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Has Orwell's '1984' Come 22 Years Later? 1272

Posted by Cliff
from the his-words-are-still-precient dept.
gabec asks: "This weekend my mother bought a grille lighter, something like this butane lighter. The self-scanner at Kroger's locked itself up and paged a clerk, who had to enter our drivers license numbers into her kiosk before we could continue. Last week my girlfriend bought four peaches. An alert came up stating that peaches were a restricted item and she had to identify herself before being able to purchase such a decidedly high quantity of the dangerous fruit. My video games spy on me, reporting the applications I run, the websites I visit, the accounts of the people I IM. My ISP is being strong-armed into a two-year archive of each action I take online under the guise of catching pedophiles, the companies I trust to free information are my enemies, the people looking out for me are being watched. As if that weren't enough, my own computer spies on me daily, my bank has been compromised, my phone is tapped--has been for years--and my phone company is A-OK with it. What's a guy that doesn't even consider himself paranoid to think of the current state of affairs?" The sad state of affairs is that Big Brother probably became a quiet part of our lives a lot earlier. The big question now is: how much worse can it get?
Am I just accustomed to old ways? Does the new generation, born with these restrictions, feel the weight of these bonds and recoil from my fears as paranoia? What can I, a person with no political interests--a person that would really rather think that the people in office are there because they're looking out for us, our rights, and our freedoms and not because their short-sightedness is creating a police state--do to stem the tide?"
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Has Orwell's '1984' Come 22 Years Later?

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  • Peaches? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcore (705121) on Friday July 28, 2006 @11:57PM (#15803882)
    I don't think you can claim that the store told you that four peaches was a "restricted item" without at least explaining the situation a little bit further.
  • Just walk away (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndroidCat (229562) on Friday July 28, 2006 @11:59PM (#15803887) Homepage
    Id for grille lighters and peaches, huh? And why didn't you just walk away loudly commenting on the store's idiotic policy?
  • by alshithead (981606) * on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:01AM (#15803892)
    So if there are many other real-world, "legitimate" examples of our freedoms being eroded how can you not have sympathy? Are your examples more important than the ones he considers important?
  • by TrisexualPuppy (976893) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:01AM (#15803896)
    "What's a guy that doesn't even consider himself paranoid to think of the current state of affairs?"

    First thought...more educated and informed than the masses of sheeples?

    Seriously, I think a lot of us feel the same way and see that we aren't on a slippery slope any more. We are plummeting down a sheer drop off. The way I see it the government and big business will control more and more of our every day life as we lose more and more privacy and individual choices. Some of us will get sick of it and cash out and go live off the grid in the most remote boondocks we can find and some of us will suffer in relative silence and reminisce over the "good old days" before we lost so much of our privacy and constitutional rights. Others will never notice they lost anything. Maybe there will be another American revolution some day to try and put back into place a government whose altruistic ideals can be effected indefinitely. Hell, 200+ years is pretty good when looked at in the big picture of history but eventually power and money corrupt those who should be looking out for the good of everyone. I guess this sounds kind of defeatist but take the federal minimum wage as an example. How come 30 million people have to try to live on $5.15 an hour? How are their voices not heard? How are our voices not heard?

    Money talks and the politicians and big business have the money.
  • by aldeng (804728) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:02AM (#15803900)
    "The big question now is: how much worse can it get?" Wrong. The big question is what are we going to do to stop this. It's our government, dammit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:03AM (#15803902)
    Don't forget that it's not just about privacy. The government basically has to create a state of perpetual fear, stir up hatred of the enemy, torture people, have an ongoing war, control information, and basically convince you to willingly see things that are false.

    Now, don't get me wrong, but I don't think we've come to that yet.

    cough cough fake terror alerts hussein abu ghraib war on terrorism fox news wmd in iraq cough
  • Listen closely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DesireCampbell (923687) <desire.c@gmail.com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:05AM (#15803911) Homepage
    This isn't a real question, this is a thinly veiled attempt at getting a conversation going about how terrible the US government is.

    Yes, there's a lot of censorship and surveillance going on. Yes, we have to be vigilant about everything we've heard.

    My fear is, the fact that we find out about these domestic wiretaps, secret European prisons - means that the people put in charge of these things are morons. Most people in the position to be doing important secret 1984-type dealings are smart. The things we know about are pretty bad - how much worse are the things we don't know about?
  • defend (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MECC (8478) * on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:06AM (#15803913)
    Defend freedom of information from government and corporate influence.

    That's what really protects freedom, liberty, democracy, and people's rights. If you're lucky.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:07AM (#15803919)
    The sad state of affairs is that Big Brother probably became a quiet part of our lives a lot earlier.

    Disagree.

    Most of these things came from the Bush administration. The last 6 years has been a cancer eating away at the very fabric of what it used to mean to be american.

    Phrases like 'truth, justice, and the american way' ring very hollow these days...especially to the rest of the world.
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:07AM (#15803921) Homepage Journal

    1984 was about the state controlling everything. In the current situation, the state is peering more heavily into everything we're doing because a lot of people are so afraid of Islamic terrorists that they're willing to give the state more power. This may or may not be a temporary situation, but the state obviously hasn't reached the level of control that Big Brother did in 1984.

    As for corporations watching what you do, the real question is whether Microsoft checking to see if you're using a pirated version of their software is somehow going to affect your political rights, or if it is just a stupid move on their part that will only push customers away from their products. After all, you only have one state. You can choose software vendors.

  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:08AM (#15803926) Journal
    What can I, a person with no political interests--a person that would really rather think that the people in office are there because they're looking out for us, our rights, and our freedoms and not because their short-sightedness is creating a police state--do to stem the tide?
    It should be obvious, but I'll spell it out:

    Get some political interests

    Sticking your head in the sand will not help. So pull it out, shake out the sand, and get involved. And I don't mean you should flip a coin, pick the red team or the blue team, and blindly follow them.

    I mean that you should get active in holding your elected officials accountable for their actions, regardless of their party affiliation. Keep up on the issues and be vocal about them. Read and listen to opposing points of view and try to form and propagate valid opinions. Make sure your representatives know that someone is watching them, and follows what they do. If they lie, cheat, steal, or sell you down the river, nail them. Vote them out in the primary if you can, and in the general if you can't. Cross party lines if you need to, because you are far better off with an honest member of the opposing party than one of "your own party" who is willing to sell you to the devil for a few hookers.

    And, for that matter, do the same with your news outlets. And your local ballot boxes. If we paid half the attention to keeping the system honest that we do American idol or celebrity babies, we wouldn't have this problem.

    --MarkusQ

  • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:09AM (#15803932) Homepage Journal
    I particularly enjoy how I can't shop for good deals on my doctor-recommended loratidine with decongestant that I take every day for my allergies. Apparently, if I purchase more than 15 pills of 240 mg pseudoephedrine each in one day I am obviously running a meth lab.

    I never knew. I guess the government knows me better than I know myself. Thank you, government, for stopping me from creating a narcotics lab that I never knew I wanted!

    The peach situation baffles the hell out of me though.
  • Re:Go Fig (Score:3, Insightful)

    by buswolley (591500) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:09AM (#15803933) Journal
    Its Big Brother, but its a distributed Big brother.

    So you won't see much at any one spot. Its thin and everywhere.

  • by blanks (108019) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:09AM (#15803934) Homepage Journal
    It's simple, its profiling or random checking for criminals.  Even criminals have to buy food, and if they scan in their license there is a general known area s/he frequents.

    The funny thing is that people are totally happy with letting companies and goverment track them.  Every purchase with your CC is tracked.  Every purchase with an "awards card" is tracked, and people are totally fine with this type of tracking.

    Personally I think it will get to the point where you no longer just punch in for a job.  You punch in to leave your house, enter your house, enter buildings,  ride public transit and so on. it will be so simple, we all ready have a trackable ID on us.  It would be simple too since they all ready do it with people on house arrest (talk into the phone and a device).

    But with RFID it will be even easier, and less noticable.
  • by Zelph (628698) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:11AM (#15803945) Homepage
    I was ID'd for a lighter the other day. Now, I am a bit younger looking, and I know that restricting lighter sales is the first step to restricting consumption of other products. In California, and at a Walmart, at that. The real issue that would make me start to worry is data aggregation. And that is where I think it all falls apart (knock on wood). If they could aggregate all the data of my purchases, communications, etc, I would be a lot more worried. If you ARE paranoid, a major step to eliminate tracking is to go cash only. Stop using electronic payments of any kind. Stop using grocery discount cards too. They track spending habits.

    But again, data aggregation is key, and they don't have that yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:14AM (#15803952)
    Yes, everybody knows that. But when was the last time you triggered an alert over an apricot in a store? Come on, dude, don't be a fool. I agree w/GP, the guy is a demogogue.
  • Re:Listen closely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zCyl (14362) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:16AM (#15803957)
    My fear is, the fact that we find out about these domestic wiretaps, secret European prisons - means that the people put in charge of these things are morons. Most people in the position to be doing important secret 1984-type dealings are smart. The things we know about are pretty bad - how much worse are the things we don't know about?

    So are you proposing that we should or should not keep electing morons? Your argument could go either way...
  • Not Quite (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NotFamousYet (937650) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:16AM (#15803960)
    "Big Brother" is supposed to be made of one entity which monitors and seeks to control people's lives and thoughts.

    What the summary describes here is merely companies or the government trying to gather information, mostly for a commercial purpose.
    These do not constitute a common group with a specific goal, but just different groups that have their own interests. Most of these do not trade information between each other.

    However, it is true that the US courts have been asking sites such as Google or Yahoo to forward their user's information, so the tendency could be going towards such a centralized system.

    If you're looking for systems in which people's actions and thoughts are restricted, China or USSR would be better examples.
  • by alshithead (981606) * on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:16AM (#15803962)
    And it's not even on the shelf. You have to take a card to the pharmacy and then show your ID. They want your phone number too. Like I need all that extra hassle when I feel like shit from having a bad cold.
  • We're at 1983 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pjt48108 (321212) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `80184tjp'> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:23AM (#15803993) Homepage
    1984 is when the authorities catch a clue.

    Or, as Benny hill once said in a sketch, "My dog likes to chase cars, but if he ever caught one, he wouldn't know what to do with the damn thing!"

    Right now, the powers that be are dogs chasing cars, but they are close to figuing out what they'll do when they catch one.

    Enjoy this moment while it lasts.
  • by StefanJ (88986) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:24AM (#15803994) Homepage Journal
    No, I'm not a libertarian.

    I would be if they were balls-out scrappers for freedom and liberty for all humans. But too often they stop at property rights, and assume that a good round of deregulation and tax cuts will fix everything else.

    Freedom and rights have to be fought for. The enemy isn't just the government; it includes corporations.

