Print 57 comment(s) - last by JonnyDough.. on Sep 12 at 11:53 AM

The controversial aspect of the USA Patriot Act has once again been struck down

A federal judge struck down the controversial National Security Letter (NSL) provision of the revised USA Patriot Act, with Federal District Judge Victor Marrera ruling it "unconstitutional." A favorite tool of the FBI, NSLs were found to violate the principle of seperation of powers and the First Amendment.

National Security Letters are a form of subpoena that allows the FBI or other government agencies to gather data from companies or individuals in secret and without court approval. Oftentimes ISPs find themselves targetted and are forced to turn over phone records, web surfing histories, or e-mail. However, the powers of NSLs have also been used against financial, credit, or even library records. NSL recipients are bound under a gag order and forbidden from discussing any aspect of the NSL to anyone, including close family or friends.

Government orders require judicial oversight, wrote Judge Marrera: "as this decision recognizes, courts have a constitutionally mandated role to play when national security policies infringe on First Amendment rights. A statute that allows the FBI to silence people without meaningful judicial oversight is unconstitutional." In a 106-page ruling, Juedge Marrero called the NSL "the legislative equivalent of breaking and entering, with an ominous free pass to the hijacking of constitutional values."

Although only part of the NSL provision was found to be unconstitutional, all of it was struck down as Judge Marrera found the offending parts to be inseperable from the rest of the law.

"The courts play an important role in balancing the requirements of national security against the constitutional protections that safeguard our basic freedoms and liberties," said New York Civil Liberties Union Legal Director Arthur Eisenburg. "We are delighted that the court fulfilled that important function in this case."

While the FBI has had the power to issue NSLs for years, the number of national security letters issued has risen tremendously since the expansion of its abilities as enacted in the USA Patriot Act, culminating with 19,000 NSLs issued in 2005 seeking over 47,000 various pieces of information, sent mostly to telecommunications and ISPs. In an internal audit, conducted by the FBI against approximately 10% of all NSLs issues from 2002 to 2007, it was discovered that these requests violated agency rules or federal law over 1,000 times. Actual numbers are sketchy, however, as the FBI has consistently underreported NSL statistics. A report issued by the Justice Department's Inspector General puts the number of NSLs issued between 2003 to 2005 at over 143,000.

The NSL provision of the Patriot Act was originally struck down in a 2004 ruling also issued by Judge Marrera as part of Doe v. Gonzales, who noted that "democracy abhors undue secrecy." The case, which was filed on behalf of an anonymous ISP that had been served with an NSL, was later appealed by the government -- however the law was changed before the court could issue a decision.

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Thank God.
By 16nm on 9/6/2007 5:40:42 PM , Rating: 5
Let's see, that's one more point for the Constitution column. Thank god for that. I wonder why it took the court so long to rule on this and I wonder how many times someone's rights have been violated in the meantime. Seems as though something like this should get priority one.

We can not ignore our constitution in the name of fighting terrorism. To me, that's like letting the terrorists win.

RE: Thank God.
By Christopher1 on 9/6/2007 5:54:10 PM , Rating: 4
You are right. That is exactly letting the terrorists win if we allow them to cut back on our civil rights out of trying to prevent terrorist attacks (which are pretty much unpreventable!).

RE: Thank God.
By Dactyl on 9/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Thank God.
By Bonrock on 9/6/2007 9:42:31 PM , Rating: 5
Your post is ridiculous. Obviously we should try to prevent terrorist attacks, just like we try to prevent rapes (since rape was the example you used). However, in both cases, the American ideals of democracy place reasonable limits on the preventative tactics we should use. In fact, your post basically proved the point you were trying to counter. After all, last time I checked, the FBI isn't allowed to spy on any American male without a warrant in the name of stopping the 0.001% of them who commit a rape.

RE: Thank God.
By psyph3r on 9/6/2007 11:27:30 PM , Rating: 3
what are you talking about? that didn't make a whole lot of sense

RE: Thank God.
By Dactyl on 9/7/2007 1:33:12 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think people read the post I was replying to.

