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House Approves Warrantless Wiretapping 733

inKubus writes to mention an AP article about the approval of a warrantless wiretapping bill by the house. The legislation's goal would be to legitimize the wiretapping program President Bush previously authorized, with a few new restrictions. Despite this victory for the President, "Leaders concede that differences between the versions are so significant they cannot reconcile them into a final bill that can be delivered to Bush before the Nov. 7 congressional elections. The Senate also could vote on a similar bill before Congress recesses at the end of the week. For its part, the White House announced it strongly supported passage of the House version but wasn't satisfied with it, adding that the administration 'looks forward to working with Congress to strengthen the bill as it moves through the legislative process.'"
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House Approves Warrantless Wiretapping

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  • Republicans! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday September 29, 2006 @09:59AM (#16244279) Journal
    Both parties are full of shit. Although it appears that Republicans are simply more full of shit than Democrats at the moment. Don't confuse me with a Democrat, it's just much easier to criticize a party when it owns all three branches of the government.

    Republicans called it a test before the election of whether Democrats want to fight or coddle terrorists.
    Bullshit. This isn't about terrorists, it's about my privacy and my rights as an American. The true test is whether or not our leaders are competent enough to defeat terrorism without destroying the laws and rights that made this country great.

    Offering other means to fight terrorists is not 'coddling' them.
    "To always have reasons why you just can't vote 'yes,' I think speaks volumes when it comes to which party is better able and more willing to take on the terrorists and defeat them," Boehner said.
    And voting 'yes' just for the sake of being able to vote 'yes' would be an even larger problem. My message to congress: engage brain before voting. I would rather have everything scrutinized than making progress for the sake of making progress. When you gather 100 people from different parts of the country together, there's bound to be more than a few that have reasons not to vote 'yes' or 'no.' That's called Democracy and that's how it's supposed to work.

    What is it with Republicans and their extreme views? The world isn't black and white. You can't tell me that by fearing for my civil rights I'm less able to combat terrorism. And what the hell is up with this tunnel vision of one and only one option on nearly every issue? Stop being selective about revealing consequences! This might help you fight terrorism but it's also going to give you powers that the wrong government officials could abuse! You cannot deny this so stop sidestepping it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:08AM (#16244385)
      You have correctly identified the problem: both the Democrats and the Republicans. That's the first step, and I'm glad you have made it. But now what are you going to do? Just rant here on Slashdot? That won't accomplish very much.

      I am very glad that many Americans today are seeing the core problems. But what's needed is Americans who will protest. Americans who will take a real stand against the wrongs they see committed in their names. Are you one of those Americans?

      • What I've Done (Score:4, Interesting)

        by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:29AM (#16244703) Journal
        So what are you going to do?
        What I've already done is sent a hand written and signed letter addressed to my representatives in congress, my representative in the house, my president and my local paper (addressed to my fellow citizens).

        I did that because it's what I'm supposed to do. This is how it's supposed to work. I feel a bit more satisfied but I still fear for my country. I urge each and everyone of you who are American citizens to do the same, whether you're for or against this bill.

        Which one do I have the most faith in? My fellow citizens.

        The rest could be hit by a bus and I wouldn't really care.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) *
          The rest could be hit by a bus and I wouldn't really care.

          I find this incredibly insensitive. Do you have any idea what hitting that many people would do to a bus?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sgt_doom ( 655561 )
          Sorry to have to explain this to you - but due to the biowarfare protection procedures in place, any handwritten notes to congress normally take about a month and a half. With their very short memories...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by f1055man ( 951955 )
        But now what are you going to do? Just rant here on Slashdot? That won't accomplish very much.

        Give me a sec man, it takes time to fill the molotov cocktails.
      • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @12:10PM (#16246595) Homepage
        But what's needed is Americans who will protest.

        It's got to get much worse before that will happen. Sad to say.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RexRhino ( 769423 )
        Protest is one of the most ineffectual things you can do about it. Protesting used to be significant back in the day before mass-media, polling, etc., when a literal "show of heads" could convince a politician that it was something the electorial supported. But the years and years of constant, professional protesting (there is a protest every single day in Washington DC for the last 30 years, at least), and mass communication for mobiling protest, means that protest turnout has no real corelation to public
      • by smchris ( 464899 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @04:18PM (#16250775)
        Yes, it's hard to take a "stand" when you are sitting at your desk writing your congressman a letter. Oooohh, a letter. That'll set them straight. Street protest on your "free" time is about equally worthless. It will probably be boycotted by the news anyway.

