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Patriot Act to be Expanded 1523

m4dm4n writes "It seems that the patriot act is being expanded rather than scaled back after a vote late Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence committee. The FBI has gained new powers to demand documents from companies without a judge's approval, as well as the ability to designate subpoenas as secret and punish disclosure of their existence with up to one year in prison."
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Patriot Act to be Expanded

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  • by ^Case^ ( 135042 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:41AM (#12766430)
    ... land of the free?
    • by rxmd ( 205533 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:51AM (#12766466) Homepage of the free?
      As in beer, I guess.
    • by takeya ( 825259 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:42AM (#12766705) Journal
      At the risk of sounding seditious...


      I, unlinke our government, will continue to observe the law of the constitution over all others. If the document is amended and altered so that it no longer represents the spirit of freedom and "for-the-people, by-the-people" government that I feel is the best in the world, then I will leave and find a better government.
      • by Craig Ringer ( 302899 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:05AM (#12767149) Homepage Journal
        ... they won't let you leave from the big house with bars.

        You might be well advised to find a better government sooner rather than later should you do so at all. As a citizen of another country with an arguably "better government" (Australia) I'd like to point out that (a) we're trying as hard as we can to be as stupid as America, and (b) Please, please, please put your vote to stopping this stupidity at it's source instead. If all the sane, smart Americans leave we're all f**ed.
      • by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @09:39AM (#12768024) Journal
        I, unlinke our government, will continue to observe the law of the constitution over all others

        And you, will sit in jail for being a raving moron. Why was he modded insightful? Other then to show "This is not how you should act."

        Here are steps you can take:

        Protest the law
        Write your senator/representative/governer/presidnt (threaten to not vote for them if they vote for this amendment...and then follow through.)
        Sign a petition of as many people as you can get (registered voters preferred)
        Do not prove them right (by breaking the law)
        Use the media to your advantage
        Get into politics, modify the laws yourself

        I guess since the Constitution does not say anything about drinking and driving you go drink and drive right? I guess because the constitution does not mention anything about getting car insurance you don't have any but still own a car right?

        • by Intron ( 870560 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @10:14AM (#12768456)
          Actually, the constitution does address those issues. It says that anything not covered by the constitution is up to the states. And states do have laws about DUI and car insurance. What is covered by the constitution's fourth amendment is:

          "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."

          That's the part that the Patriot Act is trying to sweep under the rug.
    • Gulag's? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:45AM (#12766719) Journal
      Amnesty international used the word "Gulag" to provoke a reaction and got an amazing over-reaction. If democracy and human rights have any chance off success then the American people must take that report seriously and demand the "detention" centers be opened up to scrutiny and the people within them given due process. Hiding people in a "black hole" run by the military is by definition the opposite of a freedom loving country. If the US cannot demonstrate the rule of law by example then it does not deserve anymore respect than a warlord in a cave.
      • Re:Gulag's? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:27AM (#12766944) Homepage
        The "U.S." isn't doing this. It's the U.S. Government. It hasn't been in the control of the people for decades.

        What the "U.S." cares about is entertainment (TV, movies, music) toys (cars, motorcycles, boats) and bare survival. We're so busy in the pursuit of those things that we don't want to think about politics and governance. Of course once in a while some band of "cooks" will rise up saying crazy things like "patriot act is bad" and stuff but they are forgotten as soon as the next commercials come on.

        The masses of the people have to be hurting pretty badly before we will notice what has happened.
    • by kaellinn18 ( 707759 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:11AM (#12767201) Homepage Journal
      Where the FUCK is the judicial branch? Hello? Checks and balances? Wake up, courts! Congress is planning to expand their craptastic Patriot Act so that the executive branch can go gathering information WITHOUT YOUR APPROVAL. Seriously, if I was a judge, I'd be so incredibly pissed off. I'd like to hope that this would never make it by the Supreme Court, but I'm beginning to think that's too much to hope for. Disclaimer: I'm a conservative, but I no longer consider myself a Republican. The actions recently on behalf of both parties is reprehensible. The government stopped working for the people a long time ago. One almost wants to say "revolution," but then that would make you the "T" word wouldn't it?
  • by ForestGrump ( 644805 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:41AM (#12766431) Homepage Journal
    Anyone get the feeling we're becoming more and more of a police state?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:44AM (#12766440)
      where'd you get that idea?

