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US Intelligence Chiefs Urge Easing Of Spy Rules 153

Posted by Hemos
from the trying-to-find-a-way-out dept.
The US admninistration is not looking for this law change to enable them to "Better fight the War On Terror". The truth is that the US Administration need the law relaxed because they think that it will then make it easier for them to get a retrospective law change that may further help them to crawl out of a rather deep set of legal and constitutional holes that they currently find themselves in. You see, the Dubya administration has trampled all over the laws of the US and the Constitution itself and they have, as seen in the video, admitted it along the way. The problems they now face are coming from all directions such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation's successful application to sue AT&T for handing over phone records without a warrant. The President has already blocked one investigation into his conduct regarding this issue and now they are looking to srike down all others before they even get started.
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US Intelligence Chiefs Urge Easing Of Spy Rules

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  • by pieterh (196118) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:53AM (#15816196) Homepage
    It worked so well in Italy, for Berlusconi. If you break the law, just change the law, preferrably retroactively. You can stay out of jail for a long time like this.

    • by Flying pig (925874) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:45AM (#15816421)
      Berlusconi kicked and screamed but was unable to overturn the election result, and now they are coming for him. And Pinochet hasn't exactly had an easy life since he was removed from power.

      The real nightmare for people like the current President and some of his friends must be that to be safe, they must find a way to hold onto power for a long time. This has been the problem that has led to gerontocracies in places like fascist Spain, China and parts of the Middle East. But the US is not a dictatorship, it is a pluralist federation, and the possibility exists that in the revolution of the political cycle the time will come when a US government will indict a member of the present Administration for war crimes. Of course it could never happen...but the British and the French both once executed a monarch and the British allowed the deposition of another in what they called the Glorious Revolution. Perhaps, just as Putin has clawed back Russian oil from the kleptarchs, one day a US Government strapped for cash will start to go after the plutarchs.

      A British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson,once famously said that three weeks was a long time in politics. I'm not sure that the present generation of politicians are thinking as far ahead as that.

      • >Until you are unelected or retire

        That's what the presidential pardon privilege if for.
        • Well, true, the lame-duck president can go out and pardon every other person in his administration, if he so wishes, before his successors takes office.

          But he can't pardon himself... had Nixon lost an election, instead of resigning and being replaced by Ford, he probably would have been indicted over the Watergate coverup... And pardoning Nixon was one of the main issues people had with Ford... had he not done so, maybe he could have stayed in office.

          In this case, though, it would require the Democrati

      • A British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson,once famously said that three weeks was a long time in politics. I'm not sure that the present generation of politicians are thinking as far ahead as that.
        Well that depends.
        When is the next election?

        That's about how far ahead they're looking.
      • But the US is not a dictatorship, it is a pluralist federation, and the possibility exists that in the revolution of the political cycle the time will come when a US government will indict a member of the present Administration for war crimes. Of course it could never happen.

        As you have rightly mentioned, that WILL NEVER happen.

        The previous, present and future administrations are all equally corrupt for it to happen.

        No WAY will Bush or Dick or Rumsfeld be strip searched.

        Reagan did far worse, and lied, e

  • by FinchWorld (845331) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:57AM (#15816206) Homepage
    ...thieves urge citizens to carry large sums of cash with them at all times and burgulars demand doors remain unlocked.

    More at 9.

  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <(moc.eroomnived) (ta) (ofni)> on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:59AM (#15816212) Homepage Journal
    Not voting is the same as a vote for the various (accused) incumbents.
    • > Not voting is the same as a vote for the various (accused) incumbents.

      I wonder how all those people feel now, who argued against voting for the Democrats as the lesser of two evils in 2000 and 2004?

      Even my redneck fundamentalist mother (female parent, not the Jerry Jeff Walker "redneck mother") has expressed regret for voting for GWB. And that was last year.

      • You don't realize what "Democrats" are capable of. We have a nearly identical party that was at the feeding trough recently in Poland, and the results are frightening. If you ever wanted to learn how to create corruption, you can get a wonderful example here.