        But what I saw on the news in France some months ago when the government wanted to take job security away from kids in their 20s was that old people, young people, men, women, farmers, merchants, office workers and students went on STRIKE and clogged the streets until the government backed down. The French _people_ stood up to the government, for real, in disruptive ways that immediately affected the economy.

        Americans apparently don't give a rat's ass about habeus corpus, torture and the constitution, especially if it'll take time away from American Idol and the World's Series -- so screw them. I mean if the president lobbying congress for the right to torture Americans isn't enough to get their fat asses out in the streets for real America will get the dictator it deserves and many are stupid enough to think they want. Freedom in America is a truck commercial.
    • Re:Republicans! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mongoose Disciple ( 722373 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:08AM (#16244389)
      Both parties are full of shit. Although it appears that Republicans are simply more full of shit than Democrats at the moment. Don't confuse me with a Democrat, it's just much easier to criticize a party when it owns all three branches of the government.

      Amen to that. The question is, how do we take our country back from these yahoos?

      I mean, I'm all for voting out the particular yahoos who decided this was a good idea and are telling me the government needs to spy on me without due process for my own safety. No question about that. But does that really effect long-term change in government and how it does things?

      Voting for a third party is in the short term throwing your vote away. Is there any way for America as a country to get to a place where it wouldn't be? Is there a better way to bring about reform?

      I love this country, but it kills me to see where it's going and what it's doing. There's got to be a way to fix it, but I don't know what that would be.

      • Re:Republicans! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:27AM (#16244689) Homepage
        Your problem is viewing that the vote for the third party is throwing it away in the short term.

        They've made it look that way so NOBODY ELSE does it either for the same reason.

        There's quite a few people that aren't really very happy about any of this, but they don't see
        any way to fight it (You can't fight City Hall, the State, or the US Government...)

        Either you're willing to "throw your vote away" and show people that they can too- or you'll
        need to resort to stronger measures. I don't at all advocate the latter, but it's really your
        only option if you're not going to vote in the manner your conscience tells you to.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by catalina ( 213767 )
          Either you're willing to "throw your vote away" and show people that they can too- or you'll need to resort to stronger measures. I don't at all advocate the latter, but it's really your only option if you're not going to vote in the manner your conscience tells you to.

          I would suggest that a better way to throw your vote away is to register for the incumbent party, make a point voting in the primaries. Far too many folks still think of a primary as a non-event, and yet complain that they don't have a g
      • voting reform (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:31AM (#16244745)
        Voting for a third party is in the short term throwing your vote away. Is there any way for America as a country to get to a place where it wouldn't be? Is there a better way to bring about reform?

        Not that I can think of. The Duopoly has no desire for reform - the current system works just fine for their interests. Alternate systems such as Condorcet voting [wikipedia.org] offer honest chances to all candidates, forcing them to compete on the strength of their platforms and ideals. To get someone in who wants reform, you have to work within the current system to elect someone outside the Duopoly. But the current system is unlikely to get that person without reform. It's catch-22 - but you'll never get anything if you don't try! Vote for any [constitutionparty.org] party [lp.org] that promises to shrink the size and scope of government and remove power from the gov't to restore it to the people. You may not agree with them 100%, but if the goal is to shrink gov't, they'll have less ability to do those things that you disagree with.

        And isn't that the whole point?

      • Re:Republicans! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:35AM (#16244815) Journal
        Is there any way for America as a country to get to a place where it wouldn't be? Is there a better way to bring about reform?
        YOU run for office. Or pressure someone whose opinions & character you respect into running.

        Before doing that, I suggest you go talk to the nearest rookie representative. You will discover that being a Congress Critter is not so easy.

        Actually it is somewhat soul destroying. Idealism burns out very quickly once you figure out that you can't change anything without compromising.

        Needless to say, I've talked with a rookie Congressman and have no urge to go into politics.

