Debate and Discussion

Liberals ... Hypocritical when it comes to free speech?
bobhhh at 1:18PM, May 8, 2008
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OK.

I've had it.

Can we all try having a lucid discussion without invoking the Nazis in every post??

That's the worst kind of excuse for an argument, inflaming passions with images of Hitler and the holocaust, instead relying on an intellectual argument.

You have all made salient points in this discussion, but throwing around fascist imagery to help make your point actually succeeds in weakening it.
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bravo1102 at 6:01PM, May 8, 2008
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Yeah, comparison with historical regimes shouldn't be done unless it is fully footnoted (sarcasm)

Could we discuss the freedom of expression in the Weimar Republic or is that too close to the Nazis? (more sarcasm) (Forgive me, I'm just poking a little fun)

I think the image of a Sturm Abteilung brute beating the tar out of a Socialist is very appropos in any discussion of the freedom of expression. It is the extreme, but it is valid.

However, a knee jerk reaction that every restriction on the freedom of expression is comparable to Nazi Germany or Communist Russia is ridiculous and I agree those similes are overused. After all the current incarnations of the Nazis love the Freedom of speech and assembly.

We should use the Jacobins and the Terror instead. ;)
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plas at 12:59PM, May 10, 2008
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I've always found that people tend to invoke the nazi's when they're trying to find an example of absolute evil. Whenever you make a point in a debate or argument you have to back it up with salient facts otherwise you just come off looking like you're arrogant, without any proof to back up your statements. As cliche as it is to use the Nazi's as an example, and as much as it may violate Godwin's law, it is handy to use simply because it is a reference that everyone will know, and it is a valid example of absolute evil. The fact of the matter is we don't know the relative experiences of everyone around us, and if we were to use a more obscure example of the oppression of freedom of expression, say the bid for president by Eugene Victor Debs in 1918 where he was arrested for speaking out against American involvement in World War One, then you run into the problem of most people not knowing what you're talking about. I wholeheartedly see your point bobhhh, it is overused, but really it is an easy rallying point.
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bobhhh at 5:30PM, May 10, 2008
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its not handy, it's lazy.
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bravo1102 at 7:10PM, May 10, 2008
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bobhhh, Plas indicated that it's an example that everyone can understand rather than trying to explain the Red Scare of 1918 or 1950 to everyone, the Alien and Sedition Acts, the book burnings of the Chinese emperors, and so on.

It's shorthand. Overused and abused but easily understood and the one using the simile gets a nice knee-jerk emotional response. Whereas trying to peel the onion of the shades of grey using more refined debate and historical precedent will confuse and alienate most people. I'm not saying that it isn't lazy and overused and even very tired but it is more effective than trying to explain Abraham Lincoln's restrictions on speech and the suspension of habeas corpus during the American Civil War or the trial of John Peter Zenger.

KISS: keep it short and simple.

Or else what you say ends up in some netherworld whirling around above everyone's head.
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bobhhh at 12:32AM, May 11, 2008
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I'm sorry, I know that came off harsh, but I just think you can make a more credible argument without invoking Hitler. It's just hardly ever relevant unless you are actually talking about Hitler.

It really functions as the end of an argument. The original subject gets lost in a discussion of wheteher it is or isn't as bad as Hitler.

Whether it's liberals or George Bush, neither are as bad, so the invokation of Nazi's serves only to stir passion and end rational debate.
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StaceyMontgomery at 6:41AM, May 11, 2008
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I suggest a new thread about Godwin's law, or censorship in general. The point of this thread was for Comicracy to accuse some people of being Nazi-like in their behaviour, and I would say that has been put to bed rather effectively.


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ozoneocean at 6:57AM, May 11, 2008
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So true Stacey ^_^
bobhhh
Whether it's liberals or George Bush, neither are as bad, so the invokation of Nazi's serves only to stir passion and end rational debate.
You know that's funny, GWB jnr isn't above making use of the Nazi argument himself… We had enough of that administration directly comparing Saddam to Hitler, and the justification for the Iraq war being somehow analogous to a prevention of a repetition of WW2. And then there's the whole ridiculous invention of the “axis of evil”, borrowed wholesale from WW2 propaganda, even down to it consisting of three main parties. lol!

It's just a shame that it was so successful as a propaganda tool this time round.

