Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Senate To Reconsider Wiretap Immunity

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the true-patriots dept.

Government 222

bughunter passes on a report from Wired Threat Level about the effort by Democratic lawmakers to roll back some provisions of the Patriot Act. Three of its provisions expire at the end of this year, and the reform attempt is expected to be attached to legislation to renew them. "Lawmakers are considering key changes to the Patriot Act and other spy laws — proposals that could give new life to lawsuits accusing the nation's telecommunications companies of turning over Americans' electronic communications to the government without warrants. On Oct. 1, the Senate Judiciary Committee likely will consider revoking that immunity legislation as it works to revise the Patriot Act and other spy laws with radical changes that provide for more government transparency and more privacy protections." Among the other likely goals of reform efforts, according to Wired, are limiting the government's power to issue National Security Letters, and limiting "black bag" searches to cases of spying or terrorism — 65% of past searches were authorized in drug cases.

cancel ×

222 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Proof once again... (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about 5 years ago | (#29538537)

65% of past searches were authorized in drug cases

That the War on Drugs has done more to rape civil liberties than any other government initiative in modern times.

Re:Proof once again... (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29538731)

Indeed. But I think that's what the war on (some) drugs is really about -- a power grab that has turned the US into a police state. We have secret police ("plainclothesmen" and "undercover agents") only because of victimless crimes like drugs, gambling, and prostitution. We have the highest incarceration rate of any nation on earth, with a high percentage of them being non-violent drug prisoners.

The worst part is, these laws cause the very problems they allegedly were written to combat. For example, "marijuana leads to harder drugs". Well DUH, of course it does; the same people who sell pot sell the other drugs. "Got any weed, man?" "No, dude, it's dry. I have lots of coke, though, good shit, too." Then there's "think of the children!" Odd how it's easier for a teenager to buy pot than beer or cigarettes, and easier for a teenager to get than for an adult.

Don't get me started on drug gangs and their violence. When prohibition was repealed, the alcohol wars between rival gangs ended.

We are a nation of fools, blindly following the leadership of the amoral.

Re:Proof once again... (5, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | about 5 years ago | (#29538843)

With the introduction of TV, they can scare us all into believing that drugs cause so much violence. With the hiding of history, they can make us forget that prohibition leads to violence.

Re:Proof once again... (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29539159)

They did it before TV too. Have you ever seen the 1936 movie Reefer Madness? [wikipedia.org] You can download the movie at the Internet Archive [archive.org] as it's in the public domain.

Re:Proof once again... (2, Insightful)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | about 5 years ago | (#29538899)

"For example, "marijuana leads to harder drugs". Well DUH, of course it does; the same people who sell pot sell the other drugs."

I agree with what you are saying but I have to disagree with this statement. People lead themselves to harder drugs; true the same pot dealer sell other drugs as well but it is the choice of the buyer. The whole notion of Pot being a "gateway drug" is a remnant of the early 1900th propaganda. I'll believe pot being a gateway drug when someone provide definite proof that smoking pot would eventually make someone look for coke, heroin, etc.. as their next fix.

Other then that well said; we do live in a nation of fools who believe in the war on drug will end violence and gangs.

Re:Proof once again... (1)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | about 5 years ago | (#29539627)

I think that pot is a gateway drug, but not for the reasons espoused by most other people who say it is. Pot is safe. It is not addictive and does not cause many health problems (relatively). But, THC is a schedule I drug while cocaine is a schedule II drug. Mushrooms are also schedule I (I think). I have seen quite a few people where pot has led to mushrooms which led to acid and then on to other things (some hard drugs). The reason this happens is because they are being told that drugs are bad, when they aren't. Or, more accurately, they are being told that drugs are much worse than they are, when some aren't. This leads them to wonder which other drugs "actually aren't so bad". If the government actually told the truth about drugs, then I think more people might smoke pot, but less people would move on to harder and more dangerous things. They would also have more respect for what the government tells them and listen to what the establishment says (If you always give good advice, usually people will listen. If you sometimes give bad advice, people will never listen, even if the advice is good).

Re:Proof once again... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29539887)

Well, you have the dumb kid or dumber young adult who tries pot, likes it, and finds that everything he's been told about marijuana is a lie. This leads him to believe that what he's heard about heroin and cocaine are lies, too.

Of course marijuana itself doesn't lead to harder drugs. But the lies about it and the laws against it do.

Re:Proof once again... (4, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 years ago | (#29538931)

> The worst part is, these laws cause the very problems they allegedly were written to combat. For example, "marijuana
> leads to harder drugs". Well DUH, of course it does; the same people who sell pot sell the other drugs. "Got any weed,
> man?" "No, dude, it's dry. I have lots of coke, though, good shit, too." Then there's "think of the children!" Odd how
> it's easier for a teenager to buy pot than beer or cigarettes, and easier for a teenager to get than for an adult.

Actually, thats kind of BS anyway. Most "dealers" specialize in the one or two things that they do themselves. Somewhere around 80% of "drug dealers" are just users selling to support their own habit. Many of them are a lot closer to the person who gets a few friends together to go in on getting a large quantity of something at the local wholesale club than any sort of organized business.

The simple fact is that, if you take away all the pot smokers, thats more people than ALL the other illegal drugs combined. So if there is a "gateway effect" it seems to me like its just an artifact of there being so many potheads and so much variability and that users of other drugs tend to just want to "get fucked up" and tend to be indiscriminate about what they use.