        Why do you think that the Republicans, who are in the majority, are still complelled to call the Democrats "defeatocrats," "obstructionists," or "the party of cut and run"? Hint: it creates a situation where it is easier to force a favorable (R) compromise
        • Re:Republicans! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:21AM (#16245613) Homepage Journal
          You will discover that being a Congress Critter is not so easy... Actually it is somewhat soul destroying. Idealism burns out very quickly once you figure out that you can't change anything without compromising.

          there's a popular saying amongst the anarchists: "if voting could change anything, they'd make it illegal".

          the indoctrination and pressure to conform to the status quo that is applied to elected representatives is very real and goes a long way towards homogonizing government. does that mean you should not vote or run for office? no. but you probably shouldn't think that this vote or that candidate is some sort of magic bullet that will solve the nation's problems.

          a better, more lasting solution is to work on building a political culture that respects individual liberties and privacy. hate unauthorized surveillance? encrypt as much as possible, even if you have nothing to hide. heck, especially if you have nothing to hide, lest privacy becomes a defacto admission of guilt. remember that, ultimately, the sate cannot enact any policy without at least the complicity of the people.

          somewhere along the way 'democracy' became little more than a multiple choice test once every four years. it should be an essay exam. every day.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        This stuff frightens me. It is so reminisent of the Brown shirts of Germany and Black shirts of Italy in pre-WW2 that I fear that we are going to see a total loss if civil rights.

        Voting the rascals out only gives you a new set of rascals any more. And they are setting things up so that you can no longer take to the streets. This is an example of "death by 1000 cuts", only it's our civil liberties that they are cutting.

        Go ahead, mark me as a troll or ignore me. But if you don't stand up now, tomorrow will

        • by whathappenedtomonday ( 581634 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @02:09PM (#16248665) Journal
          I share your worries. Those who don't might want to consider this:

          The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism by Dr. Lawrence Britt

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

          1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
          2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
          3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
          4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
          5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
          6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
          7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
          8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
          9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
          10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
          11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
          12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
          13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
          14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fas

      • Individually there is very little that we can do but, collectively, people can make a huge difference. For proof just look to the Christian Coalition, Moral Majority and other organized groups of the Religious Right. You do not have to agree with them to see that they have made significant changes to the United States. Only the foolish and/or ignorant would deny the power of well organized groups with cohesive messages and clear goals. (Google these groups and see what I'm talking about).

        Feel powerless?
      • Vote 3rd Party (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TomRC ( 231027 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:28AM (#16245765)
        "Voting for a third party is in the short term throwing your vote away."

        Voting for anyone you don't believe is the best candidate is throwing your vote away.

        Voting as if it's a sporting event in which you "win" if you bet on the right candidate, is throwing your vote away. You don't win - you lose because you supported someone you don't approve of, and now they're going to govern you in ways you don't like. Loser!

        Your one vote has very little statistical significance - but when you vote for a 3rd party that gets 1/10th as many votes as the major parties, your vote has 10 times the impact.

        Voting for a 3rd party sends a message to both major parties that you are fed up with both of them, and that you aren't going to fall for the "throwing your vote away" lie any more. That's the only message they truly fear. If 20% voted for a 3rd party, one or both other parties would try to change to win back those votes.

        Millions of people believing the lie that voting 3rd party is throwing away their vote, is how we got where we are today. So tell me - aren't you glad you didn't "throw your vote away"? Aren't you happy that you supported the current situation, either by voting Republican, or be contributing to the idea that others who voted Republican would have been throwing their votes away by voting 3rd party?

        Sure it's horrible to have one party dominate both houses and the executive branch. But hoping that Gridlock will save you is a loser's game - gridlock just slows down the rate at which you lose. Your only chance to improve things is to vote your conscience, and encourage others to follow your example.
    • Re:Republicans! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:17AM (#16244535) Journal
      The current administration was given a lot of support from the country as a whole after the WTC attacks, and they quickly used that support as a club to beat down anyone who disagreed with their plans. Congress as a whole, members from both parties, were paralyzed by fear; either fear of terrorism, or fear of looking weak against terrorism. They allowed the president to do pretty much whatever he wanted, and the administration did just that.