But it just goes to show: the Nazi stuff was firmly, obviously, and repeatedly brought to the table by the group currently in power. Which means that any argument about U.S. politics is always going to have that in the background somewhere- not because of the participant's essential laziness or stupidity, but because it is such an integral and significant part of the current political vocabulary in relation to these very issues. ;)
 
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bobhhh at 10:40AM, May 11, 2008
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Word.
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mapaghimagsik at 6:10PM, May 11, 2008
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Oh wow. I missed a truly *sweet* thread. Why not just start out with accusations of being nazis, that way you don't have to wait for Godwin's law?
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lefarce at 9:18PM, May 12, 2008
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Comicracy
Just a few points, arent true liberals supposed to be protectors of free speech, then why do we see so many liberals shouting down speakers in public forums when they give opposing viewpoints… for example the leader of the minutemen got shouted down when giving a speech at columbia university… this is just an example of the mindset of some of the extreme liberals of today. So really liberals are for free speech unless you disagree with them, once you disagree with them they shout you down and insult you personally. The nazis had a special group of individuals who would do the same thing in the 1930's they were known as the brown shirts. A lot of todays liberals would fit right in.

You are just precious. :3

 
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Tantz Aerine at 12:32PM, May 13, 2008
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I am sorry- I am going to most possibly make an irrelevant post, but all this griping about Nazis and their name being invoked makes me wonder- do you actually feel that Nazis were a historical aberration? Or if we strip them of their name and nationality, we will find that actually their pattern fits several other ones as well?

And since the issue is free speech, I am inclined to say that Nazis never pretended to want free speech. I think they were very clear about who they would allow free to talk and who they wouldn't. They also didn't want liberalism for everyone, but for a few select groups.

It's like Democracy in Athens, in a way- it was democracy, but only for a specific social group. Not for all social groups co-existing within Athens' walls.


I think that maybe not only the definition of liberal speech should be precised- but to whom it is directed each time.

I believe you will find a very few schemes where ‘free speech’ was truly free to everyone involved.

Anyway, carry on. :)
 
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bravo1102 at 4:45PM, May 13, 2008
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Short history lesson about the Weimar republic and the rise of the Nazis:

BROWN SHIRTS! The only people who got free speech were the Nazis and everyone else had the piss beaten out of them. That was the reality on the streets and the neighbourhoods in Germany. Everyone spoke on the street corners, but when the Nazis came along they shut them up with thugs and put forth their propaganda. The opponents became scapegoats.

As for the American Nazis they love Freedom of Speech because they can have their say no matter how hateful and horrible it is to others. Skokie had a large Holocaust Survivor community. It was a test case. It was done on purpose to prove the system so they could use it for their own ends. The ACLU defended their rights and their lawyers were Jewish, but it was the Freedom of Speech that was important not who was speaking or what they said.

Everytime true freedom of speech has been threatened in the USA it has been defended and the restrictions pointed out and fought agaisnt, because free speech allowed for the criticism of the policies.

myself
Red Scare of 1918 or 1950 to everyone, the Alien and Sedition Acts…Abraham Lincoln's restrictions on speech and the suspension of habeas corpus during the American Civil War or the trial of John Peter Zenger.

To say otherwise is to ignore the history.
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mapaghimagsik at 8:28PM, May 13, 2008
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But our speech isn't truly completely free. There is plenty of speech to be had that will land you in prison.

Freer than some, but completely free? No.
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imshard at 10:04PM, May 13, 2008
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mapaghimagsik
But our speech isn't truly completely free. There is plenty of speech to be had that will land you in prison.

Freer than some, but completely free? No.

What speech is that? what are you talking about?

I can't say I know of an honest case in my country where somebody was jailed, for something they said. There are no laws prohibiting you to criticize the government, or state your mind and speak your opinions.

You are right about one thing, it wasn't free. It was bought with blood.
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mapaghimagsik at 4:36AM, May 14, 2008
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mapaghimagsik
But our speech isn't truly completely free. There is plenty of speech to be had that will land you in prison.

Freer than some, but completely free? No.

What speech is that? what are you talking about?

I can't say I know of an honest case in my country where somebody was jailed, for something they said. There are no laws prohibiting you to criticize the government, or state your mind and speak your opinions.

You are right about one thing, it wasn't free. It was bought with blood.

The first two examples are centered on the US. The third link takes a broader perspective.


Here you go.

