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Government Seeks Dismissal of Spy Suit

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the let's-call-the-whole-thing-off dept.

The Courts 135

The Wired blog 27B Stroke 6 is carrying the news that the US has filed a motion to drop the case the ACLU won in lower court against the government's warrantless wiretapping program. The government's appeal of that ruling will be heard on Wednesday, January 31 in front of the Sixth Circuit court of appeals. The feds argue that the case is now moot because they are now obtaining warrants from the FISA court, and furthermore President Bush did not renew the warrantless program. Turns out there's a Supreme Court precedent saying that if you were doing something illegal, get taken to court, and then stop the illegal activity, you're not off the hook. The feds argue in their petition that this precedent does not apply to them. Here is the government's filing (PDF).

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So lets see if I have this chain of events right: (5, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789140)

Court: You were spying and that's a very bad thing.
Governmnet: Yea but we stopped after we were sued.
Court: Yes, but that doesn't get you off the hook.
Government: Hey look! Behind you! A two headed moose!
Court: *Whrils around* Where? Where? I demand to know where!
Government: *Runs away*

Now IANAL, but that sounds like a reasonable summary to me.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789148)

In this type of case the Judicial Branch doesn't really have much teeth. While they can certainly punish individual members of the Executive Branch acting on their own, they can't punish those acting directly under the orders of the President. If they did the President would just pardon them and that would be the end of that. The only way that you can punish the President is to impeach him and then find him guilty of a crime and remove him from office. But Congress certainly doesn't have the votes for that.

For these reasons, this case is dead. Anything else will just be a waste of tax dollars.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789158)

Right. So they pointed to the two headed moose and got off scott free?

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789182)

Right. So they pointed to the two headed moose and got off scott free?
Yup. There isn't a choice that can punish those who violated the Constitution with the political situation as it is today. The best that you can hope for is that the courts drop the case but Congress uses their Power of Subpoena to investigate the hell out of it. The worst is if it remains in the courts and they decide that it was legal (unlikely, but the Supreme Court did once rule that internment of Japanese civilians was perfectly legal for national security purposes).

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789198)

unlikely, but the Supreme Court did once rule that internment of Japanese civilians was perfectly legal for national security purposes
I phrased my response...poorly. What I meant is that the Supreme Court once ruled that internment of Americans of Japanese descent was perfectly legal for national security purposes.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (5, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789320)

I hope not. Their entire argument is flawed. And I quote, from their filing:

Nor, as we have shown, is there any "reasonable expectation" that the complained-of harm from the TSP might recur

I take particular conflict with this statement. The fed's continued assertion that the program was lawful without FISA approval shows that they can, and will use this 'constitutional authority' again as the perceived need arises. On that basis alone, the balance of prejudice against state secrets powers, constitutional power of the executive brach during times of war and mootness versus the right of the people to use the last check in the federal system to prevent future harm is highly in favor of letting the case proceed.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (4, Insightful)

morleron (574428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790806)

I certainly hope that the judges hearing the appeal (and the Supremes when it gets to them) have the intestinal fortitude to assert their authority. The problem with this whole case is that the Bush administraation does whatever it wants regardless of the law. A President who had any respect for the Constitution and the rule of law would never have started this program in the first place. The fact that Bush and his co-conspirators have decided to stop this program tells me that they have simply started another one somewhere within the government's huge espionage sector. They are indeed trying to remove themselves and their actions from scrutiny so that they can carry on as they want over in the dark corners of the room.

I have no confidence that Bush will obey any adverse ruling that comes out of this case. After all, to do so would undermine the "unitary executive" theory of government upon which he bases his dictatorial actions. I suspect that, in the back of his little twisted mind, he thinks he's immune to actions by the other branches of government. After all, "How many divisions does the Supreme Court have?" In the final analysis it's only the willingness of each branch of government to abide by decisions made by another that makes our form of government work. With his signing statements Bush has repeatedly demonstrated that only he, as the "unitary executive", will make the determination of how a law is to be interpreted or enforced. The Attorney General has recently stated in Senate hearings that the civil liberties embodied in our Constitution do not apply all the time: [] . Given that mindset there is nothing to prevent this President from deciding that he is not subject to rulings of the courts and I'm sure that he will have no problem getting a ruling to that effect from his AG and others in his administration.

This country is facing a Constitutional crisis that makes the Watergate affair pale by comparison. Between a President who believes that he is not bound by the rule of law and willingly believes whatever twisted interpretation of same will allow him to achieve his ends while appearing to act within the law and a Congress whose members have, by and large, stood by while he has shredded most of the Consitution we have arrived at this point. President Bush has been allowed to carry out whatever course of action he wants, be it the suspension of habeus corpus, torture, secret imprisonment, warrantless wiretapping, etc. with nothing of substance being done to stop him. Indeed, the Congress has abetted him by passing such legislation as the PATRIOT ACT, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the Anti-Torture Act of 2005 (which merely formalized AG Gonzales' interpretation of what constitutes torture, essentially allowing anything short of causing death). All he has had to do is to cloak himself in the flag and claim that Patriotism and a desire to "keep America safe" justify his actions. Congress is as much a part of this travesty as he is and the decision by the new Democratic leadership to "take impeachment off the table" can only have strengthened his view of the correctness of his actions. There is still some hope that our course can be reversed, but doing so will require a concerted effort by the Congress, the Courts, and the People to achieve it. Let's hope that the courts don't let us down and that they allow this suit to go forward. At least it would be a start.

Just my $.02,

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792732)

> I certainly hope that the judges hearing the appeal (and the Supremes when it gets to them) have the intestinal fortitude to assert their authority

They'll need it, too. Have you seen the food that outreach programs give to homeless people? Because that's exactly what happens to people who ask too many of the proper questions when the Federal Government starts throwing its weight around willy-nilly.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (5, Interesting)

nietsch (112711) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789228)

So you say that because the republican part of your olichargy holds more than 1 third of the seat (one of them always will in your two party system) the president can order the gouvernment all illegal things he likes, because congress could never impeach him.
So how are your militias going? It is time to feed the tree of freedom, and I nominate every congrescritter that opposes impeaching BabyBush.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789280)

We might yet see that day. Most of the republicans realize that Bush is dragging them down and that it was he who cost many of them their seats last election.

There's still hope. I don't really believe it, but as long as there is at least the option that Bush and his cronies spend a few years in Guatanamo themselves, there is still hope.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789360)

but as long as there is at least the option that Bush and his cronies spend a few years in Guatanamo themselves, there is still hope.
If that includes the ATT et al cronies, then I am all for it. This J. Edgar Hoover version of government must end.

Frankly technology will always be able to beat out spying and unfortunately privacy. Using it as an excuse for ex post facto warrants and attempts at all encompssing listening systems should not be tolerated. Either we honor the deaths of all the patriots who died to make us FREE or dishonor them by giving the least liberty for even the most optimal security, it's too high a price. IMO using 9/11 as an excuse to reduce our liberties dishonors everyone who died then. This especially applies to those who had a better idea of what was happening and made their choice, if they did nothing they were going to die, they decided that if they were going to die they would at least die FREE and give others the chance to remain alive and live FREE and thus thanks to patriots, one plane didn't reach its target.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (5, Informative)

mrseth (69273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789828)

> Using it as an excuse for ex post facto warrants and attempts at all encompssing listening systems should not be tolerated.

It is my understanding of FISA that getting a warrant after the fact is perfectly legal if the warrant is obtained within 72 hours. The Bush administration refused to even do that! The reason FISA exists is so that someone outside the administration (i.e., at least one federal judge) is aware of who and what is being wiretapped and will hopefully keep them from abusing the power of the intelligence services as had been the case from WWII to Watergate. During the 1960's the government was spying on the likes of Martin Luther King, Vietnam War protesters, and many others who did not warrant it. The government even had the audacity to attempt to use the information gathered about King to coerce him to commit suicide [] .

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (2, Insightful)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790996)

Great points, mrseth.

The feds argue that the case is now moot because they are now obtaining warrants from the FISA court, and furthermore President Bush did not renew the warrantless program.

So..their arugment comes down to: we are no longer committing this crime and breaking laws, so therefore you should drop all activity to prevent us from doing so in the future and making us pay the legal penalties for our lawbreaking!!! there any half-wit or twit out there or would dare argue that this is even remotely related to jurisprudence????? [Be forewarned, I am a descendant of the Dutch-American reporter who first coined the term shyster to describe corrupt politicians and lawyers. (Shyster: a nickname for individuals in NYC who went behind the horse-drawn carriages and cleaned up the horse poop.)]