That is, people who will shoot heroin and snort coke tend to be less picky about what drugs they use than people who smoke pot. Hell, some pot smokers dont even drink much alcohol, and you need go no further than junkie author William S Borroughs' book Nake Lunch to find a description of how pot smokers look down on and disdain junkies. An attitude that I can personally say I have witnessed.

The gateway drug theory has been fairly debunked. However, it has been shown that graduates of the DARE program are more likely to use drugs as teenagers than kids who didn't go through the program.

-Steve

Re:Proof once again... (5, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | about 5 years ago | (#29539265)

In my experience, the only gateway effect of marijuana is when someone finally tries it and doesn't die of an overdose or go mad, they start to think "Hmmm, if the cops and politicians lied about the effects of pot, maybe they lied about all the other stuff, too? Might as well try some meth, what's the worst that could happen?"

This is how my younger brother got hooked on speed and barbiturates, which led directly to his death of an overdose. He tried pot in high school, nothing bad happened, so he figured the other stuff couldn't be that bad, either. The idiocy fueled by the War on Drugs killed my brother.

Re:Proof once again... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539519)

I'm sorry to say this, but I may well be the first-

Your brother killed your brother.

It's tragic. It's horrible. I'm incredibly sorry for your loss. When my dad did the same thing I also tried to blame everybody else. Whatever else happened, HE took the poison that KILLED him.

It really is that simple.

Re:Proof once again... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539657)

...not to cheapen your brother's death (that's truly terrible), but it was your brother's willingness to take risks without getting important info first that killed him. Blaming the people that are trying to stop that kind of thing from happening is just as "idiotic", imo, no matter how you feel about the actual effectiveness of their efforts.

Re:Proof once again... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539853)

http://www.erowid.org/

The truth is out there, don't let you or or your friends do any drug without research.

Re:Proof once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539935)

Im sorry that your brother is no longer with you.

But thats not the reason hes no longer with you. At no point when I tried pot in high school did the thought you mention cross my mind, or any of my friends mind. Nobody I have EVER heard of that has actually tried pot has thought 'the police lied, so they must be lying about meth and it cant be that bad'.

Just like you have NEVER heard of anyone talk about sexual intercourse with a human and heard them say 'gee, that was fun, Im going to go try and fuck an elephant now'.

In other words, we all live in a world that is greatly and directly affected by our own decisions, at some point you have to realize that your brother made those bad choices all on his own. No outside influence is to 'blame' other than poor individual choices. Its the very same nonsense you are trying to rationalize that is the main reason behind the 'idoicy fueled by the war on drugs'... At no point is the actual person involved held responsible... its always 'the drugs fault'... or 'the authorities fault'... or the 'war on drugs fault'.

Re:Proof once again... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539061)

"We are a nation of fools, blindly following the leadership of the amoral."

Huh, i guess we really are a christian nation afterall.

Re:Proof once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539189)

What is it that makes insulting an entire, varied group so easy? "Christians" are not the televangelists, they're not the stem-cell protesters, they're not the lunatics burning down abortion clinics, any more than Sarah Palin is representative of all republicans. Or than Linus's "Linux is bloated" speech represents every Linux user's opinion. Or than the Unabomber represents all American mathematicians.

Re:Proof once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539347)

Oh you idiot. Read the bible; that's one thing all christians believe in. Guy survives being swallowed by a huge fish... world floods and all creatures saved by a senior citizen and his arc... it is laughable. Then you can really get into the heart of the book and dismantle just about everything in it. The whole thing stinks of earlier religions and beliefs; it isn't some brand new philosophy, but simply a rehash. I could go on... but I don't have time.

Re:Proof once again... (2, Insightful)

mayko (1630637) | about 5 years ago | (#29539379)

Interestingly enough... I have noticed that drug testing tends to push people towards harder drugs. Marijuana is a pain in the ass because it stays in your system for so long. Once people realize that drugs like cocaine don't have an overwhelming odor, can be used discretely and the metabolites are out of your system in 24-72 hours... they might switch drugs (if they don't mind the different high).

Re:Proof once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539415)

"Got any weed, man?" "No, dude, it's dry. I have lots of coke, though, good shit, too."

I would love to know which sane smoker will straight up taste the yeyo if there is no ganja around. The only gateway drug I know is Beer.

Re:Proof once again... (1, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29539503)

Just to note:

Domestic crime was all but gone during prohibition, and other crime dropped dramatically. The only real crime was Mob on Mob crime, which will happen anyways.

The newspapers put ANY crime they could on the front page and wrote editorials deriding prohibition. They lost a lot of money booze was no longer legal.

"When prohibition was repealed, the alcohol wars between rival gangs ended."
Yes, but domestic violence shot back up as well as many other crimes.

Re:Proof once again... (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 5 years ago | (#29539537)

Indeed. But I think that's what the war on (some) drugs is really about -- a power grab that has turned the US into a police state. We have secret police ("plainclothesmen" and "undercover agents") only because of victimless crimes like drugs, gambling, and prostitution. We have the highest incarceration rate of any nation on earth, with a high percentage of them being non-violent drug prisoners.

The war on drugs is more a result of a strain of puritanism in this country than a conscious power grab, I think. It's the same thing that caused prohibition, only there are fewer drug users than drinkers, so no way to politically end it at the moment.