      the US has fair and democratic elections, does not lock up people without a trial, does not torture, and has no weapons of mass destruction..
    • by rxmd ( 205533 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:47AM (#12766452) Homepage
      Anyone get the feeling we're becoming more and more of a police state?
      What are you, as an American, doing to stop this from happening to your country?

      Democracy must not be taken for granted. It needs to be constantly fought for and won, else it will be coopted and lost.
      • by AstrumPreliator ( 708436 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:55AM (#12766488)
        That's the problem, nobody cares that their democracy (or more accurately their constitutional republic) is dead and gone. It simply baffles me that people are so willing to piss away their freedom and it drives me crazy that I'm in the minority of people who see what's going on. The average US citizen will display his faith and patriotism in the US and all that it stands for, especially after 9/11, even though we have become the very thing we used to stand against; it sickens me.
        • by Adrilla ( 830520 ) * on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:16AM (#12766580) Homepage
          What bothers me, is that if you have a view that disagrees with the current powers, you are viewed as anti-american. I love my country, but I don't agree with everything they say, democrat or republican, and I don't think anyone should. Our country was built upon questioning authority. But it seems you must have blind faith or else you're viewed a dissenter and a traitor. After 9/11 I realized things had to change, but I don't think the patriot act was the correct way to go about it. It almost makes me fear my own country, because I don't know when I or anyone I know, innocent or guilty, could fall victim to this secret law system.
        • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:18AM (#12766592)
          The problem is that people don't think that they matter. The person they voted for in my state, and won by a large margin, isn't the president, so their vote doesn't matter. They can't afford to send "gifts" to senators, so they don't matter to them. How many people have you heard that wouldn't even think of voting for a 3rd party candidate, because it was wasting a vote? In a land of 300 million, people have a hard time believing that their one small voice matters. They need a way to realize that there are more out there that think the same, and if they get together, they can be a large voice.

          I mean, look at the Parent Television Council (I think thats their name) That one group of ultra conservative parents is responsible for something like 97% of complaints to the FCC for indecency in broadcasting, and has almost single handedly changed the policies of the FCC. Although I totaly disagree with what they are trying to do, (kill all the people you want on TV, but don't show love!) I think its amazing that they have bonded together, and been very loud until they got what they wanted. As much as I disagree with their tactics and message, I have to admire the fact that they can do it, and have a little more hope that maybe others will do something similar for what they believe.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:11AM (#12766860)
            How many people have you heard that wouldn't even think of voting for a 3rd party candidate, because it was wasting a vote? In a land of 300 million, people have a hard time believing that their one small voice matters. They need a way to realize that there are more out there that think the same, and if they get together, they can be a large voice.

            Unfortunately in America that's not really true because of the electoral college voting system. Unless you can turn enough people to flip the state majority from one party to another, then you have made NO difference. As far as voting goes, America is the least democratic of any election holding country in the world.

            The electoral college system provides a sham decocracy that keeps the majority dumb "we're living in utopia" Americans happy with the fig-leaf appearance they're living in a democracy, while being able to ignore all votes except those from a handful of swing states where it can easliy be controlled.

          • by cold wolf ( 686316 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:39AM (#12767007) Homepage Journal
            Why don't we form a Slashdot Organization, and bring the /. effect to the US government? We rank in the hundreds of thousands, so if we create a community that is unified by one simple concept, even a whisper from us would deafen the politicos.

            Slashdot admins, please consider this request. Form a politically active branch of /. that acts in the best interest of all technology advocates.

            Or will you sit back, content with being another Anonymous Coward...
        • by bobbis.u ( 703273 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:25AM (#12766630)
          That's because the majority of Americans are brainwashed from a young age.