Not Jail Time, but punished.
Look here, under Restrictions To Free Speech

So there are complex legal issues around whats “free”. I realize that doesn't work well on a bumper sticker, and certainly doesn't pander for votes, but that's the reality of it.


Do you really think blood is the only currency which one purchases freedom? I guess we can argue about whether Thomas Jefferson did anything for freedom – but if you think that he did, whose blood was shed for that?

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” – Where's the blood in that statement? Or do you not think its true?


I cannot help but wonder when we figure out that blood isn't the only currency we might also understand why some people are getting tired of our monetary system.
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ozoneocean at 5:24AM, May 14, 2008
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Mapaghimagsik is completely right. Of course it's not totally free, that would be silly. :)
There's a lot of speech that'd just outright fall under the criminal code. It's not hard to think of examples and I wouldn't like to test those in court ;)

In other cases, you might just face a civil trial if you're sued for slander or infringe copyright.
 
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imshard at 9:17AM, May 14, 2008
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Right, if you want to define freedom of expression to include shooting guns at the white house, blowing up orphanages, theft, and other malevolent acts then go right ahead. To me that seems a blatant and perverse twisting of the concept though.

Also “What is vigilance but the act of defending that which you hold dear, through peace and war?”
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StaceyMontgomery at 10:05AM, May 14, 2008
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Eugene Debs went to prison for giving this speech:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Debs%27_Speech_of_Sedition

And not so long ago.

Perhaps that is why people get so nervous when the conservatives say “you are either with us or against us.” This sort of thing can - and likely will - happen again.

After all - Newt Gingrich recently argued that we needed to restrict free speech to fight the “global war on terror” though he never really explained how that would work. He sure sounded excited about the idea though. Given that he's a very influential man in his party, that made me nervous.
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mapaghimagsik at 10:43AM, May 14, 2008
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Right, if you want to define freedom of expression to include shooting guns at the white house, blowing up orphanages, theft, and other malevolent acts then go right ahead. To me that seems a blatant and perverse twisting of the concept though.

Also “What is vigilance but the act of defending that which you hold dear, through peace and war?”

I usually hate to ask the question, but did you read the links? The categories of limited speech are not limited to the things you list. There's a great deal of corporate protectionism there too.

As to your second point, it always seems to take a little prodding to remind certain elements about the “in peace” part. Not that you're required to answer, but you completely dodge the question about whether there are other currencies besides blood.

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imshard at 11:31AM, May 14, 2008
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Good example actually Stacey. That speech was a political speech that was arrowed down by the Sedition act of World War I over 90 years ago. Its a showcase of how federal legislation can be inappropriately used to unfairly target political rivals and people with dissenting views. that kind of thing isn't happening now. The sedition act is no longer in effect. I can stage an anti-war rally if I want and I'm free to say we shouldn't be at war. These things that could have gotten me jailed or executed back then.

Being afraid of politicians going tyrannical in this era in the US is paranoid to the point of delusion. Newt and his ilk are no more likely to go Bolshevik on us than Pelosi and hers.

EDIT: Sorry mapaghimagsik didn't see you post in time. Of course there are many way to win freedoms I would never deny that. It simply wasn't the point of my post, and yes I read your links. I saw one article on the secret service shooting an armed man in front of the white house, one article on software piracy trying to use the bill of rights as a shield, and a wiki article which ironically listed things like the previous two cases as exceptions to the protection of free speech.
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mapaghimagsik at 12:11PM, May 14, 2008
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Good example actually Stacey. That speech was a political speech that was arrowed down by the Sedition act of World War I over 90 years ago. Its a showcase of how federal legislation can be inappropriately used to unfairly target political rivals and people with dissenting views. that kind of thing isn't happening now. The sedition act is no longer in effect. I can stage an anti-war rally if I want and I'm free to say we shouldn't be at war. These things that could have gotten me jailed or executed back then.

Being afraid of politicians going tyrannical in this era in the US is paranoid to the point of delusion. Newt and his ilk are no more likely to go Bolshevik on us than Pelosi and hers.

EDIT: Sorry mapaghimagsik didn't see you post in time. Of course there are many way to win freedoms I would never deny that. It simply wasn't the point of my post, and yes I read your links. I saw one article on the secret service shooting an armed man in front of the white house, one article on software piracy trying to use the bill of rights as a shield, and a wiki article which ironically listed things like the previous two cases as exceptions to the protection of free speech.