        It is really hard to get worse. No one suspected that Dubya can make it. But yeah, we underestimated his capabilities :p
      • Still a year too late, sadly. But better late than never.
    • What makes you think voting will make a difference? Like Stalin said: "It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes."
    • (accused) incumbents.

      Nice. Accused incumbents and a suspected president.
    • You make it sounds like the Democrats would do things differently.
      • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:44AM (#15816766) Homepage Journal
        Starting by voting incumbents (Democrat or Republican) out ever time their term is up will do two things. First it'll send a message to Washington that voting America is pissed off and until things really change they won't get the nice perks of staying in office. It'll also limit the amount of damage they can do and the amount of corrupting influences they can build up before we kick them back out of office.

        While currently voting for a third party at the federal level is about the same as throwing your vote away (Though it can still make a statement) you can vote for other parties at local and state levels and they frequently have more success. And if they can gain enough traction and do a good enough job at a state level then they should start having better chances at a federal level, too.

        • Starting by voting incumbents (Democrat or Republican) out ever time their term is up will do two things. First it'll send a message to Washington that voting America is pissed off and until things really change they won't get the nice perks of staying in office. It'll also limit the amount of damage they can do and the amount of corrupting influences they can build up before we kick them back out of office.

          While I like the sentiment, I think the more likely immediate outcome of this strategy is simply

    • Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

      In other words: When you have no choice, it doesn't matter.
    • by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:27AM (#15816677)
      You're forgetting that the House of Representatives is divided into 435 carefully crafted districts where nobody but the incumbent has any hope of getting more than 15% of the vote. Vote, don't vote, the only difference it makes is a slight change in the incumbent's victory margin.
      • by rahrens (939941)
        Carefully crafted they may be, but even loyal party pundits are admitting that a certain number of Reps are in for a real fight this time around. When dissatisfaction, even among the incumbant's own party, hits a certain level, that incumbant is in trouble, no matter how carefully crafted his position is supposed to be.

        The Republicans are also up against a very real general rule - the one that notes that the party in the White House almost always looses Congressional seats in the off year - that hasn't hap
        • "but even loyal party pundits are admitting that a certain number of Reps are in for a real fight this time around."

          "Certain number?" How many is that, three? Four? Are we now looking at an inumbency rate as low as 92% as opposed to the 98% we saw in 2004?

          I really don't see how fighting for scraps here and there will accomplish wide-reaching social change, especially when the Democrats have been just as willing as the Republicans to support the president.

          "The Republicans are also up against a very real g
          • [NPR] released a new poll [last week] showing that in the top 50 House races, voters choose Democrats over Republicans by a big margin.

            The only thing I don't know is how many of those had Dems as incumbents. So maybe I'm off by a margin of error as well.

            • There is a chance that Democrats could take the house. I think everyone see's that. I don't think Democrats can take the Senate.
              If Republican don't get elected it won't have anything to do with the war. If Republicans arent elected it will be because it's the Democrats turn to be elected. The war will continue no matter who is elected because the war is already in motion now. The Democrats would fight the war just as Republicans would, with a few differences, perhaps we'd look better to the international co
        • I don't think that we'd be in a "War on Terror", or a "Long War", or a "Global World War" (I've recently heard a 3-star general refer to it by all those terms over the course of an hour speech), if it wasn't for the Republicans being in power. It is impossible to wipe out terrorism completely, due significantly to the fact that our methods of fighting terrorism are just as likely to create new terrorists.

          If the Republican party kicked out the war profiteers, religious wackos, and nanny-state privacy encroa
        • I believe you when you say we are at war with fundamentalist muslims. You look at Isreal and what is going on in the middle east, and you can see that.

          The question is, if we are at war, why don't we name these people, put them on the FBI's most wanted list, and enlist every citizen in this country to get to work to capture or kill the "terrorists"? I mean when we cannot even define who the terrorists are how exactly can we win, or even know how to fight the war on terror in a way which isnt self defeating?

          F
      • You're forgetting that the House of Representatives is divided into 435 carefully crafted districts where nobody but the incumbent has any hope of getting more than 15% of the vote
        Then vote against the incumbent. Keep the party if you have no viable alternative, but send the incumbent home to reconsider his positions.
        • "Then vote against the incumbent."

