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Electronic Transaction Reporting Slipped Into Senate Bill

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the grist-for-data-mining dept.

Government 343

StealthyRoid writes "The Senate mortgage bill proposed by Sen. Chris Dodd (who was the recipient of a sweetheart deal on his mortgage from Countrywide, one of the beneficiaries of the bill) includes an attempt to sneak into law a requirement that all electronic payment processors send detailed transaction data to the federal government. The proposed law contains an exception for businesses with fewer than 200 transactions or a total value less than $10,000. Quoting FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey (former House majority leader) from the article: 'This is a provision with astonishing reach, and it was slipped into the bill just this week. Not only does it affect nearly every credit card transaction in America, such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express, but the bill specifically targets payment systems like eBay's PayPal, Amazon, and Google Checkout that are used by many small online businesses. The privacy implications for America's small businesses are breathtaking.'" This is the same bill that contains a controversial provision to fingerprint all mortgage brokers.

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343 comments

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You have nothing to fear! (4, Funny)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871767)

There is no danger if you have nothing to hide obviously.

But just to be safe, might want to hold out on that "McCain is evil" book purchase. Just in case, you know?

Note to moderators: this entire post, barring this line, is sarcastic.

Re:You have nothing to fear! (5, Interesting)

bryanp (160522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871829)

Considering that it was slipped in by a Democrat (Dodd) and the person blowing the whistle is a Republican (Armey) you might want to warn people about not purchasing the equivalent "Obama Is Evil" book.

You know how you can tell the party affiliations on a Slashdot story? If its negative about a Republican the summary almost always mentions it. If its negative about a Democrat they usually just say "Senator" or 'Congressman" with no party affiliation.

Well, I did hear on Art Bell (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23871895)

That Obama is the anti-christ, so I'm sure there are a few books out there.

Re:You have nothing to fear! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872085)

Interesting -- I have to choose a project soon for a linguistics course, and you've just given me an idea...

Re:You have nothing to fear! (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872143)

I don't about that, a couple of days ago I was modded down as a Troll for stating what was I thought was painfully obvious [slashdot.org] . I 'm still scratching my head over that reaction. But I do think that time has shown that it is not party affiliation, but personal advancement that fuels some of the legislation in Congress.

Re:You have nothing to fear! (2, Interesting)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872209)

As far as I've seen, Slashdot doesn't have a democrat bias, it has an anti-administrative bias. which makes a lot of sense since you'd find most of the people who post here are likely programmers or IT guys and not the guys who boss them around.

Re:You have nothing to fear! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872225)

You know how you can tell a naive jackass on Slashdot, or for that matter anywhere? They're the ones who still seem to believe the labels "Republican" and "Democrat" still actually mean anything different from each other. Bless our one-party system for keeping its members too busy butting heads over meaningless crap to realize how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Re:You have nothing to fear! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23871859)

More likely you would want to hold out on the "Obama is Evil" book purchase, given that Dodd is a Democrat (http://dodd.senate.gov/).

Note to moderators: this entire post is not sarcastic. ;-)

Re:You have nothing to fear! (1)

SpiderClan (1195655) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872129)

The key is to buy books with titles like "Mashed Potatoes: The true story of how Obama/McCain/Lincoln/whoever is destroying America."

That way the receipt shows "Mashed Potatoes" but you can still buy what you want.

In fact, if this bill passes, I move that all books be renamed to "Mashed Potatoes" and given subtitles.

you're freedoms can you feel the slip? (5, Insightful)

pseudoJax (1309809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871769)

yes what we need more govt intrusion into our daily lives sure they won't monitor transactions unless they're over $10000 for 200. but how will they cull this out after the fact? Someday we'll enjoy the freedom and privacy the Soviet Union use to have.

All the better... (5, Funny)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871773)

... to tax you with, my dear.

