially stifling debate is even worse than wholesale gag orders.

    I may not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Ring a bell? It bloody well should, unless you're a big fan of Franco, Mussolini, and Stalin.

    If any of our countrymen's freedoms are being taken away, whether we agree or disagree with them and their views, we are all poorer and less free for it. Silencing dissent weakens the commonwealth by encouraging ignorance and mindless assent. It is time to take a stand, and not budge one micron until the traitors who propose this have been excised from the fabric of the legislature.
  • by babbling (952366) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:43AM (#14905848)
    The president shouldn't have anything to worry about if he's innocent, so there's no need for this law.

    So either the "innocent people have nothing to fear" argument is flawed for the surveillance program, or the US president is far from innocent...
  • Re:fuck (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:44AM (#14905854)
    You still believe all that pap about "there's no difference between Bush and Gore"? I'll tell you what, YOU'RE the reason Democrats are further to the right than they've ever been before. YOU'RE the ones who forced them there. You and all the other shitbags who voted for Nader did nothing but give the Republicans the opportunity to spend 8 years redefining the political center. You fucked us all. Fuck you.
  • by Shihar (153932) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:49AM (#14905865)
    The reason why you let the citizens of a nation arm themselves isn't so that you can shoot politicians when they piss you off (no matter how appealing that might sound at times). The reason why you let citizens arm themselves is two fold.

    First, bad guys will arm themselves like it not. Making arms illegal hampers their ability to arm, but they will always find their ways. Honest citizens who do not break the law on the other hand, and so when firearms are made illegal it leaves the criminals armed and the honest citizens unarmed. This is hardly an ideal state of affairs.

    Second, allowing your citizenry to arm prevents the police from holding a monopoly on force. A citizen should not have to wait for the police to show up to save them if a criminal is breaking into their house or threatening to harm them. A citizen should have the means to defend themselves, and the truth is that a firearm is pretty much it when it comes to self defense. Only a gun is going to allow a 100 pound woman be able to fight off a 200 pound man. Certainly not all citizens will choose to arm themselves, and this is of course fine, but if someone feels that their life is in danger and they do not trust the police protect them, they should have the option of defending themselves. Banning firearms is in affect telling your citizens that they can not defend themselves against criminals in any other manner then waiting for the police to show up.

    As far as revolution and the like, an armed citizenry is a populace that can inspire a little fear in politicians. In this day and age that means almost nothing because, as much as we like to bitch, our government is pretty evenhanded and fair. Most people have the things that they need to survive (and then some) and the thought of 'revolution' in the violent sense of the word is about as far from anyone's mind as you can imagine. We still have plenty of political options sitting around that we have yet to use to change things if we really want to. When the constitution was being framed this really was not true. The threat of an outside force conquering the country or even an internal force mucking things up was real. It certainly could be a real threat again in the not-so-foreseeable future.

    I consider the need for revolution remote and really don't weight it much in the gun issue. The simple right to self defense is a far more important issue to me then the need for the tools of an unlikely revolution. But, as the grand parent poster pointed out in his own lovable red neck NRA fan way, it isn't a bad thing to keep a few guns around... just in case.
  • Re:Yeah whatever (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:52AM (#14905877)
    Actually, the patriot act is doing exactly what it was intended to do. It allows the gov. to give any information to the DOJ that it gleaned while in the persuit of a terrorists. Just because it is wrapped up in a nice name and has been spoken of being about terrorism, does not change that GWB was already using NSA resources illegally BEFORE the patriot act was approved. IOW, the patriot act does not enhance terrorism. It DOES give this admin access to anything on the wire that it wants.
     
      And yes, this bill would be targetted at the press or giving any info to them.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:57AM (#14905893)
    The whole thread is worrying because it presumes that the press is currently free and is under some new threat. Horseshit.

    It is convenient for people to have you think that the press is free, because it is convenient for you to be suitably mislead.

    The press is being lead around by the nose. Remember folks that these days the press (and other reporting media) are not primary there to bring you the truth. They are there to provide infotainment to piull in the advertising revenue etc. Need nice snappy "news" to compete against all those other things trying to get a slice of your time. So what happens? Reporters that don't play the game soon get blacklisted. Nothing openly stated. Just a few extra minutes delay in returning your call (so your story gets scooped) or instead of being embedded with frontline troops giving scenic footage of night rocket attacks you get embedded in the crew washing trucks down at the transport park (makes for real high viewer rating footage!).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:59AM (#14905896)
    Interesting. So there should be no criminal penalties for leaking any top secret information?

    There are already laws on the books regarding disclosure of classified information. Opposing this new law cannot plasuaibly be interpreted as a call to repeal them.

    Until someone's convinced me that further activities need to be criminalised, I will be opposed to that additional criminalisation. Seems like common sense to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:01AM (#14905902)
    I believe they are engineered to fall that way so they cause as little damage as possible to the surrounding buildings.

    You think the people that built those towers didn't plan ahead for potential plane crash at all? Sure, the building materials could have been improved to protect against the burning fuel but that would have driven costs through the roof for buildings of that size, and not to mention I doubt many materials would remain strong while being heated to such high temperatures like that.

    I'm not a construction worker or anything, but this is how I see it.
  • by PinkyGigglebrain (730753) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:05AM (#14905912)
    Under President Reagan, Yeah this is a bad joke.

    Under President George Sr., Yeah This is a bad joke

    Under President Clinton, Yeah this is a bad joke

    Under Emporeror Bush, this fucking scares me.



    A fitting quote from Sid Myer's Alpha Centaury

    "As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last loose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master." -- Commissioner Pravin Lal, "Librarian's Preface"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:07AM (#14905923)
    The single minded focus with which our liberites are being stripped precludes the possibility of this being confluence of multiple inept executive and legislative decisions. Wake up. Wouldn't you rather be a bit paranoid before it's too late than sorry after?
  • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:11AM (#14905936)
    Orwell, eat your heart out!

    Orwell is spinning in his grave. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. We are always at war. We live in constant fear of terror attacks.