Re:Proof once again... (1)

Wiechman (1216386) | about 5 years ago | (#29539639)

The ultimate gateway "drug" is prohibition. The more you ban something, the more some people are interested in try it. That is when the real danger occurs. Then when they find out something, such as pot, isn't as bad as it was made to be (again reference the movie Refer Madness), the more they are willing to try other things. That is why simple drugs, such as pot, can lead to bad things such as meth or coke, but it is because of the outrageous claims and prohibition. If society is going to speak of the psychology of gateway drugs, they need to look at the whole picture, instead of villainizing something that is probably safer to use than alcohol.

Re:Proof once again... (4, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | about 5 years ago | (#29539569)

That the War on Drugs has done more to rape civil liberties than any other government initiative in modern times.

Sort of. Really, there's an underlying attitude, motivation, or system of values, that created the war on drugs, and that ("government knows what is best for people and should have the means to force it") is what really rapes civil liberties.

Citizens do not believe that people should have as many rights as, say, the Bill of Rights tries to protect. The constitution simply does not describe the relationship between people and government, that most people want. If you think the constitution is based on bad ideas, then it really is just ink on a page, not the law.

And this is just how things are going to be, until people see reasons for freedom.

This is why I get so disappointed with most pro-legalization advocates. They talk about drugs, not government. You aren't going to convince anyone that freedom is a good idea, by concentrating on minor details like the properties of some particular drug. Marijuana is a 100% irrelevant topic in discussions about legalizing marijuana. The only topic that really matters, is what powers government should have -- and which government (feds vs state vs local) should have them.

And if that question is irrelevant, or if people think the answer is "the government should have the power to decide anything it wants to," then there's no such thing as "civil liberties."

Re:Proof once again... (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | about 5 years ago | (#29539905)

Government doesn't oppress people; people oppress people.

The underlying attitude/system of values that created the war on drugs is puritanical abstemiousness, a kind of horror at the thought that someone, somewhere, might be having fun instead of working hard and fearing God. Many in the last fifty years would substitute "communism" for Cod in that phrase, but the implication is the sameâ"in order to be socially valuable, you have to be productive, serious, focused. It's a set of attitudes which have deeply scarred American workplace culture, in addition to society more generally (why do you think all the "serious" and "important" books have to be bone-dry modern realism, with sci-fi shunted off to the literary ghetto?)

There are some problems for which government is the right answer, and general opposition to government can be very harmful. Environmental regulation (when done honestly); reducing systemic risk by establishing old-age pensions, national health care, fire departments; planning and construction of infrastructure projects (when we can keep the money interests out of those things) -- these are all excellent jobs for government and there really isn't a private industry or individual equivalent that could replace the governmental role. Where you run into problems is not with big government, but government that is used to oppress people by interfering with their private lives and decision-making. Big government is fine when government's a bridge; it's a problem when government's a gun. This is a perversion both of (some of) the Founders' intent (to protect civil liberties -- well, not that Hamilton guy so much) and of the real mission of collective governance in the interests of the governed.

Show of Hands (1, Funny)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 5 years ago | (#29538551)

I'd like to see a show of hands - who here thinks this will actually come to pass?

Anyone? Anyone?

Yeah. That's what I thought...

Re:Show of Hands (5, Insightful)

spartacus_prime (861925) | about 5 years ago | (#29538613)

You would think that, with a Democratic majority, this sort of stuff would pass without much trouble. This administration is too nice to the Republican minority.

Re:Show of Hands (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 5 years ago | (#29538669)

They're all owned for by the same 'campaign contributors', so why on earth would they be different? Are you saying that Democrats aren't enough honest enough to stay bought?

Re:Show of Hands (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 5 years ago | (#29538779)

No they aren't. They're owned by slightly different sets of campaign contributors:
http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/mems.php?party=D&cycle=2010 [opensecrets.org]
http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/mems.php?party=R&cycle=2010 [opensecrets.org]

Re:Show of Hands (2, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | about 5 years ago | (#29538987)

A slightly different but overlapping set of campaign contributors.

Re:Show of Hands (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#29538683)

You would think that, with a Democratic majority, this sort of stuff would pass without much trouble. This administration is too nice to the Republican minority.

It's not a Republican vs. Democratic issue. I know it seems like it, but it's not. The Democrats are going to put on a nice show for all of us to show us that they at least "tried", but in the end, this won't pass. Big telecom has powerful lobbies, and the TPTB in the military and civilian intelligence agencies have all deemed telecom immunity to be too important to national security.

Re:Show of Hands (2, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29538805)

Thank you.

That's right. It annoys the piss out of me when folks, regardless of the issues, get in your face about how their party will fix the issue and how the other party caused it.

The next big issue will be tax increases in 2010 - it's gonna happen even if there's a 100% Republican control in the Congress. But, that's another issue.

Re:Show of Hands (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29538857)

I think what pissed a lot of people off with the Patriot Act was the fact that the Republican Party claimed to be all about small government, yet expanded it's authority across the board more than any other time in history. We lost so much after 9/11 and I'm not talking about loss of life either.

Re:Show of Hands (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 years ago | (#29539659)

What did you lose specifically since 9/11? Please tell us what you could or was doing that you cannot do any more. what rights do you no longer have?

Re:Show of Hands (0, Troll)

Nimey (114278) | about 5 years ago | (#29539111)

I have to wonder if it /will/ happen if the GOP's in charge. Knowing those folks, they'll cut taxes for the rich and subsidize it with borrowing from the Chinese.

Re:Show of Hands (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | about 5 years ago | (#29539785)

As opposed to subsidizing the poor and borrowing from the Chinese?

Re:Show of Hands (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29538975)

The thing is, the Democrats are as power hungry as the Republicans. And the PATRIOT act was passed by a nearly unanimous vote.