Re:All the better... (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872055)

... to tax you with, my dear.
Funny delivery yes, but not so funny realities. It's clearly paving the way for the federal government to track that persnickity little inter-state commerce that gives them carte blanche to do whatever they want with the country. I'm sure the twinkling in the eyes has at least some part about taking a cut, or at the very least taking a cut for the states (since congress is elected via the state, they're job is to bring home the bacon).

Won't come to pass anyway (5, Informative)

necro81 (917438) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871775)

The White House is planning on vetoing it [washingtonpost.com] .

Re:Won't come to pass anyway (1, Troll)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871819)

So that's *one* good thing that came from this administration.

Re:Won't come to pass anyway (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871865)

Hey! He still has a few months left. There is a possibility -- however slim -- that TWO good things could come from this administration!

Re:Won't come to pass anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872009)

He managed to stick a couple good people on the supreme court.

Re:Won't come to pass anyway (3, Funny)

Arccot (1115809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872337)

Hey! He still has a few months left. There is a possibility -- however slim -- that TWO good things could come from this administration!

The 1st good thing being he's leaving?

Re: (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871851)

It won't matter if it's overridden.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872271)

They'll just bring it up again on January 20, when the next president (regardless of who wins) WILL sign it.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872495)

That bothers me. They should be able to bring up new legislation once per presidential term.

Lets take a quick guess. (2, Insightful)

will_die (586523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871777)

Lets see it is a political story, on the negative side and does not mention the party the person is a member of.
Quick survey what party is Chris Dodds a member of?

Re:Lets take a quick guess. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871891)

The imaginary guy party?

Re:Lets take a quick guess. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23871899)

The real Chris Dodd is a Democrat, but in this case his body has obviously been taken over by those havoc-wreaking Republicans! Invasion of privacy means nothing to them! To think that they have stooped to such base levels of taking over a Democrat's body just to serve their cause!

It is best not to refer to him as a Democrat until it is proved that it is the real Chris Dodd. In fact for the time being it would probably be best to say "A man who claims to be Chris Dodd..."

Now, if it turns out that it is the real Chris Dodd, then of course we have full confidence that his motives are to further, in the best way possible, the social and environmental causes that are vital to this country's continued existence!

Re:Lets take a quick guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23871907)

Nice troll. I can see by your sig that you've got a lot of credibility in political discussions.

Re:Lets take a quick guess. (1)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871939)

Indeed. I'm surprised that this one even got past Slashdot's censo^H^H^H^H^Hmoderators. Because, you know, only the Republicans can do evil.

Re:Lets take a quick guess. (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871941)

Yeah, that's almost as annoying as Fox News repeatedly (and "accidentally", of course) labeling Repubs involved in scandals as Dems.

Re:Lets take a quick guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23871987)

Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity.

Re:Lets take a quick guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872195)

In Fox's case, it's malice.

??? WTF? (2, Insightful)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871793)

Why the fuck is this the government's business?

Re:??? WTF? (5, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871863)

presumably to avoid tax fraud. if you are sat at home apparently out of work and claiming state benefits, but in practice have a major ebay store that brings in $80,000 a year, then the federal government would like to

1) tax you
and
2) stop paying you benefits.

How is this not fair? Like many companies, I do most of my business on-line, and have no noticeable bricks and mortar premises. If it wasn't for banks reporting to the govt what I earned, I could pretend to be earning nothing, and pay not a penny in a tax.
Am I missing something here? People really expect the govt to not be interested in small online businesses and taxing them?

Re:??? WTF? (4, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871913)

You are missing the benefits of running a cash based brick and mortar business...

Re:??? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872023)

My business is made of bamboo and string, you insensitive clod!

Re:??? WTF? (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872057)

What benefits are those? Decreased audience? Extra costs?

Re:??? WTF? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872091)

Simplified tax fraud.

(Note that I pay my use tax.)