Thanks for looking at those, they are kind of helpful. You did also see that listed among the restrictions was slander and libel, which are legal thickets unto themselves, and the “free speech zones” which only limit *where* you can say what you want. Of course, when your free speech zone is limited in size, you limit who can speak.

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StaceyMontgomery at 1:16PM, May 14, 2008
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Good example actually Stacey. That speech was a political speech that was arrowed down by the Sedition act of World War I over 90 years ago. Its a showcase of how federal legislation can be inappropriately used to unfairly target political rivals and people with dissenting views. that kind of thing isn't happening now. The sedition act is no longer in effect. I can stage an anti-war rally if I want and I'm free to say we shouldn't be at war. These things that could have gotten me jailed or executed back then.

Being afraid of politicians going tyrannical in this era in the US is paranoid to the point of delusion. Newt and his ilk are no more likely to go Bolshevik on us than Pelosi and hers.

Hmm. So we agree that a major figure in the Republican party has advocated limits on free speech. You and agree that we have had such limits before. You and I agree they are a very very bad thing. But to be afraid that the Republicans could/would get such a thing passed is “paranoid to the point of delusion.”

I guess one of the dangers of free speech is that it's so easy to take it for granted. i would say that our free speech rights are only as good as the next version of the Patriot Act.
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mapaghimagsik at 1:41PM, May 14, 2008
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Kind of like Habeas, no?

Perhaps “Paranoid to the Point of Delusion” is the new reality?

PttPoD.
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imshard at 2:47PM, May 14, 2008
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Hmm. So we agree that a major figure in the Republican party has advocated limits on free speech. You and agree that we have had such limits before. You and I agree they are a very very bad thing. But to be afraid that the Republicans could/would get such a thing passed is “paranoid to the point of delusion.”

I guess one of the dangers of free speech is that it's so easy to take it for granted. i would say that our free speech rights are only as good as the next version of the Patriot Act.

Political figures can advocate whatever they want, it doesn't mean they represent their party's views or opinions. Doubly the likelihood of such a thing happening is nil to the point of impossibility. Really, how would the republicans (or the democrats for that matter) get something approved that gives them absolute power? No no. Too much balance and opposing viewpoints to let that happen.

EDIT: additionally, even if it were going to happen why wouldn't it have already? There has been plenty of times this century, when one party or another had it within their grasp to seize power but didn't.
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bravo1102 at 3:42PM, May 14, 2008
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mapaghimagsik
Do you really think blood is the only currency which one purchases freedom? I guess we can argue about whether Thomas Jefferson did anything for freedom – but if you think that he did, whose blood was shed for that?

Read a biography of John Marshall or the history of the Southern Campaign in 1781. Thomas Jefferson when his back was to the wall depended on others to defend his freedom with blood.

As president Thomas Jefferson fought a war against the Barbary Pirates for freedom of the seas and threatened war on Britain and France for the same reason.

Blood isn't the only currency but it's the one that everyone understands. And that's sad, but it's history.

As already pointed out Freedom of speech is
U.S. COnstitution First Amendment
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

The courts have defined speech and Congress has legislated appropriately. When Congressional Acts went against the Constitution they were challenged. The Alien and Sedition Acts (the model for the Sedition Acts of WWI) were strongly disagreed with and criticized. Freedom of speech. The Patriot Act doesn't stop you from speaking, it only provides for the monitoring of who you speak to. If you don't make a habit of contacting terrorists you won't have any probelms. You do know that for the most part it merely extends monitoring that is already in place against organized crime? Don't talk to Mafia types about criminal activities and you're fine.

Habeas Corpus can be suspended in times of emergency by the president. Lincoln was facing a Civil War, did he go past his defined powers? Yes. Did the circumstances provide enough reason for what he did? The country was split in two. There were armies in the field at battle for the union. The speech was felt to match the Constitutional definition of treason. So he acted appropriately.

Speech is protected, but it is regulated to ensure public safety. The “FIRE!” in a crowded theater metaphor.

And would the person who has been investigated and followed by the Federal authorities please raise their hand?

Oh, that would be me. :) They really appreciate being brought coffee and donuts when they're following you around.