    The dystopian future I studied in high school is coming true. He erred only by two decades.

  • by babbling (952366) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:13AM (#14905941)
    The US is just a mirror image of the middle east. Opposite sides of the world, both heavily driven by a religion, both despise each other.

    There are a few differences in capabilities. The US has high-tech weapons, whereas the middle-east has oil.
  • Re:Welcome... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:20AM (#14905957)

    How about: In United States, only old people had freedom.

  • by odourpreventer (898853) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:24AM (#14905970)

    What you are saying is very fine in theory, but there are a few issues:

    1. The person purchasing a gun must know how to handle it.
    2. And know how to handle it in a crisis situation. Remember that the bad guy probably knows how to handle a gun better than the victim, and will assume that the victim is armed.
    3. Most people killed by gunfire (in the U.S.) are done so in domestic disputes. It is a fact: You are more likely to get shot by someone you know than by a burglar/thief/other criminal.

    Just look at that neighbour you hate. Do you really want him to carry a gun? The only thing more dangerous than an idiot is an idiot with a gun.

  • by killjoe (766577) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:27AM (#14905976)
    "While not perfect, the media is a crucial factor in the check and balances system."

    In that case we are all in trouble. The media has long abandoned any sense of purpose or duty. It's now completely sycophantic to the politicians. Often it's just acting as a PR arm of a political party.

    Radio led the way but now all media does very little besides amplifying whatever talking points come out of the politicians.

    It's all over but the shouting now.
  • by killjoe (766577) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:35AM (#14906003)
    The courts have been stacked with handpicked judges by this administration. What makes you think they will do anything to undermine this administration or the republican party?

    Look at how the republican judges in the supreme court betrayed all their principles of states rights in the florida election. They even wrote in the decision that this case can never be used for precedent because they don't want it thrown back in their face.

    I have no faith in the court system anymore. It's just another partisan branch of the govt now. I can predict with greater then 99% accuracy how the supremes will vote on any issue. They all simply vote their party platform.
     
  • by G-funk (22712) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:54AM (#14906055) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately, the "fear-sells-advertising" culture the media has built, will now be used to silence them.

    They can eat the cake, but they'll no longer have it.
  • by The_Mr_Flibble (738358) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:56AM (#14906058)
    Actually thanks to a recent pact the uk government has with ussa there is now a fast track for any 'criminals' the ussa wants with little to no comeback. If they think that someone in the uk has committed a crime then they will be shipped over to go through the american legal system and if found inocent will still have to foot the bill with no legal aid from anyone.
    However if an american comits a crime against the uk then your pretty safe the american senate blocked the pact on the off chance we might want to prosecute the irish terrorists hiding over there.
       
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:57AM (#14906062)
    I used to believe that. I used to say to people that the Americans weren't so bad. You couldn't blame the American people for the actions of their president - after all, they voted for the other guy. I didn't have any quarrel with America itself or with the American people - I just supported regime change.

    Then... 2004. Having been lumbered with that idiot for a president, with his cabal of fascist hangers-on pulling the strings, and having seen the horrors they perpetrated together on America, and on America's global standing, and on the world in general, what did the American people do?

    They voted him in. For real this time. No question about it, Bush won that election. They looked at the record of Bush's first term and said 'Yes. This is what we want from our Presidents. We like Bush and approve of what he has done, and want four more years of the same.'

    At which point you can't blame a corrupt fascist takeover. The fascists sneaked into office via a very dodgy election, but you had the chance to get them out. But you endorsed them and voted them in again with an authentic mandate.

    It's your own stupid fault now. And the world knows it. What America does now, the ordinary American people can be directly and personally blamed for.

  • Re:Coup (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vandan (151516) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:00AM (#14906069) Homepage
    I believe it is you who have fallen for the myth.

    It's laughable to hear Americans such as yourself beating your chest over the superiority of your so-called 'democracy', completely oblivious to the fact that your 2000 elections were anything but democratic - even by the embarassingly lapse standards your constitution calls for.
  • by Fallingcow (213461) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:05AM (#14906081) Homepage
    Wait a minute...

    We're being invaded? If so, where are the front lines? I'll be going there right after I go to the gun store to arm myself. Surely there are volunteer units being formed, and they may not have enough extra guns/ammo for everyone.

    What's that you say? The front lines are in another country? And it doesn't border us, nor does it have the capability to project an invasion force (or, indeed, any military force at all) to this side of the world? And we already destroyed its military anyway? So, all these threats to our nation are of a criminal rather than a military nature?

    Huh. When you said that the President has special powers in time of invasion, I thought you mean when we're being invaded, or at least when an enemy of ours is doing some kind of invading. I had no idea that this applies when our side is the only one invading other countries. How strange.
  • by aussie_a (778472) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:11AM (#14906099) Journal
    As opposed to now where the president has publicly admitted to undertaking impeachable acts, with government agencies regularly breaking laws, and nothing being done about any of it?

    Sure we know about it now. That's done a lot. Perhaps we can use those Diebold voting machines, or try to vote in Florida where they deliberately send people away that statistically will vote for the opposition.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:20AM (#14906117) Journal
    I would argue with you but until you spend some time in a land with strict gun laws you won't understand me. The small arms trade (aka NRA) gets people on side because they make excellent use of the "self defence" scare tactic, and as we can plainly see from the war on terror, scare tatics work! Thankfully when the NRA tried influencing my country's laws the majority of people saw through their bullshit.
  • by audi100quattro (869429) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:21AM (#14906120) Homepage
    A king cannot be impeached, what part of that do you people not understand?
  • by aussie_a (778472) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:23AM (#14906125) Journal
    It bloody well should, unless you're a big fan of Franco, Mussolini, and Stalin.

    There must have been a large turnout of fans for those people in this article [slashdot.org] because many people actually supported the restriction of speech outlined in the article.

    I wonder if those same people will turn up in this thread to defend this bill.
  • Re:fuck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:24AM (#14906127) Homepage Journal
    OTOH, I don't know what chance a handful of civilians with handguns have against a military with long-range missiles, tear gas, sonic weapons, etc.