      Now it's to the point where congress has really lost any control of the executive branch. The president is doing things that clearly contradict the law, and will continue to do so. Congress can pass any sort of restrictions on his power that they want, the administration will just ignore it. So instead, the republicans are passing laws that retroactively allow the president's previously illegal actions, to make it look like they still have some control over the situation. Part of the democrats follow suit and vote with the republicans, and the bulk of the remaining democrats are too afraid and disorganized to create a loud resistence.

      This spying bill is pretty bad, but it's not nearly as big a blemish on our country as the Detainee/Trials/Torture bill that just got passed. If you want to see some real evidence of the terrorists winning against our freedoms, read up on that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Red Flayer ( 890720 )

        This spying bill is pretty bad, but it's not nearly as big a blemish on our country as the Detainee/Trials/Torture bill that just got passed. If you want to see some real evidence of the terrorists winning against our freedoms, read up on that.

        Well, not to be facetious or anything ;), but this sounds like a great anti-terrorism plan to me.

        We all know that the terrorists hate us for our freedoms. It's simple logic to deduce that if we reduce our freedoms, we will also reduce the number of terrorists.


    • Re:Republicans! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:22AM (#16244627) Homepage
      What is it with Republicans and their extreme views? The world isn't black and white.

      Woah woah. Don't, for one second, believe these republicans (or democrats) *actually* believe this stuff. Statements about "coddling" terrorists are made to: to polarize the electorate, mobilize their base, and demonize their opponents. It's 100% pure marketing. That's it, that's all. And it's important to understand this, because beneath all the rhetoric, these politicians do have real motivations for their actions, and it's vitally important for the voters to understand those motivations.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by snarkh ( 118018 )

        Are you coddling terrorists by making statements like that? And you probably don't
        like democracy as well. I think we might have to have your phone line wiretapped.
    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:33AM (#16244771) Homepage Journal

      Welcome to the American Taleban. They are essentially calling people terrorists who oppose them. Replace "terrorist" with "the devil" and you start to see how ridiculous the charge is. Consider the unAmerican things they are pushing and it's no longer funny. Their program is so out of line it makes you wonder what they are really fighting for. Look at what they are pushing with their new found powers:

      • Religion pushed as science in "Creationism".
      • Government intrusion into private sexual matters.
      • Bidless spending programs, and lots of money for their buddies.
      • "Preemptive" war, reprisals and all the costs that go with them. Compare the the US backed invasion of Lebanon to Katrina and you start to understand those costs. Nothing could be less moral than torture.

      They have come a long, long way from the party of smaller, less intrusive government and meaningful morals. Instead of competition, they have given us "duopoly". Yes, only government intervention can stifle competition like that. Instead of education, they are buying religion and bombs. Instead of enjoying freedom, people have to worry about Big Brother. There's a whole new agency in charge of strip searches at airports and schools are being given similar abilities. Black lists are derived from phone and email snooping. Our abuse of foreign citizens is starkly immoral. The result is domestic fear and international hatred.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ScooterBill ( 599835 ) *
      Have you watched congressional proceedings lately. You have a congressperson or senator giving an impaasioned plea for/against legislation, then the camera pulls back and you see there's virtually no one in the room. It's so discouraging to see this. It used to be that the congressional auditorium was always packed.

      I read that the founding fathers actually had a prediction for how long our democracy would last before reverting to some sort of monarchy. They did their best to put checks in place to preve
    • Both parties are full of shit. Although it appears that Republicans are simply more full of shit than Democrats at the moment.

      You mispelled "the ones in power"

      Time was, the Democrats were making a concerted effort to make cryptography illegal and force a back door into all communications. The was spearheaded by the Clinton admin (specifically Al Gore was its most vocal champion) which attacked PGP, attempted to classify academic research into crypto and force the ill-advised clipper initiative down our thro
  • Dear Congress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:00AM (#16244291) Journal
    What part of
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    does the smaller Government, individual liberty-touting Republican Congress NOT understand?

    Calls between foreigners and Americans include Americans and are thus totally covered by the 4th Amendment.

    What's so hard about that?
    • Re:Dear Congress (Score:5, Insightful)

      by paranode ( 671698 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:05AM (#16244351)
      What part of ... does the smaller Government, individual liberty-touting Republican Congress NOT understand?