    Human rights must come before corporate rights. Too many Libertarians I know seem uncomfortable with that.

    So, which party to turn to? Right now, there's no clear choice. But for now, the first step is denying Bush the convenience of a rubber stamp congress.

    That means holding your nose and voting Democratic this fall.

    And stop being afraid.
  • by honkycat (249849) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:24AM (#15803995) Homepage Journal
    I'm not a huge fan of sippery slope arguments (although I do think the sentiment is often in the right place), but do you think we need to wait until things are as bad as they are in 1984 before reacting? The real government may not be as authoritarian as the one in the book, but a major element that allowed that in the book to enforce its rules was the existence of the surveillance technologies. We are clearly at or very near a point that matches the technical sophistication in the book.

    We need to be careful to keep this technology from being used for ill. When something that's "kind of bad" is proposed, we need to react STRONGLY. Rights have a way of being chipped away and it's usually through violent conflict that these rights are regained. Better to protect them in the first place.

    Further, it doesn't really matter who it is that's doing the surveillance. If Walmart has the information, it's only a subpoena from being in Uncle Sam's hands...
  • eightyfour (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BandwidthHog (257320) <inactive.slashdo ... icallyenough.com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:25AM (#15803997) Homepage Journal
    It wasn’t really about the surveillance. That was merely a plot device. It was about a state of mind and the means to achieve that state.

    In the superficial sense, i.e. electronic surveillance, much of what you mentioned has fallen into place over the past ten to fifteen years. And most of it has been implemented by commercial interests. As for the mindset? I, and I’m sure a whole lot of others around here, would say that the overwhelming majority of it has sprung up in the body politic within the past 58 months.

    May you live in interesting times, comrade.

  • by r00t (33219) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:28AM (#15804006) Journal
    Suppose we raise it to $60 an hour. Better? Would you still have a job?

    OK, that's too much. Well, how many lost jobs are acceptable? Can you give a number? If we raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and lay off 15% of the workforce, is that good?

    More money is great as long as YOU don't lose your job. Everybody, even those already on minimum wage, thinks it'll be the other guy who loses his job or that some rich guy won't be so rich. Sure, and pigs fly really well.

    To pay the cleaning people their new minimum wage, we can get rid of one web developer. The other guys can work overtime to make up the loss. Then again, maybe it's just time for the company to go bankrupt and get rid of EVERYBODY.

    It goes the other way too. A smelly drunk isn't likely to get hired at $5.15 an hour, but his value might be above zero. He deserves a chance to work. The same goes for the fat girl with acne that makes people feel ill, the guy who stares inappropriately, the lady who has conversations with her knuckles... They all deserve a chance to work.
  • by Catamaran (106796) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:29AM (#15804010)
    Orwell was writing about contemporary society. We have been living 1984 for a long time.
  • by friedmud (512466) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:37AM (#15804034)
    30 Million People live on minimum wage because they are too lazy to do anything else. Seriously... anyone over the age of 18 that is still making minimum wage has made a conscious decision to just sit on their asses. If you want to make more money do better in High School... or sign up for a couple community college classes _and actually do the work_ (I see a lot of people sign up for those classes and _still_ be lazy and end up back on their asses at McDonalds)... or, in general, just make better decisions in life.

    I don't think there should be _any_ minimum wage at all... let people work for what they're willing to work for. If the work and pay suck then people will try to do better... and if they're too lazy to do better then that's their own damn problem.

    I'm so damn tired of this crap... people need to take responsibility for their lives... that's part of the reason we're in this mess. People have become so lazy and complacent that they want the Government to do everything for them... including figuring out a way to make them money. If we all took care of our own shit this wouldn't be a problem.

    Sigh.

    Friedmud
  • by illuminatedwax (537131) <stdrange AT alumni DOT uchicago DOT edu> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:41AM (#15804047) Journal
    What needs to happen now is for people to understand what is going on. This kind of activity has a draining effect on society, basically sapping them of their notion of "freedom." Ask your neighbors, your parents, your kids, your peers: many of them will tell you that they don't mind that they are being treated like criminals. "Why worry if you're not doing anything wrong?" is the typical response. These people don't understand what "freedom" means. These days the word has come to mean "freedom to love America" when in fact it's the opposite we need to allow. So you can start by making sure the people you know, and others if you can, that if our freedom does have a chance of disappearing, and you need to educate them as to what that means.

    I'm not saying that this is happening now, though. We're getting closer, but the real danger comes from people who will welcome it when it comes. The single most important battle to be won is in the battle of ideas - that's politics these days.

    The other thing you can do is begin securing all aspects of your life. Try and use encryption over the internet; encrypt your emails and messages. Start using cash to buy stuff - the Japanese do it all the time; paying with credit or debit at a store is pretty much rare in Japan. Refuse to buy from the grocery store if they require your drivers license to prove you won't make cyanide when you buy peaches (are peach trees illegal now??).

    But important: if you DO make a fuss, DO NOT LOOK LIKE AN ASSHOLE. This is probably what most of you are capable of doing. If you do "fight the man," please do so in an orderly, respectful, and unannoying manner. If you get asked for your license at the grocer's, don't scream about it - people want to get through the line. Simply refuse to purchase from the store, and explain to those around you that you are being asked for your driver's license to buy peaches. The worst thing that can happen is for your ideals to be tied in with obnoxious behavior (this is what happened to liberals).
  • by Almost-Retired (637760) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:44AM (#15804061)
    "The big question now is: how much worse can it get?" Wrong. The big question is what are we going to do to stop this. It's our government, dammit.

    The only way is to clean house, senate, and white house all in the same general election. Otherwise the old boy network continues uninterrupted because at the end of the day, the party affiliation doesn't mean as much as just maintaining the so-called elite group in power.

    The last time around I couldn't stomach either of the republicrat parties candidates, gave it a bit of thought & voted libertarian. ISTR My wife felt the same way & voted green. So they got one vote each in our home county. Big fscking deal. OTOH, if enough of us have had it with these lying jerks to do something about it, THEN WE CAN FIX IT. BUT, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GET OFF OUR COLLECTIVE FAT ASSES AND DO IT! DON'T JUST VOTE IN THE LESSOR OF THE 2 MAIN EVILS, VOTE IN SOMEONE WHO HONESTLY THINKS AS WE DO, THAT THE POLICE STATE GEORGE ORWELL DESCRIBED IN '1984' HAS GONE FAR ENOUGH AND ITS TIME TO SWING THAT PENDULUM THE OTHER WAY. And I frankly don't give a damn if a few wanna be Ken Lay's jump out of 40th floor windows as things get back to an even keel.

    Go talk to the candidates face to face, and if you cannot get that close, then they are too damned paranoid and don't deserve your vote. I've stood literally nose to nose with the govenor of this state, telling him his pet project was going down in flames (and it did) but neither of us had any worries about that nose to nose confrontation. He is an honest, approachable human being that despite our differences, got my vote the last time based on his performance in that situation.

    Participation in the political process is what this country was founded on, and those that sit as couch warmers, and base your votes on party lines, what Bill OReilly says, or other mainstream media propaganda artists, fully deserve the traitorous, sell out to the highest bidder, representation you'll get. This may be the last time we get a chance to fix things because if it continues with the present erosion of private, personal freedoms at the present rate, you won't recognize the election as a democratic process by 2012 unless you are one of the sheeple we denigrate here on /. so often...

    The choice is ours to make, and we should make it as wisely as we can. We, as a whole, voted ourselves into this box, and hopefully we can vote our way out of it. We at least owe the republic a try at fixing it.

    --
    Cheers, Gene
  • by drooling-dog (189103) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:44AM (#15804062)
    Now, don't get me wrong, but I don't think we've come to that yet.

    How will we recognize it when we do?
  • by FLEB (312391) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:53AM (#15804092) Homepage Journal
    must avoid starting a tangental flamewar... must avoid starting a tangental flamewar... must avoi... oh, screw it.

    How come 30 million people have to try to live on $5.15 an hour?

    Because 29,999,999 other people also have a similarily qualified skill/opportunity/motivation set and will work for $5.75/hr.

    If a minimum wage exceeds the real value of a minimum-wage worker, especially in the case of a nationally-enforced minimum wage, you'd just be playing leapfrog with inflation that constantly creeps up to drive the real income of a minimum wage worker back down to what their work is actually worth to the market. That inflation would also have the effect of making everyone's savings worth less and less (not taking into account interest, which would mitigate the effect to some extent.)

    This is not to say I'm for throwing out the minimum wage or other such "minimum" labor laws. If you cut out the floor, you end up screwing people over throughout the chain by allowing people willing to be underpaid to undercut, and thus lessen the value of trades and push out more qualified workers who actually wish to make a living. (Okay, so I do have somewhat of a protectionist streak to me as well.) Until some better structural solution (and don't give me any fulla'-holes 'isms) comes along, the only real solution is to keep the minimum wage at the realistic value of minimum wage work. At the moment, folks seem to think "$5.15".

    (No, I'm not an economist, and yes, I welcome you to shoot these arguments full of holes, especially if you can provide links to informative material.)

    Wait... what were we talking about?
  • Wrong dystopia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by apflwr3 (974301) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:53AM (#15804093)
    When's the last time you read 1984? The fact that you can post this question on Slashdot, that you can go to a store and have a selection of products (and have the money to pay for them), even the fact that you have a girlfriend suggests we aren't living in the totalitarian "future" of Orwell's book. Orwell was reacting to Stalinist Russia, and we're about as far in the opposite direction now as you can get from that-- it's a lot more like the capitalism-run-amok chaos of a Gibson or Dick novel.

    Hell, many of the examples you gave are about corporations trying to peg exactly who you are to market to you, not some Big Brother entity who wants to enslave you. I would even venture to say that the powers-that-be aren't really afraid of outspoken political speakers any more. It's become so easy to express your thoughts to the world, and there are so many people doing so, it's almost impossible for one person (no matter how charismatic or persuasive) to sway enough opinions to matter.

    I could be wrong, and the jackbooted thugs and black helicopters could be waiting around the corner... But I don't think so. I think the reality is everyone just wants your money. And they want your data, but only because it will lead them to your money.

  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:56AM (#15804107)
    If EVERYONE refused to comply with such absurd rules when purchasing stuff at stores, the stores would lose business.
  • by megaditto (982598) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:00AM (#15804123)
    Let me play Devil's advocate here:

    The 'free market' ended in 1930's for the same reason 'anarchy' ended in the stone age: a single strongman will fuck up the playing field for everybody by assimilating, subjugating, and repressing everyone else (while getting even stronger in the process). To take it to extreme, in a 'free market' there is nothing to stop some asshole buying a nuclear weapon, then collecting 'protection' money from you and me. There is nothing to stop GSK from patenting antibiotics as a concept, then charging $10,000,000 per pill. So what that 50% of children will not survive to adulthood (a la 19th century America), that's because they are too lazy to do anything else.