An interesting mention about that horrendous FBI op against Reverent King --- as actions have consequences, since those criminal FBI types were never prosecuted (probably promoted like Frasca and Maltbie) I wonder how many other bad types they brought into the Bureau??? Traitors like Hanssen? Criminals who sold out the citizenry and were responsible for murders by supplying criminal organizations with sensitive and confidential data? Those responsible for the attempt extermination of the Weaver family at Ruby Ridge??? (No, I don't hold with such beliefs, but nor does it give certain factions within the US government the right to assassinate members of the electorate.)

And did those bad FBI types eventually bring into the Bureau those clowns who ignored all those detailed tips preceding the attacks of 9/11/01.....

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (2, Interesting)

orielbean (936271) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791790)

Exactly - FISA was designed not to harass or reduce the amount of wiretapping, but rather to act as more of a recordkeeper. Our intelligence services were very skilled at not following the rule of law and instead applying thier own justification for doing things as was convenient at the time.

If you or I do this at a job, you have people who oversee you and tell you how to stay in compliance. FISA allows you to get the warrant after the fact to give time-sensitive matters precedent over procedure.

Bush wanted to stay away from FISA because he was doing things that are illegal in his scope of info gathering. If he had actual evidence of wrongdoing, or a true suspicion that could have been substantiated by FISA (which is so broad as to be ridiculous compared to what real police go through for warrants), then he could get every single warrant he wanted.

I think FISA has rarely (if ever?) denied a single warrant.

They are the recordkeeper, and their job is to record who gets tapped, why you think they need to be tapped, and how you are going to wiretap them. The neo-con line was always that laws got in the way of necessary action. Oversight gets in the way of criminal behavior - that's why Walmart has cameras watching the store. The cameras do not impede my shopping in any way, unless I also am stealing or invading Target without a good reason.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (4, Interesting)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789358)

Yeah, even without watching the news I know that the Democrats must've won an election somewhere, because all of a sudden I'm seeing that Jefferson "tree of liberty" patriot quote again. Odd that imprisonment without trial+torture+warrantless surveillance=absolute indifference, but now all of a sudden sweet liberty is being gang-raped by a D congress. I know that isn't your point and you were being satirical. just got me thinking about something I haven't seen since Clinton was in office--Republicans saying that government is dangerous to freedom. I know they're lying and they don't actually believe it, but it's funny to hear it again all of a sudden. Brings me back to my days of furiously reading James Bovard and thinking that Randy Weaver and Waco had convinced the Republicans that you shouldn't trust government. Yeah, I was stupid.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790924)

they can't punish those acting directly under the orders of the President. If they did the President would just pardon them and that would be the end of that.

That is not as meaningless as you seem to imply. First it still sets a precident, either way. "We will punish you as best we can" or "we will sit quietly and take it". Second, as long as a big deal is made of it by the press, the president will have to further embarass himself by pardoning them. It will keep this issue alive and public, perhaps long enough for people to really demand a return of those freedoms we have lost.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792622)

But Congress certainly doesn't have the votes for that.

Hey, what's up -- the last time I looked, the word "balls" doesn't have a "v" in it.

I believe you are wrong... (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792698)

"While they can certainly punish individual members of the Executive Branch acting on their own, they can't punish those acting directly under the orders of the President."

Really, after World War II many German generals tried just that defense. "I was only following orders." They were hanged.

Libya & sending money to it (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790280)

So i guess if i had sent money to Libya or shipped restricted goods to Libya when it WAS under US sanctions, can i claim now that since Libya has been removed list of OFAC nations, what i did was retrospectively right?
What if i shipped PS2 from / elswhere to Afghanistan in 2001 and then retrospectively claim it is to be used by US troops there?

Considering the asshole Gonzales claims that Bush should be protected retrospectively, can i apply for protection under same precendences.
I say a lawyer fighting for a terrorist should claim the same thing.

This congress should vote with their money purse to suspend all funds from Iraq war. Let the oil magnates who caused this war fund this war since they earned trillions in profit.
Secondly, bush should be impeached, and once done, should be charged with manslaughter and crimes against humanity for the atrocities he committed against US citizens and Iraqi innocents who suffered. He always used to claim "the buck stops here. This time the court should take his tough-talk speeches and actually convict him as C-inC and not as president.
Lastly, pardon by VP Cheney(which he is bound to do), should again be overridden by a special session of both houses and and he should be put in the same jail he jailed Noreiga.

But first this congress should stop this petty bills and instead act with some spine.

Lastly Fox news should be fined about $150 million a day for lies about Obama.

Re:So lets see if I have this chain of events righ (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792692)

More political hand washing [] . Nothing new here. Different spin on the same old game. Write laws to subvert the limitations of the Constitution and then get the SCOTUS to affirm that the law is good thus pushing the question of legal authority into the closet.

People: "Hey! You can't do that!"
Government: "We wrote a law that said we could."
People: "You don't have the power to write that law."
SCOTUS: "The law is good."
People: "They don't have the power to write that law."
Government: "No soup for you!"

What a difference a Congress makes. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789144)

So, before, it was necessary and legal and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it and whomever leaked the information on it was a traitor.

Now, it's back to the Court and warrants are being issued and there's no need to take this to the SCOTUS because we're not doing anything illegal ... now.

Just for that reason this MUST be seen by the SCOTUS.

This is still a Democracy.

Moderation - a warning from History (-1, Troll)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789160)

Visitors to the website [] will by now have surely heard of the act of Moderation. This is where a contributor's post can be 'Moderated' either positively or negatively, depending on how the Moderator perceives the value of the post. There is a sliding scale of total moderation points, from -1 to 5, along with snappy summaries of the reason for moderation, such as "Funny", "Insightful", or the ever popular "Troll". An additional benefit offered to Moderators is the ability to ban a poster from contributing, by negatively moderating enough of his postings in a 24 hour period.

In order to retain some level of fairness for the Slashdot population, the Slashdot Editors (adopting the role of 'Benevolent Dictators') have implemented a scheme whereby regular users of Slashdot, chosen essentially at random, are given the ability to act as Moderators.

This underlines an inherent flaw in the system. Psychological studies have shown that in any community, no matter how small, should a random sampling of people be given the slightest grasp of power, they will immediately abuse it. There is a primal, evolutionary desire in Man to place himself higher than his peers by whatever measurement they can muster. Slashdot Moderation provides the ideal means for which a man can prove himself more equal than others.

At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law at such an early point in my thesis, I have no choice but to compare Slashdot Moderation to the systematic genocide of the Jewish community in 1930's Germany.

A bold statement, I admit, and deliberately designed to shock, but I feel the statement is necessary. I shall now offer a more rational explanation, as well as a comparison of the parallels between Slashdot Culture, and the National Socialist regime.

First, some history. National Socialism did not spring up overnight. It grew from a feeling of national bitterness and resentment at the war reparations Germany was forced to make after World War One. Germany was a broken country, populated by desperate starving people. And to the desperate, an extreme ideology begins to seem like a rational choice.

The advent of new technology forces a paradigm shift in the way the beholders of that technology think. The Christianity Meme was made wide spread by the invention of the Gutenberg press. And the rise of National Socialism was made popular because of the invention of Cinema. Here we had a new means to control the flow of information to the populace, that they are willing to unquestioningly listen to due to the 'novelty factor' of moving pictures. It is no coincidence that some of the best Cinematography of the early 20th Century came out of the National Socialist propaganda machine.

Why is this the case? It is yet another fault of man that a new means of distributing memes is perceived, due to the 'newness' of the medium, to have a greater 'validity' than older media. Those harnessing new inventions have the power to win control of the hearts and minds of others.

With the tools in place, who should the National Socialists target? Clearly, as a counterpoint to Man's desire to hold power over others, there is also a desire to resent the success of others. If someone is successful, they reduce the self-worth of their beholders. Although times were harsh in Germany in the prelude to World War II, there were still successful inhabitants of that country. Possessing shrewd business acumen as well as the contacts in other countries needed to maintain support in such a poverty stricken and broken land, who else should deserve the wrath of the populace more than the Jews?

