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New Congressional Bill Makes DMCA Look Tame 895

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the things-that-make-you-go-hmmm dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Representative Lamar Smith is sponsoring the Intellectual Property Protection Act. The new bill is designed to give the Justice Department 'tools to combat IP crime' which which are used to 'quite frankly, fund terrorism activities,' according to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Among the provisions is lowering the standards for 'willful copyright violation' and increasing the corresponding prison term to 10 years." More information is also available at publicknowledge.org.
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New Congressional Bill Makes DMCA Look Tame

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  • by scsirob (246572) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:30AM (#15188388)
    Is it me or are people, better yet, politicians forgetting what terrorism really is? Terrorism is spreading fear by inflicing selective pain to force a decision. This kind of bill does exactly that. It inflicts pain on small businesses trying to make a living, and forcing everyone to pay up to the big companies and patent/IP leeches. Probably the same leeches that sponsor this senator..

    Let me guess, everyone opposing this bill will be labelled as 'unpatriotic', 'pro-terrorism' etc?!?
  • Bought by Red Hat? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:48AM (#15188432)
    FTA:
    The SIIA's board of directors includes Symantec, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Intuit and Red Hat.

    Why is Red Hat buying politicians to expand the DMCA? Aren't they supposed to be the good guys?
  • Anybody else upset. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:52AM (#15188443)
    That Red Hat is on the board of directors of some
    organisation (SIAA) that supports this bill. I know
    I will now be recommending any other linux vendor for
    enterprise support.
  • by Bomarc (306716) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:54AM (#15188447) Homepage
    From the article:
    "Smith's measure would expand those civil and criminal restrictions. Instead of merely targeting distribution, the new language says nobody may "make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess" such anticircumvention tools if they may be redistributed to someone else. "
    Now one can not make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess computers, as they are the primary tool for anticircumvention. (Copyright infringement). I've always wanted to sell software somewhere, available for download. If someone isn't authorized to download it (and does), contact MS and tell them that they are selling software that violates the DMCA, (by selling software the circumvents copy protection) and to stop selling all copies of Windows.
  • by symbolic (11752) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:01AM (#15188463)
    I find it rather ironic that Redhat would come within a mile of such a fetid mess. I'm also surprised (and quite saddened) that Sun Microsystems is involved.

    Support http://www.ipaction.org/ [ipaction.org] - it might be one of the only practical ways to get something done about this kind of nonsense.
  • by omeg (907329) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:16AM (#15188504)
    It seems that according to the US government, everything that opposes the benefit of the few is ultimately one of the many forms of terrorism. This is the regime that the people you voted for are upholding. It bothers me that they can get away with it, but I guess that it's not possible for America to start using a pluriform multi-party system which I firmly believe would help keep the amount of insane propositions like this one at bay, like it effectively does in the Netherlands.

    I guess that at this point there is not much pouting is going to do to help!
  • Re:Amerika (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:57AM (#15188623) Journal
    softpats were only voted down after years of huge efforts by the FFII

    My MEP is an active member of the FFII, and she's got my vote next time around. Anyone else who wants software patents to stay dead should find a candidate with similar views and vote for them.

  • by Quirk (36086) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:01AM (#15188634) Homepage Journal
    It's not about Intellectual Property rights. It's not about Patents. It's not about copyrights. It's not about Digital Rights Management.

    It's a tax grab.The government has found a way to create taxable value by fiat. The value of currency in modern capitalist states is by fiat. The creation of value by way of IP and Patents and DRM is by legislation, by fiat.

    Maggy Thatcher introduced Value Added Tax, in Canada in the 80's the Conservatives introduced the GST. In America the federal government has created taxable value in IP. Remeber the /. article last week about a merger wherein the parties are underinvestigation because they undervalued the IP?

    You can argue about civil liberties and the government will join in happy to count the number of angles dancing on the head of a pin.

    When I was in grade school during summmer vacation I had to put in 2 weeks working on my grandparents farm. I was told it would build character. It build muscle mass if nothing else. One summer on the farm my uncle decided to butcher a pig. That side of the family is pioneer stock and has farmed the same area for 7 generations. They can make anything they need, including good German sausage. I'd never seen an animal butchered. The pig was tied to corral posts by 3 legs. One rear leg was left free. My uncle slit the pigs jugular and the pig kept kicking his one rear leg, obligingly pumping his blood out. The fuss being kicked up about the laws and civil liberties is the pig's back leg kicking furiously. The tax income is the blood.