That poster claimed that terror attacks were "pretty much unpreventable!" so we shouldn't even try if any liberties were at stake.

I pointed out a few things:

1 - liberties are always at stake when we investigate crimes

2 - crimes are not "unpreventable" if you can prevent them by arresting the people who want to commit them

RE: Thank God.
By rdeegvainl on 9/7/2007 5:00:55 AM , Rating: 2
But did you read the post you responded to?
He just said that it was unpreventable, and you went off about not prosecuting those who commit the crimes.

RE: Thank God.
By Proteusza on 9/7/2007 5:33:09 AM , Rating: 2
Did he say it was unpreventable and we shouldnt try to stop terrorists?

No, he said it was unpreventable, therefore we should not infringe upon our rights to catch crooks, because there are always more crooks and terrorists to catch.

Believe it or not, you can do good without doing harm.

RE: Thank God.
By ZmaxDP on 9/7/2007 8:08:44 PM , Rating: 1
Guys, it's called satire. You know, Gulliver's travels, good ol' Mr "Eat Babies" in england. Here's how it works.

You start with a simple logical statement you disagree with. "Terrorist attacks are unpreventable" therefore "we should not do a certain thing to try and stop them" Check off item number one...

You then develop a ridiculous scenario hypothesizing what would happen if the same logic was applied to another marginally or even completely unrelated situation. Rape, Murder, Babies, Testicular cancer, pick your topic! Hmm, check off item number two...

Oh wait, that's the whole checklist! Yes, satire has been confirmed. Oops! Ya'll must have missed that. I know it is a complicated process.

Let's test it for funnies: I'll take your post and turn it into a satire.

Item one, you disagree with his assumption that to fight crime you have to sacrifice civil liberties, so we should just accept that sacrifice. Check item number one!

Satire time...

Yes, I agree completely, we should totally sacrifice our civil liberties to prevent crimes. Personally, with all the crimes going on in schools these days, I think all the kids should have to walk around nude. I mean, they're always hiding things in their clothes: condoms, guns, knifes, cell phones, gang paraphernalia, you name it! So, all the kids have to go nude. Period. Especially in high school. The teachers too of course. I mean, they could be hiding things for the kids. Backpaks? No way, you can hide things in there too. Books? Folders? Ditto! Keep em out. All digital learning. Of course, having a bunch of hormonally imbalanced teens running around naked can generate it's own problems, so we had better sterilize every last one of them. With the guys it isn't a problem as the surgery is reversible half the time. As for the girls, who needs them anyway? We'll have test tube babies in another 50 years right? Then we can do away with women altogether. Woo hoo! Gotta love giving up civil liberties!

See, utterly ridiculous. But, that doesn't mean there isn't some meaning with merit hidden within...

RE: Thank God.
By SlyNine on 9/7/2007 5:43:45 AM , Rating: 2
I cannot stop protesting agianst the war, I never started protesting in the first place.

RE: Thank God.
By vortmax on 9/7/2007 1:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's also been said that using the word 'God' in anything government related is considered unconstitutional.

There can be a balance between government power and the people's privacy...we just need to get there.

RE: Thank God.
By exdeath on 9/6/2007 5:56:07 PM , Rating: 3
I'm waiting for a Supreme Court ruling on the 2nd amendment myself.

If they rule against they people and restrict power of arms to the state, they know they will never get away with enforcing it and face possible violent resistance and backlash. If they rule that it's indeed an individual right to bear any implement of the soldier as it's written, government will lose in terms of power over the people and unconstitutional bans all the way back to 1934 being
revoked and overturned.

In typical political style, they don't want to touch it either way.

RE: Thank God.
By Etsp on 9/6/2007 6:25:36 PM , Rating: 5
Regardless of what the constitution says, I feel there are just some firearms that normal citizens do not need to have.

I fully feel that guns can reduce violent crime greatly, and are a great asset in personal protection, but there is no reason for someone to own a fully automatic weapon for any reason. I understand there are many gun enthusiasts that would like to own these weapons for personal pleasure, but the only legitimate function of these kinds of weapons is to enable one person to inflict as much harm as possible.