Fast-forward to the latter quarter of the 20th Century. Computing technology is focused in niche markets, and limited to big successful companies like IBM and Microsoft. As the markets were limited, there were also limited opportunities for employment. This gave rise to a rising number of college dropouts, seething with resentment and unable to relate to society beyond the staccato clatter of keyboards and the pallid green glow of an 80x24 text display, and lacking the basic business skills (and a smart suit) needed to secure employment at one of these companies.

At this time, a new invention was beginning to take hold in College campuses throughout the world. The Internet. As with the Gutenberg press and Cinema beforehand, this new technology would grow to spread one of the most virulent memes of the modern age - Open Source Software, created as the antithesis of successful business practise.

So, the parallels between the birth of Anti-Semetic National Socialism and the birth of Open Source Software have been made. Of course, it is easy to claim that A=B without providing further logical evidence in support. So, the next task of my thesis is to provide further parallels, and bring this discourse back to the initial focus on Slashdot Moderation.

Slashdot was conceived, in it's original 'Chips 'n' Dips' incarnation, as a vehemently anti-corporate Open Source website. Roughly 10-15 years down the line from the birth of Open Source, it has become saturated with propaganda, and now forms the centrepiece of the Open Source Development Network. An authority in it's field, Slashdot's success is in no small part due to the ability of the editors to 'pick and choose' valid news articles submitted by users, and present the same old tired "Open Source Good / Closed Source Bad" rhetoric time and time again, dabbling with anti-copyright and the right of the 'common man' to remove an artist's ability to gain compensation for the work. In essence, this is similar to the 'paring down' of artistic worth in 1930's Germany. If no-one is willing to contribute valid and vibrant art to the community, then all art shall become harsh and functional, possessing a certain intimidating aesthetic.

Which leads onto Open Source's shining achievement - Linux. This diatribe is not aimed towards Linux in particular, as it is a well-oiled, well-tuned machine. A technically adept Operating System, it is worthy of admiration by any rational man. The point of this thesis is not to attack the art produced by Open Source coders, which in itself is worthy, but to enlighten all as to the political processes behind the OSS movement.

By the same scale, it is hard to fault Mercedes for the technical excellence of the vehicles which were used by the National Socialist party. But the politics behind the party are what taint the image of Mercedes' vehicles of the era. The Swastika itself is a benign symbol, found this day in such diverse locations as Pokemon cards, but is permanently tainted with the history of the acts made under its auspice. In the same way, companies switching to Open Source solutions will begin to regard the Penguin with the same trepidation as their profits fall.

It should be worth noting at this point that IBM, previously one of the world's greatest companies, has begun reporting servere financial losses, no doubt due to its adoption of Open Source practises. This epoch-making event was NOT reported on Slashdot, even though articles were submitted.

And what of the other great company mentioned above? Microsoft, aka Micro$oft, Mickeysoft, Microshaft, Kro$oft, and many other derogatory and undeserved names. Throughout the previous 25 years, Microsoft has grown from strength to strength, again possessing shrewd business acumen as well as providing products that people want. This makes them the number one target for the OSS movement. Incapable of standing by their own merits, the OSS zealot would rather attack Microsoft as a priority than produce anything of worth for their community.

Slashdot Moderators, crazed with their limited new-found power, exhibit this behavior. It is a sad state of affairs that the majority of article moderations are negative. Where is the positive feedback and sense of social contribution? Nowhere to be found. Moderators are too focused on putting their peers down to make themselves appear superior, rather than doing the hard work and becoming better on their own terms.

As the National Socialists required a scapegoat, Slashdot Moderators require a constant stream of Postings to label '-1, Inferior'. Once a posting is reduced to the score of -1, it becomes invisible to the casual user. Again, this is a parallel to the Ghettoization of Germany upon the election of Hitler.

In essence this would not be so bad, were postings to be evaluated on their own terms. However, alongside the moderation of their postings, each user has a 'Karma' value, namely the sum of their worth to the Slashdot community. As a user's posts are moderated up or down, so their Karma fluctuates. As Karma becomes negative, a user's default posting score is reduced, until they are posting at a default of -1. Again, ghettoizing PEOPLE, not just their opinions.

This ghettoization is reinforced with the often fake belief that a negatively moderated post, and therefore the poster, is a "Troll". (Is it any wonder that such a name has been chosen to describe these people, invoking mental imagery of facial disfigurement and hooked noses?) As the Jews were accused of fraud, dishonesty and being subhuman animals, so too are Trolls accused of FUD, Crapflooding, and obfuscated links. Quite often, these 'undesirables' are capable of providing a valid insightful comment on a topic, but because it is in opposition to the Political dogma of Slashdot they are moderated back into their ghetto. The person becomes moderated, not their opinion.

This is just the thin end of the wedge. Although, as memes are transient, it is difficult to silence an opinion, it is trivial to silence a person. Upon the rise of National Socialism in Germany, the populace were motivated by propaganda into entering the Jewish Ghettos en masse with the sole purpose of causing as much damage as possible to Jewish businesses and residences. The infamous Krystalnacht. This parallels far too accurately with the Slashdot Editor's non-discouragement of the act of IP-banning. As mentioned above, this occurs when an individual user's postings are repeatedly moderated down in a short period. They then become incapable of posting any contributions themselves. In essence, they have been silenced, regardless of the worth of their postings.

Of course, the editors claim that Meta-Moderation is the panacea to solve this clear abuse of moderating privledge. But if a Meta Moderator is presented with a list of moderations that they disagree with, such as this targetted 'silencing' mentioned above, they cannot note them as such without in turn becoming an 'Undesirable' themselves, as too many Disagreements with the Moderation groupthink also result in loss of Karma.

Throughout all of this, the Editors have claimed a false level of detachment from the acts of moderation. In a same way, as the National Socialists gathered their power and began working on their Elite Political wing, The SS, they too remained detached from the civilians working in their name. Why? Because after inspiring the populace to such acts of violence through their propaganda, they could then claim that they were only giving the people what they want.

And then began the next stage of the atrocities. The Gestapo, Germany's secret police, were recruited from the best and the brightest of Germany's elite. As is the case now, the best and the brightest of society were often shunned and ostracized in society. In essence, the Gestapo were a tightly controlled 'Geek Army' of intelligent young men with a burning, seething resentment of normal society. The perfect psychological profile for the cause.

After all, give a normal man (with an active sex life) a gun and he will use it responsibly in self defence. Give a geek a gun and he will behave according to his sociopathic logic and hatred of the world he arrogantly presumes to be distant from. Ask yourself why Slashdot flat-out justified the murder of innocents at Columbine. And then ask yourself why, even for a brief moment, you almost began to sympathize with the killers after Jon Katz' manipulative and pseudo-emotive Hellmouth articles.

How this relates to Slashdot is clear. The majority of Slashdot posters are Sociopathic OSS zealots, unable through lack of social finesse or personal hygiene to mate regularly. Sexually and emotionally frustrated and with grudges to bear, incapable in their blinkered sense of self-righteousness of accepting any dissenting opinion than the OSS cause. Now give these people the opportunity to Moderate these dissenting opinions. Of course they are going to want to silence them, by any means necessary.

Now, the Slashdot Editors have admitted taking this silence of opinion into the next stage, by moderating whole swathes of 'undesirable' posts negatively. And then permanently banning anyone who moderates said posts back up from moderating EVER again! The result of this new policy? The few Moderators with any sense of fairness and decency are removed from the moderation pool, leaving the power ENTIRELY in the hands of the zealots. Clearly, positive moderation is discouraged under this regime, which is a direct parallel with the way the National Socialists moved their own sympathisers into positions of power throughout Europe.

So how does this compare to the genocide performed in Auschwitz and their ilk? I would like at this point to explain that in NO way do I wish to belittle the horrors that were performed in the name of National Socialism. The six million innocents killed were a cry of anguish from which humanity may never recover. And a vast distance in time and scope from a few banned posters on some shitty "My Favourite Links - now with comments" website. But these stories need to be retold before the horror is lost forever.

For the only thing that we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history. Time and time again, the St. Vitus dance is played out, we make the same mistakes, and we perpetually fail to see the warning signs.

So, moderators, the next time you moderate a rational, insightful post down, maybe because you disagree with it or because it's posted by a 'Known Troll', just ask yourself this...

"Am I really contributing to the Slashdot Community, or selfishly destroying it?"

Re:Moderation - a warning from History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789506)

Heh. I've got mod points but I wouldn't waste them on such an eloquent confabulation as Parent. Rather, I'd like to know if you make your own meth or have a particularly good connection?