Re:??? WTF? (1, Insightful)

OhPlz (168413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872037)

I agree. Everyone needs to pay their fair share. "eBay" businesses should be no exception. I don't really see the privacy angle. If you're not using cash, then a third party is already privy to the transaction, and who knows who has access to it from there. Obviously privacy isn't the buyer or seller's primary concern. It's to everyone's benefit that individuals aren't able to escape their tax obligations through their unconventional business schemes. Why would we want to pay their due?

Re:??? WTF? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872207)

Because taking out taxes after they are in place is pretty damned hard. Sadly, it seems the best we can hope for is to keep taxes out of new areas and hope that they old ones simply become anachronisms.

Re:??? WTF? (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872409)

I don't really see the privacy angle. If you're not using cash, then a third party is already privy to the transaction, and who knows who has access to it from there. Obviously privacy isn't the buyer or seller's primary concern. It's to everyone's benefit that individuals aren't able to escape their tax obligations through their unconventional business schemes. Why would we want to pay their due?
Privacy: the whole thing of "I have nothing to hide" has really taken root. Personally I find it disturbing to use fairness envy ("I pay my fair share, so must everyone else, to the point of invading privacy") to further advances against government-enforced privacy violations. Please refer to Daniel J. Solove's excellent paper on the matter [ssrn.com] . The point of using, say, a credit card and disclosing to them your transaction is that it's your decision and they are legally bound to their privacy policy. The government has no privacy policy (other than systematically invading it at every opportunity).

Not to say it's never happened before. Terrorists, pedophiles, drug abusers... they all welcome tax evaders as the new bogeyman by which the government can shoehorn new bad laws onto the books with overreaching influence.

So am I for tax-dodgers? No: the people not paying taxes on their ebay stores are ALREADY breaking the law and can ALREADY be successfully prosecuted for it. Financial records can be obtained by subpoena and the proper procedure within the justice system. This bill would force all handlers of electronic payment to account and disclose information at THEIR expense (read: our expense because profit margins sure as hell aren't going to take the hit from government compliance costs). Now justice and investigation doesn't need a warrant or a court order because private companies are now compelled to broadcast this data.

How easily we give up our rights (4, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872445)

Well, sure. The government would like to know about your every activity, from breathing, eating, voiding, spending, reading, listening, talking, pretty much everything. The better to tax you, regulate you, imprison you, coerce you.

That doesn't mean we should willing give up that right, nor does it say in the supreme law of the land where the government has been given that power.

Better to let 1 million people cheat on their taxes than 250 million give up every last vestige of privacy.

Re:??? WTF? (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872461)

It sorta depends on how detailed the transactions are. If the "detailed" transaction is just that I received amount of money, that's one thing. If it's that I received amount of money for from , that's something else entirely.

I can understand the desire to stop fraud, but there's a line that should be drawn in protection of privacy.

Re:??? WTF? (5, Informative)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871951)

As usual, the summary is pretty wrong. The "detailed transaction data" of the summary consists of "the annual gross amount of reportable transactions" according to the Senate Bill Summary as quoted in the article - the only information which is less detailed is no information whatsoever. So on the face of it this isn't the intrusion that it's being made out to be.

Re:??? WTF? (1)

ForexCoder (1208982) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872015)

Why the fuck is this the government's business?

Taxes and Terrorists

At least, that's what they'll tell you.

Call (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871797)

Please, please, please call your Senator and urge him or her to vote against this bill. Make sure you say that it would be ludicrous to enact it because then even candidates collecting money via the Internet would be subject to its provisions, on top of the things mentioned by FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey (former House majority leader).

Is this the basis for a tax? (5, Insightful)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871805)

From TFA:

A de minimis exception for transactions of $10,000 or less and 200 transactions or less applies to payments by third party settlement organizations. The proposal applies to returns for calendar years beginning after December 31, 2010. Back-up withholding provisions apply to amounts paid after December 31, 2011. This proposal is estimated to raise $9.802 billion over ten years.