  • Crime & Punishment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Venner (59051) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:10AM (#15188663)
    >>Solution: kill the man who saw you steal that 20 bucks worth of software, if you think you have a 50% chance of not getting caught.

    Although that sounds funny, I'd like to point out that is exactly what happened during the Dark Ages. The classic example was when stealing bread was punishable by death, rather than the desired effect of deterring crime, the murder rate increased dramatically. If you might die for stealing, you might as well kill the person too and decrease your chance of getting caught.

    Punishments have to fit the crime or they serve no valid purpose.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:18AM (#15188685) Journal
    Force through treaties on trade partners, desparate measures are called for to prevent the USA economy from collapsing the way the Soviet Union did when it spent too much money.

    Yes, lots of similiarites. USSR was actually bankrupted in the 70's by Nixon and Carter. Reagan did nor bury USSR, but kept them going by restoring such things as grain trading. What is interesting about this, is that the argument can be made that had we allowed the USSR to fall in early 1981, then it would have been very bloody (perhaps for us). But Reagan's massive giveaway to USSR allowed them to survivie while decaying slowly.

    I have wondered if that is what is happening to us. Basically, China and Middle east are propping up Regan and now Bush's outrageous deficts (all of Poppa Bush's and Clinton's efforts was wiped out). Sooner or later, China will have the other nations dependant on them and we will be in the way. At that time, I suspect that all the funding will be pulled and we will tumble as hard as USSR or will elect to start a war.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:46AM (#15188758)
    I'm starting to wonder who the real terrorists are, and who the real freedom fighters are. William Wallace was a terrorist.
  • by SlappyBastard (961143) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:58AM (#15188779) Homepage
    Cause, let's face it: the GOP is nothing but a fucking money racket.

    The GOP is dedicated to grabbing every non-member of the 1% by the ankles and seeing what falls out of their pockets.

    The upside? At least this isn't as bad as the shit they did on behalf of Jack Abramoff.

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_200 5_08_07.php#006266/ [talkingpointsmemo.com]

    Wait a second! Yes it is!

    The recording industry is largely run by the mafia anyhow. So... It's just the same as the Indian gaming scandal.

    I'm no big fan of either political party, but the Republicans are bad news.

    Corruption-wise, this is the ugliest America has been since the end of the 19th Century.

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:00AM (#15188786) Homepage
    It seems to me that the actions of the RIAA against suspected file sharers are an act of terrorism. Demanding payment under the threat of a lawsuit, just because your underage child downloaded music is simply a shakedown. This law will make it much easier and less costly for the RIAA to extort the single mothers, because they don't have to sue any longer - they just threaten to call the cops. That's a pretty efficient process, and greatly increases the cost-to-income ratio. Enough to afford to buy.... Say.... A congressman.

    So how do you stop this? Perhaps all the Slashdot readers in Texas could:

    1. Call and ask his staff why he wants to send single moms to jail?

    2. Then call your local news station and ask why he wants to send single moms to jail?

    3. Then call your local newspaper and ask why he wants to send single moms to jail?

    Let's see if there's a Slashdot effect on the local media. Three phone calls is all it takes.

    http://lamarsmith.house.gov/ [house.gov]

    Call Rep. Smith at (202) 225-4236

    If you're willing to bitch about it, how about makeing one or more phone calls?
  • by Mordaximus (566304) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:06AM (#15188801)
    Steal' 20 bucks worth of software, you get 10.

    Ha, wrong! Steal it, and you get a minor charge like maybe shoplifting, or theft under $x. Copy it, and you get 10 years. The obvious solution is to stop copying software, and just steal it off of the store shelves.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:07AM (#15188806)
    "People should be made pass an iq test before being admitted into congress..."

    While not an IQ test, they are made to take a test of sorts. It's called an oath. They only pass this because they cheat. Upon entering office they know they have no intention of doing as the constitution dictates. They don't want to anger the people who are bankrolling them into office. It's the ultimate quid pro quo giving more power and wealth to the officials and those who put them in power, while ultimately reducing the people to destitude. Anyone with half a brain would agree that securing copyrights, "for limited Times to Authors and Inventors..." shouldn't mean for 99 years or whatever it is now.