    You forget that the military personnel have all taken an oath to defend the US Constitution. If ordered to fire on American civilians, many of them will refuse.

    I guess you don't remember the ruckus that was raised when the Clinton administration gave a survey to Marines asking if they'd be willing to fire upon American civilians in order to enforce gun control laws. Long story short, 75% of them said no. It's kind of alarming that 25% said yes.

    LK
  • Re:fuck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThinWhiteDuke (464916) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:31AM (#14906145)
    I don't know what chance a handful of civilians with handguns have against a military with long-range missiles, tear gas, sonic weapons, etc

    Take a look at Iraq. It seems that, if they really want it, the handful of civilians have a reasonable chance.
  • What's the point of founding your own nation? If your politics are at odds with the US, they'll just claim there are weapons of mass destruction...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:46AM (#14906178)
    thats the big deal,

    the rights that americans have only do them good if they are educated.

    giving someone the right to vote means nothing if he/she does not know what is going on in washington.

    and what percentage of americans read forein news? like it or not we need the corporate media to get information to the mob. because as history has proven.. the 2004 elections have proven... he who controls the mob, controls the country.
  • by binkzz (779594) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:18AM (#14906236) Journal
    Whistleblowers would flee to Europe as genuine political refugees, requesting asylum with political refugees from countries such as Iran and Iraq alike.
  • Re:fuck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenisNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:26AM (#14906260) Homepage
    You're kiddin right? You don't think the government couldn't get goons to go and "accidentally" blow up OSDL?

    They've [feddies] already tried to subvert public protests in the 50s through 70s remember?

    Recent governments have already enabled things like the Patriot Act and the DMCA which are blatantly illegal. Make your time.

    Tom
  • Re:fuck (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cnelzie (451984) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:26AM (#14906261) Homepage
    That just shows how "great" our educational system is when teaching civics these days.

        It takes more then focusing on just Math, Reading and Football to make someone a good citizen. It takes a small understanding of the laws that founded this nation, coupled with a well-rounded education that explores, at least lightly, all human endeavors.
  • by Chris.Boyle (118342) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:34AM (#14906280) Homepage
    It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.
  • Re:Coup (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:39AM (#14906296)
    Hardly. Government in the US, especially the federal government, has been expanding its powers steadily and continuously since the civil war. The US government of today dwarfs the US government of only 50 years ago, not only in sheer revenue but power over the people.

    Bush is only the latest in a long, long line of power-hungry crooks. The problem runs much, much deeper than simply "the wrong person holds power". Ready for this? The problem is power itself.
  • Re:fuck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:39AM (#14906297)
    civilian = not in army. includes terrorists.

    if the US were invaded, the civilians fighting against the occupiers would be terrorists. they would organise and form networks, if that's your distinguishing point.

    causing pain is always wrong.
  • Re:Typical (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:50AM (#14906337)
    If you don't like the government that you have then don't re-elect it!

    I tried. It didn't work. Next suggestion?

    Never mind, I already found my solution. I'm moving out of the country as soon as I get my act together. No offense, but I've decided that life is way too short to spend worrying about how to "improve" government, or even if it's possible to improve government. I've got more important things to worry about.

  • by penix1 (722987) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:50AM (#14906338) Homepage
    "I assure you that Americans troops shooting at civilians and vs.versa, will not last that long. While it is easier to shoot a stranger, it is much harder to shoot your brother."

    Tell that to the students at Kent State....

    B.
  • Re:fuck (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:51AM (#14906339)
    Ahh yes. Just like the New Hampshire state motto, "Live Free or Die".
     
    sigh... I remember thinking that's what this country was all about. I haven't felt that way in several years, and no, it had nothing to do with terrorists. The terrorists didn't turn into our president, or for that matter congressmen (or have they?). Last I checked, they were the ones infringing on my freedoms in order to gain control/power (remember, we are talking about those that love both).
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:52AM (#14906343)
    There are a few differences in capabilities. The US has high-tech weapons, whereas the middle-east has oil.

    And in the Middle East they have plenty of people who are willing - and indeed eager - to die for what they believe in. In the US they have people who are willing - and indeed eager - to give up everything they believe in to avoid the risk of dying.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:55AM (#14906356)
    by Dr. Lawrence Britt

    Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14-defining characteristics common to each:

    "1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

    4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

    5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

    6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

    7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

    9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

    10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

    14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are mani

  • by Lemmaling (960801) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:56AM (#14906359)
    Although the American people did reelect Bush in 2004, you have no way of knowing what their motives were. My guess is that as many people voted for Bush as a vote against Kerry, as actually voted for Bush because they support all of his politics. Kerry had some strong views on domestic policy, such as steps toward nationalized medicine, that probably made many borderline conservatives shy away from electing him.

    All I'm saying is that the post I'm responding to is one-sided and more beligerent than insightful. Although I disagree with the Bush's treatment of civil rights and his foreign policy, there were also other factors acting on people during the 2004 election. Perhaps if the Democratic - or any other - party would produce a good candidate, American's would have a better option than "choosing the lesser evil". And what you call "the lesser evil" is different for everyone anyway.
  • by pheonix (14223) <slashdotNO@SPAMibloviate.org> on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:00AM (#14906373) Homepage
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
    Our forefathers realized that we would NEVER have succeeded in becoming a "free state" without access to guns... and therefore included a provision in their bill of rights securing that ability to keep and maintain weaponry in the form of a militia.

    All other ancillary benefits, such as an ability to hunt or protect one's self from crime is incidental to the real reason, to overthrow tyrants. If you research quotes from our forefathers and various influential persons from our country's history, you'll see that their attitudes bear this out.
    "God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.

    ...