A pox on both their houses, I say.

They did their job, just as they should of. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29539533)

yes, during a time of panic when all most all of their constituents wanted it. They did what the majority of the people they represented wanted. They did have the foresight to put in limitation and an expiration.

Re:They did their job, just as they should of. (2, Informative)

tomkost (944194) | about 5 years ago | (#29539589)

and later made it permanent.

Re:Show of Hands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539147)

Except, you know, then-Senator Obama voted FOR telecom immunity...

Re:Show of Hands (2, Funny)

corbettw (214229) | about 5 years ago | (#29539277)

Bwa-ha-ha-ha! You think there's a difference between Democrats and Republicans. That's too rich.

Re:Show of Hands (3, Funny)

spartacus_prime (861925) | about 5 years ago | (#29539703)

There is a stark difference. Democrats win by promising to spend your money, and Republicans win by promising NOT to spend your money, but then spend it anyway once in office.

Re:Show of Hands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539297)

The dems in the house (not the white house) are worried about hte mid-terms. these votes scream out for repubs to use the "weak on terror" charges that get all the suburbanites scared and votey.

Re:Show of Hands (2, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 years ago | (#29539353)

This is all smoke and mirrors designed to make you think they are doing something about nothing.

The problem is that the telecom immunity didn't give any immunity that wasn't already there. The Democrats know this, including Obama who not only voted for the immunity, but sent the justice department to court in February to defend it when the EFF attemped to get it shot down.

Under the 1968 wiretap laws, if the government presented anyone a document stating the legal authority for the wire tap- that they were legally able to obtain the information requested, the people who assisted them would have a complete defense against any civil or criminal actions against them. The 1978 FISA laws amended that to include warantless wire taps not to mention the other warantless provisions outside of FISA. When Bush abused the law on the wiretaps, he marked those documents classified as national security documents which forbids the telecoms from disclosing information about them unless they are wanting to commit a felony that could carry 5 years to life with the possibility of the death sentence.

The telecom immunity set up a secret court of review that operates under FISA. The only way the telecoms could get immunity under it would be if they had the documents already prescribed by the complete defense provisions already in place. The Court of Review would review the documents, ask the federal agencies if they issued it, then asks them to explain why it's still a national security interest and needs to remain classified. If it isn't legitimate, or it doesn't exist, no immunity happens. If it's legitimate and still needs to be classified, the Court of review instructs the court holding the actions against the telecom that the case needs to be droped and never brought up again. If the secrete classification isn't justified, the document is returned to the telecoms with immunity from prosecution for using it as their complete defense and it's up to the judge holding the action over them whether to keep it classified or not.

All the telecom immunity does is create a vehicle that existing immunity could be realized without causing exposure to a serious felony opr disclosing national security secrets. Democrats know this, but they also know that the average America does so they are bringing this up for the sole purpose to posture themselves for reelection. The JUSTICE act that was recently discussed was sponsered by at least one person who is up for reelection next year. That's all this is about. Evidently democrats on congress have done little to justify their own reelection and feel the need to run against Bush instead of running on their accomplishments.

DO not expect anything more to happen with this other then talk and claims of wanting to prosecute the Bush administration for the wiretaps. Better yet, look into exactly how the telecom immunity provides that immunity and you will know first hand that this is nothing more them posturing with smoke and mirrors.

Re:Show of Hands (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 5 years ago | (#29539725)

You would think that, with a Democratic majority, this sort of stuff would pass without much trouble.

Why would I think that? The current president, who happens to be a member of the party you mentioned, had his Justice Department advocate against letting the wiretap case go to court. [eff.org] He also voted for telecom immunity when he was a senator last year. So even if something like this passes Congress, they don't just need a majority, they need a veto-overriding majority.

Do you really think Democrats will "pass without much trouble" a bill that repeals the immunity that was passed last year by a Congress that already had a Democrat majority? Most of these guys have already come out in favor of telecom immunity. I'll be happy if this bill passes, but it's pretty surprising that it's even being considered.

If you want to find someone who disagrees with the Republicrats, then I wouldn't look to the Republicrat parties. You'll find some, but you'll find a lot more of them just about anywhere else.

Re:Show of Hands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29538629)

I think it may pass.

Are you hoping it won't? What will it do to your world view if it does? You won't be able to whine quite as much about teh big evil gummint anymore! Although I'm sure you will find other reasons.

Re:Show of Hands (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 5 years ago | (#29538921)

I would say more I would like to see this chapter to end.
You can't expect all companies to have a moral compass. That is why you needs laws and regulations. So when the US Governments goes and puts pressor to the Telecom companies, what would you do... Really and honest here...
Are you willing to say no and have the government (which at the time was considered unstoppable) go after you. Or are you going to say yea lets go.

A willing Pawn is still a pawn. If you are going to sue you should sue the people who pressured the telecoms to do so. Because we can't and shouldn't expect them to do what is right. Especially with all their money and investments having a goverment OK on it. (you know those cell towers and telephone poles all have to have government OK at some level) so Fighting them really isn't much an option as they could just as easy go to say Well Verizon helped us and you didn't so I think I will OK Verizon to have the towers put up. So in short the Risk of saying No was really too high. (sure Google said no, they suffered low stock for a few months, but they don't have government ties like the other Telecoms do)

Re:Show of Hands (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | about 5 years ago | (#29539933)

You can't expect any company to have a moral compass. They're legally obliged not to.

ftfy.
So long as the good of the Shareholders has to be held above the good of the society, all companies have a profoundly malformed incentive towards socially destructive behavior.