      The part where their whole platform is being 'tough' on terrorism and getting elected based on that premise. They have found an issue which scares enough Americans that they can abandon some of their other traditionally 'conservative' agenda items like the ones you mention.
    • by misanthrope101 ( 253915 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:12AM (#16245397)
      The 4th Amendment, while generally a great and noble idea, was written with a pre 9/11 mentality. The world has changed. Power doesn't corrupt any more--now it's necessary, even beneficial to freedom, to confer as much unchecked, unsupervised power on the Executive branch as we can, as quickly as we can. Now you can trust government! The old way of thinking required a suspicion that power, once achieved, would be abused, but we don't have to believe that anymore, not unless you want us stuck in a pre-9/11 way of thinking. Don't you get it? Everything is different now!

      The only way things could ever change back to the way they were, the only way we would have to be cautious about how much power we give government, is if a Democrat is elected. Then, yes, it follows that power corrupts, and is inimical to freedom. But until that day, don't get stuck in a pre 9/11 mentality. If you need me to repeat it a few more times for effect, I can. Sorry about not being good enough at HTML to have a flag waving in the background as you read this.

  • by scsirob ( 246572 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:01AM (#16244309)
    .. Ehhhmm. Nope, it's not 1984. I'm confused.
    • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:04AM (#16244333) Homepage
      Big Brother's just being lazy- he's about 22 years later than he was s'posed to be.

      In all honesty, each and every Senator that voted "Yes" to this needs to be removed
      from office ASAP- they took a damn oath of office and they just broke it.
  • by anagama ( 611277 ) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:09AM (#16244397) Homepage
    Here is the House record on who voted for and against HR 5825 [house.gov].
  • by Whammy666 ( 589169 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:09AM (#16244405) Homepage
    I seem to remember, not so long ago, the we fought an extensive and sometimes scary cold war to fight this sort of thing. We mocked and ridiculed communist block countries for their intrusive governments and their lack of civil rights. We're becoming the thing we once despised.

    Funny how an administration who prides itself in defending freedom is the greatest threat to freedom. Illegal wiretaps, torture, suspension of habeous corpus, secret prisons, and kangeroo courts are the markings of tyranny --- not freedom.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lbrandy ( 923907 )
      Illegal wiretaps, torture, suspension of habeous corpus, secret prisons, and kangeroo courts are the markings of tyranny --- not freedom.

      Methinks it's time to update your talking points.
      • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:04AM (#16245247) Journal
        Methinks it's time to update your talking points.

        Is the law retroactive?
        Does it change the fact that wiretaps were done illegally?
        And have been publicly admitted to?

        I imagine a lot of people would like it if everyone just stopped bringing that up.

        -Knock Knock.
        Congress: Who's there?
        Congress: Oversight who?
        -WTF do you mean "Oversight who?"

        (Notice how that joke wasn't funny?)
        (It's because the lack of oversight isn't funny)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lawpoop ( 604919 )
          I asked the question about Ex Post Facto ( e.g. 'retroactive' ) laws and their constitutionality earlier in a slashdot discussion. Ex Post Facto laws are specifically decalred unconstitutional in Article 1, section 9 of the constitution. As far as what Ex Post Fact laws actually are, the Supreme Court ruled in Calder v. Bull that there were four types. One of which is a law that makes legal something that was illegal in the past.

          So congress can pass a law making legal what Bush is doing. But he is still
  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:13AM (#16244475) Homepage
    For those who saw my post yesterday [slashdot.org] about the Senate torture/habeas corpus bill... An amendment toning the bill down was rejected early in the day, and then the bill in its full-strength, scary form was passed and will be signed into law by the President shortly:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi -0609290178sep29,1,1387725.story?coll=chi-newsnati onworld-hed [chicagotribune.com]
    http://www.aclu.org/safefree/detention/26947prs200 60928.html [aclu.org]

    So, a bill legalizing wiretapping would just be par for the course for this government.

    Oh, and welcome to the police state . You may not notice any difference at first... but sooner or later it's probably safe to say that you will.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lbrandy ( 923907 )
      Oh, and welcome to the police state .