    And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
    -Thomas Jefferson
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:04AM (#14906389)
    If Kerry had carried Ohio, then it would have been the same situation as in 2000 but reversed. Bush undoubtedly won the popular vote. It's at least possible, although maybe in the realm of conspiracy theories, that the vote was rigged in Ohio to ensure a Republican victory. But Bush got 2.5% more of the popular vote, and Ohio wasn't going to change that. No, the people voiced their feelings and the majority wanted more of the same.
  • Re:fuck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:12AM (#14906421)
    You have obviously never been to a "free speech zone" in the US then or tried to protest outside of this zone, or just walk in the general area of said zone and not have any ID on you but be profiled as a trouble maker.

  • by publius_jr (808330) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:28AM (#14906463)
    Damn. I guess you weren't fucking kidding. Please excuse my ignorance.

    Perhaps I can make up for my error by adding something not flat-out wrong to the discussion. There are three conditions that need to be met for a Bush's use of this power to be constitutional today. Whether we are indeed being invaded is a condition already being discussed. Whether the public Safety requires it certainly depends on whom you ask, but is probably the least attackable condition. The last condition is a subtle one: that habeas corpus can be only suspended. If the "War on Terror" does classify as an invasion, one which will likely last for hundreds, or thousands, of years (how do we eradicate evil?), how do we differentiate between constitutional suspensions of habeas corpus, which must be temporary, and unconstitutonal permanent debarments?

  • Re:Typical (Score:2, Insightful)

    by panthro (552708) <mavrinac@gmailTWAIN.com minus author> on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:33AM (#14906473) Homepage

    We'll have to wait and see if Stephen Harper's years of Bush lapdogging were just opposition hype talk... otherwise, we might start closing the gap.

  • I'd rather have a few sunk ships than restrictions placed on my freedom...

    It's not a "lesser of two evils" issue, because any evil is too much. It's a "Freedom is good, this bill is evil" issue.
  • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@@@gmail...com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:53AM (#14906531)
    These are the things to keep in mind. These are not just academic exercises. We're not analyzing the media on Mars or in the eighteenth century or something like that. We're dealing with real human beings who are suffering and dying and being tortured and starving because of policies that we are involved in, we as citizens of democratic societies are directly involved in and are responsible for, and what the media are doing is ensuring that we do not act on our responsibilities, and that the interests of power are served, not the needs of the suffering people, and not even the needs of the American people who would be horrified if they realized the blood that's dripping from their hands because of the way they are allowing themselves to be deluded and manipulated by the system.
    -- Famous American (so-called) Dissident, 1993
  • by FredThompson (183335) <fredthompson@mindsprin g . com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:57AM (#14906539)
    Which students do you have in mind? The ones who torched buildings and surrounded the National Guard or the ones who were professional insurrectionists or the ones who threw stones at the National Guardsmen or the runaway girl who was the subject of the famous photo?

    40 years ago some idiots did some stupid stuff. BFD.
  • by webappsec (854813) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:57AM (#14906542)
    You're not allowed to complain.
  • Re:fuck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat (756137) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:04AM (#14906563)
    ..Just go to the polls this November, and vote against the Republicans..

    I only wished it were that easy..both parties have done and will do grievous harm to citizens' rights and freedoms.

    History shows that Democrats have been about equally as bad as Republicans about "bending" the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. I'm old enough to remember some of the things that *both* parties have pulled off, or attempted to pull off regarding freedom.

    I'm sure that's one reason the schools in the U.S. have been allowed to degrade into a giant daycare system. If the populace never learns the history, then there's no need for those in power to think up new ways to subjugate people. Just let apathy and ignorance do all the work for them.

    Until some sort of major changes are made to increase politicians' and judges' accountability and decrease the opportunities for graft and power-brokering, I don't see this trend toward a controlled populace stopping, sadly.

    Strat
  • Re:fuck (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:10AM (#14906584)
    Sorry, flat wrong old chum. Despite what most of the United States seems to think these days, in order to be a terrorist you have to meet some very specific requirements, not just be a civilian. They include (but are not limited to):
    1) not funded or trained by any recognized government or nation. So that whole bullshit about "state-sponsored" terrorism is an oxymoron.
    2) having a publically stated political or social reform agenda.
    3) carry out acts intended to instill fear and panic in the civilian population.

    Fighting back against invasion (whether in the US or in Iraq) is NOT terrorism! Call it an insurgency, call it guerrilla warfare, call it "Shirley" for all I care, but if you are going to start using words that actually mean something, check their definitions first. On a related topic, the men who hijacked the planes and flew them into the buildings on September 11, 2001 were not cowards. Misguided, sure. Evil, maybe. Anti-American, yep. But it takes balls to walk into your own death. I'm not sure I would have the guts to do what they did. So bash them all you want for being evil, etc. but you just come off looking ignorant and foolish when you call them cowards. Cowardice is sending a robot to launch a missle from 3000 miles away...
    -Will
  • by Milton Waddams (739213) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:16AM (#14906606)
    Well he didn't really err by two decades 'cause it was happening in the 80's. I think the reason why Orwell was so good was because he knew the way Governments acted in the past and how they were acting in his present. Governments have done this kind of stuff before, are doing it right now and will continue to do it.
  • broken promises (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sukotto (122876) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:18AM (#14906608)
    "military personnel have all taken an oath to defend the US Constitution"

    So did the President.
  • by The AtomicPunk (450829) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:20AM (#14906616)
    # The person purchasing a gun must know how to handle it.

    Certainly a good idea. Applies to any piece of machinery - gun, chain saw, car.

    And know how to handle it in a crisis situation. Remember that the bad guy probably knows how to handle a gun better than the victim, and will assume that the victim is armed.

    You're right, everyone should give up now. Actually, I'd probably put odds at 50/50 as to who was beter at weapon handling - quite a large percentage of people who carry firearms have either training or a good bit of experience. I also doubt most attackers assume the victim is armed - not in this day and age.

    # Most people killed by gunfire (in the U.S.) are done so in domestic disputes. It is a fact: You are more likely to get shot by someone you know than by a burglar/thief/other criminal.