And Obama is selling us out (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29538587)

The fine summary leaves out the minor fact that Obama is opposed to watering down the Patriot act.

So much for hope and change.

Obama's tough words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29538671)

From the AP today:

"PITTSBURGH â" Armed with the disclosure of a secret Iranian nuclear facility, President Barack Obama and the leaders of France and Britain demanded Friday that Tehran fully disclose its nuclear ambitions "or be held accountable" to an impatient world community."

Ooohhh, such strong language! I'm trembling just reading it, so Khomeini must be pissing in his robe! I think we all know from observing the UN's actions around the world from Desert Storm to today that they collectively lack the balls to take any meaningful action anywhere at any time. Even the sanctions against Saddam Hussein's Iraq were just a means through which people lined their own pockets (including Kofi Anan's son, if I recall correctly). And when the UN runs up agains someone who actually pushes them to make good on all of their empty threats and silly posturing (see GW Bush), they seek to undermine and discredit them by mocking them as a "lone ranger cowboy." Sorry, pussies. Don't be surprised when men of action actually call your bluff.

Re:Obama's tough words... (1)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | about 5 years ago | (#29539963)

You don't get it. The US doesn't have to actually do anything to Iran. Israel is sitting there waiting for ANY excuse to bomb them. All the US has to do is let go of their leash and let them act.

Also, this is politics. Every word that he says is recorded and analyzed by probably every country. Everything he says has to be ultra-polite and not cause any offense to anyone. That IS strong language for a politician, and the Iranians will realize that.

To put it in perspective... Most people know at least one person who is very reserved and careful about everything they say. They never make outburst and never curse. But, if this person does have an outburst, even saying something like "Oh crap!", everyone who knows them becomes nervous. You can't look at language directly with politicians. It is how it deviates from their usual language that is important.

Re:And Obama is selling us out (5, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 5 years ago | (#29538693)

I thought this was a troll, but it isn't.

Obama Backs Extending Patriot Act Spy Provisions [wired.com]

Re:And Obama is selling us out (1)

Wolvenhaven (1521217) | about 5 years ago | (#29538809)

1. Post anonymously
2. Post with account giving credit to AC
3. ????
4. Profit

Re:And Obama is selling us out (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | about 5 years ago | (#29539493)

Proof? Nothing in his posting history shows that he does that.

Re:And Obama is selling us out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539069)

Your first reaction was that the parent was trolling? I applaud you for googling for confirmation, but the fact that you were ignorant of this to begin with astounds me. Obama is nothing more than a slick guy who is good at telling people what they want to hear, and then doing something different when he thinks they aren't paying attention. This is but one example of many. The reason he's going down in flames in the polls is because the wave of people who voted him into office (youth and minorities) have stopped paying attention (because they don't have a dog in the fight, and because Obama is less interesting than Dancing with the Stars), and the only people left paying attention are the hard-core politics junkies who sniffed him out as a stuffed suit with very questionable personal associations, very thin skin, and totalitarian tendencies from the very beginning.

Here's another shocker for the ill-informed: the US is broke! Our debt is so great that China and Japan no longer want to buy it to finance Obama's extravagant Utopian dreams. The Fed, contrary to Bernake's testimony to Congress that he wasn't going to monetize the debt, is now buying Treasury bills and printing money to prop up our artificial currency. Our own government is behaving like the homeowners who borrowed too much and kicked off this latest recession! Who is the lender of last resort when the lender of last resort (the US Government) is broke? To further complicate things, the Fed recently refused a Congressional request to disclose exactly how they function. So you have this huge government entity buying up our own debt and flooding the market with dollars, and no one knows exactly how they work, and they're accountable to no one. So much for the most transparent government in history, eh?

IT's a troll (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29539601)

and so it the author of the article. Read hisother stuff, he gets hit be misleading people to support an anti government stance.

However, he still could cover up the fact that Obama thinks that FISA is a good thing. I would say that in situation where and immediate need is at hand, getting warrants in a reasonable time after the fact is a good thing.

Not all of the PATRIOT act is bad.

Re:And Obama is selling us out (4, Informative)

locallyunscene (1000523) | about 5 years ago | (#29539609)

The article you link doesn't say what you're saying. In fact it says the administration has the same stance as the summary. They're planning on renewing all three provisions, but including more protections for civil liberties.

I'd much rather they simply let all three expire, but your implied assertions that the Obama administration is opposed to adding civil liberty protections to the bill and is at odds with congress are both unsupported.

Related: (3, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29538593)

Senate Democrats propose surveillance law changes [slashdot.org] Wednesday September 23, @08:29AM

The AP is reporting [yahoo.com] (via yahoo) that Senate Democrats are actually trying to restore some of Americans' rights and freedoms that were lost when government panicked after 9-11.

In making standards tougher for the government in secret requests to a special foreign surveillance court, the bill would require that the records sought be relevant to an investigation. At a minimum, the records must be linked to a suspected agent of a foreign power.

Re:Related: (2, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 5 years ago | (#29538831)

That's impossible. As every Slashdotter knows, there is not even the slightest difference between the two main political parties in the US and voting for either one is a futile and pointless gesture serving only to perpetuate the existing corporate/military/lobbiest complex.

The idea that the Democracts are somehow going to roll back the Republican crackdown on freedoms. Or that President Obama is behaving any differently that McCain would in his place? Absurd I tell you. Absurd.

No, no. It's clear that absolutely nothing has changed in America since the end of the Bush years. Not even a little bit!