      Nothing beats a fearmongering president like fearmongering dissent. Welcome to the real new America. Everyone has lost all perspective... Chicken Little rules the day.
      • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:22AM (#16244629) Homepage
        begin to complain? You seem to be saying that until they arrive in jackboots to carry you off, it's too early to complain. Well I have news for you: once they arrive in jackboots to carry you off, it's too late to complain.
      • Exhibit A (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tony ( 765 )
        You see, class, even after the evidence of abuse of executive power, people were still too short-sighted to believe their rights had already been traded away, or to believe the shrill dissent was perhaps correct, a siren attempting to call an apathetic citizenry to action.

        Instead, many apologists said, in effect, "There's nothing new here, you've lost no rights, your country is just as proud and honorable as she's always been. The President and his well-heeled cronies are not digging up the founding fathers
  • by pkbarbiedoll ( 851110 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:16AM (#16244507)
    This is fucking insane. More so that most people just can't be bothered with news like this anymore. Too busy. Too distracted. Too apathetic to care even if their nose is rubbed in it.

    And 13 Democrats voted for the other peice of shit rammed through yesterday (the Torture bill). No wonder people are turned off to politics.. Washington is too far removed from the needs and wishes of the average American... or is that the other way around. Hell it works either way.
  • Suggestion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:18AM (#16244537) Homepage Journal
    Call your representative in the House (or check their web site) and find out how he/she voted. If s/he voted for the bill make sure to vote for another candidate if the seat is up for election in Nov.

    Normally I wouldn't say to vote for or against a candidate based on only one issue. But this bill is unconstitutional and anyone who voted for it is disregarding our rights and the constitution itself and is therefore unfit as a representative. Please vote accordingly.
  • GET OUT AND VOTE (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chroot_james ( 833654 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:21AM (#16244587) Homepage
    If it can't be delivered to Bush by Nov 7th, the midterm elections could make a significant diffeence in whether this is approved.
  • The HP way (Score:3, Funny)

    by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:23AM (#16244641)

    Once again HP shows its technological leadership by being ahead of the curve in warrantless surveillance.

  • Necessity and FISA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plnrtrvlr ( 557800 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:27AM (#16244685)
    I cannot begin to understand the necessity of this bill. The system that has been in place for several years whereby the Executive branch can use the FISA courts to retroactively give warrants for wiretapping seems more than adequate for our security. Furthermore, if this bill does not serve the purpose of strengthening our national security, what purpose does it serve? I may get categorized as a "conspiracy theorist" for saying this, but the only purpose I can see for this law is to strengthen the power of the establishment. It will allow for secret wiretaps that the FISA courts would not approve: political opponents, opposition parties and interest groups such as environmentalists or unions. If a wiretap would serve to protect the national security, the FISA courts would most certainly not deny the warrant retroactively. Additionally, this bill serves the purpose of retroactively giving legal standing to what are currently criminal actions that have been comitted by the executive office. Where is the press and the outrage? Where are the American people?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Whammy666 ( 589169 )
      There is no necessity for this bill at all. FISA was flexible enough to allow for emergency wiretaps when needed without first obtaining a warrant. The paperwork just had to be filed within 3 days after taps were applied. The warrants were issued by a special court which kept the proceedings secret in order to protect national security interests. The system wasn't broken as BushCo insists. Yet BushCo complained that this requirement was 'inconvenient'.

      The whole purpose behind warrantless wiretapping is th

  • by forgotten_my_nick ( 802929 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:32AM (#16244751)
    The torture one is. The sad thing is it may be too late as it is about to be passed into law (Only Bush has to sign it).

    Basically it will do the following.
    - Free Bush from any warcrimes (backdated)
    - Remove Habeus Corpus. This means you can be detained for your life and never be charged of any crime or even see a courtroom.
    - Allows the use of torture (as long as it is the US doing it)
    - Allows extraordinary rendition to continue.

    The fun part is that these only apply to non-Americans. But wait theres more! All the US government has to do is declare you a non-combatant and according to this bill you automatically loose your citizenship.

    Of course they would only ever use this on terrorists and at least this way we will never need to worry about them ever doing this to an innocent person.