          You're not paying attention. Each district is carefully drawn in such a way that the majority of voters in it are die-hard party faithful and will vote for the incumbent come rain or shine. You can vote against the incumbent if you'd like, but in each and every House district in this country there's a hundred thousand people who will vote for the incumbent no matter what (otherwise they'd be drawn into a different district). Those who would dare vote against an incumbent
          • I am paying attention, I just think you're not entirely correct.

            Yes, the majority of districts are gerrymandered - let's call it what it is - but they are done so in a way that reflects the political party makeup, not just who currently holds the office. The goal of any gerrymandered system is to preserve long-term party "ownership" because people will vote against an incumbent if the conditions are right. For examples, you need look no further than Tom Delay, Joe Lieberman, and Cynthia McKinney, all of

    • I do intend to vote - I voted in the last election - but what makes you think your votes mean anything? [slashdot.org]
  • by Belisarivs (526071) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:59AM (#15816216)
    But at least include a link to the story the summary is about. What law, which chiefs, where is this being reported?
  • by level_headed_midwest (888889) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:04AM (#15816235)
    There's no new article here at all. I know just about all of us hate the wiretapping, but this is just a political jab and not anything substantive. You should be more professional than that- repost this with at least an update of the AT&T v. EFF case or something...
    • Hmm, you may want to take a look at the sentence just under the title. While it says that it was posted to the front page by Hemos (which sorta destroys your title), you might also note that this is a journal page - it's a commentary, much like a column in a newspaper.

      This isn't news. But then, it was never supposed to be - if we only pay attention to what has just happened, we end up with very short-term memories. This is not the kind of thing which should be dropped when the newest shiny thing comes along
    • by tgd (2822)
      When the government is breaking its own laws on a daily basis, keeping that fact immediately in front of a readership is the definion of substantive, in my opinion. We have a constutional freedom of the press specifically for that capability. Our constitution doesn't guarantee that freedom so that Slashdot can post the next dupe or anti-Microsoft story, but rather so people can, and hopefully will, keep repeating the governments transgressions over and over ad nauseum.
    • I love the "Dubya" also. They could at the very least be professional enough to use the man's name instead of a derogatory nickname... hell, even Microsoft is spelled "Microsoft" in articles and not, say, "Micro$oft" or whatever other stupid nickname is used in the comments.
  • There were still a barrier between the NSA, CIA and law enforcement. Back before Bush, even if they spied on you, you couldn't be prosecuted with the information the intelligence agencies got on you using their "special spook methods." Now, people have a good reason to worry.

    All things considered, nothing that Bush is doing will end Islamic terrorism. The harsh truth is that yes, there are millions of good people who are Muslims and do no support terrorism. There are, unfortunately, far more Muslims who are
    • "a certain state-supported religion's believers."

      You mean capitalists?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      keep new Islamic immigrants out of our country ... I say we end immigration from Islamic countries

      I say that works both ways ... how about all Americans stay in theirs?
      • There's a difference between immigration and vacationing. Without vacationing Americans, many tourism based economies would fail. If you want to keep Americans from immigrating in exchange for keeping reactionaries from immigrating here, I'm not sure what that would accomplish, but that would be more fair than your broad statement of "all Americans stay in theirs".
    • All things considered, nothing that Bush is doing will end Islamic terrorism. The harsh truth is that yes, there are millions of good people who are Muslims and do no support terrorism. There are, unfortunately, far more Muslims who are at least sympathetic to terrorism than there are religionists of any other persuasion. These are not people that we want in our borders--period!

      I'm calling a big ole Bullshit on this one. While there are some Muslims who are sympathetic to the movement, and there are so
    • This is not an ethnic thing as I'd have just as much problem allowing a white Australian who admitted to being a Muslim come here as I would a Saudi.

      No, maybe not an ethnic thing, but certainly a religious thing. The moment you've banned a religious group from immigrating to this country you've just announced and made clear your objections to that religion. Islam is not the problem, it's the way the world politic has been handling the issues. How you got modded insightful with that bullshit is beyond me, u

    • by portmapper (991533) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:38AM (#15816386)

      All things considered, nothing that Bush is doing will end Islamic terrorism.