    Yes, the free market is the best possible scenario, except that human nature being what it is, the market will quickly degrade into something horrible if completely uncontrolled.
  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:00AM (#15804124) Journal

    If you're interested in reading the account of someone who started out pretty much where you are, except that he's an attorney specializing in constitutional law, you might want to check out How Would a Patriot Act [amazon.com]

    From the back cover:

    Glenn Greenwald was not a political man. Not liberal, not conservative. Politicians were all the same and it didn't matter which party was in power. Extremists on both ends canceled each other out, and the United States would essentially remain forever centrist. Or so he thought.

    Then came September 11, 2001. Greenwald's disinterest in politics was replaced by patriotism, and he supported the war in Afghanistan. He also gave President Bush the benefit of the doubt over his decision to invade Iraq. But, as he saw Americans and others being disappeared, jailed and tortured, without charges or legal representation, he began to worry. And when he learned his president had seized the power to spy on American citizens on American soil, without the oversight required by law, he could stand no more. At the heart of these actions, Greenwald saw unprecedented and extremist theories of presidential power, theories that flout the Constitution and make President Bush accountable to no one, and no law.

    --MarkusQ
  • by poppen_fresh (65995) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:02AM (#15804128)
    30 Million People live on minimum wage because they are too lazy to do anything else.

    Because everyone knows all the minimum wage jobs are the easy ones... Strawberry picking, aspalt laying, etc aren't hard at all

    If you want to make more money do better in High School

    You should visit some public high schools in poor areas some day. Hard work won't change that drugs are rampant, gangs rule the hallways, and you can't get a real education.

    Maybe you should go talk to real people that are poor. Two parents working two full time minimum wage jobs have trouble supporting a family. It may open your eyes that even though hard work can often result in success, for those in impovershied areas, or for those who are born with disadvantages or into a disadvantageous situation, hard work is necessary for survival, and that is often barely achieved.

    You're the one that needs to get real and realize that not everyone is born with a bevy of opportunities, and it's not easy to succeed, even with hard work.

  • by miskatonic alumnus (668722) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:03AM (#15804134)
    Well, something has to be done. Take for example the poor man who can't afford health insurance: he waits until his health problems escalate, then goes to the emergency room. Not being able to pay, the hospitals increase their rates, and the insurance companies pass it on to their paying customers. So, those who can afford it will end up paying for the poor guy ANYWAY. Furthermore, if his problem stems from microbial infection, he may have the opportunity to spread the misery through the workforce before getting treated. This costs people and businesses even more money.

    The variance of the payscale needs to be reduced. The janitor's function in society is just as important as that of the CEO of Exxon, and he should be compensated at a level that enables him to pay for housing, utilities, health care, transportation, and a little extra for some fun. Why should extremely gifted or the extremely lucky be the only ones to partake of what life has to offer? It's a sad commentary on the history of human civilization that after 5,000 years we still haven't evolved beyond exploiting one another.
  • Re:Go Fig (Score:5, Insightful)

    by monoqlith (610041) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:04AM (#15804136)
    Obviously, you didn't read it carefully enough either. This is interesting, since you seem to feel quite superior to the rest of us that think it's a very relevant piece of work.

    Surveillance and control are intimately linked. Once you remove the barriers against observation, you also remove the barriers against control. This would be one of the main themes of that entire book.

    It is very relevant because in our hyper-informational society, it is becoming easier to surveille people than ever, and information is being used *against* us as opposed to *for us*.

    The government should not be able to leverage what you do in your private life, what you do with your property, what you do with your money, against you, as long as you're not harming anyone else with your actions - and even when we do harm other people, we have institutions in place to protect ourself against the government - habeas corpus, the right to not incriminate ourselves, etc. It's the government that should be transparent and open to surveillance - not the populace. This is, after all, a *democracy* where the people, not any autocratic police government, are in power.

    If at any moment it is possible that you are being observed by someone - anyone - aren't you less inclined to exercise your freedoms? I certainly am.
  • by AndreiK (908718) <AKrotkov@gmail.com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:08AM (#15804157)
    Dammit, 1 AM my time is no time to be fighting the Communist Propaganda!
  • by athlon02 (201713) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:09AM (#15804161)
    this kind of thing has been in the works for quite a long time and in much worse ways than mentioned in the article... The USA tends to make laws to fight *symptoms* of problems and not to cure the problems themselves. This is a prime example:

    http://www.troyrecord.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1170&d ept_id=7021&newsid=16606489&PAG=461&rfi=9 [troyrecord.com]

    And I know some will scoff at this or think me nuts, that's fine. If you feel you must mod me down, that's fine too. I just want to throw out some food for thought to those who will care...

    These kinds of actions (reactionary laws vs. teaching proper morals) along with the recent hurricanes and terrorist attacks all sound to me like God is warning the U.S. to shape up or prepare to face extinction as a nation. This would not be the first time in history He has done so. And I'm not talking about the end of the world or some miraculous event wiping out most of America. No, I'm talking about God's providence working to discipline those who refuse to obey Him.

    And for those who are so inclined, read (or re-read) the books of the prophets... Over and over again nations are wiped out (particularly those with the *most* power and arrogance) and replaced by other nations as the dominating force in the world. And for those who are skeptical about the Bible's accounts of these nations, check archaeological history... Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medes & Persians, Greeks, Romans, etc, etc.

    Let me be clear... I am not suggesting panic. Nor do I think we need any "John 3:16" signs like at the end of Ghostbusters. Just suggesting some serious reflection and consideration to those on /. who believe in God (and to those who are willing to research God and the Bible with an open mind).
  • by Rick17JJ (744063) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:14AM (#15804176)

    Don't forget the RFID tagged world that we are heading into. Companies such as Wall-Mart and several government agencies have been pushing hard to add RFID spychips [spychips.com] to everything that we purchase. Soon we will be wearing RFID tagged clothing and shoes. Our wallets will have RFID tags in our charge cards and passports. We will be driving around in cars with RFID tags in the tires and elsewhere.

    Each and every RFID tag will have a unique serial number and we will secretly be scanned when entering stores. Upon checking out our RFID tagged items we will show them our shoppers discount card and pay by charge card where our personal information will be updated in various computer databases. Who knows what personal information will then eventually be shared with credit agencies, advertisers and the governemnt.

    As we drive around the country hidden scanners in highways will secretly log our movements at key points. And of course all the young people proudly carry their cell phones everywhere. I have heard that cell phones regularly transmit which cell tower they are closest to even when they are turned off. Only removing the battery or perhaps placing it in a Faraday cage would stop that.

    If I understand correctly the USDA wants animal ID [stopanimalid.org] for all animals in micro-farms for every sheep, chicken, goat or other animal. That would most likely involve using RFID Tags to track your food [slashdot.org]. Perhaps they are afraid that that someone could actually buy their food from somewhere in cash without big brother having a record. There is an organization called NoNAIS [nonais.org] that is opposed to those proposed rules.

    Marketing researchers and the police will be able to inventory the contents of our garbage cans with hand held scanners without even opening the lid.

    Many of us even have pets which have been RFID tagged in case they get lost. Some (but not all) Christians believe that RFID chips or something similar implanted into the back of the hands or our foreheads will be the "mark of the beast" described in the Bible. Even if it doesn't go that far, RFID sypchips could play a major role in bringing us into a "1984" like world. Add RFID technology to what other people have said and I think we seriously could be heading towards the future that George Orwell warned us about in the book "1984". Perhaps I should take my tin foil hat off now and just relax, this is still America after all.
  • by jinxidoru (743428) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:16AM (#15804180) Homepage
    Am I the only one who isn't very alarmed by all of this? Everytime someone claims that 1984 has arrived and Big Brother is here (which seems to be about once a week) I have to ask myself, "Have any of these people read 1984?" Our society is so much better than 1984. I also highly doubt that it will ever get to that point. While our actions are monitored by everyone, we still have civil liberties. I'm sure that if anyone cares to look into the records, they would be able to learn that I hate Bush. Even so, I have yet to receive any knocks on my door from guys in black suits. We still have the right to assemble. No one is going back and changing the past ala the Ministry of Truth. No, 2006 is a long way off from 1984.

    Does anyone else believe that life now is better than it has ever been in history. We have less war, less disease, people seem to be friendlier, open source is flourishing, crime is down. It's about time people stop being such pessimists and simply open their eyes to how wonderful the world is now.
  • Re:Listen closely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:18AM (#15804186) Homepage Journal
    I didn't see anywhere in his post where he was implying that there was some "super intelligent group of people controlling the world." Your response was a non sequitur.

    The point is that if a government has been trying systemically to put one over on its citizens for as long as a generation or more -- as I think the US Government clearly has -- it's very difficult to ever know when you've uncovered everything they're hiding. Obviously it's the most boneheaded schemes that get discovered first, followed by the more subtle ones, but there's always a significant chance that there's some internal spying going on that is just less-sloppily done than the stuff we've found out about so far.

    I think that's a pretty good point; I think it's likely to the point of near necessity that we haven't heard the last of the government's internal surveillance efforts. Considering how the ones we know about today were made public, it's clear that more tightly-managed (and perhaps more narrow in scope) projects probably would have remained hidden.
  • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:18AM (#15804187)
    There is nothing to stop GSK from patenting antibiotics as a concept, then charging $10,000,000 per pill.

    Sure there is: If they price themselves out of the mass market, they wouldn't make any money that way.

    In any event, a patent is a government-enforced artificial monopoly. In a libertarian paradise (which you appear to be substituting for "free-market economy"), they wouldn't necessarily exist.
  • by lokiomega (596833) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:26AM (#15804212)
    If that was truly the case, then your sister would be the stupid one.
  • by linguae (763922) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:31AM (#15804226)
    The 'free market' ended in 1930's for the same reason 'anarchy' ended in the stone age: a single strongman will fuck up the playing field for everybody by assimilating, subjugating, and repressing everyone else (while getting even stronger in the process).

    Wrong. I'm tired of the old Great Depression "free markets failed" bullcrap that many history books spew and a lot of people believe. The Great Depression was a normal recession made much worse by the Federal Reserve's mishandling of the money supply. Getting off the gold standard and switching to fiat money didn't help situations, as well as higher tarrifs.

    But free markets did end in the 1930s, or at least became much less free. We have fiat money that inflates often. We implemented socialistic programs that didn't really help with the depression and arguably made it worse (World War II is what got us out of the depression, not the New Deal). Government went from very small to very large. We now mired in massive federal debt that only increases every year. Classical liberalism was thrown out in place of socialism and fascism, and now whenever people believe in classical liberal and libertarian ideas, they're written off as silly people.