          I'm not trolling here and perhaps I'm not totally informed, but don't children chant their allegiance to the flag in primary school every day? Isn't it drummed into to everyone to love the constitution? Even though parts of it are hideously outdated and you could argue that every day it is being corrupted further.

          Everyone thinks it teaches children patriotism and respect for the authority in place in the country. But it breeds the worst kind of patriotism where people will unquestioningly do whatever their leaders want and will rarely protest against them. True patriots love the landscape, the people and the values they stand for, not some petty symbols and words written on a piece of paper.

        • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:34AM (#12766672) Journal
          What do you prefer? Freedom from terrorists or freedom from the government?

          Personally, my answer is freedom from the government. But most people seem to think the other way.
          • by TheOldFart ( 578597 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:22AM (#12766925)
            Terrorists don't exist in vaccum. They exist in reaction to something bugging them. Stop bugging them and they will have no reason to cause terror. Every bit of reaction from 9/11 had nothing to do with fixing the reasons it happened and everything to do with bugging the hell out of the entire planet. First it was a feel wacky arabs pissed. Now it's the entire planet. Way to go...
            • by J. T. MacLeod ( 111094 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @09:20AM (#12767846)
              At what point do they STOP being bugged?

              A little study of history shows us that point comes at no reasonable compromise.

              Furthermore, not everyone is even INTERESTED in reasonable compromise.
              • by Siener ( 139990 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @11:00AM (#12769027) Homepage
                At what point do they STOP being bugged?

                A little study of history shows us that point comes at no reasonable compromise.

                I can think of quite a few cases where compromises have been reached:
                1. The end of apartheid in South Africa
                2. Northern Ireland

                Neither of those two solutions were perfect, but in both cases terrorism was effectively stopped by the two parties making a compromise.

                Now please name a few cases from history where a compromise could not be reached and where terrorism was then stopped by all out warfare.
        • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:42AM (#12766704) Homepage
          The average US citizen will display his faith and patriotism in the US and all that it stands for, especially after 9/11, even though we have become the very thing we used to stand against

          Well, what do you expect. Americans are indoctrinated from birth that they live in the "shining beacon of freedom, land of the brave and home of the free" and so on. As if other democracies were nothing but pale copies of perfection. I would at times call it blind faith, that nothing bad could happen here almost by definition. And by implication, that makes the US government the leaders of the free world, equally flawless.

          Sure, there are political disagreements but everyone thinks they work for the people, in particular to create economic prosperity. And in this regard to protect the people, all out of acting in the people's best interest. As long as you have such a deluded perception of government, it does not matter how big, how intrusive it gets because it is a big, intrusive force of good. As long as the cause is just, disruption of privacy and civil rights is accepted, because the ends justify the means.

          Of course, no other organization in history has ever been able to wield that kind of power without succumbing to abuse, persecution, corruption, power grabs, search for personal profit and so on. If you look more closely at the collapse of empires like the Soviet Union, you see that is one of the biggest reasons for their economic and social downfall, more than the ideology itself. But not the US. Because the US goverment is Good, and the Soviet government was Evil. QED.

          • by Xoro ( 201854 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:12AM (#12766869)

            Sorry, but have you ever been to the U.S.?

            Your trails of "almost by definition" to "by implication" to QED is ludicrous.

            Sure, there are political disagreements but everyone thinks they work for the people, in particular to create economic prosperity.

            I don't think I've ever met anybody who believes this. On the contrary, suspicion and mistrust of government is common to almost every political viewpoint anyone holds in this country. Why do you think every politician runs against Washington, no matter how long he's been there?

            The simple truth is that people fail to oppose the patriot act because it has zero visible impact on their lives, not because they believe it derives from the heavenly benevolence of government. Argue along that axis (and please, with something less sci-fi than endless repetitions of "They came for...") and you will win every argument you have about the PA.

            The stupidity of the right presents such a fantastic opening to its opponents, but they all seem to prefer to scream "brainwashed fascists!" instead of trying to actually win the debate. It's really pathetic.