      If USA stops bombing civilians, respect human rights and does not commit war crimes, I'm sure far fewer will be inclined to act out of desparation as terrorists.


      The harsh truth is that yes, there are millions of good people who are Muslims and do no support terrorism.


      Most Muslims, like most Christians, does not support terrorism. Bombing civilians from the air is, of course, not terrorism [/sarcasm].



      Look, the only way to fight Islamic terrorism without falling prey to more of it at home, and not violating the rights of our citizens, non-Muslim and Muslim alike, is to keep new Islamic immigrants out of our country.


      Respect human rights, don't invade other countries, stop toppling democratic governments and install/support dictatorships, and don't exploit poor people. See? I'm sure many more people on the planet will much less hostile to USA if the above was followed.


      This is not an ethnic thing as I'd have just as much problem allowing a white Australian who admitted to being a Muslim come here as I would a Saudi.


      Agreed, not an ething thing, just a racist one.


      All religions have violent pasts because for a long period of time, the world was a truly brutal and uncivilized place.


      The world is still a truly brutal and uncivilized place. Just look at airial bombings done in Lebanon and Iraq.

    • by Grab (126025) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:28AM (#15816678) Homepage
      There are, unfortunately, far more Muslims who are at least sympathetic to terrorism than there are religionists of any other persuasion.

      You mean, "religionists" like, say Christians? I give you Rwanda, Northern Ireland, the USA (anti-abortion campaigners) and Serbia. All lovely folks who I'm sure you want inside your borders... Or Israel, which at the last count has managed to kill 600 "non-believers" in 2 weeks? Please get the reality, that religion really doesn't matter a damn.

      The simple fact is that "the only way to fight Islamic terrorism" is to stop doing things that piss off the citizens of those countries, such as bombing civilians. Currently the US and the UK have royally fucked up Iraq to the extent of allowing a civil war to take place, Afghanistan is still in the shitter, and they're providing military and financial support for Israel while it bombs civilians and other non-military targets in Lebanon and Palestine. Meantime, George Bush is busy pointing the finger at Syria and Iran as the next targets, because they sponsor terrorism.

      Hmm, a state which sponsors terrorism? How's about the USA? For US-supported countries whose governments actively terrorised their citizens, or where the US supported terrorist activities against the government, or where the US actively attacked/invaded to try and establish a government favourable to them, I give you: Cuba, Grenada, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Haiti, Congo, Vietnam, Cambodia, Argentina, Guatemala, Panama, Chile, Guyana, Angola... And that's just the ones I can remember easily.

      Given how successful all this intervention has been (every single one of the examples above has been an unmitigated failure), an awful lot of people wish that the US would keep well out of international affairs, because the US government and the CIA clearly couldn't find their ass with both hands. And if they stopped fucking up other people's countries, maybe the citizens of those countries (and others) would feel more kindly towards the US.

      I'm almost amused when I hear Americans saying how big a deal 9/11 was. In Iraq alone, that's about 2 weeks worth of civilian casualties (according to the most *optimistic* casualty figures). If you can imagine 9/11 happening every fortnight, maybe you will then understand why the US is not exactly appreciated abroad.

      Grab.
      • The simple fact is that "the only way to fight Islamic terrorism" is to stop doing things that piss off the citizens of those countries, such as bombing civilians.

        That might help, short term, and I really applaud the sentiment. Truthfully we could do with a lot less bombings of innocent civilians, or anyone else for that matter.........but..........

        But, the unfortunate truth of it is that these conflicts really do have a cultural side and an economic side to them. And I don't mean, to be clear, that

        • You're right that economics is *a* factor. It may even be the major factor for the people at the top of these organisations. But it's not a cause that they could ever get an army behind.

          What inspires people to fight is a reason that's personal to them. The most common personal reason is revenge from a previous attack, and the next most common is the fear that someone's going to attack you first. The former is what GWB used as the justification for invading Afghanistan (even though I remember a news arti
          • You're right that this kind of fighting is a permanent byproduct, but it's a permanent byproduct of a military system that's escalated beyond what a civilian can lay their hands on.

            This is an excellent point. Why fight fair when fighting fair will just get you killed? That is what drives the 'terrorist' part of perpetual extremism.