The summary says that the minimum reporting is under $10K (USD) or under 200 transactions, but the article shows an and.

Aside from that nitpick, how is this supposed to "raise $9.802 billion over ten years"?

my guess (3, Informative)

ProfBooty (172603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871871)

more reported income, so more taxes paid?

Yes (3, Interesting)

Pheidias (141114) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872069)

From TFA:

"Payment settlement entities [...] will be required to report the annual gross amount of reportable transactions to the IRS..."

Although I'm a long-time libertarian, I have to say that if they're collecting ONLY an annual gross dollar figure, and not the details of individual transactions, it probably would help them collect taxes and it would probably be a sensible thing to do in the context of existing laws. Income taxes are stupid in principle, but I can't think of a good reason to apply them only to money that's harder to conceal.

It is a concern that this "gimme a ballpark figure" will eventually become "gimme your customer list" but we can burn that bridge when we come to it...

ah, lolbertarians. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872185)

"Income taxes are stupid in principle"

really? So, what, we should just tax everyone the same dollar amount?

Re:ah, lolbertarians. (1)

SpiderClan (1195655) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872285)

IANAL(ibertarian), but I think that those who are against income tax are generally in favour of consumption tax instead. That way if you give half your income to charity, invest in a business or whatever else, you can still pay for your basic necessities before you are taxed.

This is assuming, of course, that consumption tax applies only to unnecessary items. For example, if I buy a frozen pizza, that is taxed, but if I buy bread and fruit and vegetables and whatnot, or even the basic stuff needed to make pizza, I am not taxed, as food is necessary, but prepared food isn't.

Re:ah, lolbertarians. (1)

pithen (912739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872489)

No, we shouldn't tax anybody at all. If the government were to be run in such a way that it did not extend past its Constitutional limits (gasp!), the budget would only be a tiny fraction of what it is today.

How The Hell... (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871807)

Does that work? I know the definition of "mortgage" is pretty broad, and I guess technically money is collateral, but doesnt this mean that all products are now just loaned to you, you no longer actually own anything you buy? next will there be property tax on bags of chips? or your cupboard space?

Re:How The Hell... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871825)

Don't they already do this in New York? :D

Re:How The Hell... (2, Funny)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871949)

doesnt this mean that all products are now just loaned to you, you no longer actually own anything you buy? next will there be property tax on bags of chips? or your cupboard space?
I can see it now...

This bag of crisp potato products ("CHIPS") is licensed, not sold. LAY'S reserves the exclusive right to change the flavor of the CHIPS at any time.

Re:How The Hell... (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872111)

Yeah, funny, but maybe not that far off...

Granted the claus is purchases less than $10,000, so excluding distributors and such, wouldnt effect your average person, but there are a lot of things that are more than $10,000 that are not housing, and may not even be ample collateral as mortgage, such as art.

But, that doesnt mean it wont change, silently in a year, dropped down to $5,000, then $1,000 till it is bags of chips...

And then "search and seizure"...

"according to your record at the local grocery store, it appears that you have purchased a bag of chips recently, we have to search your house for said bag of chips to make sure it is still in accordance to the producers desired purpose, aswell as search through the rest of your house to make sure there are no conflicting products, such as Heinz Ketchup, which is not a subsidiary of Lays... Oh what do we have here? You'll have to come with me."

yadda yadda, ok so conspiratory sure, but I still find it odd that a Mortgage related bill applies to anything outside of a mortgage related transaction, unless as I said, everything is considered a loan now.

Anyone have any idea what they're after?? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871833)

There was a similar provision in the recent telecom bill, wasn't there?

I haven't had my gallon of coffee yet, can someone please explain the point of the Fed collecting that data?