I have really got to use the FOIA to get my FBI files… ;)

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bobhhh at 7:51PM, May 14, 2008
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mapaghimagsik
Do you really think blood is the only currency which one purchases freedom? I guess we can argue about whether Thomas Jefferson did anything for freedom – but if you think that he did, whose blood was shed for that?

Read a biography of John Marshall or the history of the Southern Campaign in 1781. Thomas Jefferson when his back was to the wall depended on others to defend his freedom with blood.

As president Thomas Jefferson fought a war against the Barbary Pirates for freedom of the seas and threatened war on Britain and France for the same reason.

Blood isn't the only currency but it's the one that everyone understands. And that's sad, but it's history.

As already pointed out Freedom of speech is
U.S. COnstitution First Amendment
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

The courts have defined speech and Congress has legislated appropriately. When Congressional Acts went against the Constitution they were challenged. The Alien and Sedition Acts (the model for the Sedition Acts of WWI) were strongly disagreed with and criticized. Freedom of speech. The Patriot Act doesn't stop you from speaking, it only provides for the monitoring of who you speak to. If you don't make a habit of contacting terrorists you won't have any probelms. You do know that for the most part it merely extends monitoring that is already in place against organized crime? Don't talk to Mafia types about criminal activities and you're fine.

Habeas Corpus can be suspended in times of emergency by the president. Lincoln was facing a Civil War, did he go past his defined powers? Yes. Did the circumstances provide enough reason for what he did? The country was split in two. There were armies in the field at battle for the union. The speech was felt to match the Constitutional definition of treason. So he acted appropriately.

Speech is protected, but it is regulated to ensure public safety. The “FIRE!” in a crowded theater metaphor.

And would the person who has been investigated and followed by the Federal authorities please raise their hand?

Oh, that would be me. :) They really appreciate being brought coffee and donuts when they're following you around.

I have really got to use the FOIA to get my FBI files… ;)



Yeah that;s their story. But it doesn't jive with FISA. FISA doesn't limit warrantless surveilance, it only demands accountability afterwards. It allows for retroactive warrants on wiretapping, as in after the fact. If Bush's black ops surveilance activities are so innocent and legal then why won't they subject their oprations to a federal judge after the fact??

To use your own reasoning, they have nothing to fear if they aren't breaking the law, so who do they need the Patriot act to evade FISA?
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mapaghimagsik at 1:26PM, May 15, 2008
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So it sounds like from all this yammering that the only currency for freedom is blood.


I think this explains the current US foreign and monetary policies quite nicely.
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bravo1102 at 7:26PM, May 15, 2008
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bobhhh
Yeah that;s their story. But it doesn't jive with FISA. FISA doesn't limit warrantless surveilance, it only demands accountability afterwards. It allows for retroactive warrants on wiretapping, as in after the fact. If Bush's black ops surveilance activities are so innocent and legal then why won't they subject their oprations to a federal judge after the fact??

To use your own reasoning, they have nothing to fear if they aren't breaking the law, so who do they need the Patriot act to evade FISA?

Retroactive court review should be allowed just as it is with organized crime communication intercepts.

But when are they going to start rounding up everyone because they have this power? What a law says and how criminal investigation and then prosecution works are often two different things. I have my doubts that that part of the Patriot act would stand up in an actual prosecution. I know too many people in the legal profession for my own good. ;)

So far they've been pretty discrete in the investigations I've followed. If the intercepts are worthless, they won't be followed up on. This is investigation of criminal activity not Big Brother. The FBI and the rest just don't have the manpower to hunt through all our communications. They usually go after the intercepts after they have other sources to build the case.

mapaghimagsik
So it sounds like from all this yammering that the only currency for freedom is blood.


I think this explains the current US foreign and monetary policies quite nicely.

Where have you been hiding? It's been that way since the Sumerians. The USA is not doing anything that every other nation in the world hasn't done again and again and again… ;)

And it's sad. Six millenia and when you get down to it we haven't learned a thing. Sometimes I hate having studied so much history the patterns just repeat again and again and again…
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imshard at 9:18PM, May 15, 2008
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bravo1102
Where have you been hiding? It's been that way since the Sumerians. The USA is not doing anything that every other nation in the world hasn't done again and again and again… ;)

And it's sad. Six millenia and when you get down to it we haven't learned a thing. Sometimes I hate having studied so much history the patterns just repeat again and again and again…

Names change, people don't. If it happened once its bound to happen again.
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