Handguns are one thing, but machine guns, like the tommy gun that was commonly used by gangsters during that era, should not be placed into civilian hands.

Hunting rifles and shotguns(as long as they aren't in the hands of the Vice President =P) should be allowed as well, as they also serve a direct purpose that does not involve the injury or death of innocent civilians.(unless the exception I mentioned earlier isn't followed)

RE: Thank God.
By whalenapp81 on 9/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Thank God.
By Etsp on 9/6/2007 6:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
Did you decide to post after only reading the first sentence of my comment? I am defending gun ownership. Just not uncontrolled gun ownership.

RE: Thank God.
By mars777 on 9/7/2007 5:34:30 AM , Rating: 2
What happened in the UK was:

- Many people had guns
- Guns were banned
- Along time many people didn't have any more guns
- (small) Criminals still had those guns
- Criminals felt having more power because of that
- Crime has risen

Big criminals will allways have guns even if they are banned.

We should see what will be the UK like in 20 years...

RE: Thank God.
By chick0n on 9/7/07, Rating: 0
RE: Thank God.
By Etsp on 9/7/2007 10:22:26 AM , Rating: 1
I decided not to use VA tech as an example, for the simple fact that I didn't want to point at an isolated incident and say "see, this proves my point"

But I will say this: VA Tech did not allow registered gun owners from bringing their weapons on campus. That didn't stop Cho, but it certainly prevented people from being able to defend themselves against him.

So my point is,
yep yep, look at what happen to VA tech ?

Yes, please look at what happened there, when the attacker was armed but the victims were not permitted to be.

RE: Thank God.
By rsmech on 9/6/2007 10:09:01 PM , Rating: 3
Regardless of what the constitution says, I feel

You said it. The Constitution doesn't care how you feel about what I choose to do personally on my own property with my own possessions in my own privacy.

RE: Thank God.
By wetwareinterface on 9/7/2007 1:50:37 AM , Rating: 1
The problem with your argument is that the second amendment wasn't written to protect your right to bear arms against home intruders or to go hunting. It specifically states that your right to bear arms is a protection against a government that wants to remove your liberties by force. And if the army comes marching down my street with M16-a1 assault rifles I want to be able to use the same.

Do I even own a gun right now?
If I feel the breeze blowing the wrong way towards a tyrannical state can I buy the right kind of gun now?

You can take your lame argument against assault rifles and thnk about something. The whole recent assault rifle ban started with one idiot walking onto a school playground in Stockton, CA with an AK-47. He killed several kids and wounded several others. Now imagine him on that same playground with a 12 gauge shotgun. He wouldn't have missed as many times as he did with that AK due to recoil. The death toll would have been much higher if he had used a shotgun cause you don't have to be an expert shot or know to use a 3 round burst to be effective. If you're shot by a shotgun or hunting rifle or AK-47 problem is you're just as dead in any of the three situations. With the hunting rifle or shotgun your chances of being hit immediately are higher than with an assault rifle. The only real diference with an assault rifle is you get to have a better second chance of a hit if you miss your first shot. That's it, no less or more deadly, just a better second chance hit ratio.

The fact that assault rifles are favored by citizens easily impressed with firepower and the natural attraction of mentally sick people and criminals in this catagory doesn't mean that the assault rifles themselves are at fault. If aliens or God suddenly vaporized every assault rifle these same people would still be killing others only with shotguns and handguns only.

The appeal of the assault rifle to those people who are sick in the head or criminal is no reason to ban it for those that would own one responsibly. Anymore than a ban on video cameras would be constitutional to avoid peeping toms and privacy violations.

RE: Thank God.
By Etsp on 9/7/2007 2:19:00 AM , Rating: 2
Assault rifles are merely a tool. A tool designed specifically to kill people. In the hands of someone without proper training, it is very dangerous, and so only people who are qualified to own them should. The same way a Train is a tool that is designed for something completely different, but in the hands of someone who should not be in control of it, it can be quite destructive. There is a proper time and place for everything.