            I think what you are underselling is the actual amount of economic rhetoric and brouhaha that gets mixed in to the (these days, mostly) Islamist madrasah grab-bag. People

            • As bad as the violence is in the Middle East, a surprisingly few percent of people have had a family member killed in conflict with the US or with Israel

              If you take the Middle East as one whole entity, that's absolutely right. But if you narrow in, you'll find a few areas with high loss of family members and friends. Palestine and Lebanon, it's almost guaranteed. And also there's the perception of self-defence amongst people from other countries (eg. Syria and Iran) where the US and/or Israel have threat
    • While I don't agree with everything Parent says, it's a logical and well-reasoned arguement. Certainly not flamebait.
    • Moderators: "I disagree" is not the same as "Flamebait".
    • by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:43AM (#15816756)

      There were still a barrier between the NSA, CIA and law enforcement. Back before Bush, even if they spied on you, you couldn't be prosecuted with the information the intelligence agencies got on you using their "special spook methods." Now, people have a good reason to worry.

      All things considered, nothing that Bush is doing will end Islamic terrorism. The harsh truth is that yes, there are millions of good people who are Muslims and do no support terrorism.

      Wow. I've never agreed so strongly with someone's first five sentences and disagreed so violently with the entire rest of their post before.

      There are, unfortunately, far more Muslims who are at least sympathetic to terrorism than there are religionists of any other persuasion.

      Please provide the merest hint of evidence that this is anything other than baseless, pulling-facts-out-of-my-arse racist bullshit, or be modded into oblivion.

      Remember in your answer to differentiate between the truly violent religions and those which are merely prevalent in extremely deprived, politically-unstable parts of the world.

      Also remember to excuse the (nominally-Christian) West's identical behaviour during periods of similar social strife and deprivation, and the fact that the entire Middle East region is so unstable pretty much entirely because of the machinations of european countries and the US over the course of the last hundred years or so.

      These are not people that we want in our borders--period! But... we can't know a person's heart, so what do we do? I say we end immigration from Islamic countries. Allow them to come over on a guarded visa that is routinely checked up on to work for a few years, but then they have to go home.

      Great idea - lose all the terrorist sympathisers... along with most of the middle- and far-eastern grad students who are the only ones counteracting the US's massive brain-drain to countries with less restrictive (and less religiously-inspired) research laws.

      Also remember turnabout is fair play, and remove all your expatriots from the region. Specifically all the ones with guns, bombs and missiles who are doing such a bang-up job of convincing the terrorist sympathisers to invade your hallowed shores.

      Look, the only way to fight Islamic terrorism without falling prey to more of it at home, and not violating the rights of our citizens, non-Muslim and Muslim alike, is to keep new Islamic immigrants out of our country.

      Or, y'know, stay out of theirs. Again, specifically the tooled-up tourists in uniforms.

      There is no fundamental human right to live in a country of your choice.

      Nope. Nor is there a fundamental human right allowing you to invade other countries who pose no threat to you, extort them to change their laws to ones you'd like purely for your own benefit, topple democratically-elected leaders, invade countries on false premises and then let the guy who did it off scot-free, etc, etc, etc.

      Your point?

      This is not an ethnic thing as I'd have just as much problem allowing a white Australian who admitted to being a Muslim come here as I would a Saudi. The only two countries I could see getting any sort of exception might be Albania and Turkey.

      Well, personally the only "Christians" I hear about in the mass-media are the fundamentalist fuckwits intent on ousting evolution from schools, banning medical research and calling for the assassination of democratically-elected South American leaders. Can we ban all the Christians too while we're at it?

      All religions have violent pasts because for a long period of time, the world was a truly brutal and uncivilized place.

      Was? Was? Dude, where are you living? Under a rock?