No. no. No. (4, Informative)

Valar (167606) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871835)

I keep hearing this "sweetheart deal" thing about Chris Dodd. You know what the actual deal is? A 30 year AR mortgage intro'd at 4.5%. All that means is the man had good credit and timed his purchase well. It's not like that is out of the range for mortgage rates. When I first heard it, I was thinking a no interest mortgage or something like that. Instead, he's paying almost 5%, like the rest of us.

Re: Yes. Maybe. Really. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871935)

You don't know that he has good credit, or that he timed his purchase well.

It *could* be explained by excellent credit and perfect timing, but there is no harm in checking up on exactly why he got the rate he got, his position obligates him to a higher standard.

Re:No. no. No. (1)

cain (14472) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872013)

It ain't exactly nothing:

According to Portfolio, which broke the story last week, the lower rates Dodd received saved him "about $58,000 on his Washington residence over the life of the loan, and $17,000 on the Connecticut home."

Dodd borrowed $506,000 at 4.25 percent to refinance a Capitol Hill townhouse, originally purchased in 1999, and $275,042 at 4.5 percent to refinance a home in East Haddam, Conn.

Rather than requiring him to pay the full amount to obtain the reduced mortgage rates, as other customers must, Countrywide waived three-eighths of a point, or about $2,000, on the first loan and a quarter-point, or $700, on the second.

From this article [talkingpointsmemo.com] .

Re:No. no. No. (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872127)

Part of the problem is that the deal is just now coming to light, but the mortgage was signed back in 2003, when hot and cold mortgages were flowing cheap from the tap, not that a lot of people can remember back that far.

The bigger question is, when does his intro rate reset, and what did it reset to, compared to everyone else who got a loan back then?

A 30 year AR mortgage intro'd at 4.5%

This is wrong though, per the NY times [nytimes.com] :

refinanced the mortgages on his homes in 2003 after shopping for the best deal. Ultimately, he obtained a five-year adjustable rate loan at 4.25 percent for his house in Washington and a 10-year adjustable rate loan at 4.5 percent for his house in East Haddam, Conn.

Re:No. no. No. (1)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872135)

Pardon?

According to company documents and emails, the V.I.P.'s received better deals than those available to ordinary borrowers. Home-loan customers can reduce their interest rates by paying âoepointsââ"one point equals 1 percent of the loanâ(TM)s value. For V.I.P.'s, Countrywide often waived at least half a point and eliminated fees amounting to hundreds of dollars for underwriting, processing and document preparation. If interest rates fell while a V.I.P. loan was pending, Countrywide provided a free âoefloat-downâ to the lower rate, eschewing its usual charge of half a point. Some V.I.P.'s who bought or refinanced investment properties were often given the lower interest rate associated with primary residences.
http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/top-5/2008/06/12/Countrywide-Loan-Scandal [portfolio.com]

Re:No. no. No. (1)

Collective 0-0009 (1294662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872233)

To all the others saying this deal is underhanded or whatever... consider this. A moron like me, with a pretty bad credit history, got a loan in 2004 for 5.25 and it wasn't adjustable!!! Plus I am not in the public eye!

He did get a sweetheart deal (5, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872239)

According to countrywide he got .5 off his rate because he was a US Senator. He knowingly accepted the VIP designation then tried to claim he thought it meant nothing? He serves and has served on various boards which have some power over this industry? Perhaps his party affiliation is saving him. I bet it is.

Read up on it, http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/top-5/2008/06/12/Countrywide-Loan-Scandal [portfolio.com]

By lowering his rate they effectively handed him $60,000. In other words, Congressmen don't play by our rules. Their ability to regulate the industry means they intimidate without having to lift a finger. Considering his role in this bill and the fact he takes money from Countrywide for his reelection makes the whole thing stink.

and people wonder why crap like this little transaction law slips in. These guys are always slipping stuff in and out trying to avoid our knowledge of what they really do.

Dodd is a crook. He is a liar. He was simply caught and now is trying hide from it.