        • by fuzzybunny ( 112938 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:34AM (#12766981) Homepage Journal
          Good point. I've had this conversation with many "fellow Americans" (I live abroad and have no desire to go back due to things like this.)

          It always astounds me how many people simply don't care about what many of us consider to be essential civil liberties, or are totally sold on the idea that such draconian laws are necessary to fight terrorism, drugs, child molestation, whatever. It's like arguing with a wall.

          There are extremists on both sides of the American political spectrum; the problem is that the "conservatives" (what a stupid term--I think we should start calling them "nationalists") have this crisis of conscience where the social fanatics support the same sort of governmental power that the "my country, right or wrong" types do. And yet they all vote together. On the other side, most moderates or "liberals" have this problem that the wackjob leftist faction is making them look bad.

          Bit of a ramble, I apologize, but the upshot is that you have a fairly large minority are very upset about the seeming inability of many voters to grasp the underlying issues, and to understand that the reasoning given for this kind of stuff (to protect the homeland!) is horseshit, smoke & mirrors and is dooming much that the US stands for.
          • by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:12AM (#12767208) Homepage Journal
            the upshot is that you have a fairly large minority are very upset about the seeming inability of many voters to grasp the underlying issues, and to understand that the reasoning given for this kind of stuff (to protect the homeland!) is horseshit, smoke & mirrors and is dooming much that the US stands for.

            I have to admit, I do feel powerless in the USA. I don't talk politics anymore, because I'm afraid I'll piss someone off, due to it being such a divisive issue (but, hey, this is online, and I don't have to be near anyone I piss off). But the feeling of powerlessness is really very hard to deal with sometimes. I (like many on slashdot) am a liberal, and when I see things like the "Nuclear option" threaten to happen in congress, it scares me. When the party that won the last election 51% to 49% now sees fit to force its policy onto 100% of the country, and when the democrats stand up and say "Hey, we've affirmed a lot of your nominees, but this one is just over the edge.", the party in power threatens to take their ball and go home if they don't get their way.

            And I don't even understand everything that goes on in washington. I mean, I have my views: basically, I want peace, separation of church and state, and social progressivism, but it's really hard to find someone on the hill that believes the same things I believe in that's not an asshole.

            I dunno, I always see people saying "If you're unhappy with the government, vote! Get involved!". But what happens when you really do vote, and nothing happens. What happens when you're part of the 49% and yet it feels like no agenda you support is ever taken into consideration, much less acted upon. Plus, I'm so damn busy working 50+ hours a week and taking care of the 1 year old so that maybe someday my wife and I can close this gap between the haves and the havenots and maybe, just maybe, afford a house.

        • by the_quark ( 101253 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:17AM (#12767247) Homepage
          As such an "in touch" person who sees what's really going on - you do realize that most of the powers the Patriot Act gave to the FBI to fight terrorists, it's had to fight the drug war since 1982 []? And to fight Medicare fraud since 1997? And have been used by federal agencies from OSHA to the SEC in the verification of their regulations? That, in fact, the only thing that's kept the FBI from using these powers against you for the past twenty years is that they're either basically honest or just don't give a damn about you?

          The war on drugs did far more to trample the rights of the citizens of the US than the war on terrorism ever has (or will). People whining about this stuff now have been asleep at the switch for a very long time. You want to crusade for freedom - don't start trying to block minor enhancements to FBI power like this. Start by trying to roll back all the laws and court decisions over the past twenty years that have rolled back your 4th and 5th amendment rights, that have elimninated any expectation of privacy in financial transactions, that have made it very difficult to do anything significant in cash. Undo law enforcement's ridiculous powers to sieze your property without trial and sell it for their profit. End racial profile stops that result in drug searches.

          It's not some Bush or Republican plot. They're just trying to do to terrorists what we've been doing to drug users and dealers for a really long time. The elimination of our rights has come from both parties, as they've both controlled Congress and the White House over the time this has occurred. If you're mad at Bush personally about the Patriot Act, you're blinding yourself to the fact that it passed the Senate 98-1 []. No party or president has a monopoly on favoring expedience over principle. While Brave Democratic Senators stand up against these largely meaningless provisions of the Patriot Act, no person in any party is making any move to restore the rights we've already had stolen from us.