      I kno wthe US is famous

  • by GundamFan (848341) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:11AM (#15816265)
    But come on... The big scary Democrats are going to call it the "Dubay" adminstration and giggle while the world goes to crap... That's it, That's your plan? It didn't work in 2004 (or ever). what makes you think it will work now? I have a better idea... lets all stop bickering and elect people with IQs above 70 (all officals in both parties not just the president) and that repreent our real concerns (not ones made up every two to four years as needed) I would like a world (non Mad Max if I had a choice) to leave to my children. All polititians suck, contribute nothing, have too much power and they only care how there actions afect themselves in the extreme short term.
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:04AM (#15816528) Journal
      But come on... The big scary Democrats are going to not motivated by personal interest oncall it the "Dubay" adminstration and giggle while the world goes to crap... That's it, That's your plan? It didn't work in 2004 (or ever). what makes you think it will work now?
      It worked for the Republicans in the 50s, it worked for them in the 80s and 90s. The Commie boogeyman, the Liberal boogeyman...

      The modern Republican party is based on opposing Liberalism (though it opposes it with another kind of liberalism). It is a reactionary party, despite recent efforts to call it something else -- and the Democratic party has better do its damndest to not fall into the same reactionary mold. The entire basis of conservatism is fighting against liberalism.

      As to electing intelligent people, that's not the solution. There are plenty of very intelligent people in office who do terrible things, or allow terrible things to happen. What's needed are people who are motivated by the public interest, and not by games, self-promotion, and party-promotion. They need to be sufficiently versed in history, economics, and political theory. The ability to treat subjects rationally is a must.

      When every candidate meets those criteria, we can have meaningful elections based upon the views held by the candidates. Then again, this will NEVER happen, so we have to play the hand we're dealt... and frankly, I can't see a clear way of cleaning house while the corporate world is married to the political one.
      • I think you're oversimplifying the Republican election victories of the 50s and 80s. A good deal of Eisenhower's success was based on limiting spending and the size of government as a result of the unprecedented growth seen under Roosevelt. That's not to say fear of communism didn't play a big part, but when you consider Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs fiasco, not to mention the other Democratic presidents, like Johnson, in that period, I think that fear crossed the political aisle.

        Reagan was more a result of
        • A good deal of Eisenhower's success was based on limiting spending and the size of government as a result of the unprecedented growth seen under Roosevelt.

          In terms of Eisenhower's victories, they were largely a result of checking the actions of the previous administrations, as you point out... which goes back to conservatism being defined by a resistance to liberalism. However, I'd also point out that Eisenhower was the direct beneficiary of the spending initiated by his predecessors. His success was also

          • which goes back to conservatism being defined by a resistance to liberalism.

            We may have a chicken/egg situation. I don't think that either conservatism or liberalism are defined by the other, they're two separate political philosophies. However, assuming the country is populated with people whose want something politically in the middle, when the country swings one direction, there is necessarily going to be a larger proportion of people who want it to swing back the other way. Roosevelt had an unprecede

            • I suppose it all depends on how you define conservatism and liberalism, and people have been arguing about that for decades. I personally like Goldwater's definition, which would be what I call Classic Conservatism, and what I consider true conservatism to be: When change is necessary, do it cautiously. Every person should have the opportunity and means to better themselves; when the community, family, and private organisations fail to do so, it is the role of government to provide the means. People are
    • by Malakusen (961638) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:40AM (#15817127) Journal
      Well what the hell do you expect us Democrats to do? We don't have a majority in the House or Senate, the Republicans haven't and won't listen to us, and any attempt to stop Republican policies from being steamrolled through Congress gets blasted as being obstructionist. There is NOT a whole hell of a lot you can do when you're not in control of any of the three branches of the government, it's like getting pissed off at somebody for not trying to destroy a tank with an M-16.
    • I have a better idea... lets all stop bickering and elect people with IQs above 70 (all officals in both parties not just the president) and that repreent our real concerns (not ones made up every two to four years as needed)

      Ooh, and I want a copy of Duke Nukem Forever.
  • In other news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Monday July 31, 2006 @08:12AM (#15816267) Homepage
    ... oh forget it. I was going to come up with some 'clever' parallel where other people want to make their jobs easier and sloppier.

    The point of current law and regulation for government powers to get information and investigate is to ensure that the interests of civilians are preserved and balanced against the needs of the government in doing its job. What they are saying is that they can't do their jobs without even more easy and invasive permissions.