Re:Moderation - a warning from History (0, Offtopic)

Barny (103770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789554)

Guess what, I have mod points available, and rather than spend them modding your posts down (dear god I want to, reading your post history) I find it damn near impossible to do so, when I checked your history, pretty much your entire post career on /. has been modded -1.

Comparing moderation to what the Nazis did is, and I will be brutally frank, fucking deranged.

Get over it, the original /. (I read the thing for 8 months before I made an account, I even remember kicking back and listening to "slashdot radio" from before the word podcast was used) was the same ol'-same ol' aka. a communal blog on "geek interests".

Back to your regularly scheduled mayhem :)

ps, a "troll" is someone who partakes of "trolling" ie baiting people to reply (yeah, much as I have done), not some relation to a fictitious creature.

Re:What a difference a Congress makes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17790014)

You misspelled Republic.

Exactly. If it were a security matter, (3, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790272)

then they should insist on the chance to argue it before the Justices.

This pattern of hyping a security threat and forgetting about it when challenged has come up before. Yaser Esam Hamdi was supposedly too dangerous ever to be set free, allowing him to see a lawyer was somehow supposed to endanger our national security, and when he finally did get to meet an attorney the military recorded the entire meeting.

So, when the Supreme Court ruled that a US citizen was entitled to say "put up or shut up" when imprisoned, did the government build up a prosecution based on the Qala-e-Jangi prison riot? No -- they cut him loose and shipped him to Saudi Arabia. Pretty much the last thing anyone who cared about the country would do if they really thought he were a terrorist.

We already knew that it wasn't a national security issue whether a security-cleared patriotic judge saw the wiretap applications beforehand (even after the fact if the government so chose). Now we know that the Administration didn't even think it was a national security issue.

Re:What a difference a Congress makes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17790658)

This is still a Democracy.

Only so far as it never was and 230 years later, Americans still don't know the meaning of that word. Otherwise, yeah, you're good.

GNAA campaign against PHP and ZEND bears fruit (-1, Troll)

PrinceOfBel-Air (1041508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789146)

GNAA campaign against PHP and ZEND bears fruit

Impi - Diplomatic Corp, South Africa

The ongoing war against PHP by the GNAA has finally produced results that are a step in the right direction. GNAA have been aggressively involved in a campaign to educate the public at large about the tremendous control that MOSSAD has over the development of PHP and the subsequent clandestine information gathering technology that has been implemented by Jewish developers.

The co-founders of Zend, the PHP Company, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans are known Israeli MOSSAD agents; they were recruited by MOSSAD during their formative years at the Israel Institute of Technology.

On Friday, 28 July 2006, Jani Taskinen, aka _sniper_ resigned from the PHP development team. FYI: I don't care at all what anybody thinks about me. I'm going to be openly anti-Israel from now on. This was the last straw for me. Fuck you Jews. I will also quit this project. As long as it's backed by some Israel company, I don't want to have anything to do with it. Good bye.

This was a direct result of the ongoing war against Hezbollah which has been backed by the USA and primarily been driven by the information gathering technologies embedded in PHP by Zend.

Several GNAA members who were also part of the PHP development team have also resigned in solidarity with Jani Taskinen.

timecop, the glorious president of the GNAA has reacted in the wake of these events by extending an invitation of honorary lifetime GNAA membership to _sniper_, for having courage in his convictions.

GNAA official website, located at [] is powered by Microsoft Internet Information Services [] and ASP.NET [] , running on INTEL hardware.

About Zend

Zend is an Israeli funded body that is controlled by MOSSAD.

About PHP


About GNAA:
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the first organization which gathers GAY NIGGERS from all over America and abroad for one common goal - being GAY NIGGERS.

Are you GAY [] ?
Are you a NIGGER [] ?
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Join GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) today, and enjoy all the benefits of being a full-time GNAA member.
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  • Second, you need to succeed in posting a GNAA First Post [] on [] , a popular "news for trolls" website.
  • Third, you need to join the official GNAA irc channel #GNAA on, and apply for membership.
Talk to one of the ops or any of the other members in the channel to sign up today! Upon submitting your application, you will be required to submit links to your successful First Post, and you will be tested on your knowledge of GAYNIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE.

If you are having trouble locating #GNAA, the official GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA irc channel, you might be on a wrong irc network. The correct network is NiggerNET, and you can connect to as our official server. Follow this link [irc] if you are using an irc client such as mIRC.

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.

| ______________________________________._a,____ | Press contact:
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ | Gary Niger
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ | [mailto]
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ | GNAA Corporate Headquarters
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ | 143 Rolloffle Avenue
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ | Tarzana, California 91356
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ | All other inquiries:
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| ______-"!^____________________________________ | GNAA World Headquarters
` _______________________________________________' 160-0023 Japan Tokyo-to Shinjuku-ku Nishi-Shinjuku 3-20-2

Copyright (c) 2003-2006 Gay Nigger Association of America []

mod parent down immediately! (1, Redundant)

megla (859600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789190)

er, yeah.

Re:GNAA campaign against PHP and ZEND bears fruit (-1, Offtopic)

goarilla (908067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789444)

jezus you bunch of stupid fools!
i'm sick of this

oh dear, fool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789464)

I think you've fucked up on your own rules here...

"Second, you need to succeed in posting a GNAA First Post on, a popular "news for trolls" website."

Shouldn't you have got a "first post", not as it seems, a third or forth post

it's like (4, Insightful)

micktaggart (1047954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789170)

being taken to court after you beat wife, but then claim the court case should be thrown out because you haven't beaten her since the court case started.

Re:it's like (3, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789192)

Well, not quite. As I understand it, the remedy sought by plaintiffs was cessation of the program, which, as toe gov argues, has ceased anyway. With the wifebeater, the remedy is jail. So somewhat different. Don't know if that helps get them off the hook or not, but what would plaintiffs argue now?

Actually ... (1)

willtsmith (466546) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791178)

It would be like arguing that you have stopped beating your wife, but you retain the right to resume beating her if she "really needs it".

The governments play here is quite plain and obvious. Getting the case this far has taken a long time. They are seeking a dismissal so that the case will have to be restarted from scratch once they've restarted their wireless wiretaps.

Re:it's like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17791522)

Don't know if that helps get them off the hook or not, but what would plaintiffs argue now?

That it was illegal and they should go to jail.

Re:it's like (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792794)

> cessation of the program, which, as toe gov argues, has ceased anyway

Meaning: "We figured out who leaked it, they've been lynched, and we've determined the most effective way of continuing without letting anyone else know."

If you have a security clearance you get to "know" a lot more about what the government is doing with trillions of dollars in taxpayer money. Has anyone stopped to wonder just what all the new database jockey positions with military contractors requiring security clearances will be doing? I'm guessing the databases are chock full of information gleened from digital transmissions, many financial transactions, cell phones (satellites are in international airspace, therefore, every cell phone call is an international communication), IMs (sent through international servers or international lines), IRC, heck, even web postings...

We're not spying. We're just, uh... collecting and analyzing information trends. Go back to work citizen. You should spend more time paying off the $300 billion in taxes which we're giving to the military contractors to rebuild Iraq and less time wondering why your mortgage is being foreclosed.

Not FISA court approval (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789206)

It's not done under the FISA program, he's trying to confuse the judge. What they did was they got 1 FISA judge to declare the whole program legal, not case by case with probable cause, not a FISA court ruling, a ruling of a single FISA judge.

An actual legal FISA warrant is done case by case:

Each application
for a surveillance order must include, inter alia:

1) the identity of the federal officer making
the application;

2) the authority conferred on the Attorney
General by the President of the United States
and the approval of the Attorney General to
make the application;

3) the identity, if known, or a description of
the target of the electronic surveillance;

4) a statement of the facts and circumstances
relied upon by the applicant to justify his
belief that . . . the target of the electronic surveillance
is a foreign power or an agent of a
foreign power . . . [and] each of the facilities
or places [to be subjected to the surveillance]
. . . is being used, or is about to be used, by a
foreign power or an agent of a foreign power;

5) a statement of the proposed minimization

6) a detailed description of the nature of the
information sought and the type of communications
or activities to be subjected to the surveillance;

7) a certification [from an appropriate executive
branch official] . . . that the certifying
official deems the information sought to be
foreign intelligence information . . . that the
purpose of the surveillance is to obtain foreign
intelligence information . . . that such
information cannot reasonably be obtained
by normal investigative techniques . . . . []

Re:Not FISA court approval (4, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789240)

"What they did was they got 1 FISA judge to declare the whole program legal,"

Yay, a general warrant [] ! We don't need no stinking Fourth Amendment!