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

  • by Cicero382 (913621) <clancyj.tiscali@co@uk> on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:20AM (#15188847)
    It's beginning to look like the US government is *really* starting to lose it. And the UK gov doesn't seem too far behind (I'm English). I now live in Italy where we have our own fair share of stupid legislation (possibly more!) But there's one significant difference: If we think a law is really stupid - we ignore it - and so do the police (and, more importantly, their Mums and Dads).

    My point is (OK, maybe a bit off topic); is it the law itself that's the problem, or the ability/willingness to enforce it? We're looking at motives, here.

    WHY is this and other legislation being put forward? Obviously, it's nothing to do with the stemming of terrorism. Obviously the AG is getting involved for photo-ops and the like and probably hasn't a clue what it's all about. And, equally obviously, it hasn't a cat-in-hell's chance of making any significant difference to the problem it's supposed to address.

    So the *ability* to enforce angle doesn't look so good. The very best they can expect is that they'll trawl up a few impoverished souls to throw to the wolves. The big operators will continue as before - and, anyway, there are plenty of existing laws to deal with their activities already.

    That leaves *willingness* to enforce. Well, there is a cultural difference between here and the US. But it surely can't be that wide - and I thought the Yanks were a belligerent lot when it came to their rights. Sure, you're always going to get some jobsworth who will follow the rule book no matter how absurd it seems (suing grannies for grandkids' downloads springs to mind here)but the *entire* law enforcement community can't be stupid, can they? For the sake of argument (and peace of mind) let us assume "Nah!"

    So, we come back to the actual law itself. If one accepts the previous points about ability/willingness to enforce, one has to ask what the hell is the law for?

    I'd *really* like to know.

    (Dons tin foil hat and hides under table).
  • by kaeru (245396) <khairil.yusof@ g m ail.com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:22AM (#15188852) Homepage
    Well last week in Malaysia, a US government sponsored IPR enforcement roundtable had a presentation from the MPA the local equivalent of the MPAA.

    Since the "value" of pirated IP was higher than that of narcotics, they stated that crime lords are moving into piracy industry from narcotics. They then put up a slide that put side by side figures showing that the punishment of IP theft was not a strong enough deterrent as compared to narcotics. As some of you may know, drug trafficking here in South East Asia carries a mandatory death sentence.

  • Re:but,but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zsau (266209) <.ten.srehpargotraceht. .ta. .todhsals.> on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:52AM (#15188959) Homepage Journal
    You misunderstand. Your legislative bodies are elected in a series of smaller winner-takes-all elections. In a proportional election, the proportion of the Representatives from one party would correspond to the proportion of votes for that party in the election; so if the vote went 40% Republican, 30% Democrat, 10% Libertarian, 10% Greens, 10% various independents,* distributed equally across the whole country, then you'd get approximately 40% Republicans, 30% Democrats, 10% Libertarians, 10% Greens, 10% various independents elected to the House of Reps. By contrast, that same election under the current First-Past-the-Post winner-takes-all system America has, you'd get 100% Republicans.

    I think before this could be applied to America, you'd either need to significantly increase the size of your House of Representatives (so that states like South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming had at least three or four Representatives), or abandon voting by state (which might not actually be any harder to abandon than the first-past-the-post system you have).

    * Obviously that you can have independents in a proportional system means I've simplified --- but you can probably read up more on it yourself if you're interested.
  • Re:One good example (Score:3, Interesting)

    by a_nonamiss (743253) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:52AM (#15188964)
    Ross Perot got a small fraction of the vote

    Don't kid yourself. Perot stood a real chance of winning the election in 1992. He took himself out of real consideration by dropping out of the race, then getting back in.

  • EU (Score:3, Interesting)

    by olman (127310) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:06AM (#15189005)
    The main point of contention was essentially that the EU regulations tend to be overly complex and byzantine. This is not what you want in a constitution, full stop.

    In France about 20% of voters had some constitution-oriented reason for voting either way. Rest were voting about their goverment and lackluster representative democracy therein (france), employment, taxes, globalization..

    Mostly what had little or nothing to do with the constitutional agreement.

    Now the brussels good boys network is planning on indeed making KISS version of the constitutional agreement. So far so good, but in france they plan to pass it without vote this time around! That's one way to make sure the people won't vote wrong way, thought.