Gun control should be done on a state level, never a federal level. Because of how our system works, if there is ever a need to take arms against a government, including our own, the state would decide whether or not to repeal gun control laws on the basis of necessity. The local government is composed of local officials acting on the behalf of the local people. There are of course, no absolutes that all state officials are acting on the behalf of the people...quite the contrary in fact. However, the majority of elected officials in the local government make their decisions based on the wants or needs of the local people. And thats the beauty and the pitfall of democracy. The majority decides what is right, even if they are wrong.

And your argument of shotgun's being more deadly than assault rifles has little basis in reality. First, the recoil of most shotguns is greater than the recoil of most assault rifles, and can not be fired as fast. He may have had more accuracy, but he would have fired many, many less times. Second, most shotguns do not utilize fast reloading clips unless it was designed for combat purposes, each shell must be loaded manually. Third, the majority of shotguns available to the public hold less than 10 rounds. Fourth, shotguns aren't nearly as lethal as rifles at longer ranges. And fifth,
With the hunting rifle or shotgun your chances of being hit immediately are higher than with an assault rifle.

Are you listening to yourself? Why would a weapon designed to kill people be LESS EFFECTIVE then the ones designed for hunting, where in most cases, you are only aiming for one target at a time, instead a group of targets.

RE: Thank God.
By rdeegvainl on 9/7/2007 5:21:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yes assault rifles are a tool. A tool designed specifically to kill people. But They are a tool protected by the Second Ammendment. The purpose of the second ammendment was for the people to have the power to stand up to the government when it crosses the line. For that to be effective, against a trained military, we should not restrict assault rifles from the very reason we have the second ammendment. To take guns out of the situation, it would be akin to saying that citizens are allowed to have daggers and knives to protect themselves from the government, when the government soldiers have swords and spears.
The ammendment says "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
It does not make allowances for the effectiveness of the weapon being too great.

RE: Thank God.
By Etsp on 9/7/2007 10:31:38 AM , Rating: 3
What line are you referring to exactly that the government would cross? Like, oh, I don't know, maybe taking away our constitutional rights? Wow, the second amendment would be the first one out the window. And the states would not stand for it. We currently have an all volunteer military, and I believe that in the event that the citizens need to take arms against the government, the soldiers would choose defend their homes rather than the federal government.

During the times we are not at war with our own government, these kinds of things aren't needed in the hands of Joe Public.
"A well regulated Militia"
In the hands of a well regulated militia is a completely different story however...

RE: Thank God.
By rdeegvainl on 9/8/2007 1:24:34 AM , Rating: 2
The line they cross when the people feel they have to fight back.
And during the times we are not at war, we should still protect our right to bear arms, cause if they take them away while not at war, then are they magically gonna be available when problems do come about? no.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
See the line says that because of the militia being necessary, the PEOPLE have the right to bear Arms, not just those in the militia.

RE: Thank God.
By JonnyDough on 9/12/2007 11:40:23 AM , Rating: 1
Our military is not voluntary. The soldiers get paid, and they are targeted with a LOT of advertising to get them to sign up. For many it is a just a way out of financial trouble. They choose to sign up, yes, but once they are in - they are in. There is no easy way of getting out without dishonorable discharge (which is a very bad option) or without serving your time. Serving your time makes it sound a little like prison doesn't it? Last I checked, prison wasn't voluntary either, but does usually depend on a choice someone makes. If you call a bad decision volunteering then I guess women volunteer to get beat up when they go on that first date with a seemingly nice guy who turns out to be violent. Most signing up for the military don't realize that they're doing the devil's bidding, or they're just too much in a financial pickle to care.

RE: Thank God.
By mindless1 on 9/7/2007 8:29:57 AM , Rating: 2
I've seen people injured by screwdrivers, shall we outlaw those too?

How about knives?

AFAIK, none of these assault rifle toting madmen are going to prevent you from leaving the US if you can't stand the freedoms it provides to it's citizens. Just go, find a new place to live. Maybe you'll find that place or maybe you'll find that the individual freedoms some countries offer are more important than the few times there is a price to pay for that freedom.