    If by domestic disputes, you mean an altercation in the United States, you're probably right. Other than that, I think you're misusing the phrase. I also don't see what your point is - except that you're likely a prohibitionist hoping for a false sense of security via a few useless laws that take guns away from law abiding citizens.
  • by Shihar (153932) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:27AM (#14906653)
    I actually have a lot of faith in the court systems. You clearly do not understand what the ruling was that lead to the Florida results. Further, the judge that told the ID folks in no uncertain terms to go fuck themselves in Dover was appointed by G.W. Bush. The courts take their job damn seriously. I see no evidence of the court system breaking down. Are there instances of crappy rulings? Sure, but the system is run by humans so I sorta expect that. On the most though, do they take what they do seriously? Hell yes.
  • Re:fuck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Asic Eng (193332) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:27AM (#14906662)
    The thing is, if people can not be bothered to make the little effort to vote, is it likely they can be bothered to take the effort to organize a revolution? If they don't feel this bill is wrong, will they think of people attacking the US military because of it as revolutionaries? Or will they think of them as terrorists? The opinions within the US military personnel are likely not that much different than the opionions of the general population. So if the general population thinks of the uprising as a terrorist activity, chances are the troops will too.

    An armed populace helps to shift the balance somewhat if you have e.g. a democratically minded populance and an oppressive government. If you have a populace which is ok with being oppressed and supports the government, it's not paritcularly interesting whether they agree with the government armed or unarmed.

    Unless you can convince people that the government is wrong, you won't have a chance of changing the government's actions. Currently, if you were to manage to convince people, it would be easy just to vote other politicians into office. However if you fail even with that you better don't put too much hope on a few handguns.

  • Re:fuck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:31AM (#14906679) Homepage
    Uhm, that may be true in certain cases, but it's not hard to get people in the military to fight against someone OTHER than their own families - like everybody else's families.

    After, the military is used in most countries to repress its own citizens.

    Consider that 55 million people voted for Bush's policies. It wouldn't be hard to get a bunch of them to join a Gestapo or the military to suppress the rest. Just read the posts here and elsewhere sometime. Most of these morons are wannabe fascists.

    The entire issue boils down to: can you get at least five percent of the population ready to either take up arms against the government or support those who do?

    In this country - no way, Jose.

    But you could easily get five percent to become Gestapo here.

  • Re:i.e. vs. e.g. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by henni16 (586412) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:37AM (#14906710)
    I always wondered why Latin is used at all.
    Wouldn't it be straightforward to simply use "f.e." for "for example"?
  • Re:fuck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smchris (464899) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:41AM (#14906732)
    You still believe all that pap about "there's no difference between Bush and Gore"?

    You're right. One Democrat voted against the Patriot Act. Of course, the Democrats' excuse was that they didn't read it first and, gosh, who can fault them for that? Three years later, FOUR Democrats voted against the Patriot Act renewal. Vive le difference! Vive la revolution!

    Yup, yup, yup. Savage little wild cats like that, the Democrats are real Tom Paines and will bring the Bush regime to their knees and restore our democratic republic to its constitutional foundation toot sweet. You just watch those babies work when the Diebold machines give them their chance.
     
  • by Scarblac (122480) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:41AM (#14906734) Homepage
    Well, considering that that was already illegal under current law...
  • by rben (542324) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:50AM (#14906800) Homepage

    The irony of the NRA is that they continually argue that guns are vitally important to protecting our rights, but they've never used guns to achieve their aims. Instead, they show just how effective writing letters, donating money, and voting on the issues can really be.

    This is one of the sanest most sensible comments I've ever seen on any forum.

    As the poster says, voting makes a difference. It makes a difference at EVERY LEVEL of government. That means it's important that you know who you are really voting for in your local elections, your state elections, and the national elections. Don't just pull the party lever.

    To be fair, it's also important to realize that not all Republicans are determined to destroy the Bill of Rights and not all Democrats are buddies with the ACLU. We need to pay careful attention to the record of anyone who asks for our vote. If they don't have a record, we better find out who their friends and supporters are.

    Of course, if we allow bills like the one proposed to sail through the Congress unopposed, we'll send the message that none of us care about our rights. We're just terrified that we'll hear about the dirty stuff our President is doing in the name of keeping us safe. Eventually, Bush and his minions will find a way to shut down all opposition.

    Believe it or not, you and your vote are the only way to stop this. I'm probably messing up the quote, but someone once said that all that is needed for evil to triumph is for the good to do nothing. Protecting our rights is not the responsibility of politicians, or the ACLU, it's our responsibility. If we don't do it, we deserve to lose them.

  • Re:Eventually... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:51AM (#14906803)
    "if you're american *you did* vote for Bush."

    No, I'm pretty sure at least 49% of us didn't ...
  • by fossa (212602) <pat7NO@SPAMgmx.net> on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:51AM (#14906804) Journal

    They'll use the ol' copyright trick. Keep extending the deadline each time it's about to expire. But it always has a limit yes? See, temporary. See also the PATRIOT act.

  • Re:fuck (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:54AM (#14906821)

    I guess you don't remember the ruckus that was raised when the Clinton administration gave a survey to Marines asking if they'd be willing to fire upon American civilians in order to enforce gun control laws. Long story short, 75% of them said no. It's kind of alarming that 25% said yes.

    Now ask them if they'd be willing to fire upon a crowd of American civilians that are waving guns around shouting about taking control of the government. My guess is that such a crowd will stop looking like defenders of the constition and start looking like targets very quickly. Those that survive wouldn't even get a trial, they'd be "enemy combatants".

    It's all very well asking marines abstract questions like "would you fire on people who like the constitution", but put them in a real-life situation where there's just people with guns, and their training will kick in.