          This Patriot Act crap is mouse nuts compared to what Congress and the courts have done to our rights in order to stop demon weed over the past two decades. I'll be impressed with your clarity of vision when you start being mad about the stuff that's important.
        • by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @10:45AM (#12768824)
          There are a great many who do care, and we have been fighting for quite some time now. I used to read stuff like this on Slashdot, get all worked up, post, then do nothing and wonder why I felt so dissatisfied. Then I realized that no one else was doing anything about it, dammit, so I had to. I started a grassroots political organization here in New York that has swelled to 15,000 people.

          Last election cycle we took back three state senate seats from the neo-cons, and fought really hard on two others, getting the one to within 8% of victory and the other to within a mere 18 votes! That puts us 4 seats out from regaining a majority in state senate, and in turning back the neo-con tide here in New York. We also fought really hard to remove a Bush rubber stamp Congressman called Vito Fossella from the district in Staten Island. Got our guy to within 8% again, but because of our efforts the party is now going to focus money and support on that race in 2006.

          Right now we're working on NYC races for mayor, etc., but really planning for the mid-term elections in 2006. We're 15 seats out from recapturing the House of Representatives, people. What does that mean? The ability to launch congressional investigations into Cheney's deals with Big Oil, who leaked Valery Plame's name to the press, the Downing Street memo that confirmed that Bush lied to the American public to get them to invade Iraq, etc., etc. It means we can impeach, imprison (at Guantanamo!), and expunge this blight from our country and world.

          So get out there and help! The neo-cons are petrified of the idea that Americans will wake up and start fighting back. It doesn't matter where you are in the country, fight back. We vastly outnumber them.
    • by zmooc ( 33175 ) <.ten.coomz. .ta. .coomz.> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:56AM (#12766495) Homepage
      Dude, your country is viewed as the sole definition of a police state by the rest of the world, might you not have noticed.
  • Short said: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi AT evcircuits DOT com> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:41AM (#12766433) Homepage
    They can do whatever they want without any judges or other laws having to say anything about it and when you go public (or to your lawyer) you go to prison? Isn't that a human rights violation?
  • by colonslashslash ( 762464 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:43AM (#12766438) Homepage
    Still, it's all in the name of fighting terrorism, of course.

    Eurasian spies are everywhere....

  • Hurrah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) * on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:44AM (#12766442)
    Yet another step is assuring freedom will overcome terrorism!

    It's just too bad Bush can't have a third term. How will we be safe when he is gone?!
    • Re:Hurrah! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zenmojodaddy ( 754377 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:53AM (#12766477)
      What makes you think he'll stand down after his second term? He's quite content to piss all over your Constitution, so why shouldn't he get a law passed allowing more than two terms of office?
    • Re:Hurrah! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iapetus ( 24050 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:58AM (#12766503) Homepage
      No need to worry. Because of the ongoing war against Iran it will be necessary for him to stay on for a third term. America needs continuity, and anyone who says otherwise supports the terrorists.
    • Re:Hurrah! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:24AM (#12766930)
      What makes you think that this is all Bush.

      This is an act of the Legislature. Bush can't do this. We can't blame Bush for EVERYTHING. There are a couple hundred people responsible for these laws.

      You have one or two from YOUR STATE. Write them. Tell them to stop.
  • US = Jenga (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dew-genen-ny ( 617738 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:47AM (#12766450) Homepage
    The perception of US 'freedom' is being undermined on a daily basis just like pieces of wood being removed from a jenga tower.

    Wonder how long you've got before it topples. /glad I'm european.
  • Don't panic! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JamesD_UK ( 721413 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:49AM (#12766462) Homepage
    The solution to your problems as a resident of the United States may be at hand [].
    • Re:Don't panic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mirio ( 225059 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:10AM (#12767197)
      This is something that really gets my blood boiling. I guess it's the 'retreat' mentality that annoys me so much.