    Maybe I'll be modded down for this, but I think I'd rather see another 9-11 than to see what is happening to the way of life we have enjoyed until now. But frankly, if we just stay out of their business and stop backing Israel, I think we'd have little to no threat since this is ultimately what this boils down to in the first place... that and oil which could be, I'm sure, managed in other ways. We're capitalists after all.

    And while I'm on the subject, how about we punish the president for his flagrant violation of law before we move to change it. If we make murder legal today, that doesn't mean we need to free yesterday's murderers from prison does it? If we make speeding on our streets legal, does that mean speeders should get a refund?

    I'm still somewhat baffled as to why there is so little focus on the violations that have occurred and the blocking of investigations.
    • What baffels me is half the time they say in one breath they need relaxed rules and in the next breath say they never broke the rules and don't need to.
      • Like when people were taking umbrance with over-reaching parts of the Patriot Act and they kept saying "you should go ahead and renew that part, because we never ever had to use it, so how could we have abused it!"?

        That was cute. As a recall, the argument was "we're not abusing the library records power, we've never used it, so you don't have to worry about us renewing it". Uh.... yea.

        In related news, V For Vendetta will be about on DVD tomorrow, but you'd be doing yourself a much bigger favor if you hit yo
    • But frankly, if we just stay out of their business and stop backing Israel, I think we'd have little to no threat since this is ultimately what this boils down to in the first place... that and oil which could be, I'm sure, managed in other ways.

      The Wikipedia documents [wikipedia.org] Bin Laden's fatwa (I have heard and read this elsewhere as well, I think it's pretty trustworthy):

      "The fatwa lists three crimes and sins committed by the Americans:

      - U.S. support of Israel.
      - U.S. occupation of the Arabian Peninsula.
      - U.S. agg
      • "The fatwa lists three crimes and sins committed by the Americans:

        - U.S. support of Israel.
        - U.S. occupation of the Arabian Peninsula.
        - U.S. aggression against the Iraqi people."

        Since we don't negotiate with terrorists, we must continue supporting Israel, occupy the Arabian Peninsula, and be aggressive toward the Iraqi people. Even if Israel pisses us off and we have no other reason to continue the other two, we can't give in to the terrorists!

        I seriously believe Osama and every other terrorist organizat

        • "War is justified, sometimes, but not since World War 2."

          The U.S. government has invaded 24 countries [futurepower.org] since the 2nd World War.

          I agree. United States politics is dominated by those who believe they are Christian and George W. Bush is Christian, and who vote Republican. Actually, they often aren't Christian, they are often only angry. The other side is dominated by weak, disorganized Democrat politicians.
        • " We stick our nose where it doesn't belong, and THAT is what breeds terrorism."

          While I agree with you to a degree....it also seems weird, that when we don't stick our noses in other areas...we get a bad rap on that too!! "Oh, the US doesn't care about global affairs because they didn't do x in country y where so many bad things are evil. Sometimes it does seem as if we just can't 'win'....

          However, that being said....until we can get off the worlds oil 'teet'....we do have to do things to protect our int

          • It's not as hypocritical as it seems. The situation seems to me that the US, being the dominant economic and military (and cultural, FWIW) superpower on the planet is, by virtue of the office, so to speak, already involved everywhere. The fact that we aid only those who benefit our strategic interests (only send aid to regions to stabilize them, e.g. screw Africa) and bomb threats to our security (again, screw Africa) rather than use economic and military might to help hundreds of millions of people (in,

        • I don't buy it.... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SvnLyrBrto (62138)
          > I seriously believe Osama and every other terrorist organization would leave
          > us alone if we stopped screwing around in world affairs. We stick our nose
          > where it doesn't belong, and THAT is what breeds terrorism.

          I'm not about to mindlessly repeat the tired old "they hate us because of our freedom" mantra. But there's got to be a whole lot more to it than just our fucked up foreign policy.