  • Slow down here (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:04AM (#14906885) Homepage
    Where's the text of this bill? The Washington Post article skips on some crucial details:
    The draft would add to the criminal penalties for anyone who.."
    So it isn't a new law, it only adds to the existing penalties? I'm not sure what that really means because:
    "... anyone who intentionally discloses information identifying or describing" the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program or any other eavesdropping program conducted under a 1978 surveillance law.
    Notice that they drop the quotes after a few words and start paraphrasing. So what does the law really make it illegal to disclose? Also, the thing about reporters is strange. They quote a politician as saying:
    "It in no way applies to reporters..."
    That doesn't sound like they have a line in there that says "This law does not apply to reporters." It sounds like he means that the law applies to internal government officials like CIA, FBI, etc. That would make this completely different.

    This article might be reactionary, but there's not enough information to tell. I'll wait until the actual text is available before making a judgement.

  • by kalirion (728907) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:09AM (#14906924)
    Or maybe the ones who were just goint to their next class?
  • by elrous0 (869638) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:13AM (#14906948)
    They voted him in.

    51% of them did. Us remaining 49% don't like your sweeping generalization.

    -Eric

  • by dghcasp (459766) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:22AM (#14907029)
    They looked at the record of Bush's first term and said 'Yes. This is what we want from our Presidents.

    I think we were watching different elections. 2004 seemed largely a referendum on whether gays should be allowed to marry, based on the exit polls they showed on TV.

    From where I watch (Canada,) a large number of voters in the US seem to be single-issue voters; voting for the candidate who agrees with their view on:

    • Should I be able to have a gun?
    • Do I support abortion rights?
    • Should gays be allowed to marry? (2004 special!)
    • Do I support labour unions?

    Also remember, although the people in office may change every few years, the lobbyists don't.

  • by bjk002 (757977) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:27AM (#14907068)
    "How can they be so blind?"

    Maybe it is not they who are blind?
    My thoughts had always been much more inline with the parent poster and yourself than G.W and his croonies.

    However, after the 2004 election, I began to wonder why so many people would vote him back in. I decided to try to be as honest as I could, and attempt a real non-partisan evaluation of the state of the world.

    I took a hard cold look around at the rest of the world and all the strife. SEVERE conflict on every continent(most self-imposed). People of many different ethnicities chanting in the streets to bring down Amercia. Some of them even act on their beliefs, imagine. Burning our flags, celebrating when one of us dies. Even looking at past Olympics to see the world celebrating when we lose ANY event. We push global agendas, affecting every corner of the world. Natually, every decision we make pisses someone off. Even our allies are less and less willing to defend us and our actions. The truth in Iraq is that noone(excusing the Bathists) was really sad to see Sadaam go, but noone is going to say that, too hot of an issue, too political. A Non-muslim country meddling in the affairs of a muslim one, thats what the press latched onto. Thats what the world heard. Right or wrong, it is the case.

    The world looks to America when there are problems. We are supposed to solve all their issues. Israel vs. Palestine, America is blamed. Drug pushing nazi's in afganistan blow up 3000+ U.S. citizens, we respond, and the U.S. is attacked for harsh treatment of prisoners. America trys to get countries to adopt tough regulations on fishing, in an effort to maintain world fish populations, and we are labeled as stealing from the poor.

    Even when we decide to stay out of a conflict, and ask the locals to take on the responsibility, Darfour for example, the U.S. gets blamed for "not doing enough". I mean, look at the Tsunami and the earthquake in Iran. What country gave the most support for each of these disasters? The U.S. by an order of magnitude. But what was the result of that generosity? Nothing except more hate. There were people stating such insanity that they rather have died than have th U.S. help them.

    Now I'm not saying whether or not we "made our own bed", the U.S. is not innocent. We have made many mistakes. But mistakes come with the territory of being a decision maker. The problem is, noone cares about all the good we try to do, they only see the bad we did to them. For whatever reasons(and there are many) we are no longer admired in the world, we are either truly hated or we are envied. So where does this leave us?

    two truisms seem to ring out:

    "You can never please everyone", and perhaps more importantly, "Everyone hates a winner"

    Either way America moves on any issue, more enemies or, a different way to look at it, fewer friends.

    Finally making this realization was like driving into a brick wall @ 100kph. We cannot be both strong and popular regardless of motive.
  • by Guuge (719028) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:32AM (#14907107)
    It's really simple. You vote against those on the extremes and everyone will become moderate. The last four presidents we've had include three hard-line Republicans and one moderate Democrat. In recent years, Republicans have come to dominate the government. The message being sent is that no one can get elected unless they subscribe to the paternalistic Republican "utopia". Mark my words, if we stop rewarding the Bush administration for its bad policies then we'll see real change. It has happened before and it could happen again.

    On the other hand, we could all buy into the fearmongering and insist that our leaders take our rights away for our own good. Then we'll have what you describe: two parties that are convinced that doing the right thing is the fasted way to defeat.
  • Terrorists (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mark_MF-WN (678030) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:33AM (#14907120)
    There's a bit of a distinction that should be made. If the civilians you speak of avoid killing their fellow civilians at all costs, then they're just a resistance army. Think Tito or those Greeks who made life really shitty for the Nazis. We call what goes on in Iraq "terrorism" because they slaughter a hundred times as many Iraqui civilians as they do American troops, they kidnap and murder foreign civilians, and other reprehensible (even by the standards of war) behaviour.

    By way of analogy, consider the US war of independence. For the most part (at least at the outset), Americans were a resistance army (later they were uniformed and all that, and so were just a plain old military). There were instances of terrorism, in which over-zealous revolutionaries murdered empire loyalists. But those are separate kinds of things. Interestingly, Canada's only hereditary title is "United Empire Loyalist", which means that one of your ancestors fled from the US to Canada during the war of independence. It's generally considered unwise to put that title on your business cards when visiting the States though.... :P

  • by odourpreventer (898853) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:41AM (#14907194)
    Certainly a good idea. Applies to any piece of machinery - gun, chain saw, car.

    Yes, it is. Unfortunately, there are so many people who do not.

    quite a large percentage of people who carry firearms have either training or a good bit of experience.

    I'll just have to disagree with you on this one, then.

    If by domestic disputes, you mean an altercation in the United States, you're probably right. Other than that, I think you're misusing the phrase.

