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Bush's War against Civil Liberties

  1. Jun 14, 2004 #1
    The Son of Patriot Act Also Rises*

    Quotes from: http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,63800,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html

    While activists and politicians work to repeal or change parts of the Patriot Act that they say violate constitutional rights, Patriot Act II legislation -- which caused a stir when it came to light last year -- is rearing its head again in a new bill making its way through Congress.

    The bill would strengthen laws that let the FBI demand that businesses hand over confidential records about patrons by assigning stiff penalties (up to five years in prison) to anyone who discloses that the FBI made the demand. The bill would also let the FBI compel businesses to cooperate with record requests, and it would expand the government's secret surveillance powers over noncitizens in the United States.

    "There is no reason for this legislation," said lawyer Chip Pitts, head of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee of Dallas and a former constitutional law professor. "Given the expanse of powers and secrecy already granted in the Patriot Act, and given the unclear security benefits and possible security detriments of that legislation, why do we need a further amendment of the law to grant more powers to the government?"
    (snip)
    ... opponents say the bill grants the government more power to investigate people without probable cause and to do so under a cloak of secrecy. As a result, individuals being investigated will have no chance to protest unconstitutional searches and seizures.

    Under the Patriot Act and Patriot Act II provisions passed in the Intelligence Authorization Act last year, the FBI doesn't need a court order or probable cause to obtain the transaction records for patrons of libraries, Internet service providers, telephone companies, casinos, travel agents, jewelers, car dealers or other businesses.

    The FBI can simply draft a "national security letter" stating records are needed for a national security investigation, without being specific about the data being sought or the people being investigated. A nondisclosure provision prevents the letter recipient from telling anyone about it, including patrons whose records may be investigated.

    Under HR 3179, anyone who knowingly violates the secrecy clause could be imprisoned for up to a year, and anyone who violates it with "the intent to obstruct an investigation or judicial proceeding" could be imprisoned up to five years. The bill also lets authorities force individuals and companies to comply with security letters under contempt-of-court threats.
    (snip)
    Steve Lilienthal, director of the Center for Privacy and Technology Policy at the conservative Free Congress Foundation, said the gag rule is "a license for abuse."

    "You have the right to talk to an attorney, but the attorney cannot talk to anyone else," he said. "You're prevented from going to the Department of Justice to communicate, or to the relevant congressional community to tell them when an abuse has taken place. It's almost un-American."
    (snip)

    The American Civil Liberties Union recently discovered just how daunting the secrecy provisions can be when it was forced to file a lawsuit in secret that challenged the constitutionality of national security letters under the First Amendment. The organization was able to reveal the existence of the lawsuit only after negotiating with the government about what it could say about the suit.

    The lawsuit was filed after the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request for information about how often and in what cases authorities have used national security letters to date, and the organization received six pages of blacked-out documents.

    -----
    So, that's all to protect freedom and democracy, and Amercian values!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 14, 2004 #2
  4. Jul 11, 2004 #3
    Granting emergency power

    The traditional way dictatures start: Granting emergency power.
    A dangerous way.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-07/12/content_1592049.htm

    WASHINGTON, July 11 (Xinhuanet) -- US officials have discussed the idea of postponing the election day, which falls on Nov. 2, in the event of a terrorist attack on or around that day, news reports here said Sunday.

    ** The Homeland Security Department has referred questions about the matter to the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, a CNN report quoted Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse as saying on Sunday.

    ** The department wants to know about the possibility of granting emergency power to the newly created US Election Assistance Commission, authority that Roehrkasse said was requested by
    DeForest Soaries, the commission's chairman.

    ** Soaries, a former New Jersey secretary of state and appointed by President George W. Bush, wrote in April to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and national security adviser Condoleezza Riceasking them to seek such legislation from Congress, Roehrkasse said.

    ** "The federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election," Soaries wrote, according to a Newsweek report.

    ** Ridge's office has asked the Justice Department to review the letter and other proposals to determine how the election could legally be postponed, the magazine said.

    ** Roehrkasse said the recent discussions were sparked by intelligence indicating al Qaida wants to "disrupt our democratic process."

    ** At a news conference last Friday, Ridge said that al Qaeda "is moving forward with its plans to carry out a large-scale attack in the United States in an effort to disrupt our democratic process," although he admitted US intelligence had no information about any specific plot.

    ** Officials were concerned that terrorists could attempt to disrupt the election in the same way that the March 11 train bombings in Madrid created unrest three days before the Spanish general election, Roehrkasse said.

    ** The US Constitution sets the election day for the first Tuesday of November

    -----
    If so ... an attack done by Americans (cfr the Oklahoma City bombing) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_bombing could also disrupt the elections.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2004
  5. Jul 12, 2004 #4
    RE: "WASHINGTON, July 11 (Xinhuanet) -- US officials have discussed the idea of postponing the election day, which falls on Nov. 2, in the event of a terrorist attack on or around that day, news reports here said Sunday."

    Actually, this is probably not a bad idea, since it would indicate to terrorists that attacks on election day would be guaranteed to fail. But there needs to be a limit on the length of time until the next election, say two weeks.

    I think some of you take the terrorist threat pretty lightly. Unless we stop them first, they can do far more damage to our liberties than mere postponements of elections.
     