RE: Thank God.
By hockyis1 on 9/7/2007 11:17:26 AM , Rating: 2
I would rather outlaw assault weapons and make the gang-bangers in South Central LA do drivebys with knives, rope, and matches however.

RE: Thank God.
By ZmaxDP on 9/7/2007 8:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
If you outlaw assault rifles (already done) that won't stop gang bangers from using them for drive-bys anymore than outlawing drugs (already done)would prevent them from selling or using them...

RE: Thank God.
By JonnyDough on 9/12/2007 11:41:54 AM , Rating: 1
Agreed. Outlawing marijuana hasn't stopped half of America from becoming potheads either.

RE: Thank God.
By Pythias on 9/7/2007 5:22:25 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree. If the army can use full-auto, so can I. One of the reasons we have the right to bear arms is to insure that in the invent that the government too pushy, we can push back.

Sadly, the ultimate resolution is always force. Fear the government that fears your guns, as they say.

RE: Thank God.
By hockyis1 on 9/7/2007 8:50:03 AM , Rating: 2
"If the Army can use full-auto, so can I"...

Are you kidding me. Where does that argument end? Rocket launchers? Landmines? Hand grenades? Bombs?

You say you need this so that you can "push back the government" if they come after you. Do YOU really think any weapon you have will hold back the Army or Marines IF, and I say IF in theory they really came after you? When was the last time you got into a gun fight with a guy that has bigger, better, more powerful and accurate weapons.

Just because the government has use of highly sophisticated and powerful weapons, DOES NOT mean joe-shmoe should use the same.

I can't stand the use of the quote "A man who gives up his freedom for security, doesn't deserve either" (I'm paraphrasing). People give up freedoms just by being citizens of the US. What's freedom if you live in fear?

I'm no philosopher, but the guy who said that is an idiot, and didn't live in today's world....

RE: Thank God.
By rdeegvainl on 9/7/2007 9:21:25 AM , Rating: 2
Being one of these Marines, my loyalties lie not in my government, but the people. If the government needs to be pushed back, I won't go after the people who are pushing, and do you realize how many people have been in the military that no longer are? They also have the training, if not better now that the standards have been dropping over the years. And you can bet in an instant that if the government started using it's military against the public, they would have a recruitment problem that far surpasses anything we have seen yet, not to mention the mass amounts that go AWOL or UA.
Oh and the whole point of the second amendment is to allow the people to have weapons on par with a military force, especially America's.
I say if you vote, you should be required to own a weapon, and take the proper courses to take care of it, use it correctly. This country was founded by people who knew exactly what is was like to have an oppressive government over them, and took precautions to make sure that the future generations would be able to overthrow that kind of government should it rear its head again.

RE: Thank God.
By JonnyDough on 9/12/2007 11:49:36 AM , Rating: 1
This brings up the point that I've been that our military creation policy needs to be revised. The military should consist of men and women that volunteer and are not paid. These men and women can then once again have HONOR, and be revered as HEROES. If the military was volunteer, our taxes would be cut in more than half. It would also mean that we don't go about policing the world and foreign countries might regain respect for us and LEAVE US ALONE, instead of terrorizing us. Which would also save money and headache and heartache. Why does America insist on picking up guns? When will we understand that fighting only leads to pain, death, and misery? If we weren't paying to stretch our influences all over earth we would be so rich in this country...and have our fathers at home helping to raise boys who may ultimately end up in prison. Fewer young kids in prison? Yep. Lower taxes. Not only do taxpayers not have to pay for their prisoning, but those kids would be out in the world creating revenue for the government instead of costing the government (Us) money. Maybe it's time that we rethought our militant stance in the world, and got our F'ing heads screwed on straight. Now is the time that we NEED assault rifles here at home, we need to get united behind the idea that our foreign policy BLOWS, and we need to DEMAND change because it's not going to happen otherwise.

RE: Thank God.
By JonnyDough on 9/12/2007 11:51:50 AM , Rating: 1
In addition, any man or woman that serves some time in the military and is hailed as a brave hero would also be appreciated here in the homeland, so the job is not "without payment" as it would lead to job placement opportunities by a grateful nation. This is how our government used to operate, and it worked very well if I recall.