Re:Related: (1)

Zantac69 (1331461) | about 5 years ago | (#29538935)

As every Slashdotter knows, there is not even the slightest difference between the two main political parties in the US and voting for either one is a futile and pointless gesture serving only to perpetuate the existing corporate/military/lobbiest complex.

OMF - you are giving far too much credit to the some /.ers as evidenced by plethora of posts of "Obama is selling us out...", "It's all Bush's fault...", ad nauseum.

The issue is that most people really dont want absolute freedom - which is anarchy. These whingers demonize any restrictions that are placed on freedom (when they feel that their rights are being slighted) even though it is these restrictions that helps keep freedom free (how is that for an oxymoron).

Re:Related: (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 5 years ago | (#29539279)

Ah, thank you! I have now received my recommended daily allowance of sarcasm.

And yet I feel so sad and empty inside...

Re:Related: (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | about 5 years ago | (#29539597)

Senate Democrats are actually trying to restore some of Americans' rights and freedoms that were lost when government told the people to panic and then took advantage of it.

-Fissed.

Re:Related: (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | about 5 years ago | (#29539715)

In making standards tougher for the government in secret requests to a special foreign surveillance court, the bill would require that the records sought be relevant to an investigation. At a minimum, the records must be linked to a suspected agent of a foreign power.

That's actually somewhat smart as it would eliminate most of that "65% of requests for Drug Enforcement" business without subverting the core of the bill. I don't think that the core is needed anyway, but it at least narrows the scope substantially.

Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (5, Insightful)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | about 5 years ago | (#29538625)

As expected when they proposed it--the Patriot Act was not used as advertised.
Just 3% of the "National Security" Letters were used for terrorism-related cases.
65% of them were instead used for drug cases. So many of the actions taken by the Bush Administration to allegedly protect us from "Terrorists" were instead used for the meat and potatoes Law and Order issues the Republicans favor. Despicable!

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#29538677)

Out of curiosity, what were the other 32% of the NSLs used for?

Espionage investigations? Non-drug-related money-laundering? Smuggling?

Copyright violations?

OK, I'm kidding about the last one. Kind of.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | about 5 years ago | (#29538903)

Excellent question. The NYT story I heard did not break it down further than those two items.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539163)

Bypass Wired and NYT's filtering and read the source for yourself: the Administrative Office of the United States Court report on applications for delayed-notice search warrants.
http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/SneakAndPeakReport.pdf

You want Table 2, on page 6.

Top categories in order of frequency of report: drugs, fraud, weapons, tax evasion, racketeering, "unspecified," fugitive, theft... terrorism is so far down the list that it doesn't get a percentage to show its proportionality. In terms of raw frequency, there were 843 drug-related reports, and 5 terrorism-related reports.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (3, Insightful)

SirLanse (625210) | about 5 years ago | (#29538761)

I voted for the president that would protect me better. (Gore/Kerry were/are jokes) I got an Atty Gen that took short cuts. Absolutely Terrible. Hovever - What Exaclty is a phone company supposed to tell the FBI or CIA when they show up with a request from the AG/President? "No, you must get some local judge to ok that"? When that company wants to open a new office/expand/file tax returns will that "lack of cooperation" be held against them?

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (5, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | about 5 years ago | (#29538789)

Hovever - What Exaclty is a phone company supposed to tell the FBI or CIA when they show up with a request from the AG/President? "No, you must get some local judge to ok that"? When that company wants to open a new office/expand/file tax returns will that "lack of cooperation" be held against them?

When you fear retribution from your own government for following constitutional laws, your government failed.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (2, Informative)

oyenstikker (536040) | about 5 years ago | (#29538817)

When you have a democracy and your government failed, you failed.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (2, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | about 5 years ago | (#29538877)

1. Vote in politician who promises to better education.

2. Politician warps education to dumb down next generation.

3. Think of the children collapses us all.

4. Average voter stupidly votes in more corruption by the truck full, adamantly believing they have no choice but Corrupt A or Corrupt B.

5. Politicians profit, people suffer.

Therefore, it's our fault, and now we're too lazy and stupid to fix it. So uh, who wants to grab the first torch? I'll follow with the pitchfork. This country needs a good revolution, methinks.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539009)

This is delusional. I didn't vote for any of these idiots. Democracy isn't rule by the person, it's rule by the people. The people are emotional nitwits who can't decide anything with reason. That's not my failure, that's democracy's failure.

The only thing that is my fault is that I haven't killed them all.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#29539171)

Democracy isn't rule by the person, it's rule by the people. The people are emotional nitwits who can't decide anything with reason. That's not my failure, that's democracy's failure.

I know it's tangential and related to your point, but Democracy is neither of those things. Democracy is rule by the pedagogues (since the nitwits listen to the pedagogues).

The big problem is that the pedagogues have so much more power now that a limited number of massive media companies control the soapboxes.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (3, Interesting)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | about 5 years ago | (#29538979)

Qwest did exactly that! They refused without a specific court order.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 5 years ago | (#29539427)

Qwest did exactly that! They refused without a specific court order.

And in return Qwest was shut out of hundreds of millions of previously locked-in government contracts leading the CEO to go to prison on insider trading charges for making statements based on the expected revenues from those previously locked-in contracts.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539613)

Not that I particularly doubt it (I was aware of Qwest refusing), but... source on the actions taken on the CEO?

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29539647)

No they weren't, and the CEO's dealing were a separate event.