Re:No. no. No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872323)

http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=13391

Welcome (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871837)

Welcome to The Police State. Population: You.

duh... isnt that the idea? (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871855)

Are they supposed to be shocked? They wrote this, they know it is in there... They know why it is in there.... They dont care what you have to say about it. It is what they want, and you will take it.

How do they count it? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871897)

The proposed law contains an exception for people with less than 200 transactions

How are they going to work that one out? I can't tell from the original wording whether it is "we won't record" or "we won't create reports" for people with under 200 transactions, but if it is the former (which is what it sounds most like) then how do they manage to tell when you've gone over your 200 transaction limit? Or is this just politicians ignoring vital issues again?

Textbook corruption in the senate (2, Informative)

zubikov (1172699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871905)

Dodd got a break on 2 of his home loans, and because of him taxpayer money is used to save a troubled lender. While he's at it he's helping all lenders better measure risk for new loans by giving them an ability to look into every aspect of consumer's credit. Does this guy have any shame?

Cash only (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23871923)

I don't know about you, but I'm seriously thinking of shutting down my credit cards and going back to strictly using cash for everything. This Big Brother Government is seriously beginning to piss me off by constantly being in my shorts!

As a non-American, can someone explain to me... (5, Interesting)

tzanger (1575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871925)

I'm not American, but I have always been surprised about these riders... Why on earth are riders legal? A bill about picking daisies can have a rider about nuclear weapons... there's no connection, they can be introduced any time, and they always seem to be used to sneak in unfavorable laws... Why are they allowed?

Re:As a non-American, can someone explain to me... (5, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872035)

Because Congress gets to make their own rules.

There is a mechanism for the various states to get together and amend the Constitution without the participation of the congress, but it has never been used and it is unlikely that it will ever be used.

Re:As a non-American, can someone explain to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872049)

As an American College student, looking on glazed and horrified at what I see; I ask the same question. Why are these 'riders' legal? What is the precedent? ...How is this Constitutional? Or are we finally beyond that 'damned piece of paper'?

Re:As a non-American, can someone explain to me... (5, Insightful)

throatmonster (147275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872059)

Why? Because the system is seriously f'ed up! Why don't we do anything about it? Um... uh... wait - Lost is about to start!

Re:As a non-American, can someone explain to me... (4, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872081)

The US House of Representatives has internal rules governing the germaneness of amendments (that is, amendments to bills must be on-topic). The Senate has no such rules, so lots of stuff gets introduced there.

Re:As a non-American, can someone explain to me... (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872179)

they can be introduced any time, and they always seem to be used to sneak in unfavorable laws... Why are they allowed?

I think you just answered your own question there.

Re:As a non-American, can someone explain to me... (1)

Silverhammer (13644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872261)

It's the process of negotiation: to get something (other legislators' votes), you must give something (earmarks, amendments). It sucks in principle, but it's a fact of life.

Re:As a non-American, can someone explain to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872339)

Well, the party in power uses the riders for two things. First, to pass laws that would never in a million years pass on their own. I like to call this the puppy-and-fleas proposition. If you want the fuzzy puppy you need to take the fleas. The second reason is to make the other party look bad. The Republicans were good at this. They would stick some outrageous rider (like tax breaks for the richest people in America) into an otherwise well supported bill (like war funding) and when the dems voted against it, the reps would bash the dems for voting against the main bill. I call this the a bash-the-puppy proposition. You can kill the fleas, but it looks like you are beating a puppy to death.

It is legal because it is so useful for the party in power, and the party in power makes the rules.

Re:As a non-American, can someone explain to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872363)

Riders are legal because that's how democracy gets done. Every congressman and senator has projects that only he is interested in and the only way that he ever gets anyone to vote on those projects is to get together with other bills and combine them.

In short, the citizens all complain about the riders they don't personally like, but love the riders that benefit them and that's why we put up with them.

Another way of looking at it is that riders are one way that we keep the tyranny of the majority from abusing the minority.