RE: Thank God.
By JonnyDough on 9/12/2007 11:53:57 AM , Rating: 1
One more thing, I am not against being taxed for veteran assistance, and am quite for it. I just don't think that the government should be able to provide such incentives coupled with mass advertising to lure people into doing it's bidding. They're not promoting job opportunities on my tv, they're promoting war.

RE: Thank God.
By mindless1 on 9/7/2007 8:21:26 AM , Rating: 2
OK, and then you won't mind giving up the things you want because someone else feels you "dont need to have", too.

Sorry but that's the opposite of freedom.

RE: Thank God.
By Ringold on 9/6/2007 7:20:15 PM , Rating: 1
No, what I can't wait for is some guy who cares a little too much to use it in the way the founding fathers would be proud of.

By that I mean some man, who owns his own property and is no direct burden to any other man, who is told he must yield his property to the federal or local government on the terms set by the federal or local government due expressly to the desires of the federal or local government.

At which point he then fortifies as best as he can his property and goes out in a blaze of glory. Imminent domain abuse might actually then get a little media attenion..

RE: Thank God.
By Treckin on 9/6/2007 7:51:21 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, there were to many inaccuracies in your post concerning both US history and general political science to bother correcting...
Simply because John Locke wrote it does not make it true.

IT EMINENT DOMAIN! Not "imminent domain", although that usage is arguably laughable for the simple pun.

This is the natural course for any liberal democratic society.. a give and take between liberty and governmental power, eventually and necessarily leading towards the democratic ideal - ie. two steps forward, one step back.

And to those complaining of the convoluted bureaucratic process we call our government, realize that the government is DESIGNED INTENTIONALLY to run slowly. Hasty actions make for rash decisions. When you speak of national or international policy, it is inarguably always true to favor inaction over wrongful action, no matter the cost.

Please just attempt to view government through some lens of humility if you can, otherwise just keep the kiddie school Polisci off the message boards...

RE: Thank God.
By mAdMaLuDaWg on 9/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Thank God.
By xeltor on 9/7/2007 1:47:37 AM , Rating: 1
The word liberal comes from the word liberty (freedom). Liberal government means balanced or in the middle of the political spectrum. socialism is on the far left so liberal democratic society (moderate democratic society) makes a fuck load more sense than liberal socialistic society (moderate left wing society) does.

RE: Thank God.
By Martin Blank on 9/6/2007 10:33:49 PM , Rating: 2
he must yield his property to the federal or local government on the terms set by the federal or local government due expressly to the desires of the federal or local government.

The last phrase of the Fifth Amendment states that private property shall not "be taken for public use, without just compensation." A public benefit must be stated, and in many areas (perhaps most, after the most recent major Supreme Court ruling over it) the benefit must be narrowly defined within terms of schools, hospitals, roadways, etc.

One of the major reasons that public works projects are so expensive is the cost of eminent domain. In Southern California, building a new freeway costs approximately $1 billion per mile because eminent domain costs require compensating the land and building owners according to fair market value. Many other areas see costs of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars added to projects because of this requirement.

There are occasional cases where people get the short end of the stick, but the courts usually err on the side of caution and award more liberal amounts.

RE: Thank God.
By Martin Blank on 9/6/2007 6:02:47 PM , Rating: 3
Justice in our system can take a while to ensure that the rights of the accused are not violated. How many people were ready to put Richard Jewell against the wall for months after the Olympic Park bombing? It turned out that he told the truth the whole time, and the wheels of justice, while often slow, are usually very steady in their progress.

RE: Thank God.
By Etsp on 9/6/2007 7:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
If I understand it correctly, he wasn't even being considered a suspect until sensationalist publications fabricated allegations against him, which turned out to be so believable that people didn't simply disregard it. This fact was proven by the fact that he sued several of these publications and they settled for an undisclosed amount.

RE: Thank God.
By weskurtz0081 on 9/6/2007 6:43:07 PM , Rating: 2
The Government doesn't do anything at a fast pace. So much red tape that it takes forever to get things done. One thing Congress is pretty quick about is voting themselves a raise. That is one thing that most of them seem to agree on.