  • by hacker ( 14635 ) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:37AM (#16244855)

    Cat. Mouse. Cat. Mouse.

    So now we just counter this illegal wiretapping (yes, its still illegal, even though they've passed a law that makes it "legal") with extra strong encryption and Civil [actupny.org] Disobedience [wikipedia.org].

    Use TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org] with the AES-Twofish-Serpent [security-forums.com] algorithm on your PC (Linux, Mac or Windows). If you want to use something simliar on BSD, look into GELI [freebsd.org] encryption [gnu-designs.com] for those partitions.

    For phones, you could look into encryption handsets [qmac.com] or telephone scramblers [spyworld.com]. There's this one [tccsecure.com] too, or the Cryptophone GSM Phone Encryption [cellular.co.za] solution. Google around, there's quite a few hundred solutions in this space... stack them together for even more security.

    Disclaimer: I don't personally know how strong these algorithms are on these handsets, so use at your own risk.

    With VoIP, you could easily layer whatever encryption you want on top of it. Bounce your call through a few foreign routers, run it through Privoxy [privoxy.org], Tor [eff.org] and i2p [i2p.net] and you should be good to go. Yes, it will incur some latency.. but I'd rather sacrifice speed for security or privacy, wouldn't you? Here is an article [linuxdevices.com] on securing VoIP. Worthwhile reading if you're using it or considering it.

    Cat. Mouse. Cat. Mouse.

    Now its OUR turn.

    You take from us, we take back.

  • by barik ( 160226 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:42AM (#16244921) Homepage
    I'm okay with all of this wiretapping on one condition -- every politician is subject to wiretapping 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If they expect us to give up our privacy rights, I expect our politicians to give up the same -- and slightly more, since by accepting the role of a public figure they accept a certain responsibility for both their public and private actions.

    On top of this, when obtaining a valid warrant, a private citizen has the right to obtain, inspect, and dissemenate all of these conversations. And on top of this, government entities (FBI, CIA, auditing firms) have the right to these conversations at any time without a warrant, and may, at their discretion release any of this information to the public.

    It goes both way. Have a nice day.
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @12:23PM (#16246835) Homepage Journal
    High points of "How Would a Patriot Act"

    A constitutional lawyer named Glenn Greenwald wrote a book which explains the legal and constitutional issues behind some Bush Administration policies.

    He used to be apolitical, I mean really apolitical, to the point of not even voting. Then, over the last five years, he's been jolted into action by "theories of unlimited Presidential power which are wholly alien, and antithetical, to the core political values that have governed this country since its founding" (from the preface).

    He was living and working in Manhattan on September 11 and eagerly backed the first initiatives against the terrorists. But then, "What first began to shake my faith in the administration was its conduct in the case of Jose Padilla ... The administration claimed that they could hold him indefinitely without charging him with a crime and while denying him access to counsel". He still didn't lose faith until many more abuses piled up.


    Congress has cooperated with open requests for surveillance powers. The Combatting Terrorism Act passed without hearings or debate, allowing the FBI to tap Internet communications for 48 hours without a warrant. Congess amended the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to give the executive branch more flexibility. That was part of USAPATRIOT, which many Congressmen voted for without reading it, trusting the administration to do the right thing in a national emergency. Bush said it was adequate: "This new law I sign today will allow surveillance of all communication used by terrorists". In the same month he ordered the NSA to begin violating the law by spying without even the minimal judicial oversight of the secret and pliable court that oversees FISA taps.

    FISA, the 1978 act triggered by scandal after scandal, passed with Republican support including senators like Orrin Hatch. It worked throughout the Cold War, the first Gulf War, and many smaller conflicts. It has specific provisions for use in wartime which still require eventual judicial review.


    So why break the law? Greenwald points to the answer: "The only difference between obeying and violating FISA is that compliance with the law ensures that a court is aware of who is being eavesdropped on and how the eavesdropping is being conducted". In a March 2006 reply to Congressional questions the administration admitted that their purpose was to change who made the decisions about probable cause and to eliminate "layers" of review. Certainly the judges weren't getting in the way of normal or even questional eavesdropping: court intern Jonathan Turley said "I was shocked ... I was convinced that the judge would have signed anything that we put in front of him".