  6. Jul 12, 2004 #5
    I'm picturing the situation:

    It's November 1, everyone's pretty much decided who they're going to vote for, no attacks on the USA since 9/11, people voting for Bush conclude that he's done a great job stopping terrorists and that he'll keep doing a good job. Suddenly, bam, huge terrorist attack. People begin to think that Bush hasn't done that good of a job protecting the USA, and decide the give Kerry a chance. But then, Bush says, elections will be held November 16. Do you honestly think people will begin to regain their trust in bush within 2 weeks of a major terrorist attack? I don't think many opinions will be changed in 2 weeks by commercials and speeches...
     
  7. Jul 12, 2004 #6
    It's not a matter of people changing their mind. It's a matter of making sure elections are free and clear.
    I would HOPE people don't change their minds in that two weeks.
     
  8. Jul 12, 2004 #7
    Does anyone else see something wrong with these names? Like if you don't vote for these acts you're therefore not Patriotic or don't care about your country?
     
  9. Jul 12, 2004 #8
    Good point. That's a hidden message ... don't refuse or critic or you are yourself a bad citizen.
     
  10. Jul 12, 2004 #9
    RE: "It's not a matter of people changing their mind. It's a matter of making sure elections are free and clear."

    I fail to see how a short postponement would harm the election process.
     
  11. Jul 12, 2004 #10
    OK. A cynical question. Sorry for that but I consider politics today that way. Who would profit (election-wise) from a terrorist attack? Bush or Kerry?

    IMO Bush. He would be again "the President", "the Leader", "the Chief-in-Command". Prime time. Strong words. The big brother ... that small people need. Asking for more power ... to protect US interests, to save US lives, to save US. Kerry will be sidelined, powerless. Bush is in charge.
    Is the blue print ready yet? Yes, Pointing straight to Bin Laden. Even if a lunatic militia Veigh-type is involved. It will be Bin, Bin, Bin ... till the election date.

    Before the truth is found out ... Bush is re-elected. Bingo. Cynical. And the crazy thing is that Bin prefers a Bush to be president. They need each other.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2004
  12. Jul 12, 2004 #11
    RE: "OK. A cynical question. Sorry for that but I consider politics today that way. Who would profit (election-wise) from a terrorist attack? Bush or Kerry? IMO Bush."

    Are you kidding? One of the biggest claims he will be making going into the election is that his leadership has kept America safe, and he is going to piss that away? He is taking heat for the Patriot Act and the Iraq War, and his main justification will be they have worked keeping our people safe, and you are seriously suggesting that a terrorist attack would help him?

    A terrorist attack before the election would be considered a huge blow for Bush, especially since the media will again start pointing fingers and blaming the administration.

    RE: "Before the truth is found out ... Bush is re-elected. Bingo. Cynical. And the crazy thing is that Bin prefers a Bush to be president."

    You know this for a fact? You have asked him?

    A Kerry win is a victory for bin Laden. After all, this whole war has been cast by many as Bush versus bin Laden.

    Now, that is NOT a good reason to vote for Bush, so I am not making that claim. A person can vote for Kerry with clear conscious.
     
  13. Jul 12, 2004 #12

    selfAdjoint

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    Staff Emeritus
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    Dearly Missed

    John, all your arguments show that Bush would lose the AI vote if there were a terrorist attack on election day. But I keep repeating, people aren't logical, people are tribal. And the tribal response to an attack is "The tribe is attacked! Support the chief!"
     
  14. Jul 12, 2004 #13
    RE: "John, all your arguments show that Bush would lose the AI vote if there were a terrorist attack on election day. But I keep repeating, people aren't logical, people are tribal. And the tribal response to an attack is "The tribe is attacked! Support the chief!"

    People don't do that when they are assaulted. Instead, they complain about the police -- how they worry too much about writing tickets and not fighting the real criminals. How they fall asleep at the switch.

    And they will levy their criticism at Bush. Already he is being blamed for 9-11.

    If terrorists attack, stocks will take a tumble. Do you really think that will help Bush? Maybe you do, but you can bet that Bush isn't counting on it.
     
  15. Jul 12, 2004 #14
    I tend to agree with SelfAdjoint. I don't think the American people would want an administration change in the middle of a major crisis. How long do you think it would take a Kerry administration to be up an running with any efficiency.
     
  16. Jul 12, 2004 #15
    RE: "How long do you think it would take a Kerry administration to be up an running with any efficiency."

    Probably never. :)
     
  17. Jul 12, 2004 #16
    Yowzaa! Give 'Dubya' a cigar!
     
  18. Jul 14, 2004 #17

    amp

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    Bush supporters?!!? Bush is probably hoping for an attack so he can complete his overthrow of the constitution and declare himself emperor.
     
  19. Jul 14, 2004 #18
    Yes, amp has revealed the secret plot. :uhh:
     
  20. Jul 14, 2004 #19

    amp

    User Avatar

    da da daaa dummm...
     
  21. Jul 14, 2004 #20
    The only thing that this administration is efficient at is screwing up everything it gets its hands in...healthcare, international relations, the environment, consitutional protections, budget, you name it.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    It appears worse than I ever could have thought. They really do want to make him emporer, apparently:

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/11/election.day.delay/

     
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