Re:Not FISA court approval (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789312)

Can you find a source proving that this program is not under the auspices of FISA? I was under the impression it was, but I truly don't know.

Section D of the government filing (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789368)

Read the government submission in the story. Section D.

'A judge from the FISA court issued order authorising the government to target for collection international ....'

i.e. a blanket authorization from a single FISA judge, a power the FISA court isn't empowered to grant, let alone an individual judge. It can only grant individual warrants in the circumstances above.

I'm not aware of any power under which a FISA judge can issue a blanket power like that.

Re:Section D of the government filing (4, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789402)

You are correct. No court or judge has the power to issue such a blanket authorization.

The Fourth Ammendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789500)

...if such a power did exist, then it would be unconstitutional. But they're not even trying to put a veneer of legality on it. They're simply alluding to authority of a FISA judge, and redacting the details of what they've actually done. So that the media thinks they're now under FISA and if the judge rules against them, they'll attack his career under the guise of 'activist judge helps terrorists'.

The actual change they've made removes the FBI from the loop, so now a political appointee signs off the warrant, under this blanket authority they assert they have. The involvement of the FBI is no longer needed, since that was only needed to meet the FISA criteria, which they assert they meet by default.

Re:Not FISA court approval (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789874)

"It's not done under the FISA program, he's trying to confuse the judge. What they did was they got 1 FISA judge to declare the whole program legal, not case by case with probable cause, not a FISA court ruling, a ruling of a single FISA judge."

Oh, come on. That can't be for real. It would be straight out of a playbook written for "1984". It's a program "approved by the FISA court", but not actually by the same mechanism, warrant-by-warrant, case-by-case, as was written in the FISA law? If this is for real, who do they think they are fooling?

What's the point of an "approved by FISA" stamp on the whole program, without any of the oversight? It would be like stamping food or medicine with an "approved by the FDA" on it, without actually performing any inspections or other tests. Oversight like that is utterly *meaningless*, because it isn't oversight, and it is useful only in a rhetorical sense.

I'm sure it is a great comfort to people subjected to this program that somewhere in the bureaucracy is a form saying: "New and Improved! Now with FISA!"

Of course that's what the feds say (2, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789212)

The feds argue in their petition that this precedent does not apply to them.

I wouldn't expect the feds to argue any different. King George and his regime have been arguing that the Constitution doesn't apply to them and the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to them. How could anyone think they'd accept prior case law as applying to them.

Re:Of course that's what the feds say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789242)

our Attorney General is practically arguing that the rights not specifically granted to the Federal government may in fact be reserved to it. I think if I were a person sitting in judgement on a confirmation committee I would demand would-be officals quote, and explain in lay terms random sections of the Constitution.

Gotta remember this (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789244)

Really. If I ever get caught in, say, a murder, I just stop killing anyone and I'm free.


Oh, wait. Doesn't that mean Bush should also stop hunting Bin Laden? I mean, he hasn't crashed any airliners into skycrapers for years now.

The mind boggles trying to follow what passes for "reason" in your government. I once thought Bush is stupid. I don't do that anymore. I think he has some unknown insanity that is contagious.

Re:Gotta remember this (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789332)

Oh, wait. Doesn't that mean Bush should also stop hunting Bin Laden?
Um, I hate to be the one to break this to you....

Re:Gotta remember this (0, Troll)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790008)

As a New York native I find that comment both funny and enraging.

WTF is this numbnut still doing in office? Why?

Re:Gotta remember this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17791616)

Because a number of people who are simultaneously the most afraid of terrorism and the least likely to be affected by it decided they knew better than New York if Bush was going in the right direction with his war of^Hn terror.

Re:Gotta remember this (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789492)

The difference is in the remedy. If you murder someone, the remedy is jail, so there is a point to charging you. In this case, they wanted an injunction to stop the activity. If the activity is stopped, why go to trial? I actually think what is happening, though, is that the practice was stopped so that there is never a court order against it. Then, they can start it up again later. If it does go to trial, and goes against them, then they would not be able to legally start it up again.

Re:Gotta remember this (1)

Oonushi (863093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789850)

You are right: the remedy for breaking the law is jail. In fact, you can be jailed for much less than murder. Now, warrantless wiretapping is illegal, and therefore those involved must be tried and jailed. I don't see how this can be dismissed. Our public servants need to be held accountable to those whom they represent.

Re:Gotta remember this (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790050)

Actually, the remedy for breaking the law is not always jail. Also, there is soverign immunity. While the President is sitting, the only way to try him is by impeachment.

Re:Gotta remember this (3, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791122)

Also, there is soverign immunity. While the President is sitting, the only way to try him is by impeachment.

I just tried for quite a while, and I can find no mention of this in the constitution. What part is it in?

The closest thing I found was in article 1, section 3, about the Senate:

judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

What this clearly says is that the impeachment process itself can only result in getting the target tossed from office; but that the rest of the body of law, and punishment, still applies in the normal venues, that is, police, court, jail and so on. It doesn't say that the person has to be impeached before normal procedures take effect, either.

In article 2, section 4, we find this:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

...and again, what we have here is a mechanism for removal from office. There is no provision for immunity from the mundane legal process. In other words, this doesn't protect the president from a traffic ticket or a murder charge.

Here, under article 3, the judicial branch, we find:

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

The above makes it clear that the courts do indeed have jurisdiction when the case involves a "public minister" and furthermore, the last part clearly sets out what to do in the case of trials of "other" kind than impeachment, meaning they were specifically thinking that law should apply to public officials (as of course it should, what, were they supposed to be idiots?) Not only that, the wording makes it clear that such trial can occur without impeachment - so impeachment does not have to come first.

This whole business of the president being "immune" smells like nonsense of the first degree to me, and I utterly fail to see any constitutional justification for it. Barring anyone pointing out something critical I've missed here, my position is that Bush is a crook, he is long past needing to be arrested for illegal wiretapping, torture, and obstruction of justice - he is the responsible party - and tried, and punished. Congress can get around to impeaching him, or not, I don't really care, but I do think the man belongs in a courtroom, facing these accusations, and frankly, I think conviction should be a doddle.

Re:Gotta remember this (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791218)

In Marbury v. Madison, Marshall said that the Executive in the execution of his powers is beyond the reach of the Supreme Court, if they are the powers granted by the Constitution and not by statute. Its debatable if he is or not. It could be argued that the is executing his powers as Commander in Chief. I am sure there is other case law relating to this, but no court will try the President prior to impeachment.

Re:Gotta remember this (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791358)

Marshall said that the Executive in the execution of his powers is beyond the reach of the Supreme Court, if they are the powers granted by the Constitution and not by statute.

I don't have any problem with that. However, the constitution does not grant the ability to secretly invade a citizen's privacy without a warrant, does it? Nor does it grant the power to torture; I could go on for quite a while. The bottom line is clearly that he can be criminally charged, and that he is not, by the above court decision, "beyond the reach of the Supreme Court."

no court will try the President prior to impeachment.

And I maintain that there is no constitutional basis for this. It is the awarding of king-like powers to a position that was supposed to be about as un-king-like as the founders could figure out to make it. I fail to see even a hint of such intent in the constitution, and as I pointed out above, it seems very clear that the actual intent was precisely the opposite.

The government - and I absolutely do include the courts - is completely out of control. This is just one more hard piece of evidence that backs that assertion up.

The NSA is the defendant, not the President (1)

vague_ascetic (755456) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792730)

The Federal Judiciary should stay out of political battles, as it cheapens their legitimacy in the public eye. It is a shame that they did not heed this, in the election aftermath of 2000. Still, it is not the President, and his unlawful acts which are being appealed. It is the NSA's unlawful acts determined to be unlawful, notwithstanding that they claim were predicated on a presidential finding.

These unlawful acts are surely Constitutional Violations. Whether the Legislature finds the courage to challenge this foul tyranny remains to seen. It seems that the only action which the GOP considers impeachable has not occurred within the last six years, since GW was gelded by Laura in 1984; obviously, there remains nothing to fellate...

Re:Gotta remember this (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791326)

Ok, let me get this straight: The remedy for beating my wife is jail. The remedy for violating the privacy of millions of citizen is "please stop"?