    Now, interestingly enough, some of the problems that you have stated are caused by the government, not by free markets. Patents, for example. Patents (and other "intellectual property" like copyrights and trademarks) are a governmental creation. I don't advocate getting rid of copyrights, patents, and other "IP," but don't blame the free market for that. I am a staunch free market supporter who also supports anti-trust legislation and other similar measures; they help keep the market free. (Being controlled by mega-corporations is just as bad as being controlled by big governments, in my book. However, governments hold a legal monopoly on force, which makes them worse, IMO.). But I don't believe in redistributionist policies. Perhaps we should focus on helping the poor in the marketplace instead of welfare. After all, if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; but if you teach a man how to fish....

  • by friedmud (512466) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:33AM (#15804236)
    "Two parents working two full time minimum wage jobs have trouble supporting a family."

    I knew this would come up (it always does). I have absolutely _zero_ sympathy for either the parents or the children in this case. If the parents couldn't support children they should have made the right decisions and (gasp!) _not had kids_! Responsible decisions? What the hell are those? It is not my job to go around and fix everyone else's problems because they weren't responsible with their lives.

    "But think of the children," everyone cries... the problem is that by artificially propping up families that shouldn't have happened in the first place we are teaching the children that they don't have to make responsible decisions either.... because the government will bail them out. This creates a vicious cycle where people become more and more dependent upon the government... leading us toward a complete socialism.

    (Also note, that I don't necessarily think that socialism is bad... it's just not the society _I_ want to live in... and there are plenty of socialist societies to go around... so stop messing with my capitilistic society!)

    "not everyone is born with a bevy of opportunities"

    You don't know anything about me. My parents both just barely finished high-school... they worked their asses off to give my sister and I what we had... but it wasn't much. _I_ worked my ass off to do better and rise above what my parents had done, and I hope to instill that same work ethic into my kids so they can continue to increase their quality of life. When all of my comrades in high-shcool were off getting drunk and making babies I was studying and making good grades so I could have the things I wanted in life... which is the way it should be...

    Friedmud
  • Re:Peaches? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:34AM (#15804241) Homepage
    Best Python Reference Ever.
  • by Arker (91948) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:34AM (#15804242) Homepage
    And so what? Why is it any of their business what you choose to put in your body? Whether it's meth or tide with bleach or patté (banned in many places now, ISYN,) it's no ones business but your own. Forgetting that basic principle and accepting the nanny state and the endless 'wars' (the war on (some) poverty, the war on (some) drugs, the war on (some) terrorists) is what's gotten us into this mess.

    So far as the original posters question, no, 1984 didn't come late. 1984 was simply 1948, with a bit of embellishment. Today is even worse than you think.
  • by tehwebguy (860335) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:43AM (#15804266) Homepage
    "Two parents working two full time minimum wage jobs have trouble supporting a family."

    of course they will, which is why they should:

    •    
    • not have kids right away

    •    
    • work to earn a raise

    •    
    • look for another job


    have you ever worked a low paying job? i couldn't find a minimum wage job if i went out and looked. i just grabbed a bite to eat at a small plaza that had 4 help wanted signs -- and i can guarantee they all pay at least $1 over minimum.

    but go find a minimum wage job if you can, and see how hard you have to work at being lazy in order to not get a raise. your mind will be blown by the laziness of the workers around you if you have any kind of work ethic.

    when i worked at a grocery store i was 16 (5 years ago). i started at 5.75 and got a raise every 6 months. i come from a upper-middle class family and in reality i didn't need that job. i didn't work incredibly hard at it, i just did what i was asked to and didn't complain. i was usually on time and i didn't go over on my lunch breaks. essentially the bare minimum.

    i couldn't believe how many people, including those who seemed to need their job far more than i needed mine, simply didn't work hard. so many people were lazy, unmotivated, and dishonest. some people would even try to trick me into doing the work their manager had just asked them to (which they complained directly to them about).

    you talk about raising the minimum wage like it is going to change the world -- it's barely even going to be noticed. the people who continue to make minimum wage will be making the new minimum, as lazy as ever. the extra dollars per month (yes dollars, not tens of dollars) will not be saved, but wasted like the rest of their money. then when your grocery store has to pay all of the lazy people more money, they will probably just fire one.

    the only people woh will notice will be the one who is fired, and you when there is no one there to bag your groceries because there is a shortage of employees. you will probably blame the grocery store too.
  • by drooling-dog (189103) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:55AM (#15804305)
    The worst thing that can happen is for your ideals to be tied in with obnoxious behavior (this is what happened to liberals).

    Yes, those rascally liberals are screwing things up for everybody. Always using reason when force and threats would work perfectly well.

    If you want to enjoy the rights of a full citizen and human being, please ask us politely. Your request will be considered (at our sole discretion) in the order in which it is received.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:56AM (#15804311)
    1) Register error. There are things like alcohol that will flag a stop and check for ID situation, and of course it's controlled from the central inventory software. It's not like the register is concious of what you order, it just checks to see if item #X has an ID flag set. If it is, it stops the sale and asks the clerk to check ID.

    2) He's making shit up to try and be dramatic.

    I mean peaches certianly aren't globally restricted. We just bought some the other day, no problems, as I imagine millions of people did. You would hear about it if they were sending flags up all over.

    As for check ID items, it's up to the store how far they go. Like with alcohol I've had the entire range. Some simply dismiss the warning assuming fomr appearnace I'm over 21. Some check my ID each time. At grocery and convience stores they are usually more carefuly. Some check the ID and enter the birthdate in the register, some have you scan it in a little machine that checks. The most extreme case I saw was at a Frys which is near the university and a couple of high schools, thus lots of underage purchaes. They check your ID, record it, and make you sign the book they recorded it in.

    Basically it's the levle of CYA they feel necessary to not get fined/shut down. Fact of the matter is, someone will fool them and buy underage. Well if a fuss is made of it, the liquor board investigates. They then have to prove they took steps to stop that from happening. The liquor board deicded based on that if they were really trying and it was an honest mistake, or if they are being delibratly lax.

    thus the response depends on the store, it's not government mandidated, the government just says "You can't sell to minors and you are responsable for taking steps to make sure you don't." Up to you to determine the kind of steps and the proof you keep of them so you can defend yorself if need be.

    But ya, I am not seeing any federal peach crackdown here. If that's the case, we'd probably hear about it on CNN.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:57AM (#15804316)

    Just because a legal object may potentially be used for illegal purposes is not a "VERY legitimate reason you must show ID...". What's next? Require customers show ID before buying kitchen knives and baseball bats? What about computer equipment? After all, the computer might be used to "steal" copyrighted material.

    In several Central European countries I've visited, crack pipes are sold at the local news stands. In these countries, posession of a crack pipe is not illegal; using it to smoke crack is illegal.

  • by ben there... (946946) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @02:16AM (#15804376) Journal
    Bush is not a moron. Bush does not live on a ranch. That is all an image.

    Morons don't continuously expand their Presidential powers, while ignoring (breaking) hundreds of laws designed to limit their power. You haven't read this Boston Globe article:
    Bush challenges hundreds of laws [boston.com]?

    President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

    [...]

    Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.

    [...]

    Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.

    Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files ''signing statements" -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register.

    In his signing statements, Bush has repeatedly asserted that the Constitution gives him the right to ignore numerous sections of the bills -- sometimes including provisions that were the subject of negotiations with Congress in order to get lawmakers to pass the bill. He has appended such statements to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed.

    Bush knows exactly what he's doing. Calling him a moron is simply underestimating his gross disrespect for your freedoms and the Constitution, and is a distraction from his intent to give himself more and more power while taking away your rights.
  • Re:Wrong dystopia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Politicus (704035) <salubrious@ym[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @02:16AM (#15804377) Homepage
    The analogy was correct with respect to newspeak, "Healthy Forests Initiative", "Clear Skies Initiative", "Operation Iraqi Freedom", surveillance, indoctrination, militarism, "The US has always been at war with Al-Qaeda", nationalism, political use of fear and hatred and institutionalized ignorance, "Intelligent Design", "Stem cell research is murder". The only aspect that doesn't fit the analogy is socialism but you can have both right and left authoritarian societies. For every Stalin and Saddam, there's a Pinochet and Franco.

    If you are comfortable living in a space 10' a side, then you'll never notice the 12' square cell that you're in. American statism has been so successful precisely because controls are hidden since overt controls foment discontent. People are indoctrinated with American exceptionalism from birth. It is a very powerful myth and the backbone of control. Conformity is constantly being reinforced by your employer, church, school, college, customers and the media. Commercial consumerism is the modern day soma, to borrow from another dystopia.

    The main difference between 1984 and 2006 is that the state doesn't bother dealing with those who try to affect it rather than submit to its power because it only needs to neutralize effective dissidents. So, Noam Chomsky, for example, is allowed to do his thing because his message is neutralized by lack of access to mainstream media and the media's noise thrown up against it. Those who can't be reigned in by typical controls are incarcerated, disappeared or killed, "suicided" is the CIA term, as in any traditional authoritarian regime.

    * WAR IS PEACE

    * FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

    * IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

  • Re:Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stoutlimb (143245) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @02:28AM (#15804424)
    "Already many jobs require good credit."

    As someone who recently got refused a job that I went to school for on the basis of my credit rating, I agree with you that things have gone too far.

    Bork!
  • Re:Chill out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by isotope23 (210590) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @02:35AM (#15804448) Homepage Journal
    First : "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! " Patrick Henry

    Second : "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." Thomas Paine

    Third : "And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions" --Samuel Adams, Debates of the Massachusetts Convention of 1788

    Fourth : "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    FYI, I am not a liberal. I did not like clinton, But I detest Bush. He has IMO clearly vioalted his oath of office
    to preserve protect and defend the constitution.

    Lastly,in response to your " I paraphrase the Administration spokesman here, I would rather the government collected my call records than my remains"

    Patrick Henry was right, and americans today have become complete pussies to the point that most probably do not deserve freedom because they don't like the cost.

  • Re:Peaches? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cappy Red (576737) <miketoon@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @02:44AM (#15804483)
    What's really interesting is that I would know about none of this if the scanner hadn't gone off and led to that anecdote.

    Not saying that that was why the scanner went off, or that steps must be taken to protect us from the fruits, but that high profile reactions to items perceived to be inoccuous can spread around information you'd rather stayed put.
  • by drooling-dog (189103) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @02:57AM (#15804523)
    I don't know... Being an asshole and/or prick has been a pretty successful formula on AM talk radio and Fox News; not many liberals there. Many people want fear and hate, not reason, so persuasion is often moot.

    Of course, I agree that it's always annoying when other people who share our viewpoints deliver them clumsily, incompetently, or unpersuasively.