Daisy-Nuke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872391)

A bill about picking daisies can have a rider about nuclear weapons...

The link between picking daisies and nuclear weapons went out with the Johnson Administration.

Re:As a non-American, can someone explain to me... (1)

cptsexy (948021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872427)

A bill about picking daisies can have a rider about nuclear weapons... there's no connection, they can be introduced any time, and they always seem to be used to sneak in unfavorable laws... Why are they allowed?

No connection!?!? Oh really fool, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKs-bTL-pRg&feature=related [youtube.com] , there's your connection! If children pick daisies a nuclear bomb will go off, geeze stupid.

Family Guy (-1, Offtopic)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871931)

Dick Armey?

Heh, whats your wifes' name? Vagina Coast Guard?

Re:Family Guy (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872333)

...I can tell you what DIDN'T kill her: smoking!

onos, the gummint knows i sell stuff (5, Informative)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871933)

Look kids, it's been a fun free ride and all, but if you think the government isn't gonna tax transactions once it figures out HOW to get at those transactions, well, ha ha ha. Sure. Okay.

They take the money you earn while working for a living and use it for corporate welfare and bailing out rich bastards who gamble and lose, so how long do you think they're gonna watch billions of dollars bouncing around the Interwebz before figuring out a way to dip their collective hand in there too?

As for the "freedom watch" website from TFA - you may wanna check out the rest of the site before you send any large donations.

Efforts to regulate carbon dioxide are an attempt by the global Left to gain control of the U.S. economy.
lolwut?

Re:onos, the gummint knows i sell stuff (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872471)

Efforts to regulate carbon dioxide are an attempt by the global Left to gain control of the U.S. economy.
lolwut?

What do you think happens when you structure global CO2 agreements in a way to send all manufacturing to the 3rd world? Some greens are watermelons, and really don't care about the polar bears.

Let's stop this "was slipped into the bill" BS (4, Insightful)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871937)

A congressional bill, as it evolves and eventually maybe becomes law, is a living document. In every sphere of the real world where multiple authors work collaboratively on a same document, we use content management systems, that allow versioning, attribution, and history. It makes changes to a document transparent. Businesses use it, non-profits use it. Why not demand our Congress to use it and stop this monkey business of "was slipped into the bill"? Sounds like conversation you'd here in the playground, for gods' sake..

Re:Let's stop this "was slipped into the bill" BS (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872381)

I'd like to see something like this, with every delta (so to speak) marked with the author - but with a further provision that no bill could be passed except as an emergency bill (with special rules about emergencies) without at least a three month public comment period - and that adding a rider would restart that comment period. Would it slow things down? Of course, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

On the down side, loopholes for special circumstances often become standard procedure if it suits people, so everything would then end up an "emergency".

Another Dodd attack piece. (2, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871943)

Unfortunately, this is from a blog that wishes to attack Dodd(and little else at this moment). They have the most to gain by finding something to drop on him.

Try again, and without sounding like you just want to attack Dodd.

As for Congress, thank the obstructionist Republicans for the rating.

Re:Another Dodd attack piece. (1)

blcamp (211756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872117)


Well, if trying to remove these kinds of Orwelling provisions is "obstructionist", then dammit, let's get on with the obstructing already.

Chris Dodd, or anyone else (on either side of the aisle) with the gall to slide something like this in, richly deserves the incoming flak.

This isn't even a matter of surveilling suspected criminals or terrorists anymore... this is simply "witch hunt data warehouse".

That's way, way, WAY over the line.

Re:Another Dodd attack piece. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872119)

As for Congress, thank the obstructionist Republicans for the rating.
Personally, I blame all of them, on both sides. They've all been playing politics in favor of their parties in ever-increasing intensity since the '90s, if not before.