I understand what you're getting at, and in a strictly technical sense, you are correct. That doesn't mean it's proper. Frankly, I would like to know why the ACLU didn't ask for damages. How about $100 per illegally monitored call, payable in half to each participant in the call.

I mean, it's not as if you could bancrupt the government, not anymore than they already are.

Re:Gotta remember this (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791418)

Because the damages would be paid by other citizens. The government only gets its funding from tax money. To pay the damages, they would either have to raise taxes or cut programs. Believe me, they wouldn't cut pork, either.

Re:Gotta remember this (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791468)

Marshall's point is that the political process should be used to punish the President. He is, at least nominally, prosecuting a war as a commander in chief. In a later case, Marshall said the other branches of government had freedom to use powers not stipulated in the Constitution to achieve the broad framework in the Constitution. That's why congress can create a national bank or bould an interstate highway system, despite a lack of those in the Constitution. So, as long as the President can fit his actions under the War on Terror, he is safe from the courts. That is one of the reasons there is an impeachment process; so the Congress can remove him from power, and then the courts can do what they need to.

Re:Gotta remember this (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789674)

If I ever get caught in, say, a murder, I just stop killing anyone and I'm free.

If it was a civil suit, brought to get an injunction against you to stop killing people... then yes.

Otherwise (ie. a criminal case for individual offenses), no.

Re:Gotta remember this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17790238)

If it was a civil suit, brought to get an injunction against you to stop killing people... then yes.

Otherwise (ie. a criminal case for individual offenses), no.

And if it were a trial to determine whether or not what you were doing was unconstitutional, and therefore impeachable perjury of the oath to uphold the constitution?

Worse than a liar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17790304)

The mind boggles trying to follow what passes for "reason" in your government. I once thought Bush is stupid. I don't do that anymore. I think he has some unknown insanity that is contagious.
A liar knows what the truth is and chooses to deny it.
A stupid person can't figure out what the truth is.
Both realize that there is such a thing as truth and that it matters.

That realization is so fundamental to a nerd that we are wrong-footed dealing with someone who doesn't think that way. A liar would have had enough respect for truth to have planted WMD in Iraq. Bush didn't because only the decision to invade Iraq mattered. Like a salesman, he started with the conclusion and any argument in support of it was, not true or false, but either useful or not useful to the sales effort. Sales effort it was, and not policy development: Andrew Card admitted that the arguments in favor of the war were timed as they were because "you don't roll out a new product in August".

Re:Gotta remember this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17790900)

The mind boggles trying to follow what passes for "reason" in your government. I once thought Bush is stupid. I don't do that anymore. I think he has some unknown insanity that is contagious.
Riiiight.... and the rest of the world is perfect.

A large percentage of us realize the man is screwed up along with a substantial chunk of the government, and eventually (20-40 years as these things take time) we'll get it squared away. I just find it ironic that you comment upon such things with what seems to be a quite venomous attitude, since your country couldn't keep it's shit straight (can you say sig heil?) and got its ass kicked by the other Europeans (props to the Russians on this especially) along with the US to square it away.

And yes, it still does matter over sixty years later, just like the EU folks who like to bring up Hiroshima with us during the same time frame. And make no mistake, you wouldn't have won the cold war without us.

The bottom line is this, many of us don't like the way things are going over here in the US, but change will take time. The 2006 elections were a sign, and I suspect there will be more indications ahead as people lose healthcare and the standard of living goes down the toilet. Until then have a nice warm up of shut the fuck up and keep your own government from harmonizing their laws with ours.

Re:Gotta remember this (0, Troll)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791294)

Riiiight.... and the rest of the world is perfect.
I said that where?

Look, your leader is a psychopath. The fact that others aren't much better doesn't change it, doesn't make it any less horrible, and should not take attention away from the fact that yes, there might be 50 criminally insane heads of state around the world, but you can do something about this one.

Re:Gotta remember this (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791148)

Doesn't that mean Bush should also stop hunting Bin Laden? I mean, he hasn't crashed any airliners into skycrapers for years now.

Actually, Bush has never been hunting for that old family friend of his, Osama bin Laden. If you recall from the news several years ago, a Delta team was ordered to stand down by Central Command when they thought they had spotted bin Laden at Tora Bora. They then witnessed Soviet-made, Pakistani military helicopters fly in and retrieve him and his entourage.

Latter, upon returning to the USA, one or more of that Delta team tipped off reporter Seymour Hersh, who reported this story. Strangely (and "coincidentally" as the "coincidence theorists" would claim) enough, all the members of that Delta team inexplicably committed suicide...if they were married, they first murdered their wives, then committed suicide...if single, they just committed suicide. Very curious, indeed. (It was reported in the American corporate McNews, either intentially or incompetently, that some of these men were Delta and some were army special forces. Delta is US Army Special Forces Special Detachment Delta.)

Kind of reminds one of that recent event in the news where five soldiers were claimed to have died in battle, then the government has revised their "story" to state that "insurgents," dressed like American security contractors, speaking with American accents, armed with American ordnance, did in fact execute these five soldiers - wonder what those soldiers happened to stumble upon......

[Special for the Coincidence Theorists: George H.W. Bush, enjoying dinner with the family of the assassin who attempted to kill Ronald Reagun the next day - George H.W. Bush, enjoying breakfast with the head of the bin Laden family on 9/11/01. George H.W. Bush, enjoying brunch in Dallas with (fired by John F. Kennedy) former CIA director Dulles, his (also fired) assistant director, and the asst. director's brother, the mayor of Dallas on that day JFK was assassinated.]

I Got Better (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789272)

In BushWorld, only serial killers are murderers. Mass murderers who go straight are OK.

That specific example will probably show up in court. If not in this spy suit, then at the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Neocon war crimes trials.

Re:I Got Better (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789538)

Just like the way Darth Vader was given a Get Out Of Damnation Free Card for saving his son from the Emperor at the last minute, despite the slaughter of entire planets full of people.

If they win (5, Interesting)

Hennell (1005107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789288)

would this mean that all file sharing would be fine, as long you delete your file sharing software and promise to not do it anymore if they try to prosecute you?

Power Company (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789310)

This logic is the essence of the Bush Era. The theory is entirely devoted to power. All that matters in life is to whom you defer in power. If Bush acknowledges that a court, a Congress, or a TV audience has any power over him, that's the end of the issue. Only after an apocalyptic fight with every resource possible, including illegal means, torture, spies, assassinations, exposing covert agents, bribes, anything to attack the force asserting power over them. Then, when it looks like the new power will win, they try to bargain for changes to allow them to do what they were doing in exchange for admitting they used to do it, then claim "we were right all along". If they still lose, they take whatever lumps are offered (until now, practically nothing except perhaps purely symbolic, from their Republican Congress), then just do it anyway in secret - or through proxies, either corporate or overseas.

Because all that BushCo has learned from politics is the Nixon philosophy "it's only a crime when you get caught". Because the Bush admin made its bones in the Nixon admin [] .

These people will do anything for tyrannical powers, including use ones they don't actually have to get them. The Constitution is designed to stop such criminal tyrants: impeachment [] . It works only while the Constitution still has more power than the tyrants attacking it.

Re:Power Company (1)

tom's a-cold (253195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790842)

This logic is the essence of the Bush Era. The theory is entirely devoted to power.
They have only one rationale: "Because I said so." And their political philosophy is the Divine Right of Kings. We've been down that road before with absolute monarchies. It inevitably leads to torture, corruption and wars of adventure.

Drop the talk of impeachment. The gutless wonders in Congress are right on that point: by the time impeachment proceedings are completed Bush will already be out of office or nearly so. Instead we should get straight to the point and try the sons of bitches for crimes against humanity. That's what should happen under the rule of law. Anything less won't be justice and won't be a deterrent to the next generation of gangsters who seize power. Torture, kidnapping, waging war against a country that had not attacked you and had no capability or intention to do so, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians in the process-- they locked up Milosevic and Noriega for less. Even some of the Nuremberg generals committed lesser crimes than this. Americans need to send a message to the world (and to the scum of the earth who grabbed control) that we won't let this madness happen again, and that there's no such thing as impunity here.

This is not political vengeance. It's an assertion that there are basic human values, and that any leader that violates them will be held accountable. We have just lived through a catastrophic failure of checks and balances, and now we need to very systematically re-impose sanctions against the criminal abuse of executive power, and ensure that it won't happen again.

This is what we should be demanding from Congress and the courts. Impeachment is a political process. This is a criminal matter and should be handled as such.