    But please, stop with the hippies. It's the beatniks you should be worrying about...
  • by 0Seeker0 (905487) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:16AM (#15804580)
    What scares me far more than all of this gov't intrusion and monitoring of simple, everyday activites is the willingness of people to justify the intrusions. Go back and read all these comments. Even the Slashdot crowd, which is most likely smarter than your average random population sample, will denigrate the poster as a "demagogue", and come up with every justification for the intrusions (keeping cough syrup from kids or cold pills from drug dealers, catching terrorists, etc.) even if his point remains valid. Even they are willing to justify these ever-growing intrusions in the name of security.

    What possible chance does personal liberty and privacy stand if the citizenry doesn't give a shit? We don't even need the gov't to force us -- our "patriotic" citizens are all too willing to play along. No one intends to willingly give up all their freedoms. They just remain complacent and ignore it long enough for the intrusions keep escalating until legitimate dissent is no longer possible.

    When history looks back, I wonder how we will be judged. Will historians shake their heads and cry at how we so willingly lost the very freedom that once made our country unique? Or will gov't intrusion have gotten so bad that questioning any gov't policies, even past ones, will deem the citizen "unpatriotic" and a "threat to his country"?

    What do you think?

    //Seeker


    "Naturally the common people don't want war...That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along...All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."

    Herman Goering
    Nazi Reichsmarshall and Chief of the Luftwaffe
    Germany, Third Reich
    During his trial at Nuremburg, before he was hanged.
  • Re:What privacy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ant_tmwx (239616) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:23AM (#15804610) Homepage
    The difference is between the amount of data and the ease with which is it aggregated (& dispersed).

    Back then, someone like a town gossip or a social hub could have tons of information on almost everyone. But it was very broad and not very deep.

    Now its ALL the EXACT financial data, utilities, shopping, library checkouts, phone calls, medical records, etc etc etc. Oops, we lost all your banking details! Oops , the laptop w/ the veterans medical records got stolen! Oh you're using an abnormal amount of power for your presumed guilty assumed hydroponics lab, prove you are innocent. It doesn't even take an imagination (luckily I don't have one).

  • by telbij (465356) * on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:44AM (#15804665)
    You don't know anything about me. My parents both just barely finished high-school... they worked their asses off to give my sister and I what we had... but it wasn't much. _I_ worked my ass off to do better and rise above what my parents had done, and I hope to instill that same work ethic into my kids so they can continue to increase their quality of life. When all of my comrades in high-shcool were off getting drunk and making babies I was studying and making good grades so I could have the things I wanted in life... which is the way it should be...


    You need to get the chip off your shoulder and stopping judging others. Just because you think you had it hard doesn't give you the right to judge a billion other people whom you know nothing about.

    You also need to stop worrying about a vicious cycle that leads towards socialism. The natural order of things is that the rich increase their power and concentrate their wealth. Things like tiered tax rates and the minimum wage are checks on the ability of the rich to take complete control of society. We institute these things to create a stable society which benefits everyone. Your moral indignation about someone getting a handout is more of an emotional response than an actual threat to capitalism.
  • Re:Go Fig (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:49AM (#15804682) Journal
    "Ghandi and King both worked in the open against unjust laws, and they won--by being in the open. If you're too cowardly to do whatever it is that you do out in the open, then you shouldn't be doing it."

    Neither Ghandi or King masterbated in public.
  • by chowda (161971) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:56AM (#15804699) Homepage
    Being WILLING to work for less to do what you love is completely different than being FORCED or WANTING to be in that situation.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:18AM (#15804753)
    Here's a hint: More than half of them aren't even old enough to vote if they wanted to (and if they were, they'd be statistically unlikely to vote anyway). The minimum wage is a heart-string issue. The Democrats tote it out to get emotional votes out of the section of their base that hasn't engaged their brain. It's the Democrats' version of school prayer.

    wow.. you just trod all over your own argument.

    that leaves 15 million people who are earning below poverty wages who are NOT dependents of others... in other words they NEED a living wage and are not getting it.

    I have news for you people who complain about welfare leeches... half the time these people are pushed into that because if they make above a certain level of income.. they will be denied welfare, but their jobs will make them less than welfare!

    maybe if you raised the minimum wage, their jobs would make them more than welfare and they would not feel compelled to remain unemployed.

    So no.. it's not "the democrat's version of school prayer", it's a valid issue of exploiters paying sub-poverty wages, then lobbying for a "free market" whenever there is a push to raise those wages to a point where people can.. i don't know.. buy food AND a pay rent at the same time?
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:31AM (#15804776)
    "But for now, the first step is denying Bush the convenience of a rubber stamp congress.

    That means holding your nose and voting Democratic this fall."


    How does B follow A? How does giving Congress to the other party that voted overwhelmingly in favor of the USA PATRIOT Act (twice!), the other party that can't even bother censuring (let alone impeaching) the man, the other party that has been moving in lockstep with the Republicans deny Bush anything?

    The only thing that might change things in DC is if everybody voted against all incumbents, regardless of party (which simply won't happen, thanks to gerrymandering). But voting straight Democrat? Sound and fury, signifying nothing.
  • license numbers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:32AM (#15804777) Homepage Journal
    If i was required to enter that information just to pay in cash at the self-chekout, i would have been leaving the item on the scanner and be going to another store.

    I realize what they have when you pay with CC, but in a case like that, they would have lost the sale, with me at least.
  • Re:Go Fig (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roystgnr (4015) <roystgnr@t[ ]m.utexas.edu ['ica' in gap]> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:45AM (#15804803) Homepage
    (This is one of the surprisngly modern parts of Christianity, btw -- "and what you whisper in shadows will be shouted from rooftops" and all that.)

    If you are less inclined to exercise your freedoms when you are being observed, well, then you probably are confusing "excerise your freedoms" with "break the rules of good behavior". Please go back to kindergarten, I think you missed a few lessons on how to operate in civilzied society.


    Spoken like someone for whom "civilized society" has always been synonymous with "my own cultural mores". Ironically, that culture only survived to become a mainstream belief by carefully protecting its privacy amidst a larger, often hostile society. The fish symbol which car owners and companies use to advertise their Christianity today was originally intended to do the opposite, as a passcode to help Christians keep their beliefs secret from observers who might do them harm.
  • Re:Wrong dystopia (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NewToNix (668737) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:53AM (#15804822) Journal
    Spot on - the correct adjective (or lots closer) would be Kafkaesque http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafkaesque [wikipedia.org]

    We fight the war on terror by becoming ever more terrorized - by our own government, for there own not quite clear reasons... shadowy people engaged in shadowy dealings - that you can't be told about (AT&T + NSA, etc.).

    Nice confusing things like color codes to tell us how afraid to be on any given day.

    A vast feeling that the people in charge, aren't really the entities in charge, only the representatives of some powerful cabal.

    That you are a tiny cog helplessly caught in a web of half truths and out right lies, over which you have no control.

    Welcome to America. The land of the Free and Home of the Brave... once upon a time anyway.

    The thing that truly bothers me is that I'm old enough (64) that I know this is largely my, and my generation's, fault. I wish I knew where we went wrong. That we did is obvious... that we can't correct our error is also obvious (old men grouse about things - it falls to young men to act). I wish I could recommend a course of action, but I suspect we (my generation) actually threw it all away, without noticing.

    We sure didn't teach one damn thing to our (collective) kids about standing up and bucking the system - we seem to have taught them to go for the Bright Shiny and to have the "I'm a victim" attitude about hard choices.

    So blame me - I do.

  • by sc0p3 (972992) <jaredbroad@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @05:02AM (#15804843) Homepage Journal
    The fundemental difference between the novel 1984 and todays society is that we are not locked away for openly disagreeing with government policy. Sure our behaviour is recorded, which I despise, but we still have free speech.
  • by Money for Nothin' (754763) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @05:05AM (#15804852)

    What can I, a person with no political interests--a person that would really rather think that the people in office are there because they're looking out for us, our rights, and our freedoms and not because their short-sightedness is creating a police state--do to stem the tide?"

    You would rather think that X is true -- even if you know that X is not true?

    As Dilbert once said to a girl while on a date after she said she believed in something that most of us know to be crazy, "since when did belief become a substitute for fact?"

    Why should elected officials give a damn about you? Look at Congress: they have a 92% re-election rate. If you had an "A"-grade chance of re-election, would you be particularly-concerned with what a few of your paranoid, nuttier constituents think? Of course not. If you care at all about your constituency, you follow what the majority wants and give it to them: pork-barrel projects and security from whatever boogeyman-of-the-week may be.

    Elected officals have very little incentive to look out for you or your freedoms. The history of the U.S., to say nothing of the history of virtually every other nation in the world, ought to be evidence of that. And the history of un-elected officials is even worse.

    Go start a religion if you cannot handle reality. You can't handle the truth. But to answer the question: there's nothing you can do. See below.

    Am I just accustomed to old ways? Does the new generation, born with these restrictions, feel the weight of these bonds and recoil from my fears as paranoia?

    I am between the ages of 18-25. Do I qualify as a member of the "new generation"?

    If I do, then I can say that the sort of post-9/11 pro-security, anti-privacy, anti-freedom paranoia is rampant among my generation. We saw 9/11 and said "where's Big Brother to save us? We've got to do whatever it takes to stop all terrorism!!" (yes, I actually had one person my age say this to me) -- as if that is somehow an achievable goal. I make my usual libertarian arguments, and I occasionally find people who are sympathetic, but by and large, people my age don't give a rat's ass about privacy, and will routinely make fun of privacy-minded people (like me, natch).

    Terrorism is the new communism, and it's easier to be blinded by emotion than to run life through the filter of rational, critical, unemotional thought, and so the fear of terrorists overtakes the fear of information abuse that results from invasion of privacy.

    Of course, over time -- and by that, I mean over the course of 3-4 years or more -- I find more and more of them very-slowly coming to the conclusions about privacy I came to a decade ago; only, I came to them deductively and predictively, not reactively; I haven't yet been severely-burned by a lack of privacy, whereas some of them have. ("The best revenge is living well", I suppose.)

    But none have approached my level of distrust for authority (whether government or business), and I'm not nearly as paranoid as many people on Slashdot: I don't wear tinfoil hats, I don't route my Internet traffic through Tor, I don't reject the advancement of RFID chips in ID cards (although I vehemently oppose national ID systems, such as the U.S.'s REAL ID Act, and the national IDs of most other nations around the world). I no longer GPG-sign my email, and no longer run a node for encrypted, application-layer-routed P2P network. I use encryption whenever possible, but I don't demand that friends and family use PGP/GPG, nor that they use encrypted IM clients. They will never adhere to such demands, and requiring them would leave me friendless.