    Yaser Esam Hamdi was a US citizen when he was thrown into solitary confinement for two years without being told what he was accused of. It could have been for life, given the likely duration of the "war on terror". The Supreme Court eventually gave the administration a put-up-or-shut-up order, with even Scalia chiming in with "The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite detention at the will of the Executive". So what was done with this man who was allegedly too dangerous to be allowed to see a lawyer? He was released without charge and sent to Saudi Arabia.

    Torture isn't making us safer either. Former CIA officer Bob Baer told reporters it's "bad interrogation, I mean you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture's bad enough". Torture is where the "evidence" against Jose Padilla came from.


    Is the President above the law? His legal adviser John Yoo says so. He told New Yorker report Jane Mayer that Congress "can't prevent the President from ordering torture".

    The legal theorists who are defining what a Commander in Chief can do have set forth theories that recognize
  • Conspiracy??? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SeattleGameboy ( 641456 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @12:44PM (#16247219) Journal
    And to all of you who believe in 9/11 government conspiracy, don't you find it odd, that some loner just HAPPENED to storm a high school and kill a pretty girl on the same day these bills were passed? And how EVERY newspaper and cable news is BURYING the real story of the day and are practically foaming at the mouth talking about how the girl might have been sexually abused before being killed? If you ask me, all of these news networks are PRAYING that she was abused so that they can talk about it endlessely for the rest of the year.

    And unlike the 9/11 conspiracy, this only involved one person, which means it would have been INFINITELY easier to set this up and keep quiet...

  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @01:18PM (#16247829)
    While I am disgusted with Bush and the Republicans, and definitly think they are utter facists who are intent destroying the constitution... I don't think many other people are outraged for the same reasons.

    When a Democrat is elected, and he wants warrentless wiretapping in order to crack down on "Corporate Criminals", or "Child Molesters", or "Hate Groups", you will hear most of the people who are "outraged" now rally behind the program and accuse those who are against the wiretapping as being "pro-corporate-crime", or "pro-hate", the same way you now have Republicans calling people against warrentless wiretapping now as being "pro-terrorist".

    What you must understand is that there has been a pro-authoritarian shift in society across the political spectrum. Virtually all mainstream political positions have become completly totalitarian. I mean we have cities banning fatty foods, we have laws that make it illegal to say bad things about some protected group of people, we are passing laws that ban cartoon artwork on food packaging... Hell, it is even illegal to place political advertisments during elections!!! The solution to all problems, as seen by both the left and the right, is government crackdown! The left and the right might disagree on what exactly the social goals they want to achieve, but both are in 100% agreement that the state's need to promote those social goals takes precidence over privacy, free-expression, the right to make a living, etc.. The left and the right may have different goals, but they both 100% agree that total government control over society is fundamental to achieving the goals.

    So a lot of this outrage people have is pretty non-sensical. If you support the Democrats, or the Republicans, you are fully responsible for this. When you bash Bush and the Republicans (which in itself would be OK, they are pretty evil), you are trying to imply that voting for Democrats will somehow result in a less authoritarian society, which is entirely false.

    With the exception of a handful of Anarchists, Libertarians, or other fringe groups on Slashdot, nearly everyone here has completly bought into the ideology of Big Brother. Leftists of course want Big Brother to protect them from percieved exploitation, unpleasant speech, or personal responsibility... Rightists, of course, want Big Brother to protect them from a percived threat of terrorism, or foriegn enemies, or sexual immorality. But the mainstream of people on Slashdot are in love with Big Brother - They only have an ideological disagreement with those in power, not with the type of police-state they are creating.

    If people don't stop and say "This is MY fault! I am responsible for this! This isn't the fault of some other party, or group, or belief system! I have been supporting authoritarianism!", then nothing is ever going to change.
  • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Friday September 29, 2006 @01:52PM (#16248385)
    So we're being told that to get the terrorists, we must sanction violations of the Geneva Accords, our Constitution, our laws, and our morals. Apparently, terrorists don't obey those rules anyway, and they get in our way. Where have I heard this argument before?

    From Thomas More's A Man for All Seasons [wikipedia.org]:

    Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
    More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
    More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down (and you're just the man to do it!), do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351