But you do ahead an use you confirmation bias to blindly see and follow non existent patterns.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 5 years ago | (#29539371)

Hovever - What Exaclty is a phone company supposed to tell the FBI or CIA when they show up with a request from the AG/President?

Considering that complying with such a request without judicial approval is against the law? Yes, indeed, what should they have done?

There were laws in place, the FISA court, an entire fucking apparatus for dealing with such requests in a way that balanced national security and civil rights. The telco lawyers and regulatory affairs offices knew of the apparatus, had interacted with it before, and yet set the whole thing aside at the say-so of an overbearing administration. Fears about "lack of cooperation" is a bullshit excuse.

"I did as I was told" has been the flimsy excuse of who-knows-how-many culpable collaborators in both war and peace. We still managed to hold them accountable.

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | about 5 years ago | (#29538891)

Of course, we all knew the Patriot Act was a really BAD idea. But now you have a liberal whitehouse, most of whom believe bigger govt is better. While the changes appear to be good, they also seem to remove some power from the natl. govt. We have a classic contradiction here, so there's a hidden agenda, or the congressional democrats are just trying to save face with the recent crap they've been dealing. I'm not taking this at it's so called "face value" -- we don't really know what kind of catch there might be. Just because a proposition in a bill aims to repeal the immunity, doesn't mean that bill is necessarily "good."

Let's face it, these guys are just as corrupt as the Bush admin. was. Why should we expect them to hand back power to the people?

Re:Bush Admin Lying Sacks of Shit (0, Flamebait)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | about 5 years ago | (#29539135)

Like hell! The Bush Administration was completely corrupt and I have not seen any signs of that with Obama. You're just a sour-grapes Republican who knows Bush sucked and is just trying to make Obama look like the Bush Administration. You are wrong. I do not accept your premise.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely (2, Interesting)

Agilulf (173852) | about 5 years ago | (#29538661)

What were the other 34% of unconstitutional searches for? My understanding is that only 3 out of over 700 warrantless searches and wiretaps were for cases that involved terrorism. This is why there were FISA courts in the the first place to prevent these kinds of abuses. Welcome to the land of the free and the home of the brave, that is until someone decides to declare you an enemy of the state.

Re:Absolute power corrupts absolutely (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | about 5 years ago | (#29538829)

I'm waging bets that they had to do with copyright, or maybe even dissent. Or, maybe they were to try and rough up the American public, to scare them into thinking that more terrorists were being thwarted.

I'm betting, however, that a lot of them involved a bunch of kids playing video games over the phone. "Yeah, I have to go set the bomb over by the embassy and try to prevent anyone from escaping"; terrorist threat, or 13 year old playing a video game? Oh well, better bash in the door and kick 'em around a bit.

Honestly, I was still a kid when the Bush administration was frolicking around doing this, and I wondered why adults would let anyone do something so corrupt and insanely evil to them.

Re:Absolute power corrupts absolutely (3, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 5 years ago | (#29539081)

Honestly, I was still a kid when the Bush administration was frolicking around doing this, and I wondered why adults would let anyone do something so corrupt and insanely evil to them.

Because too many people's brains shut down when they hear the word "terrorist." Tell people that you're going to round up folks and ship them off to a prison where they'll sit for years without any trial and people will oppose it. Tell people that those folks are suspected terrorists and their brains shut down and they nod in agreement. With their brains shut down, they don't think about abuse of power at all.

Add in party loyalty and abuse of power allegations get answered with "But he's a respected member of Party X! Everyone in Party X is looking out for my interests. Not like those traitors in Party Y!" They don't stop to think that, even if the "Party X" member isn't abusing his power, he could easily be voted out of office and replaced by someone from Party Y. Then, of course, those same people will proclaim: "It's obvious that Party Y Politician is using powers that are unconstitutional! We've got to reign in this out of control government NOW! Toss the traitor out of office!!!" The fact that "their" party used the same powers doesn't matter. What matters is that the powers are only good when wielded by a member of "their" party (and then, sometimes only by an appropriately extreme right or left wing member of the party).

Personally, I view all powers that the government requests with two questions:

1. How can this be abused and are there mechanisms in place to prevent abuse?

2. How would this be used by a politician who I disagree with on the issues?

If I don't like the answers to either question, I can't support the granting of the powers, even if it would - in the short term - advance an issue I believe in.

Re:Absolute power corrupts absolutely (4, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 5 years ago | (#29539355)

You need to add some more questions. A very important one I can think of is "How long do they request to have this power?" If the answer is "indefinitely" then there'd better be a damn good answer to those other two questions you listed.

Why is it that the only bills that ever seem to "sunset" are tax cuts?

Re:Absolute power corrupts absolutely (1)

muckracer (1204794) | about 5 years ago | (#29539039)

> Welcome to the land of the free and the home of the brave, that is until
> someone decides to declare you an enemy of the state.

Make that 'illegal enemy combatant'. TFTFY.

ex post facto (0, Flamebait)

corbettw (214229) | about 5 years ago | (#29539129)

The actions the telecoms took were legal under the PATRIOT act, which was the law of the land at the time. You can't just go back and make them illegal now, that's blatantly unconstitutional (and a much graver assault on all of our liberties than unwarranted wiretaps). Take out the provision now and chalk it up to another lesson learned: be more careful about what gets passed into law in the future (not that there's any hope that any politicians will learn that lesson).

Re:ex post facto (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 5 years ago | (#29539471)

Impossible. The telecomms, of all people, should have known that unwarranted wiretaps have been held as unconstitutional by the judicial branch for years. It's a violation of the 4th amendment. Since the patriot act wasn't a constitutional amendment, it cannot override the 4th amendment.