    All my most privacy-conscious friends/family are computer geeks; all my least privacy-conscious friends/family are (largely) computer-illiterate. I do not believe this to be a coincidence.

    The truth of the world is that you cannot trust anybody until they prove themselves

  • by Vicissidude (878310) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @05:21AM (#15804894)
    Are you stupid? The man did not say that all pay should be equal. He said that the variance, the difference, between the low end and the high end should be reduced. Everyone in the wealthiest nation in the world should have enough to "pay for housing, utilities, health care, transportation, and a little extra for some fun." Basically, we should not be complete slaves to our economic conditions. In other words, we should be FREE and have the full rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    These ideas are not communist. They're as democratic and American as mom and the flag and apple pie.

    The CEOs that run the corporations decide what people get paid. In fact, the CEOs even decide their own level of compensation since they control the board of directors and who gets accepted on there. You want a raise? Ask your boss. He'll look at his budget, which was handed down to him from his boss, which was given to him from his boss, all the way up to the CEO. You have no control over this organization. You did not vote in your boss. The CEO takes the money that you earn and gives most of it to himself. The corporation is not a democracy. It's a dictatorship.

    In fact, the corporation is so decidedly undemocratic since they decide what you can or can not say, even in your time off. They decide who you can or can not associate with, even in your time off. They decide what you can or can not do, even in your time off. The corporation is so undemocratic and so un-American that's it's completely laughable that anyone uses the "Communist" card to defend corporate policies of screwing the janitors making minimum wage in order to give the CEO another million dollars.
  • Re:Go Fig (Score:4, Insightful)

    by buswolley (591500) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @05:24AM (#15804896) Journal
    Sheeze, a little bit of an over reaction. Here we go again. I just meant that the only way I'd want to submit to total observation would be to an entity that I can trust without question to do the right thing. There is no such body, so I do not willingly submit to total observation. I am not, however an idiot. I do know that the influence that society has on an individual is very important. This is why I submit to some observation.

    As far as your example of Gandhi. What the hell are you talking about? Gandhi was a public figure, yes, but he didn't peek into everyone's bedroom did he? No. I think you are confusing the issue.

  • by eyebee3 (991838) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @05:33AM (#15804915)
    President bush has done the equivilent of crossing his fingers behind his back while signing 800 bills into law. He has absolved himself from having to follow these laws, and then goes in front of the public (as does the republican congress) applauding this or that new law knowing full well he has no intention of following it. One of these laws he has not agreed to follow, is a law stating that congress must be told about the people he is wiretapping, and they must be told about the people he arrests. He has absolved himself from following the geneva accords as well. Does anyone remember the Gulf War when 1000's of soldiers surrendered to American troops without putting up a fight. The reason they did this, is because we had the reputation as a country of treating our prisoners well. Ask yourself how many 18 year old American kids are going to die in the future because we no longer have that hard won over 200 years reputation. For sure that number will be many more than the number of people who died in 911. Of course it doesn't at all matter to president bush and his ilk. Wealthy people's children don't go to war. And just a question for all you Christians who support bush because you feel he is a god fearing man. Exactly how many people would Jesus torture. Exactly how many people would Jesus kill using torture. We have killed God knows how many people (bush won't say) and we have arrested and tortured God knows how many more in secret prisons around the world where bush can torture them with more ease, because our soldiers who ARE REALLY GOD FEARING and have some conscience, aren't in charge. bush gets up on his podium and crows about how many people he has released, but he fails to note that those he released were absolutely INNOCENT for Gods sake. Final note to all that read this. Once the president is allowed to ignore any law he decides is in his way, we are not anymore a Democracy, we are a kingdom. Scary, HUH?
  • by Vicissidude (878310) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @05:33AM (#15804916)
    "I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there."

    "Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

    "If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."
  • Re:Go Fig (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Znork (31774) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @06:10AM (#15804979)
    "I will be called to account for my actions."

    With the expectation that you will be judged by the totality and the context of your actions.

    With enough data, if you _pick and choose_, you can create a circumstantial case, insinuate, change appearances, and more or less make up whatever suits your preference.

    You make the assumption that God will be Fair.

    I guarantee you, however, someone going after you for being a political opponent wont be.

    Lets just take the words in your comment and play with them a bit, and see what a quick pick comes up with.

    "I'm a communist. I work for the Soviet Union, Communist China, and Cuba. I'm observing the kindergarten every minute of every day."

    Ouch. Just your own words rearranged a bit, and that really makes you sound like someone that should be monitored closely, if not actually locked up at once. Wont somebody think of the children.

    Now imagine the case that could be constructed against you at whim with unlimited data available.
  • by jozmala (101511) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @06:17AM (#15804992)
    Does the new generation, born with these restrictions, feel the weight of these bonds and recoil from my fears as paranoia?


    Yes. Whatever status quo will be by the time those new born citizens is when they are age of 6 ot 7 is what they accept as normal and standard. Changing little by little, the system can change considerably over long period of time, and most of the people don't even realize what has been changed, or are already accepting the status quo. All it takes a small change per year and over long period the change is huge.
    All it takes is generation or two and the standard of whats normal personal freedom could be changed completely from what it is now to something totally different. Computer is your friend. And what kind of invasion of privacy and personal rights we consider now unacceptable will be perfectly normal in 2100 and majority have accepted it as a normal practice, and consider our fears about that kind of future just Paranoia.

  • Re:Perpetual war (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nathanicus (986314) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @06:20AM (#15804997) Homepage
    True, but the Soviet Union
    (a) existed
    (b) was defeatible

    Terrorism
    (a) is neither
  • Re:Peaches? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eggplant62 (120514) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @06:43AM (#15805046)
    I think if I were confronted with that same situation, I'd say, "Excuse me?" I'd then say nothing more, leave the entire order there at the checkout, and leave the store.

    I refuse to shop with merchants who agree to help our currently corrupt government turn American into the Home of the Paranoid and Land of the Caged.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:07AM (#15805087) Journal
    the idea that for the last couple of years America in particular has been headed for a total repetition of Nazi Germany is a forgone conclusion so utterly obvious that it barely even warrants mention.

    If that were the case, then you'd be cooling your heels in a cell somewhere, wouldn't you?

    My grandfather did time for protesting a war by handing out leaflets at an induction center in Atlanta. in 1915. If GWB were even as much as an authoritarian as Wilson, let alone FDR, then most of the people denoucing him as a would-be Nazi would be unable to do so. What do you think would have happened to someone who marched down the street in 1944 with a sign that said "FDR = HITLER"?

    There are things that this country has done in overreaction to 9/11 which will eventually be reversed, but you're not going to help that process by going off the deep end with rhetoric that makes you easy to dismiss as a fool.

    -jcr
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:45AM (#15805163)
    Once you decide that anyone has a right to the product of another person's labor, yes, it's communist.

    then I suppose the CEO's are communists, and the oil companies, and ESPECIALLY the **AA organizations, and of course the republican government who thinks its their right to take our hard earned money for their pet wars.
  • by Aladrin (926209) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @08:01AM (#15805198)

    There are lots of arguments against rising minimum wage [house.gov], but let me give you mine:

    Money isn't free. If wages are raised (and it's not only the minimums that will be raised. Anyone with a half-decent employer or union will also get a raise) then everything has to go up in price so that employers can pay the new wage. It will provide a temporary respite for minimum wage earners, but in the long run, it provides nothing. Everything will balance back out, and in a capitalist economy, it will happen pretty fast. If the raise is announced beforehand, it might even drop before the wage hits so that it is balanced WHEN the raise hits, instead of after.

    I fully agree that something needs to be done about the millions who cannot earn a living no matter how hard they work. But maybe the problem is at the top instead of the bottom. Sports and movie stars that earn 10 million dollars per year ... Hmm, maybe that's a problem.

    Or maybe tax reform? I keep hearing about this 'flat tax' ... Assuming it's as fair as its proponents claim, maybe that should happen.

    Or quite a few other things that actually improve the situation for the people we are trying to help, instead of just looking like it improves the situation.

  • Re:Peaches? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @08:45AM (#15805284)

    I think if I were confronted with that same situation, I'd say, "Excuse me?" I'd then say nothing more, leave the entire order there at the checkout, and leave the store.

    That wouldn't do any good, you'd just get the person working the checkout calling you a crazy. If you're going to make a point, explain why you think it's stupid to the manager, and do it at the checkout queue.

  • by Casualposter (572489) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @08:59AM (#15805321) Journal
    At the local Walmart, I had to show ID to buy school glue. No kidding, Elmer's School Glue, and whipped cream--the kind in the spray can. Some stupid law trying to prevent kids from buying things they might bet high with. Geez. The kids don't buy them, theswipe them from their parents house. Morons
  • Get real (Score:2, Insightful)

    by polyex (736819) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @09:04AM (#15805334)
    When 1984 was released something very close to or having the potential to be very close to what is described in the novel had just been defeated, namely Nazi Germany. Its nice to think of our very plump little lives being the target of some mass conspiracy, but the reality is most of us are not worth the fuel for the imaginary black helicopters that are following us. For some, I suspect this is even more terrifying than Big Brother.
  • by DudeTheMath (522264) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @09:10AM (#15805348) Homepage
    Okay, I've got to respond to this. When I was in high school, the minimum wage was $3.35, and all of us gas-money burger-flippers bitched about how little that was. I couldn't imagine trying to manage monthly expenses for even a single person, much less a small family, on less than $550 a month gross, which would be no more than $510 after SS/Med tax withholding (rent alone on a one-bedroom apartment would have eaten up more than half that).

    Assuming a very conservative 2.5% annual inflation (and believe me, it was much more than that in the first decade) over the last 23 years, that $3.35 would have to be about $5.90 just to keep up. With a (probably more accurate) 3.5% average, it would have to be $7.40. And now Congress is debating a raise to $5.75? I'm not entirely a bleeding-heart liberal (although I do consider myself relatively progressive), but that's just pathetic.

    You can argue that minimum wage isn't supposed to be a living wage, it's just a starting point, blah blah blah, but the point is, there are a lot of people who don't see the point of even trying for a minimum wage job because they can't afford the child care or transportation or whatever that it would cost them to hold the job in the first place.

  • Re:Go Fig (Score:3, Insightful)

    by E++99 (880734) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @09:23AM (#15805386) Homepage
    Surveillance and control are intimately linked. Once you remove the barriers against observation, you also remove the barriers against control. This would be one of the main themes of that entire book.
    But we're not removing those barriers, we're adding more barriers. Observation has existed as long as civil law. Civil law would be impossible without it, and thus therefore would freedom. Every technological advance has increased the capacity for going unobserved. Today we can send messages encrypted, so the government has no ability to read them. That certainly was not possible in the past.