    And height of absurdity is Italy's initiative to form "progressive core" of EU with france (and Germany) .. With the two worst heel draggers in Europe, I'd rather call that the anchor that's going to sink the whole union.
  • Re:From Wikipedia... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whathappenedtomonday (581634) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:11AM (#15189016) Journal
    Well, then we are all save. Since Bush clearly lacks charisma...

    I know .. hope you are being sarcastic. Yet, here's how safe we really are:

    The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism 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 o

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:13AM (#15189024) Homepage Journal

    instant runoff

    IRV doesn't help that much. It allows third parties to obtain more of a voice, which is good, but it doesn't really allow them to obtain power. As the strength of the third party grows to a point where it threatens to win an election, IRV still creates a situation where voters have to vote strategically for the major party they consider the lesser evil, rather than the third party they really prefer. Otherwise, they risk the third party candidate knocking out the more ideologically similar major party candidate, but without acquiring enough votes to defeat the other major party candidate.

    Approval voting is better than IRV, and the Condorcet voting systems are even better. For legislative bodies, proportional representation is also an option, though it has downsides as well -- I prefer to vote for people, not parties.

  • Wrong. They're smart and know very well what they're doing. The problem are the uninformed, uneducated masses who rush to vote for them as soon as any proposed new law has either "terrorism" or "children" attached to it.

    I wasn't alive back in the 60's, but the Congressman from my hometown basically invented the un-germane rider. And now everyone does it. Back in the Gingrich days, they tried to stop riders to big appropriations bills, but I guess either the initiative failed or people found a loophole. Anyway, maybe our legislators need to pull a page from this playbook. Imagine a "Safeguarding Liberty for Our Children Act" that, y'know, pushes back on stuff like USAPATRIOT. I mean, it'll result in the Anti-Terrorism Drought Relief Act of 2442... but it looks like we're headed down that road anyway.

    Now if only we had some legislators of our own.

    Well, I guess we have Boucher... and it only takes one to introduce a bill. But you need more than that to get it passed.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:26AM (#15189325) Homepage Journal
    So this means that they will be able to, without a court order, go collect all the sales records from all companies that sell any sort of multimedia device? ( ipods, md players, vcrs, computers, cdroms, soundcards, cassette payer/recorders )

    Then they can take those records and use them as probable cause to start searching peoples homes and shaking us all down as a society?

    WTF?!
  • by Chowderbags (847952) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:45AM (#15189445)
    What's really worrying is the addition of asset forfeiture for the devices used in copyright violation. The forfeiture laws on the books are already overreaching and often are misused. There is little chance of ever getting anything back after it's taken, and the actual "case" is brought against the object, so you are screwed by the system. Even if you are later cleared of the charges, good luck on getting your stuff back, since different agencies can shuffle the objects back and forth to get around even the courts. I only hope the revolution comes soon after the granny who only uses her computer for email gets caught up in one of the shotgun blasts of lawsuits against random people that that RIAA loves so much.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:52AM (#15189488) Homepage
    designed to give the Justice Department 'tools to combat IP crime' which which are used to 'quite frankly, fund terrorism activities,' according to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

    Don't bother presenting any evidence to back that up, just make a broad, over-reaching statement and present it as fact. I don't believe anything that comes out of the Bush administration. The only person who lies more than Gonzales was The Lying McClellan. How did you know Scott McClellan was lying? His lips were moving.

    Oxygen also supports terrorism, so why not cut down all the trees? Oh, wait...

  • Re:Regional? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:09AM (#15189568)

    Like people have that much similarity based on what region they live in anymore.

    Actually, the region has a great deal to do with similarity-- many issues are very locally impacted. For example, mandating the use of public transportation may seem to make sense in some high population density areas with land forms that are suitable for the development of a strong public trasportation system, but areas (such as the one I am from) that exists of large open spaces, varying terrain (deserts, mountains, etc), public transportation is difficult to use and very expensive to operate and thus makes little sense to the "locals" of the latter region.

  • re: Powerless? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by King_TJ (85913) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:12AM (#15189582) Journal
    I can relate to what you're saying... Thankfully, I haven't had any personal friends die in the war so far, but many people I know have gone through it.