Re:Power Company (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791288)

You understand power, but you don't understand impeachment.

First, the president (and arguably, the VP) cannot be tried for anything while they're in power, except by impeachment, according to the Constitution. Who will violate that? No one.

Second, impeachment doesn't have to take long. Republicans impeached Clinton in a few weeks.

Third, impeachment doesn't have to lead to conviction to stop a criminal president. Nixon resigned rather than allow a trial to expose even more of his criminal enterprise and his criminal associates. His Republican Party turned against him to cut their losses for exactly that reason. Clinton's impeachment wasn't for any criminal enterprise that could be further endangered (the Whitewater investigation tried exactly that, and produced only a white lie on TV about a blowjob), but it did interfere with the political leverage Clinton had over the Republican Congress. Bush would be crippled for the rest of his term, if he didn't resign, even if acquitted by his 49 Republican senators. Unable to stop Congress from winding down the Iraq War, taking over the Afghanistan War, and otherwise fixing both foreign and domestic policy.

Impeaching Bush for the warrantless NSA wiretapping, lying us into Iraq War, discarding habeas corpus, torturing, and a laundry list of cronyism and other crimes isn't merely "political vengence". It's justice. It's the only way to stop a criminal president, as specified in the Constitution. Tyrants like Bush are exactly who impeachment is designed to stop.

If Congress doesn't impeach Bush, then what does a president have to do to get impeached? Is it only for breaking into the Watergate hotel during an election campaign? Is it only for lying about a blowjob? Can criminal presidents get away with literal (mass) murder, even if they don't have a Congressional majority?

Study of Kafka (4, Insightful)

Mutatis Mutandis (921530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789414)

This is the same trial, I think, in which one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs said he was studying Kafka as a refresher course on bizarre legal proceedings.

If the only goal of the plaintiffs was to seek an end of the government's wiretapping activities, then the government's request would not be illogical. One of the major disadvantages of the Common Law system is that it is so laborious and costly that only a minority of cases can actually be decided in court. Stopping a procedure to achieve a goal that is already achieved, would save time and money.

Unfortunately for the government, one of the plaintiffs is seeking civil damages, because documents that got accidentally in the "wrong" hands, revealed that it was being illegally spied upon. And this damages part of the trial clearly cannot be avoided by simply stopping the snooping, as it applies to the past. The US government's position on this appears to be that it cannot be prosecuted because all evidence against it is secret (how convenient) and should never have been seen by the plaintiffs, their lawyers, or the court. It did not yet file a formal request to have any memory of it erased from their minds, but I am sure that is only because they lack the technology, not because they have an scruples about it.

This, of course, is only the civil side of the issue. I think possible criminal prosecution is still open regardless of what is decided in this case, although it may have to wait for the end of the Bush administration.

As far as I remember, in some Italian republics of the Renaissance government officials were sent to court automatically after the end of their tenure. They had to account for their actions in office and clear their names of accusations of abuse of power. Maybe that is a system the USA should be considering again.

Re:Study of Kafka (2, Interesting)

PhilipMarlowe9000 (1035214) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789718)

Yeah, I would love to see that happen. However, the pardoning of Nixon set up a bad precedent of "ending our national tragedy," and not punishing those who committed crimes (Kissinger would have a fun time at the dock). One must remember that Bush has a largely corporate mentality-- he makes a plan and then asks a lawyer, such as John Yew or Gonzales, "is this legal? How can we make it legal?." They find an excuse-- "Well, it's alright to suspend habeaus corpus, because it's listed as a privilege and the it doesn't say that everyone gets it." This is a fatuous argument, and it ignores hundreds of years of precedents, but it works for Bush. "Quick and dirty" is his motto.

This Is Awesome. (2, Insightful)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789416)

I love it when accountability works -- you know, checks and balances, blind justice, and so on and so forth.

Do as I say not as I do should be the new motto on the money.

another motto (0, Troll)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791334)

I nominate "Original storytelling, updated three times a week." for Bush's assertion of WMDs in Iraq, imminent threats to the US from Iraq, and a 9/11-Iraq connection (which is still heard about 3 times a week).

two steps forward, one step back (1)

mulhollandj (807571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789420)

I agree that the government doesn't want to get in trouble but I think that they also do not want it banned for the future. This is the old two steps forward and when the people protest you take one step back. I heard Senator Hatch say that the Patriot Act is a good thing as we have had no terrorist attack in the US since. How many terrorist attacks did the USSR and Nazi Germany have that weren't staged?

Actually this is good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789458)

RIAA: We caught the suspect sharing thousands of songs infringing our copyright. We demand this pirate is made to walk the plank.

JUDGE: How do you plead.

SUSPECT: Guilty, but I stopped doing it.

JUDGE: That is alright then, off you go. RIAA is fined 10.000 dollars for wasting my time.

This defence by the "US" is clearly silly. It would open a whole can of worms if they are allowed to use this as a defence. You would have a free ticket to commit any crime just as long as you stop it when it gets to court.

Re:Actually this is good news (1)

slidersv (972720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789808)

like murder :)

Legal time machine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789508)

Can you 'unbreak' the law? Apparently the US government can.

Good let the supreme court rule on the case. (1)

lostngone (855272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789528)

The Feds always drop the case or try and have it thrown out when they know they are going to lose. They do this so a legal precedent isn't set. The BATFE does this kind of thing all the time.

Slashdot - last week's news TODAY (0)

slowdot (1056740) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789550)

This is a fine story.. but it was on NPR friday. Is this what they call "internet time"?

Maybe they should call it Slowdot.

Slashdot is a good source (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789600)

Yes, but Slashdot is a good source for those who don't have the time to read or listen to or watch all the other media.

Re:Slashdot is a good source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789940)

So are thousands of other websites that are actually up to date, current, and have professional editors.

Summary of U.S. government corruption (2, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789566)

The U.S. government is more corrupt now than it has ever been.

I wrote a summary of the corruption: George W. Bush comedy and tragedy [] . I hope other people will write their own summaries and send them to their elected representatives. I love the U.S. and the corruption is extremely unhappy for me.

U.S. government violence in Iraq causes more violence, not peaceful democracy. Violence breeds violence.

War Crimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789594)

Violations of the Constitution and Bill of Rights should not be forgotten, looked over, or ignored.

Business trade secrets are vulnerable to interception and being revealed by the government,
Billions of Dollars of damage may Already have been done to US economic interests.

Where did this information go? Who gets copies of it? How long before someone's customer database ends up on the internet,
all because it was 'intercepted' by wiretapping?

War Crimes are War Crimes, those who commit them in the name of freedom, are still doing wrong to the American people and American economy.

Government by Weasels (0, Troll)

hachete (473378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789838)

and a single stoat.

I wish I were joking.

biz;nat3h (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17790074)

What part of the government? (3, Informative)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790300)

Last I checked, there were 3 parts of the government, (though some of them are quickly becoming less significant). There's the executive branch (the branch referred to as "the government" in the summary), the legislative branch (congress), and the judicial branch (includes the supreme court). The appellant listed in this case is the National Security Agency, which does fall into the category of executive branch.

To refer to the executive branch as "the government" is incredibly misleading. Congress is now controlled by the Democrats, which means the president now has to get everything approved by a group with conflicting views. Then there's the judicial branch, which at this point is still trying to hold the NSA responsible. To call one agency of one branch of the government "the government" shows an incredibly poor understanding of hour our government works. For a while we may have been headed down a path where the executive branch was the only one with any authority, but thankfully this is looking to be less and less the case.

Not without impeaching him (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17790350)

"which means the president now has to get everything approved by a group with conflicting views."

To put the brakes on his power, they have to pass laws. But he can veto those laws, so the true power is still with the President.

Congress didn't vote for warrant less spying on Americans, and this change he's made is cosmetic, yet there is nothing Congress can directly do.

Until they get the 2/3rds majority they can only delay anything that requires extra money, but as Cheney has stated, he will simply dissect bills into small pieces and hide them in the normal budget. So the budget is a weak means to curbing the administrations power grab.

We're not out of the worst of this yet, we have another 2 years of this crap.

Selective use and abuse of the constitution (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790346)

This just keeps getting worse....

It seems that this administration and the people behind it's policies want to selectively use and selectively abuse the constitution.