      If you hate your country don't like the current political climate, by all means leave. If however you love your country and don't like the currently political climate...then fight for change, whether it be by joining PAC's or just something.

      Do you seriously want to abandon what is by any measure the world's most dominate military power to Bush and friends? I don't. I choose to stay and fight.

      You people claiming that you should leave because things are not going your way makes you sound like a grade school kid taking his ball and going home when he starts losing.

      I spent 6 months in 2002-2003 working in Montreal. I've been to BC, Toronto, Quebec City and other places in Canada. It's a great country and I believe it would be a great place to live (given the proper cold-weather attire, of course!). However, Canada is just like any other industrialized country...with it's own strengths and weaknesses.

      Let's just hope the Dems can put up a candidate in 08 that actually scored higher than Bush at Yale []! :-)
  • by castlec ( 546341 ) <castlec AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:51AM (#12766470)
    It seems like every bit of political news I get these days makes me think a little bit more about not going back. It saddens me to say this but it's true. Apathy is killing our country. We need to remind people that our empire is not unlike others before. They all fell apart. Ours will too.
  • Nice! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:52AM (#12766472) Journal
    The best thing about these new laws is there won't be any evidence of abuse of power - anyone who squeaks will be locked up and have their reputation destroyed, its like getting rid of free speech without actually getting rid of it: genius!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:53AM (#12766482)
    I remember George Bush said that the terrorist _will_ not win. It looks like they have already won to me.
  • Osama (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leomekenkamp ( 566309 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @05:56AM (#12766497)
    Osama Bin Laden gets exactly what he publicly stated he wanted to accomplish: make the US government behave more like some 'muslim' governments. OBL thinks that only when the US populace suffers the same as the muslim populace that change will come to the world.

    The fact that he publicly stated this is where it gets interersting, because this leaves open (IMHO) 3 options for the US government:
    1. US government does not know what Osama said was his reason for attacking the US, and therefor simply react how Osama wants them to react; in this case US government consists of a bunch of morons
    2. US government knows *damn well* what Osama said and do Osamas bidding, because it suits them well in becoming more like Big Brother
    3. US government knows what Osama said, but think he is lying. Question is: why would a terrorist be lying? A terrorist wants to get his way, so there is no use in lying about what you want to accomplish through terrorism. Like option 1, US government is filled with morons.
    So, US government is either too dumb for words or wants to be like Big Brother. Don't know which of the two is more scary.

  • by Adrilla ( 830520 ) * on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:00AM (#12766513) Homepage
    How can our representatives not see that they are bastardizing our constitutional rights so bad that our forefathers are turning in their graves so hard that they're tunneling out of their coffins. How do the reps not see that we don't really want these rules. George Bush and the reps scream freedom from the tops of their lungs while at the same time strip more and more freedoms away from their own people. Why is it so bad to get judge approval for document retrieval? Yes, it may take a little more work and time, but we need checks and balances, not law enforcers becoming judge and jury on a whim. Along with secret subpeonas, and the rest of the patriot act, they're taking our whole legal system underground and out of our hands. I can't believe how quickly they're trying to take away the fundamentals that make us US Americans, but I'm even more surprised at the rate they're succeeding at it.
    • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:06AM (#12766536)
      we don't really want these rules

      Ah, but we do. Oh, we don't, not we sophisticated intellectuals, but we the people as a whole are very keen on these rules.

      Every single damn poll I see reveals massive support for further crackdowns and additional police powers, to protect us from terrorism.

      The masses actually believe they're in real danger. They've completely bought into the whole politics of fear we've been fed for the last few years.

      With thunderous applause, indeed.

    • by whathappenedtomonday ( 581634 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:15AM (#12766574) Journal
      How can...
      How do...
      Why is it...

      Well, it might be some sort of plan. See "The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism here []. Interesting note:

      "As of January 2004, the United States fulfills all fourteen points of fascism and all seven warning signs are present. But we're not alone. Israel also fulfills all fourteen points and all seven warning signs as well. Welcome to the new republic, redefined, revised and spun. It is not too late to reverse this in either country, but it will be soon. The first step is realizing it. The second step is getting involved. As the propaganda slogan disguising our current war goes, "Freedom isn't free." But our war for freedom isn't abroad; it's here at home."