    It is very relevant because in our hyper-informational society, it is becoming easier to surveille people than ever, and information is being used *against* us as opposed to *for us*.
    Technology makes it easier to collect and process information, but not necessarily to observe in the first place. It's subjective to say whether it's used against or for us. It falls to our elective representatives (hopefully, rather than the unelected judiciary) to decide what uses should be pursued. And the majority of the people want the government to be clever and resourceful in finding terrorists and other criminals who prey on the people.

    The government should not be able to leverage what you do in your private life, what you do with your property, what you do with your money, against you, as long as you're not harming anyone else with your actions - and even when we do harm other people, we have institutions in place to protect ourself against the government - habeas corpus, the right to not incriminate ourselves, etc. It's the government that should be transparent and open to surveillance - not the populace. This is, after all, a *democracy* where the people, not any autocratic police government, are in power.
    The people exercise their power through a government of representatives (ignoring the judicial usurpers for now). And while I agree that the government, in general, should be transparent, niether criminal investigations nor military intelligence gathering can be transparent and still function. And the people overwhelmingly want those things to function. Again it's a basic fact that without observation, there can be no enforcement of law, and so no freedom, and no enforcement of the laws through which the people express their power. And the more life, both public and private, moves into the virtual domain, the more it is necessary to move observation into the virtual domain as well for the same reasons. Not to change the nature of the observation, just the setting.

    If at any moment it is possible that you are being observed by someone - anyone - aren't you less inclined to exercise your freedoms? I certainly am.
    I am certainly not. What good is free speech if no one is listening? And if the government wrongly wants to outlaw what I want to be freely do, I would rather do it defiantly than secretly. If I really want to say something privately, I use x-im [x-im.net].
  • by bwalling (195998) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @09:32AM (#15805414) Homepage
    That makes very little sense. Raising the minimum wage just slides the imbalance, it doesn't reduce it. If the low end makes more money, prices will rise, the increase will make its way back up to the higher wage workers, and in the end, the wage paid on the low end is not really any higher when you factor in the inflation.

    If you want to really help the poor, then try to reimagine the economy as a whole. Think about the fact that we have created a system by which the rich make their money by exploiting the poor. Think about the fact that when earnings reports are king and share price is all important, then a company is forced to constantly squeeze every penny out of every place, and that means paying lower wages, paying suppliers less, and charging customers more. The goal becomes to screw others so that you can get more money. The economy needs to be about the fact that as a people, we all have needs (food, shelter, etc) and we all have skills or resources. Instead of focusing entirely on profit and greed, we need to focus on having an efficient and effective system.

    Of course, that's not the American Dream or the American Way - it's much more desirable to just get really rich, and try not to think too much about the fact that we have a broken system that isn't going to be fixed by welfare or minimum wages.

    True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
    -Martin Luther King Jr
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @09:45AM (#15805472) Homepage Journal
    Right now, the Republicans in congress are preventing the democrats in congress from even having a room to hold hearings.

    The patriot act was passed with very little debate because, in the short time after Sept 11th, no lawmaker could afford to look like (s)he didn't want to do anything. The country was "under attack" and the president was immensely popular.

    If the Democrats win the house, Representative John Conyers will get to hold hearings with witnesses *under oath* about intelligence failures before 9/11, intelligence preparations before the Iraq war, and allegations of voter fraud in Florida and Ohio. If you really want to find out what Bush and Cheney are up to, you will have to vote democrat this fall.

    In short, yes, Currently the democrats are doing what they have to in order to politically survive until 2006 and 2008. With the republicans in control of both houses of congress and the white house, the democrats have *almost absolutely no power whatsoever*. They can't get their bills onto the floor, they can't get rooms for hearings, etc.
  • by Retric (704075) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @09:47AM (#15805479)
    Your comments would make more sense if cigarette's where illegal vs regulated. Cigarette's are dangerous for your long term health and the degrade your short term health but they are "safe" to use on the short term because of regulation. Similar numbers of people smoke pot and cigarette's. They pose similar long term risks however because pot is illegal we increase the users risk significantly.

    Yes, quiting cigarette's is a pain, but plenty of people do so. However, if cigarette's where illegal the risk of short term use would go way up so many people might never get a chance to quit. Not to mention the legal and social ramification of illegal drug use vs Cigarettes.

    EX: LSD is vary risky to use but much of that risk stems from contamination and unknown dosage levels instead of long term continuous LSD usage. The term "bad batch" means someone/group was used as a lab rat and found out that the LSD is mixed with some other random harmful substance. Regulated substances don't have these problems.

    PS: When somewhere between 1/3 and 2/3 of young people have tried POT it's hard to think making it illegal is doing much good.

    "According to an October 2002 Time/CNN poll, nearly half of Americans (47 percent) have smoked pot at least once. Gallup polls indicate that a greater share of people have sampled the drug over the last 30 years or so, but not to the level reflected in the Time/CNN survey. According to Gallup data gathered in 1999, 34 percent of Americans admitted trying marijuana, up from 11 percent in 1972 and 4 percent in 1969. (Perhaps to elicit honest responses, those polled were reminded that all of their answers were confidential.) Furthermore, phrasing the question in the following way, "Have you, yourself, ever happened to try marijuana?" seemed to imply that usage could have been inadvertent or that the smoker was somehow not responsible for his or her action." http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m4021/is _5_25/ai_102102598 [findarticles.com]

    Now those statistics might be higher if pot where legal, but it was legal for well over 100 years and apparently few people where having problems.
  • by NCraig (773500) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @09:55AM (#15805502)
    What part of "pursuit" of happiness do you not understand?

    America was not created to guarantee that everyone, no matter how lazy and uneducated they may be, can get by just fine.

    The CEO is more important than the janitor precisely because he or she decides what to pay employees (and a whole slew of other things). He or she has done the hard work or had the good fortune of making it to the top. That is an enormous achievement in and of itself. And you do vote on your boss - you vote on your boss by choosing where to work. That's the freedom part.

    Ever heard of the American Dream? It calls for hard work and - admittedly - a little bit of luck. There's no such thing as the American Promise, thank God.
  • by mikem170 (698970) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @10:05AM (#15805544) Homepage

    "then I suppose the CEO's are communists, and the oil companies, and ESPECIALLY the **AA organizations, and of course the republican government who thinks its their right to take our hard earned money for their pet wars."

    No, becuase CEO's and oil companies are not forcing their rules upon us with the power of police and prisons and the military. If I choose to work for a company I follow their rules. I can choose to work somewhere else.

    This is what people mean when they call your idea communism. You want the govornment to make these decisions for everyone.

    If you'd check your history you would see that communism does not work. Why do you think it would work in the U.S.? Do you think a govornment that coddles corporations and does not care about the little guy would all of the sudden completely turn around? Do you think an apathetic populas will all of the sudden forge a utopia?

  • by Tristfardd (626597) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @10:23AM (#15805608)
    Big Brother lives by the same rules as the rest of the world. The most important of these is that manpower is expensive. This means that if people, on an individual basis, take extra time (only a minute or two) to fufill requests for information or call and ask some questions of a live person, then modern management will go nuts. Companies and organizations concentrate hard on reducing headcount and making things work more efficiently. Managers up and down the line are evaluated by these measurements. Bottom line employees are too. If you are in a grocery store and the checkout person wants some personal identification for some peaches or anything else, take an extra minute or two to give them the information. It's not hard, just ask a couple of questions about why they want it and make sure the explanation is clear.

    This type of behavior causes lines to grow a little bit and things to run a little slower. Computers will notice this sort of thing and flag it. Does it mean the store has a lackadaisical manager who isn't hiring good people or is letting them slack off? The same applies to government organizations.

    Much data is collected automatically. There is not much that can be done about that. However, the government has a different, but similar weakness. If you find the government is collecting some piece of information and you wish they would stop, call your representative or senator. Don't complain, just ask for an explanation about why it is needed. Insist on a good explanation. Elected officials have staffs and they cost money. As in most things some staffers are better than others. If voters start chewing up more staffer time the elected one will become unhappy. Hiring more staffers reduces quality which tends to give callers more bad experiences which leads to bad publicity.

    Big Brother's weakness is that of every other organization, the bottom line, whether it be money or influence or elected position. Every organization stares at its bottom line for lack of a navel. It takes very little change to catch their notice.

    Tristfardd

  • Re:Just walk away (Score:4, Insightful)

    by misanthrope101 (253915) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @10:27AM (#15805626)
    It's another classic example of lawmakers restricting a wide spectrum of basic freedoms to fight a single pet cause of self-endangerment.
    That's like blaming lawsuits on lawyers, not on the people who hire them. Government by definition will try to expand its scope and power. The problem is when you have a population that is too stupid, or is ideologicaly polarized, or has too short of an attention span, or is too ignorant, to think of it as a problem. The U.S. is a bit strange right now, because the very ones expanding government power the fastest are saying that they believe in small government, even as they expand government. You have a nation of people who are failing to notice the blatantly obvious. Even when issues like the NSA wiretapping case, or torture in Iraq, shine a glaring, flashing, bright light on the issues, people just refuse to talk about it. People just don't deal well with complexity. They can't reason out a position, because they have been cornered into a black and white, good-vs-evil worldview where there is just no nuance to be had. People are discontented, but most of them are going to vote Republican anyway because of abortion or gay rights, so their objections to the deficit, or to Iraq, are irrelevant. But they have to be internally consistent, so once they've decided to vote Republican, they can't really object with any enthusiasm to the wiretapping case, or to torture in Abu Ghraib, or anything else. The same applied to Clinton supporters, and probably applies to politics everywhere, but it's always galling to witness.

    The book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini has a great chapter on how people can be made to agree to big things they wouldn't otherwise support by getting them to agree to little things that seem innocuous, and even unrelated, earlier on. Once people are brought on board via their objection to gay marriage or any other social issue, they can be expected to buy the rest of the platform, bit by bit, because they don't want to abandon their original committment. Well, that and the fact that they don't want to be associated with Michael Moore, which I can completely understand.

  • by avi33 (116048) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:16AM (#15805890) Homepage
    You have no idea what you're talking about:

    Only an idiot would attempt to run a meth lab by grinding up Sudafed. It's way too expensive. It's better to just order a bunch of ephedrine from a chemical supply co.

    Maybe you haven't made meth recently, but you can't do this anymore, unless you want an unmarked van suddenly following you around.

    ...teenagers who might use them to make methamphetamine...

    Teenagers don't make meth, organized criminals make meth.

    Most meth doesn't come from these sources

    The source components used to be easily bought via chemical supply companies until the government wisely closed that loop. In response, many millions of cases of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine-containing pharmaceuticals were suddenly stolen off trucks, shoplifted, and bought...across the entire country. You think teenagers were behind that? Wrong. Organized crime. The US drug czar recommended that these drugs be put behind the counter, but the pharmaceutical industry lobbied otherwise. They finally lost that battle, but in the meantime, they were making tens of millions of dollars and they knew goddamned well that the population of Podunk Kansas wasn't legitimately using 100 cases of Sudafed every week.