Where (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23871969)

Where are all the liberals who decry the bush administration for invasion of privacy? I figured this board would light up like a Christmas tree, but I guess they are silent today. Talk about an invasion of privacy, but I guess only Bush would do that. Liberal have our best interest, so it's OK. Nothing to see here...Move along.

stop freedom-haters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23871985)

"freedomworks.org" What is their goals? <A HREF="http://www.freedomworks.org/informed/history.php">fighting "social engineers and the freedom-haters."</A>

Ah yes. The freedom-haters. We all must be careful. They are out there fight now hating. Hating our freedom. And what is the only way to fight them? Of course, <A href="http://www.freedomworks.org/informed/history.php">promoting lower taxes, a limited government, and greater economic freedom</A>. But you knew that already unless you are already a freedom-hater.

but wait, it gets better... (1)

jt418-93 (450715) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872019)

also in there is a provision requiring all persons even tangentially connected to real estate sales to have their fingerprints sent to the gov to go into a database. so if you sell houses, do make ready, work on house financing, get ready to get printed and added to the db :).

i like congress better when they do nothing.

That would be Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872053)

...for the "who's at home". When a Republican party member is spoken about here on /., you always, and I mean *ALWAYS* see his/her party affiliation highlighted, yet in this post, its a Democrat who got his hand caught in the cookie jar and there is no mention of which side of the aisle he sits on.

Nothing untoward in my post, just making sure we all know who he is affiliated with.

Re:That would be Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut... (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872187)

To be fair, it is in the tags.

I thought the Nazis lost the War??? (1)

TooTechy (191509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872087)

I thought the Nazis lost the War???

American politicians (-1, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872097)

no shit can be more annoying. what kind of dirty, fucked up politics system you have there that these faggots can 'slip' stuff into legislation ?

Kill Bill (4, Funny)

Sethus (609631) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872103)

Is it just me, or does this just scream "I want to kill this bill by tacking on all sorts of unrelated things that are completely irrelevant so no one will vote for it, because everyone will hate something about it".

SLASHDOT...BIAS FREE POLITICAL JOURNALISM (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872199)

And if you believe that, you also have to believe the moderation here has a clue about anything.

The post below best explains it-

Considering that it was slipped in by a Democrat (Dodd) and the person blowing the whistle is a Republican (Armey) you might want to warn people about not purchasing the equivalent "Obama Is Evil" book.

You know how you can tell the party affiliations on a Slashdot story? If its negative about a Republican the summary almost always mentions it. If its negative about a Democrat they usually just say "Senator" or 'Congressman" with no party affiliation.

How the US works (2, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872263)

I'm sure there are many people that don't know how laws are made in the United States. Don't watch School House Rock, [youtube.com] they have it all wrong. The more accurate version is Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington. [wikipedia.org]

Finally, during a session in Congress, the janitor and Lisa, with Homer's drunken diversion, place the Air Traffic Bill under a bill giving orphans American flags.

Bye, Bye Amazon Hello Dark ages (1)

neuromancer23 (1122449) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872367)

Well, if this passes I won't be purchasing anything off of the internet. Does anyone know if Amazon is trying to fight this?

mod 04 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23872425)

conflicts that Sure that by the of a solid dose benefits of being with the work, or IS PERHAPS Future. Th3 hand No matter how clearly. There base for FreeBSD as one of the

Death and Taxes (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872431)

1. Government finds that money is changing hands.
2. Government gets information on transaction.
3. Government taxes transaction.
4. Government profits.
5. GOTO 1

Corruption (1)

blackjackshellac (849713) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872481)

I cannot believe how corrupt your government is, I mean really. All governments are certainly prone to corruption, and mine is no different, but shit if your senate and house aren't just unbelievably corrupt, both right and left. The only way to clean out the bums would be to replace every single one of them and carpet bomb the offices of the lobbyists and other assorted scum that are Washington DC. There wouldn't be much left though, so you might as well jsut level the place and start over. As I recall the Canadians burned down the white house in the war of 1812, maybe they could go in again and finish the job?

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