They want to disregard, eviscerate and invalidate parts of the constitution which provide protections to the people, checks and balances between the branches of government and state's rights; Bush himself has even, (on one occasion it is reported) referred to it as "just a goddamned piece of paper;"

yet when it suits them they claim that under this same document Bush has absolute power to disregard other protections given to the people, to wage war without oversight or congressional approval, to disregard the rule of law and conventions of war, and to supercede process when it comes to congress.

What really gets me is how oblivious most Americans are to how dangerous this time we are in is; not just to Americans but to the entire planet.

Old story: Palmer Raids, Cointelpro, etc. (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791362)

It seems that this administration and the people behind it's policies want to selectively use and selectively abuse the constitution.

Abuse of office -- the roots of imperial Federal power -- old story. Take for example the early twentieth centure --

Palmer Raids [] , 1918-1921 -- "In 1919, J. Edgar Hoover was put in charge of a new division of the Justice Department's Bureau of Investigation, the General Intelligence Division. By October 1919, Hoover's division had collected 150,000 names in a rapidly expanding database. Using the database information, starting on November 7, 1919, BOI agents, together with local police, orchestrated a series of well-publicized raids against apparent radicals and leftists, using the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Palmer and his agents were accused of using various controversial methods of obtaining intelligence and collecting evidence on radicals, including harsh interrogation methods, informers, and wiretaps."

COINTELPRO [] - "COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) was a program of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States. Although covert operations have been employed throughout FBI history, the formal COINTELPRO operations of 1956-1971 were broadly targeted against organizations that were (at the time) considered to have politically radical elements, ranging from those whose stated goal was the violent overthrow of the U.S. government (such as the Weathermen) to non-violent civil rights groups such as Martin Luther King Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference and violent groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party. The founding document of COINTELPRO directed FBI agents to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the activities of these movements and their leaders."

- kgj

The Feds Argue (1)

Lord Balto (973273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790412)

"The feds argue in their petition that this precedent does not apply to them."

Nothing applies to them. They are living in Alternate Reality W.

Above the Law (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791292)

Nothing applies to them. They are living in Alternate Reality W.

Nothing applies to them, because they have the ways and means -- the guns and the spies -- the money and the power -- and becaue they wish to listen to anything, anytime, anywhere.


Can't we all just leave the past where it belongs? (2, Funny)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17790594)

"You can't take me to court, I did all those things way back when I was President! I'm not President anymore!" - George W. Bush, Feb. 2009.

"You can't take me to court, Nicole isn't dying, she's dead! That's past tense, see. I'm not still killing her!" - OJ Simpson

"Oh, no, no, I stopped mailing out bombs a while ago, thanks anyway! Oh, I have a present for you. Go ahead, open it!" -Theodore Kaczynski

I am scared for the very democracy we live in (3, Insightful) (213219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791386)

I am so tired of the current administration running roughshod over the rights of citizens and non-citizens alike. The Executive Branch seems at every turn to believe that the law and indeed even the constitution do not apply to them! I suspect that if we were to harness the energy of Jefferson, Franklin, and the other signers of the constitution spinning in their graves we could once and for all solve the energy crisis!

I've noticed that recently this seems to have stopped being a Republican/Democrat thing and seems to have become an Executive Branch vs. Congress sort of thing. Dozens of Republican congressmen are now speaking critically of our president and his cabinet publicly. While I think this is a very good thing, I think it may be too little too late. So much damage has already been done. Laws like the Patriot Act have already been passed and implemented and our President has too much power and momentum going his way.

We have secret prisons and our citizens (and non-citizens alike) can be tried in secret courts. Hell, we don't even have to try them according to the Justice Department, Habeas Corpus is actually not a constitutional right!

Don't forget that our president was elected based on a highly questionable election in 2000. Many people called it a bloodless coup! I have no explanation on how he was re-elected in 2004 and frankly, I fear that the power structure is already in place to make the 2008 election another sham. I suspect that the people that control this administration will stop at nothing to remain in control.

The president and his cronies lied to us about the threat that Iraq represented and they dragged us into an illegal war that has killed thousands of people and maimed tens of thousands more. He sent our troops into battle without adequate protection and recently ordered even more in to Iraq despite the fact that we no longer have much of a reason to be there.

Our president is out-of-touch with the citizenry, he is not listening to congress or even to logic. He and his administration are operating not according to law but rather as they wish. The executive branch while part of a democracy is not functioning as if it is a component of a democratic nation but rather as if it were a dictatorship.

I think we need to place our hope in the third triad of our government, the one that is least democratic (it is not elected and its members are appointed for life). We must rely on the Judicial Branch to make the right decisions to keep democracy intact. Court cases like this one, and the one testing Habeas Corpus, are quite literally a test of the mettle of our country. Sadly, we have a (politically) "conservative" court, the majority of which were appointed by Republicans, the same people who are in control of our Executive Branch.

I am worried about what America is letting itself become. I don't think that our
leadership in the Executive Branch any longer has any interest in representing "we the people" and I worry that we may be too late to restore our country to what it was.

Re:I am scared for the very democracy we live in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792012)

Don't forget that our president was elected based on a highly questionable election in 2000. Many people called it a bloodless coup! I have no explanation on how he was re-elected in 2004
Hey, if it works once, wash, rinse, improve, and repeat. The first few google hits:

wiki []
ideamouth []
commondreams []
sourcewatch []

Anyone not concerned about this is either a fool or an opponent of democracy.

Voluntary cessation... (1)

isaac (2852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17791422)

Standing and mootness are the highest bars to overcome when appealing constitutional issues. Since the court can only decide an "actual case or controversy," the governments actions here would seem to let them off the hook. Fortunately, voluntary cessation of wrongful action once a case has been brought does not moot the case, since the defendant could simply resume the wrongful behavior once the case was dismissed.

I don't think this argument will go far, but it is standard legal practice to throw everything against the wall, argument wise, to see what sticks.


a joke of a rationalisation (1)

vague_ascetic (755456) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792642)

The Government is basically saying that since they are now in compliance with statutory rules guiding FISA warrants, that the original plaintiffs, who won the suit under appeal, no longer have standing. Yet their pleading arrogantly begs for an appeal determination by denying the original case controls, and that the compliance to FISA warrant rules is not the result of them following the lower Court's determination. From the supplemental submission:

This suit is predicated on the notion that the TSP is unlawful because it authorized electronic surveillance that was not supervised by the FISA court. As the Government explained in its briefs, the TSP was lawful and in accordance no only with statutory authority but also the President's inherent constitutional authority. Nevertheless, not that the President has decided not to reauthorize the TSP, and any electronic surveillance that was being conducted under the TSP is now being conducted solely subject to the FISA Court's approval, the essential predicate for plaintiff's claims and request for relief no longer exists. Accordingly, the intervening FISA Court orders fundamentally alter the nature of their litigation.

This is an appeal to a lower Court case which determined the the NSA had acted illegally, and any arguments questioning the standing of the original plaintiffs needs to take into account a reasonable expectation that the plaintiffs will be subjected to the same criminal NSA behaviours in the future. Yet this pleading does not even recoginse the lower court's ruling as law, instead conversely states that it is not law, that Mr. Bush's powers as President place him without the very constraints of the document which is the only grounding for the legitimacy of his acts, The US Constitution.

Mr. Bush and his Administration have in the past shown themselves to possess a preponderate predilection to engage in lies and deceptions [] , attempting to obfuscate many actions it engages and had engaged in. When the continuing facts had become public; the evidence leaving no doubt as to the Bush Administration's blatant dishonesty, and unlawful acts, the Bush administration then attacked the press as sappers of National Security. It is laughable to allege that Mr. Bush will not, as soon as he believes no one is looking, again unconstitutionally authorise unwarranted surveillance.

Mr. Bush is not above the law. The plaintiffs should still have standing in the appeal case, and this sham of a pleading should be denied.

I'm not alone! (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792754)

I CAN'T be alone in thinking:

10 Print "PUT THEM IN JAIL."
20 goto 10

Open the gates.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17793146)

The feds argue in their petition that this precedent does not apply to them...

If there case is moot then so should every other persons case or cases caught in the act of ANY crime. This sets up the precedent of as long as we agree not to get caught again all is good.

Plaintiff: Yes, your honor I downloaded pirated movies, but I from now on I will download them from <insert online movie service>.

Judge: Ok your free to go now that your doing it the proper way...

Or even better...

Plaintiff: Yes, Your honor I know it was wrong to stab those fourteen ppl. I've gone to an anger mgmt class and it wont happen again.

Judge: Well, If you say it wont happen again. Your free to go citizen...

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