    In the late 90s a journalist from Seattle was investigating the rise of meth-related crimes in the region and discovered in charting them, that the rest of the US was mirroring the rise and fall over the course of a few years...upon investigating further with the FBI, he found that this pattern matched the availability of meth, based on wholesale supply, organized disbursement, etc. In other words: lots of cheap quality speed = lots of crime from the desperate junkies.

    The reason this is different from crack, heroin, etc, is that a junkie can smoke $10 of crack in 1 minute, but $10 of speed can get you high for a day or so. It's easier to establish a habit at cheaper prices. I've never heard of methcathinone junkies, so something tells me that even though it's easier to make, it doesn't hold the same allure to speedheads.

    They're trying to "stop a problem before it starts" or something.

    The problem started 15 years ago. Perhaps you prefer pumping millions of dollars into the pharmaceutical industry so MORE junkies can come steal your TV and sell it for $10.

    coughcoughPROHIBITIONNEVERWORKEDcoughcough

    In this case, it has, as it's harder to mass produce meth and fewer people are turning into meth junkies. Are you suggesting the all drugs be legalized?

  • Wrong question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grimwell (141031) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:20PM (#15806169)
    Cliff [mailto] writes The sad state of affairs is that Big Brother probably became a quiet part of our lives a lot earlier. The big question now is: how much worse can it get?

    That is completely the wrong question. The question is NOT how much worst can it get, the question is when are we going to doing something about it! When are we going to stop accepting and starting refusing?

    Asked for identification when buying peaches?!?!? Fucking blow me, Bitch! Raise a fucking stink, in a very loud voice tell the clerk you won't provide ID so you can buy peaches. Make the clerk get the supervisor/manager and explain what an asinine policy they have. Show up every day with a shopping cart full of stuff plus eight peaches, then when asked for ID say no and just walk out.

    Fucking Christ on a crutch! Get a god-damn backbone, America!
  • by greatcelerystalk (981442) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:42PM (#15806266) Homepage Journal
    That would make almost anyone in a managerial role 'communist.'

    There is something wrong with $5.15 an hour; there's nothing wrong with taking a look at a minimum wage which hasn't been raised in a decade and saying "Hey, look, over 30 million Americans who work full time jobs cannot make ends meet, and we need to do something about it."

    People on the internet are too quick to throw around charges of "communist" or "socialism" when they lack even a rudimentary understanding of what either of those philosophies advocate.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:01PM (#15806353)
    What is the relevance of the wealth gap? Is the middle class actually shrinking in the U.S.? Is the standard of living going down for the middle class and the poor? Are the health care options for the poor worse than 25, 50, 75 years ago? I think not.

    I would say my family is well into the middle class, and we can barely afford healthcare, our money does not go as far now as it did back in the 90's, our standard of living has gone down, and our income bracket is not low.. this means the lowest income brackets must be pretty desperate by now.

    oh.. and the healthcare options, while better than 75 years ago, and only as good as 50 years ago, are worse than they were 25 years ago, when most employers had wall to wall health plans that covered things they dont cover now, like my brother's braces and our glasses.

    Oh.. and remember all those pension defaults that occurred shortly after 9/11?.. yeah a bunch of people who worked their lives away are now receiving only 1/4 what they were promised because companies and corporate owners are allowed to basically default on their agreements to their employees.

    While you were being facetious about the progressive tax rate, that is exactly what I would like to see, though I would rather see actual regulations which set a realistic minimum wage in real dollars. Both would be even better. These people make enough money to keep spare dumpsters for their disposable ferraris, its only fair they pay more in taxes.
  • by Weedlekin (836313) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @02:44PM (#15806819)
    So what you are saying is this: a society which brutally represses 98% of its population is a natural hierarchy if the people at the top of it call themselves kings and barons, but it is an unnatural one when they have titles such as Chairman and Member of the Supreme Soviet.
  • Re:What privacy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ferretman (224859) <ferretman@gam e a i.com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:47PM (#15807075) Homepage
    Very well said, MoneyT....I was this close to posting something very similar when I saw your missive.

    I think people are used to thinking of credit cards as "their money" since it's become so interchangeable (many folks in the larger cities use them exclusively) with cash and, frankly, often easier to use (I'm thinking of things like pre-pay gas pumps and the like). But as you note it isn't their money, they're borrowing it...and that's why the credit card companies want to keep careful track of what you buy. The bank does the same thing when you get a home loan, as you would expect when you're asking for, say, $300,000....it's just more jarring when it's for a $1.59 beef stick.

    Ferretman
  • by Vicissidude (878310) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:07PM (#15807147)
    Me: The man did not say that all pay should be equal. He said that the variance, the difference, between the low end and the high end should be reduced. Everyone in the wealthiest nation in the world should have enough to "pay for housing, utilities, health care, transportation, and a little extra for some fun."
    You: Ok, if we do that for 10 years, so that we're no longer the wealthiest nation in the world, can we stop and return to actual freedom and sanity? Should everyone in that nation have all that even if no one works? If so, where would it come from?


    Let's see, CEO's get paid, what? 100x-1000x the salary of the average worker? Maybe more?

    Somehow, I don't think lowering that variance will immediately make the average worker up and quit their job. Minimum wage wasn't even a livable wage when it was set at $5.15 in 1997. Doubling the minimum to $10.30 gets close, tripling it to $15.45 would actually be more reasonable. And yes, we certainly COULD do that with the salaries these CEOs and other managers make. Instead of making $50, $100, or $500 million, I'm sure they could get by on $5, $10, or $50 million per year plus stock incentives.

    Me: The CEO takes the money that you earn and gives most of it to himself. The corporation is not a democracy. It's a dictatorship.
    You: It seems like more and more people detest freedom, and would rather be taken care of.


    Riiight. So, my argument that people should receive a portion of the profits they generate instead of having the CEOs take all that profit for themselves means that I "detest freedom". Nevermind the fact that I would actually be more free were I able to keep a fraction of the profit that I actually create.

    The person here who really detests freedom is you: the supporter of corporations modelled after dictatorships.

    No, it's a corporation. In a free society, people can form whatever free-will associations that they please. If they register with the state to be taxed, they become a corporation. If you ask to join someone else's corporation, you do so on whatever terms are agreeable to both you and them. And you leave whenever those terms stop being agreeable. That is freedom.

    You are free to go to North Korea and start working for the dictatorship there. And, if you wanted to leave North Korea later, you certainly could, as long as you respected the law while you were there. The fact that you are free to enter the corporation of your choice does not somehow mean they are not dictatorships.

    If the government tells one or both parties what is or isn't agreeable, then that ceases to be freedom (and, as it happens, also ceases to be prosperous).

    Bullshit. The government coming in and telling companies that they have to pay minimum wage actually benefits the worker and the economy in general. The states that have raised the minimum wage above the federal minimum wage have created jobs at a far faster rate than the states that have not. That is because, when you raise the minimum wage, you put money into the pockets of people who will spend it and it spurs the economy. So, it actually makes us more prosperous to have the minimum wage.

    As for your freedom argument, that's also complete bullshit. Anyone attempting to live off of minimum wage isn't free. That's poverty level. They are wage slaves for their corporate masters.

    But the wonderful thing is, if there is anything useful you can do, you can start your own corporation, and do everything your own way. But that's hard work. It's much easier to freeload off someone else's corporation.

    Bullshit again. First off, the founders of those companies did not build those companies by themselves. They hired employees as soon as possible to help build up that corporation. Those employees often take less than market wages just to help out the founder and the business succeed. Do those employees get back everything THEY sacrificed?... Hell no
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:36AM (#15810362)
    You sir obviously need to start seeing life from outside of your white picket fences. Because I can tell you first hand your entire arguement is based on opinion. Im posting AC because I was a meth junkie/dealer for about 2 years, until I was arrested and charged with trafficing. I dispute every single thing that you have said.

    Maybe you haven't made meth recently, but you can't do this anymore, unless you want an unmarked van suddenly following you around

    It took the cops a year and a half to finally have something on me. My house was set in a middle school parking lot, and they noticed nothing until i got stupid and starting screwing up at school (I was a straight A student until I started abusing meth, now I cant even go to college). You obviously overestimate the DEAs intelligence.

    Teenagers don't make meth, organized criminals make meth.

    Actually I know of more than 1 teenager that does infact make meth. I could give you three in my area alone. Organized criminals might be the supplier but they are usually the middle men, most meth these days is made by junkies operating out of hotel rooms or their own homes. Not mobsters or hell's angels or what have you.

    The reason this is different from crack, heroin, etc, is that a junkie can smoke $10 of crack in 1 minute, but $10 of speed can get you high for a day or so. It's easier to establish a habit at cheaper prices. I've never heard of methcathinone junkies, so something tells me that even though it's easier to make, it doesn't hold the same allure to speedheads.

    This whole paragraph is totally and completely wrong. A junkie can do any amount of their drug within 2 minutes, this is the biggest reason for overdoses. Junkies think they can handle anything that is on the table in front of them. $10 of speed was enough to get me though a few (read: 2 or 3) hours maybe. Even when first starting I was going though easily over $150 a week. By the time I was arrested I was going though roughly $150-$300 a day. That sounds anything but cheap to me. As for the methcanthinone thing it may be be what the junkies use but it works great for dealers to cut meth with.

    The problem started 15 years ago. Perhaps you prefer pumping millions of dollars into the pharmaceutical industry so MORE junkies can come steal your TV and sell it for $10.

    This problem has been around a lot longer than that. Hitler was a well documented meth freak. It was a different name in that era of time but the chemical makeup was basically the same. Whats wrong with trying to stop a problem before it becomes an epidemic?

    In this case, it has, as it's harder to mass produce meth and fewer people are turning into meth junkies. Are you suggesting the all drugs be legalized?

    This is just complete and total bullshit. Its actually just as easy to produce meth. Certain chemicals might be harder to obtain but they can always find something else to use or find a different way to have it supplied. As for fewer people turning into junkies I just want to know where you got this information from. Because everything that I have seen from on the streets to in the media shows that meth is quickly turning into crack of the 80's or pot from the 60's/70's.
    And all drugs should be legalized and taxed, much the same as alcohol and cigarettes. That aughta knock that national debt out pretty quickly. Its worth a try and the worst that could happen is the government discovers that this billion dollar war on drugs could turn into a billion dollar income from them.

    For the record I did serve time in jail and have only within the past 3 months regained some of my "freedoms", I only wish that I could have voted against bush in the last election....
    Thank you.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." -- Karl, as he stepped behind the computer to reboot it, during a FAT

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