  • by EvilCabbage ( 589836 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:08AM (#12766545) Homepage
    ... Hey, at least here in Australia we have nice beaches and beautiful women and our governing body is just stupid, not totally morally corrupt. Yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:18AM (#12766595)
    As I expected, many +5 insightful comments have appeared, claiming that american democracy is dead, or that the U.S. is approaching the police state, and so on. I really encourage you folks to try a broader perspective. Of course, those new laws are bad, and abusing citizens' rights, but
    1. It's nowhere near the situation during, for example, maccarthyism. Read something about the period. People were out of jobs (or forced out of the country!) for no reason at all, other that they were untruthfully accused of sympathizing with communists. And yet, American democracy survived this, and -- if anything -- became only stronger. Really, you should have more faith in the system's built-in mechanisms. It worked amazingly well for two hundred years.
    2. There is absolutely no comparison with the real police states, which are, unfortunately, still very common on our miserable planet. I think, It's insulting for the tortured to death victims in Iran, or China, or Russia, to even compare the minor inconveniences that Americans suffer with the police state actions. Looking from most of the Earth, America is land of the free, regardless how funny you may find this claim.
    • by szaz ( 890101 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:35AM (#12766677)
      Iran! Are you mad! As a former member of Tehran's expatriot community I can say the Iran was - about 6 years ago - a more liberal, tolerant place then the US is now. Iran had no fundamentalists in government - UNTIL the US started threatening it, then the people got scared, voted for fundamentalists who promised to wage war, and now - whilst being far from a fundamentalist state, it is not what it used to be. The average American really should be given lessons in International History
      • by lelitsch ( 31136 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:55AM (#12767081)
        Ahem, what? Iran was a liberal, tolerant place with no fundamentalists in government in 1999? Maybe President Khatami was trying, but Ayatollah Khamene'i, the real power wasn't. I won't go into the the events of July when riot police raided Tehran University and beat at least 4 students to death, but lets take a quick look at what Human Rights Watch [] (a strong critic of the US War on Terror) has to say about the rest of the year:

        General Yahya Rahim Safavi warned reformers in April, "we are seeking to root out counterrevolutionaries wherever they are. We have to cut the throats of some and cut off the tongues of others." A few days later he threatened, "we will go after them when the time is ripe...fruit has to be picked when it is ripe. The fruit is unripe now."

        Executions after unfair trials proliferated, including cases of stoning to death in public. For the first time since 1992 a follower of the Baha'i faith was executed in prison. Other religious minorities, including Sunni Muslims, Evangelical Christians, and Jews were subjected to discrimination and persecution. Prominent dissidents, including writers and editors, were subjected to arbitrary detention and independent newspapers were closed down. New laws were passed discriminating against women and aimed at restricting debate about women's rights. Torture was widespread during interrogation, and the government failed to take steps to halt violent attacks by vigilante groups which serve as enforcers for conservative clerics, known as the Partisans of the Party of God (Ansar-e Hezbollahi) . As tensions with the Taleban rulers of neighboring Afghanistan mounted, Afghan refugees, more than a million of whom have lived in Iran for many years seeking refuge from civil war, were attacked and beaten by crowds leading to several deaths.

        Hundreds of people were executed after trials that failed to comply with minimum international standards. In June, the daily newspaper Hamshahri, reported the public hanging of four young men in the city of Ahvaz, in the south, for "insulting" Leader Khamene'i and "armed robbery." Seven people were reported by opposition groups to have been convicted of adultery and stoned to death in October 1997 and six more were reported to have been sentenced to stoning in January. On July 21, Ruhollah Rowhani was executed in the city of Mashhad on charges of converting a Muslim to the Baha'i faith. This execution marked a deterioration in the situation of this intensely persecuted minority. At least fifteen other Baha'is were held in prison and seven were facing death sentences because of their faith. There were further detentions of Baha'is in September when dozens were detained in a new wave of repression. In May, Jewish businessman Ruhollah Kakhodah-Zadeh was arrested and later hanged in prison. His crime was never declared in public and any legal proceedings which occurred did so in secret.