    But rather than taking an attitude of "It's hopeless!", I try to take a long-term outlook on everything. Bush can't stay in office forever, and it's becoming increasingly clear to people that the "war on terror" is mostly an excuse to pass new laws. What this means is, our next elected president is going to be a Democrat. He (she?) may not be any better at running things than the Bush administration.... but few people would really want to run for office parroting the same policies that generated one of the lowest approval poll ratings in history. So you can be assured that there will at least be a change in direction.

    As a Libertarian myself, I plan on voting in that manner. Of course it isn't accomplishing much right now, but at least I'm casting a vote for what I believe in. And by the mere fact that it's still a relatively unknown platform, it prods some people to take interest. (EG. I went to the polling place for a local election a couple years ago, and when I asked for a Libertarian card - they didn't even have the right colored punch-cards readily available. My district is strongly Democrat, so I was apparently the first voter in the place who asked for that. They had to rummage around for the proper card, and it generated noticeable attention in the room. I suspect at least one of the people there got more curious about what the L.P. was all about, just from that situation.)

    I've also noticed a marked increase in random people I meet who mention an interest in a 3rd. political party. Not that long ago, if you mentioned the Green Party or Libertarians, most people had no idea what you were talking about. ("Libertarians? Are they real liberal, or some version of that Socialist party?") Nowdays, quite a few people say they're at least aware of the alternatives, and usually know some friends who belong to those parties.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:20AM (#15189628)
    You never know when Big Brother is watching...

    Actually, we do know. At least on the internet and phone system, Big Brother is always watching.

  • But Democratic legislators do break away from the party line more often than Republican ones do. This is a simple fact, easily verified by a look at voting records.

    Recently this is true, because the Republicans hold a majority just about everywhere it wants to. There was more dissention during the Clinton years.

    The party in power demands to stay in power an often call all collegues to mindless loyalty in order to keep it that way. If the democrats were on a five year majority rule bender, you can bet they'd demand the same party-line zombie-like loyalty the Republicans do now.

    Although, then THEY would be embroiled in scandal with the likes of Abramov, Delay, etc.

  • by ClubStew (113954) on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:41PM (#15190709)

    So I guess all my old college classmates and that 14 year old girl RIAA sued (among many others) are all terrorists. Gosh, Gonzales is an appointed official by elected "representatives" so it must be true.

    To answer someone questions about who elects these people, let me just state that we Americans don't have much choice. It's one lying idiot or another; and either way they hardly represent the majority of their constituents.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:48PM (#15190756)
    "OK, so they do create a few multi-millionaire "artists" that serve the same function as lottery winners: keeping the suckers playing)"

    Rarely. The way they do business is by advancing millions of bucks to artists, thereby getting them used to a certain lifestyle they could never support, and thereby locking them into multiple album contracts which the execs control. If your albums don't do well, they can sit on releasing the remaining albums, leaving the artist with no means to exit the contract, but no means to earn an income either. Eventually the debts are called in and the artist has to file for bankruptcy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:01PM (#15190867)
    It seems to be generally assumed in the financial markets that the US will no longer be the economic world leader by about 2030-2040. The US is now entering a period of decline, like the British Empire.

    The problem is the now obvious tendency of the US to start wars for internal political reasons. I suspect that as America becomes more powerless in the economic world we will see more military actions in a vain attempt to boost America's image of itself. These will be expensive - no-one else will fund them, so I suspect we will see pretty blatent attempts to seize natural resources in an attempt to stave off financial ruin.
  • by realityfighter (811522) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:52PM (#15191219) Homepage
    The reason for the unified front is, if you want to be considered to run as a Republican and get Republican money to run for office, you have to agree to abide by every plank of the party platform. This includes support for the far-fetched, the unconstitutional and the irrational. (For example, the Texas GOP included clauses in their platform that called for de-anonymizing the people who report to Child Protective Services.) The GOP has a lot of campaign money, and if you choose to run against them, that money will work against you. So it's not surprising that they're more "unified" as a party. They money is flowing in that direction.
  • by Irvu (248207) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:56PM (#15191257)
    The SIIA's board of directors includes Symantec, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Intuit and Red Hat.


    There's your answer. Lamar Smith was bought and paid for by these people RedHat Amongst them. It is they who are to blame for this law not him, and their pressure that is to blame for Gonzalez obsessively linking this to terrorism (show me how Bin Laden benefits from pirated Britney Spears).

    If we want change we have to stop screaming about Sony and then buying their products. If any company backs legislation we oppose then we have to deny them our cash. Sony is in on this but so are some of the companies above and the ones listed here [siia.net]. We have to do the same to companies like RedHat and Sun.