RE: Thank God.
By Polynikes on 9/6/2007 9:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
It took a while because no one challenged it in court. Someone has to be prosecuted in an instance where that part of the act was used, then it can be challenged in court. These things take time. Why do you think the DC handgun ban wasn't overturned by a federal judge until recently? It wasn't challenged. Some guy got caught with a pistol and had enough money to appeal to the federal courts.

RE: Thank God.
By CollegeTechGuy on 9/7/2007 9:56:59 AM , Rating: 2
I'll tell you why its taken this long for Judges to openly oppose it. Politics...Judges get scared of influential powers of the President. Since opposing anything related to the Patriot Act is basically opposing Bush, they fear for repercussions. However, since Bush is on his way out the door, no one is scared of anything happening to them.

...Thats my opinion anyways.

RE: Thank God.
By Treckin on 9/7/2007 11:36:56 AM , Rating: 2
Judicial appointments and salaries are fixed for life (although salaries may increase). The entire point of the judicial branch is to assure coequal status. Members of the judiciary are not to be threatened overtly or covertly -- check westlaw or lexus nexus for any number of thousands of cases upholding the freedom of the court as integral to the constitutionally implied separation of powers.

This was not a political decision, but rather one not made in a state of national fear, disinformation, and rampant sensationalist nationalism, i.e. late 2001-2003.

The whole point of the governmental system which we have is to slow the natural impulsiveness of the human animal. The bureaucracy exists for the protection of the people. However, there are statutory clauses which allow the pace to increase exponentially in times of crises. Unfortunately, that happens to be the time when we need to move most carefully and in a calculating, rational manner, and not rashly moving mountains out of fear or anger. The government, in a republican democracy, serves to remove from the commonwealth those qualities which, in their natural state, are harmful to our fellows. Essentially, government acts to remove those defects of character which are decidedly human.

You will see a substantial amount of like court decisions passed down in the coming years overthrowing fear and anger based legislation which was passed during our current fear mongering executives reign.
This is the way the government was designed to act...

RE: Thank God.
By dluther on 9/10/2007 11:35:33 AM , Rating: 1
We can not ignore our constitution in the name of fighting terrorism. To me, that's like letting the terrorists win.

I'll go a step further and say that with the passage of the so-called "Patriot Act", the terrorists already won.

The far right-wing couch commandos in this country have long rallied around the saying 'the terrorists hate us because of our freedom'. So obviously, the right thing to do was give up our freedom, which accomplished two things: 1 - it allows us to fight terrorism, and 2 - it appeases the terrorists who won't hate us so much because we don't have that much freedom anymore.

As with all blanket security measures, the Patriot Act was completely abused by the government, with the DOJ putting on 'road shows' demonstrating how to use the new provisions in the Patriot Act to monitor everything from tax evasion and money laundering to drug smuggling and child pornography. All of which are valiant efforts, but all of which have nothing to do with terrorism.

Oh, and the government's response to anyone who dares to oppose the Patriot Act? "If you're not doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about." Well folks, when you get right down to it, that argument has never held water as we stiffly deride other countries who use such lame rhetoric to candy-coat their draconian domestic surveillance programs, such as North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China.

I've seen a lot of half-assed arguments on this board both for and against the Patriot Act. But ultimately, the Patriot Act is a symptom of a larger problem with America, which is the current generation of Americans have been coddled way too much growing up. Putting it another way that leaves no room for misinterpretation, America is a country full of spineless cowards. How else would you explain such acts of legislation from the inane such as mandatory bicycle helmets to the insane, such as certain elementary schools banning the game of 'tag'.

The way you defeat terrorists is to stop being terrified. Frightened people are easy to control, and the Patriot Act clearly demonstrates how easily this is accomplished. Cowards will always gladly give up their freedom for even the illusion of security, and will rally around any snake-oil salesman willing to step up and tell them who to blame while absolving them of the slightest culpability.

Ultimately, Benjamin Franklin said it best: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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