    Since I couldn't find "altercation" in the dictionary, I'm unable to argue this point.

    you're likely a prohibitionist

    Well, duh. Besides, I live in Sweden, so I guess it comes with the upbringing and territory. But having basic military training, I know how to handle a gun correctly. I also know how easy it is to not handle a gun correctly. Just looking at the people populating the firing ranges here makes me glad we have tight gun control.

    a false sense of security

    No, it's the guns that give a false sense of security. But of course you are free to keep on fooling yourself.

    And yeah, I'm Swedish so I don't really have to care, but I lived in Michigan for a while.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:07AM (#14907455)
    It doesn't matter how many times you say we aren't, we are at war. ;)
  • Re:broken promises (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WaterBreath (812358) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:32AM (#14907678)
    "military personnel have all taken an oath to defend the US Constitution"

    So did the President.


    Yes, but the President is only one man. It is much easier for one man to become corrupt than a few hundred thousand. Not impossible of course, but much less likely. Especially considering the freedom of the society we have now, and have had in the past. For those freedoms to degenerate and eventually be lost leaving a tyrannical government where there was once a democratic republic, and for a few hundred thousand military personnel to support the tryanny, would probably require a recruitment program that actively searched for corruptible, or stupid, people interested only in power and wealth. Good luck keeping that one a secret.

    As frightening as the ideas in Orwell's "1984" are, I don't think the scenario is realistic. There are too many people who are too aware of and attached to their freedoms to let things slide quite that far. I'd bet even the most gun-shy Democrat would be willing to pick up a gun if it came to that, regardless of whether they thought it should be legal in times of peace and stability. Under a tyranny, all bets are off. A tyranny doesn't the citizenry, even if they are trustworthy, so why bother trying to follow their laws?

    I'm not too worried about the U.S. government decaying into tyranny. I am worried, however, that the U.S. could lose our global position and end up back where we were in the late 1800's... That is, hardly a force to be reckoned with, either militarily or economically.
  • Re:Typical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Funksaw (636954) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:16AM (#14908114)
    One of the big problems is that it is true - we have only two choices, and if you're anywhere on the left, you have to vote for the -- as a whole, conservative -- Democrats, or risk the -- as a whole, totalitarian -- Republicans. So you go in the same direction, just a little slower. That, of course, makes no sense. What this country really needs is a multi-party parliamentary system... it aches me to see all these letter writing campaigns and people talking on Slashdot about bearing arms when it would be more effective to simply get all these Libertarians, all these Greens, all these guys tired of the dynamic between the left and the right, they should all rally behind one individual party (because while the Libertarians and Greens agree on nothing else, they agree that they don't have a chance in a two-party system) designed towards changing state governments towards proportional representation systems. From there, see how it goes, and work on changing that. I don't know much about Finland's political system, but you're telling me that, when faced with a scandal, your chief executive actually admitted it and resigned? Hell yeah, I'd vote for that kind of honesty and accountability!
  • Re:fuck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jesus_666 (702802) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:17AM (#14908122)
    Guerilla warfare. It's for that exact situation: Your enemy has superior firepower, but he can't distinguish between you and random civilians, so sooner or later he will start sending out death squads, which will drive more people towards you, making life even harder for him. Things like keeping the enemy troops under constant attack and boobytrapping dead enemy soldiers work to your advantage, as well. Sooner or later the enemy soldiers desert or develop stress disorders.

    It is possible to defeat an army with only a handful of people. It's extremely messy but possible.
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xnot (824277) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:30AM (#14908242)
    It seems to me that "freedom of the press" was added to the constitution expressly for the purpose of stopping a future government from being able to do something like this. Which is quite a brilliant thing, if you think about it. To become aware and design in laws capable of combating mankind's main failing nature - that is, a tendancy towards greed. Somehow the Founders knew that in the future, a governement may become too powerful and try to control information to such a degree that the people become it's slaves.

    No government should ever be able to disrupt certain laws. The wise laws, the laws that took hundreds of guys months to create. I think those things supercede some sniveling senator with an agenda, or some other jackass who just has to get their little word in there. Because god knows, they are much smarter then some 100 year old dead guy, right?
  • by makomk (752139) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:32AM (#14908263) Journal
    I live in Ohio and I was part of the recount team there. I participated in the recounts of 3 counties. I can say that I'm convinced that there was no removing of ballots/adding ballots for Bush.

    Of course not, too easy to spot. What you want to do (if at all possible) is to alter some non-Bush votes into Bush votes after they've been cast via whatever means necessary - saves embarrassing problems with the numbers not adding up. (Alternatively, you can create some new voters and disenfranchise existing ones likely to vote for your opposition, but that's a lot more risky.)

    I will also say that there was some gross negligence on the part of the boards of election and our good friend Ken Blackwell. There was a reason precincts that voted Democratic had less voting machines.

    s/gross negligence/deliberate sabotage/ - I mean, which do you think is more likely?
  • by zx75 (304335) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:34AM (#14908282) Homepage
    But when a country goes to war on the strength of what 51% of the voting population says... then I don't give a damn what the minority thinks. If you don't like the administration, then get out. I will say what I want about "Americans" as a whole because by the very founding notions of your country, your government is representative of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    If you don't like it, then it's your responsibility to change it, not mine. And as long as your government continues on the path it's been then I'll keep saying what I feel needs to be said.
  • by freeweed (309734) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:36AM (#14908293)

            They looked at the record of Bush's first term and said 'Yes. This is what we want from our Presidents.

    I think we were watching different elections. 2004 seemed largely a referendum on whether gays should be allowed to marry, based on the exit polls they showed on TV.


    I think it's a far more damning indictment of (51% of) Americans that they think stopping gays from marrying is more important than:

    - preserving their constitution
    - ending an endless, pointless, bankrupting war
    - halting a perpetual state of terror

    "Yup, our country's broke, the world hates us - especially them arabs, we no longer have any civil rights, but hey! At least them filthy homersexuals can't be married!"

    That is how it looked sitting up here in Canada.