        Read the other 10 pages on HRW's site.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:48AM (#12766739)
      Hm, first off all, I think it's at least up for debate if McCarthyism was worse than the current situation. After all, holding prisoners indefinately without trial, torturing prisoners, ever widening the rights of federal agencies whil specifically excluding proper checks and balances really is something to worry about.

      Further, you are of course right that the US has already lived through areas in which its freedom was threatened and always had the strength to overcome these problems in the end. However, the problem with your argument is, that the US was able to solve these issues specifically not as some people just leaned back and took a "it worked in the past, it will work now" attitude, but because people fought the developments they saw as threatening their freedoms.

      About your second point.
      You are of course right that there are far worse countries when it comes to human rights abuses than the US. I think that really goes without saying. However, that doesn't make human rights abuses in and by the US any better, does it?

      Further, I don't really think its the same when the US does such things, as when for example North Korey does them. Now don't get me wrong, they are crimes however commits them, but the US is after all the oldest democracy in the world, the worlds only superpower and without a doubt the leader of the so called western, civilized world, whereas North Korea is a criminal and rogue state.
  • by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:19AM (#12766598) Homepage Journal
    You US citizens need to put things in perspective. 2,823 died in that attack. Thats very sad but damnit, its not even a drop in the ocean compared to other dangerous things. Almost a million a year dies of off bad diet and no exercise (heart faliure). 90,000 dies in motor accidents. 28,000 people is killed by firearms a year. Where are the tough actions preventing theese much worse sources of death?

    9/11 was just an excuse to implement the police state the Neocons always wanted. The things the US hated the most about Russia is now being implemented and the US citizens is just watching on. As long as the media is pumping out false and outrageous propaganda it wont change either.

    Damn im glad i dont live in the US!
  • You guys.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erikkemperman ( 252014 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:26AM (#12766632)
    Home of the free, land of the brave.

    It's easy to say from across the pond, I know -- but you guys..

    So it would appear the plan is to protect your freedom by taking it away from you. Way to go.

    Sure if you believe the terrorists "hate our freedom" and want to destroy it, these measures may appear to make some kind of sense.

    But the fact is most of these terrorists don't mind your freedom, they mind US foreign policy which is supporting their dictators and exploiting their peoples. They are not fighting the US, they are fighting the US' ruthless protection of corporate interests overseas.

    Add to that the sheer hypocrisy of imposing measures on others (e.g. no trade tariffs, no agricultural subsidies, no profileration of WMD, etc) while openly refusing to impose same on yourselves.. Frankly, although I despise violence even more than imperialism, I think I understand why people would fight that tooth and nail.

    I really hope that you will stop this madness from within -- otherwise the next 911 is just waiting to happen.. And I hate to say it but that one will be your own goddamn fault.
  • by Seth Cohn ( 24111 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:47AM (#12766735)
    As the federal system gets more and more police state like, I want neighbors who are like minded.
    Here in New Hampshire, even with just over a hundred people moved, we're already making a difference.

    Put aside your preconceptions about New Hampshire (it's not THAT cold, people), about Libertarians (We're a wide mix of positions, from very moderate to extreme), about politics (NH's system is amazingly and uniquely open, and forget 20K, just a few thousand activists could make a huge difference here), and most of all, about liberty and freedom (What are you going to tell your children about what you did when they took your rights away bit by bit?)

    Check out the Free State Project [] now... we don't need 20K activists to move to make a difference, we just need you.
  • White hat ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:35AM (#12766988)

    I have a slightly offtopic question. Namely, I was wondering why the politics section in Slashdot has a white hat as its symbol, when all the stories seem to be about politicians doing bad things ?

    Wouldn't a black hat be more appropriate ? Maybe even Darth Vader's helmet ?-)

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