    1. Call Redhat at 1-888-733-4281 or +1-919-754-3700 (outside the U.S.)
    2. Tell them that this bill is an abomination that you cannot support and that if they support it they wont get your or your company's cash in the future.
    3. Do the same for Sun:
      Sun Microsystems, Inc.
      4150 Network Circle
      Santa Clara, CA 95054
      Phone: US 1-800-555-9SUN; International 1-650-960-1300

    4. And Oracle:Bullet Corporate Headquarters
      500 Oracle Parkway
      Redwood Shores, CA 94065
      Bullet Call for Directions
      650.506.7000
      Bullet International Phone
      +1.650.506.7000
      Bullet Corporate Headquarters
      500 Oracle Parkway
      Redwood Shores, CA 94065
      Bullet Call for Directions
      650.506.7000
      Bullet International Phone
      +1.650.506.7000
    5. And so on


    Lamar Smith should also be contacted, but he will just do what his corporate sponsors say so they are tones we have to target and for us as /.'rs The tech companies are our crowd.
  • by aftk2 (556992) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:13PM (#15192398) Homepage Journal
    At the risk of coming off like a pedantic twat:
    1. Type "Taxachusetts" into Google.
    2. Click "I'm Feeling Lucky."
    3. Learn that, as of 2004, Massachusetts has lower taxes than almost 70% of the country.
    4. Realize that anyone seriously using the term Taxachusetts either has a political axe to grind, or is somewhat misinformed.
    (Profit.)
  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:18PM (#15193554) Homepage
    Why should society bare the burden of feeding and housing such individuals? Why should guards be forced to risk their lives to deal with such individuals? Why should those who view others lives, repeatedly, and consistently as having no value, be treated any differently?

    Simple. Because, if an individual does not have the moral right to kill, then neither does society at large. Alternatively, I would argue that the existence of the death penalty demeans the society, as, collectively, those people are saying that a human life is subject to the whims of a jury.

    Too wishy-washy? How 'bout the fact that wrongful convictions have occured many times, and in recent history, no less, despite the existence of high tech forensic tools, etc. Are you willing to bet the life of an innocent human being in order to save a few dollars?

    But wait, that's the best part. It doesn't save any money. Combine the cost of the actual execution with the cost of the appeals process, housing the individual on death row, etc, and guess what? It costs as much, if not more, than it does to simply imprison the person for life.

    But that's not all! The death penalty isn't even handed down consistently. Racial minorities are far more likely to get the death penalty than a caucasian individual. Which only furthers the point that, when it comes down to it, humans are flawed and shouldn't be allowed to determine who lives and who dies.

    Finally, the death penalty doesn't actually deter crime. The US, despite the existence of the death penalty, has higher violent crime rates than most other developed nations. So, if it doesn't work, why bother?

    And yet support of the death penalty persists. Despite the fact that it doesn't deter crime. Despite the fact that it's expensive. Despite the risks of killing innocent individuals thanks to wrongful convictions. Despite the fact that it's morally reprehensible. And why? Revenge. Which brings us back to the original point.
  • by xanalogical (808042) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:28PM (#15193591) Homepage
    > The problem is exactly the opposite...Americans are TOO BUSY!

    If one isn't outraged enough to do something about it, you aren't really outraged, just inconvenienced. Most Americans are only inconvenienced, and adapt.

    > Do you wonder why you see people in the middle east out protesting in the middle of the
    > week? It's because they DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO! They don't have jobs!

    So that's why the recent immigration protests were so well attended - those people had nothing else to do? I assure many of those people (not only illegals protested BTW) have jobs, and took a cut in income to protest. Many are them are hourly - no work, no pay. Yet still they walked off their jobs and marched.

    > It's hard to be politcally active after working 60 hours/week, then dealing with your kids/wife/friends/whatever.

    Uh, those busy Americans, if they're so busy working, -do- have vacation days? And some personal days? And maybe even days w/o pay? They could spend some of those to be politically active.

    And since when is "dealing with your friends" (not wife/kids) an obligation that overrides your duties as a citizen? And perhaps those people listed can actually get involved as well, and the kids can be taught political activism as part of being a family?

    Those in power have those "busy" people right where they want them -- in the office working overtime and in front of the TV.

The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."

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