    Then again, I suppose those voting against gay marriage have made it pretty clear they don't want civil rights to exist, anyway...
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:41AM (#14908353)
    "and I assure you that Americans troops shooting at civilians and vs.versa, will not last that long."

    I hear that it took World War I to top the American Civil War's body count. I also hear that it took Nazis and Soviets massacreing each other on the Eastern Front to top the American Civil War in terms of percentage of the population killed. Whether or not what I hear is true, however, doesn't change the fact that it was easily one of the bloodiest wars in human history.

    Is there any reason why you believe that we're so different now that such a domestic conflict won't last more than half a decade and leave millions dead?

    The United States has a very militaristic culture, moreso now than we were in 1861; it's why we're the last remaining superpower to begin with. Any sort of domestic violence in today's society will not be pretty.
  • by shawnseat (453587) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:43AM (#14908375)
    Liberals believe in paying for budget priorities (the "tax" part). Pseudocons believe China will pay for them forever, thus borrow-and-spend "conservatives". Someone has said that current Republicans take the worst of conservatism (if any big corporation benefits it must be good, fanatical nationalism) with the worst of liberalism (enormous government, government-by-feelings [cf. No Teacher Left Alone^W^W^WChild Left Behind]).
  • Re:Clinton vs Bush (Score:2, Insightful)

    by just_forget_it (947275) on Monday March 13, 2006 @12:42PM (#14908929)
    It's like Clinton and Bush really aren't that different, almost as if they belonged to the same secret society in college or something.



    Oh wait
  • Re:broken promises (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @12:45PM (#14908954)

    However, Weimar Germany was a very different place from 20th-century America.

    That's unimportant. As Milgram and subsequent psychologists have shown, the obedience to authority is a human trait, not a social trait. There was nothing special about the German soliders' obedience; American, British, Australian, etc soldiers would act in much the same way.

  • by FridayBob (619244) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:46PM (#14909533) Homepage
    The whole thread is worrying because it presumes that the press is currently free and is under some new threat. Horseshit.

    I disagree. I find this view overly paranoid and pessimistic. Although there are plenty of news organizations around that seem to produce nothing more than gossip, infotainment, one-sided news and even misleading press -- not just because they're often too commercially oriented, but also because of who owns them (like Rupert Murdoch) -- luckily there are always others that do attempt to speak the truth. Our task as citizens is to decided which sources to trust. It's always been like to to some degree or another.

    The problem now is that it may soon actually become illegal for journalists to reveal certain truths about the government, such as if our rights are being trampled on by the government. If this bill becomes law, it would suddenly become that much harder to discover the truth about the government. America would no longer have a truly free press.

    The Soviet States of America indeed.
  • Re:fuck (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:02PM (#14909677)
    I don't know what chance a handful of civilians with handguns have against a military with long-range missiles, tear gas, sonic weapons, etc.

    See Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

    Unfortunately, it's generally harder to get the groundswell opposition to a regime if it's self-imposed, as opposed to an invading foreign nation. Witness the almost complete lack of armed resistance to Saddam, Mau, Stalin, etc. within their own country. Sadly, I think that the same people who believe guns are necessary for freedom also fall into the dictatorship is good if the leader is good camp...
  • by demachina (71715) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:52PM (#14912051)
    " I have a hard time not seeing the governments of Stalin or Mao as anything but fascist."

    Well technically they weren't, they were very Socialist and totalitarian and they actively discouraged private ownership of capital as well as religion. They were theoretically pro labor while Fascist regimes are anti labor and pro business. In practice they weren't very pro labor, they were pro party elite which did create a Fascist tinge. Worker centric states have never really come in to existence.

    Fascist states are usually Capitalist economies, and very pro plutocracy. The just aren't really free market either because the government heavily intervenes whenever it suits them and in particular when they see the opportunity to enrich party members using the state's power and wealth.

    Russia and China didn't really start their race to Fascism until the era of Yelsin or really Putin, and in China in the last 20-30 years when they abandoned state ownership and allowed private ownership of Capital. As is typical in Fascist states party members grabbed the lion's share of the assets and wealth and became rich overnight with government and party backing. Most big Chinese companies are run or have huge stakes owned by favored party members which is a classic sign of a Fascist state.

    This free market economy with massive government intervention to benefit party member's wealth is a leading indicator of the fact the U.S. is turning very Fascist as well.

    "8. Religion and Government are Intertwined "

    I would say this is a pretty simplistic assertion. But Stalin and Mao actively suppressed religion which is an indicator of a Socialist totalitarian state, and usually not a Fascist one. Fascist states tend to use religion as a means for controlling and manipulating people because it works really well, especially when you play a dominant religion against minorities. Religious bigotry and hatred is one of the most powerful forms of bigotry and hatred. Socialist/Communist states just use different means to accomplish the same ends, propaganda and personality cults, jailing people for unorthodox thought and aggressively controlling what people think using non religious tactics but which achieve the same end.

    Use of religion to control people isn't really special to Fascism anyway. Religions are designed to control and manipulate people, in large numbers, by their very nature so all sorts social systems exploit them to that end.

    China is kind of an anomaly on the Fascism and Religion fronts perhaps due to their rapid stealth transition to Fascism in the last couple decades. They don't really use religion as a tool for controlling people at all. They are using a mix of old and new tools, propaganda and censorship, mixed with greed.

    A bottomline is liberal participatory Democracies are in fact a rare and endangered species. Most political systems gravitate to abuse, where the people who acquire power use it and abuse it to enrich and empower themselves. The old axiom of power corrupting is very true. For a government to not land in various forms of totalitarianism they need to be carefully and aggressively structured to minimize the power and wealth of political leaders and then you need a bunch of people to get in to political positions who are idealists who focus on the common good. This is rare indeed. Most people who reach high political positions are there for the power and wealth they can garner for themselves and their affluent friends.

    America's founding fathers made a noble effort to structure a government that would be a liberal representative Democracy but it appears they did in fact fail and this is no more evident than it is today.

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