          Look at Latin America. The United States has been royally screwing pretty much all of Latin America for pre
          • The fact that we DON'T see Latin Americans in general, and Mexicans, Cubans, and Colombians in particular, swarming north, en masse, to blow up our buildings, suicide bomb our nightclubs and pizza parlors, launch rockets at our cities, nerve gas our subways, and kidnap and murder our citizens; when they have FAR more reason to do so than any middle easterner does or ever did; say to me that terrorism is NOT a reaction to out influence in foreign affairs. It's a war between cultures, west vs. middle east. Ma
    • If we make murder legal today, that doesn't mean we need to free yesterday's murderers from prison does it? If we make speeding on our streets legal, does that mean speeders should get a refund?

      Actually, yes. Historically, it's customary to pardon individuals who were convicted of a crime that is no longer considered a crime. Kind of an we-admit-it-we-were-wrong, so-sorry-for-the-inconvenience type deal.

      The precedent also exists for outgoing Presidents to be pardoned by incoming ones -- though Carter pai

    • If we make murder legal today, that doesn't mean we need to free yesterday's murderers from prison does it?

      Um, yeah. That's exactly how it works. Ex post facto is funny like that. You can't convict someone for doing something that wasn't illegal before, but if a law is undone, the people convicted for it were wrongly imprisoned. They go free.

      Supposedly happened in New York when the Rockerfeller Drug Laws were repealed, but they had to go through a (lengthy) appeals process and of course any crimes co
      • If the law was repealed by Congress, it would not make anybody convicted "wrongly imprisoned". (If a speed limit is increased, would the government have to refund any speeding tickets on that road?)

        Even if the law was removed through judicial review, ISTR that it does not affect past convictions.
  • Most people don't understand the background. The U.S. government has been helping oil companies in secret since before 1950, and that has led to an expectation by rich oil investors that the U.S. government will lower the cost of doing business by getting the U.S. taxpayer to pay for security arrangements. The U.S. government secretly, or semi-secretly, breaks the law, kills people, including Arabs and Muslims, and and destroys the property of anyone who stands in the way of oil and other profits. Here is a short summary of the kinds of actions that have caused the U.S. government to be corrupted: History surrounding the U.S. wars with Iraq: Four short stories [futurepower.org].

    The U.S. government is in dire circumstances. Money is being taken from the people and given to the rich in enormous quantities. See the old article, U.S. Federal Deficit by Political Party [futurepower.org]. See how much things have gotten worse since then: National Debt [brillig.com]. Oil and weapons investors profit: Cost of Iraq War [nationalpriorities.org].

    See a short review of books and movies about conflict of interest: Unprecedented Corruption: A guide to conflict of interest in the U.S. government [futurepower.org].

    It's far worse than these short references say.
    • Just wanted to add that the national debt figures are understated. We also have a liability to Social Security (and other funds we've borrowed from internally) that need to be paid back, either by borrowing more money, or from the general treasury by means of regular budget items.

      It's friggin' Harry and Lloyd (Dumb & Dumber) leaving IOUs (in this case, non-marketable "special issue" Treasury Certificates) in the suitcase to pay for what they want today, but without the funny bits.

  • Take a moment... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:28AM (#15817045) Homepage Journal
    give yourself a few seconds to absorb this: George Bush used his executive powers to block an investigation into his own actions. He wants laws changed so that crimes he's committed will no longer be considered crimes. He signs laws that congress passes, adding a statement saying that he doesn't really have to obey that law. We have a president who walks around with his fingers crossed behind his back. Let's all remember that Republicans have governed this country completely since 2000. Are you and your family better of now than you were in 1999? Do you feel safer?
  • Hello:

    Having read many Slashdot stories about bugging, monitoring, spying, arresting, drm'ing, forcing flags (broadcast and pledge of allegience), and other topics; I sat down and had a chat.

    You see, I had a chat with a wonderful friend. He's my childhood psychiatrist whom I still keep in touch with. After a few hours of both joy and tears, we came to some interesting and scary ideas that he and I wish to express here.

    We, in the U.S. (and perhaps in some other parts of the world) are in a state of severe in
    • We are very isolated. We spend more and more time on our jobs. We drive to and from work alone. We arrive home and pop on the TV first thing, often with barely a nod to our spouses and children. We often rush through meals without visiting each other.

      We lose more and more of human contact. We contact more and more with machines. The TV. The Net. The bank machine. The headphones we wear even when we are out in public. The cell phones. He said something about the cell phones that just about punched me in th

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