Re:ex post facto (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 5 years ago | (#29540027)

So people should be put in jail or fined for following a law that has not yet been found to be unconstitutional? Do you understand the anarchy that would result from that stand?

Re:ex post facto (2, Informative)

bidule (173941) | about 5 years ago | (#29539751)

The actions the telecoms took were legal under the PATRIOT act, which was the law of the land at the time. You can't just go back and make them illegal now, that's blatantly unconstitutional (and a much graver assault on all of our liberties than unwarranted wiretaps).

Bollock!
It was unconstitutional and illegal, until they passed a law to make it retroactively legal. They knew where they were going, they should pay the price.

Re:ex post facto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539871)

The actions the telecoms took were legal under the PATRIOT act, which was the law of the land at the time.

It was actually a lot more complicated than that. The key point is that congress passed laws (other than the PATRIOT Act) which granted the telecoms retroactive immunity.

It's like somebody robbing a convenience store (illegal at the time of the robbery) and then congress passes a law saying it was OK to rob the convenience store (a pardon of sorts) and then congress repeals the laws that granted the "pardon".

Re: Nonsense (3, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 5 years ago | (#29540059)

The actions the telecoms took were legal under the PATRIOT act

No, they weren't. Not even USAPATRIOT authorizes unlimited spying on domestic sources with no warrant. And nobody in the government has ever even claimed that the actions were legal under USAPATRIOT. The only statutory legal justification for the program would have been FISA and they did not go through FISA. The only claim on legality they ever made was AG Gonzales' legal theory that the President can ignore any law he wants as long as he thinks it's really important for national security that he do so -- a legal theory with what I will generously call "flaws".

Not even John Ashcroft thought the surveillance program was legal, and he was a huge proponent of USAPATRIOT. Does that not tell you something?

That's why Congress had to retroactively make those actions legal. That is the ex post facto law. Undoing an ex post facto law is not, itself, ex post facto.

Obligatory quote. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539197)

People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both. -Benjamin Franklin

Re:Obligatory quote. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29539341)

i too am gay - Benjamin Franklin

Double Jeopardy? (2, Interesting)

necro81 (917438) | about 5 years ago | (#29539207)

I was pissed as all get out that the telcos got immunity for cooperating with an illegal government action. They should have had their asses nailed to the wall, as a reminder that businesses should not accept the government at its word about national security.

At this point, however, I wonder if revoking the immunity is a good way to go. It's not quite the same as double jeopardy, since the companies were not acquitted by a jury, but it's close. In order for companies to function, they need some predictability. Congress' granting retroactive immunity to the telcos set a bad precedent. But having done so, revoking it also sets a bad precedent.

On the other hand, is it ever late too late to seek justice?

It's about damn time (2, Insightful)

Jawn98685 (687784) | about 5 years ago | (#29539357)

FTFA... limiting the government's power to issue "national security letters,"...

Translation: The President of the United States does, in fact, NOT have the power to issue a royal decree which suspends the Constitution of the United States of American whenever he fucking feels like it. Nor do his minions have such authority. The laws regarding due process, privacy, unreasonable search and seizure, and so on, shall stand, and we are very, very sorry that we allowed the terrorists to win by scaring us into passing this absurdly named "Patriot Act".

Re:It's about damn time (1)

jcr (53032) | about 5 years ago | (#29539395)

The President of the United States does, in fact, NOT have the power to issue a royal decree which suspends the Constitution of the United States of American whenever he fucking feels like it

He doesn't have the legal power to do that, but he does have the de facto power to do so, and he has that power because the people have been tolerating usurpations of this kind for a very long time.

-jcr

Expiring provisions vs. new legislation (2, Insightful)

moeinvt (851793) | about 5 years ago | (#29539653)

Just to be clear, there are TWO things going on here. Please don't get confused.

1. There are three key provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire at the end of the year. Note that Pres. Obama and the Ministry of Justice want to renew these provisions.

http://www.mainjustice.com/2009/09/15/justice-department-supports-renewal-of-patriot-act-provisions [mainjustice.com]

2. This article is referring to Russ Feingold "S. 1686" bill (aka the "Justice Act,") which is basically a watered down version of the original Patriot Act.

I have to give Feigngold credit for his voting record on civil liberties. My concern however is that his bill will be amended to renew the expiring provisions, preserve retroactive telecom immunity, and do very little to restore civil liberties. Recall that the Democrats pretended to put up a fight about telecom immunity when the new FISA legislation was being debated (voting it down once) before eventually approving it (in spirit of bi-partisanship).

IMHO, the best approach (assuming you care about civil liberties) is to prevent ANY new legislation from passing, thereby allowing the expiring provisions to die.

Ex Post Facto (1)

doug141 (863552) | about 5 years ago | (#29539805)

Any actual prosecution in the courts will be complicated by the ex-post-facto aspect of all these laws changing back and forth.

Changing rules after the fact is dangerous (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 5 years ago | (#29539823)

Immunity should only be pulled if the telcos weren't depending on it when they made their decisions.

If Congress retroactively pulls the immunity teclos were depending on, then companies and individuals will not be able to trust government promises of civil immunity ever again. The next time the government wants to strong-arm the telcos, they will have to use tougher measures, like threatening to punish them for non-cooperation. Do we really want our government using such tactics after the next 9/11? They used them where they had to after the last 9/11, there is no reason to think they won't in the future.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?