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Current Topic: Civil Liberties

RE: Post RAVE act, post PATRIOT act America | MetaFilter
Topic: Civil Liberties 9:42 am EDT, Aug 23, 2005

Rattle wrote:

Krick of Evol Intent offers a firsthand account of the events that took place at a party that he was scheduled to play August 20th in Utah. The event was fully licensed, fully legal, and non-violent. Halfway through the party, authorities arrived in full riot gear and ended the event like a full-scale riot (tear gas, attack dogs, and assault rifles).

This link to the video being shot on the stage at the point the show was shutdown appears too be working.

More details about this are desired...

Google news has some coverage. So does Wikinews. Mostly the police seem to be loosing the early PR battle on this one. I imagine the video is the reason why. Also the blogosphere is putting the information in front of a lot of eyes who wouldn't otherwise see it.

For years police in various communities have played the "tear gas and riot gear" approach to shutting raves down, and mostly the press has ignored the rumor mill of drugged out teenagers in favor of the perspectives of the local soccer moms. This time there is proof and alternative media. Its really hard to say that it makes sense to send people into a party dressed like Marines. The tactic is obviously designed to intimidate people. I hope they find the backlash similarly intimidating.

RE: Post RAVE act, post PATRIOT act America | MetaFilter

Time Is Right for Searches, Police Official Tells New Yorkers - New York Times
Topic: Civil Liberties 11:54 am EDT, Jul 24, 2005

It took less than two hours after the bombing attempts in London's transit system on Thursday for the New York City police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, to decide to begin random checks of passengers' bags in the city's mass transit system. But he said Friday that his decision had been nearly a year and a half in the making.

Mr. Kelly said he started to focus more closely on the vulnerabilities of the city's transit system in February 2004, after a deadly explosion in the Moscow underground... But Mr. Kelly, who has long thought that searches would be necessary in the transit system, said he realized that the measure might be seen as invasive. The time, he said, wasn't right until Thursday.

"The reality is, you need an event such as London for people to realize this is a procedure put in place for their safety," Mr. Kelly said during an hourlong interview in his office at 1 Police Plaza. "Searches are intrusive. The issue is what the public will accept. You still need an event to get public support."

This is an interesting datapoint. I'll save the cynical commentary.

Time Is Right for Searches, Police Official Tells New Yorkers - New York Times

Bush picks tech lawyer for homeland security post - Government & Law - Breaking Business and Technology News at
Topic: Civil Liberties 12:18 pm EDT, Jul 14, 2005

President Bush said on Wednesday that he has chosen Stewart Baker, one of Washington's most influential technology lawyers, to be assistant secretary of homeland security for policy.

Former NSA lawyer, Clipper Advocate, runs

Bush picks tech lawyer for homeland security post - Government & Law - Breaking Business and Technology News at

Slashdot | Perl's Chip Salzenberg Sued, Home Raided
Topic: Civil Liberties 10:33 am EDT, Jul  1, 2005

Days beforehand, I had made an internal report of unethical and apparently illegal behavior by the company: Use of open proxies for web harvesting to avoid blockage by web site operators. HMS apparently decided that working with me to address their use of open proxies was not an option.

Health Market Science is a large corporation with, compared to me, effectively infinite resources. My legal bills have topped $40K already over just two months. If HMS succeeds in tarring me with their false accusations, what's to stop your employer or client from doing the same to you, should your relationship sour?

Slashdot | Perl's Chip Salzenberg Sued, Home Raided

House Passes Constitutional Amendment to Ban Flag Burning
Topic: Civil Liberties 11:53 pm EDT, Jun 22, 2005

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that she would "support federal legislation that would outlaw flag desecration, much like laws that currently prohibit the burning of crosses, but I don't believe a constitutional amendment is the answer."

I have a rant about this matter that I will deliver if this effort is successful. For the time being I'm holding my touge because I think this is a bunch of political grandstanding and this won't actually come to pass.

My cynical perspective on Clinton's comment above is that she is opposed to the amendment, but she doesn't have the guts to come out and clearly explain why. Cross burning is not prohibited by law, nor can it be. Intimidation is prohibited by law. Burning a cross in order to intimidate people is illegal in several states and those laws have been upheld when carefully applied.

Is Hillary asking for a ban on flag burning in the context where it is used to intimidate? One could certainly imagine such a context, were a violent islamist group to burn a flag while chanting "death to the infidels." However, this isn't really what this is about. In fact, almost no one burns flags in the U.S. When it happens it is usually an expression of frustration with the system rather then a threat of violence against the people. Is American Recordings attempting to intimidate you? Was Johnny Cash anti-american?

Intimidation isn't really what this is about, and Hillary knows that. Thats is why I see this comment as an attempt to avoid discussing a matter which I feel is vital to our identity as a nation.

This is a grave decision we face. Choose wisely.

House Passes Constitutional Amendment to Ban Flag Burning

What's behind the video game witch hunt? | Perspectives | CNET
Topic: Civil Liberties 10:17 am EDT, Jun 21, 2005

Sen. Hillary Clinton, that weathervane of modern Democratic Party politics, complained about video games in March: "Probably one of the biggest complaints I've heard is about some of the video games, particularly 'Grand Theft Auto,' which has so many demeaning messages about women and so encourages violent imagination and activities and it scares parents."

It's no surprise, then, that Clinton and other like-minded senators (Democrat Joe Lieberman, Republican Rick Santorum) are behind a bill to spend $90 million in tax dollars on a study looking at the "impact" of video games and other "electronic media" on minors.

I just don't understand what the hell the Democratic party's "position" on the First Amendment is. On the one hand, they handily defend the National Endowment for the Arts when they use my money to make publically available works that some people find offensive, and yet on the other hand they stand opposed to allowing ME to use my money to consume something they find offensive in the privacy of my own home! When prominent Dems like Clinton line up with the fundamentalists on the wrong side of the first amendment they provide a clear counterpoint to those who think Democrats are good guys. If you support big government and legislated morality you're not a liberal, you're an authoritarian.

But, of course, it sure works politically. People in this country don't beleive in freedom. They vote to take things away from other people, not because they want to be left alone. They vote to prevent gay people from getting married or to prevent poor people from owning guns or to prevent teenagers from playing video games. We talk a lot about freedom in this country but we don't actually care for it.

What's behind the video game witch hunt? | Perspectives | CNET

House Votes to Limit Patriot Act Rules
Topic: Civil Liberties 8:02 pm EDT, Jun 15, 2005

Lawmakers voted Wednesday to block the Justice Department and the FBI from using the Patriot Act to peek at library records and bookstore sales slips.The House voted 238-187 despite a veto threat from Bush to block the part of the anti-terrorism law that allows the government to investigate the reading habits of terror suspects.

This is interesting.

House Votes to Limit Patriot Act Rules - Bush to Congress: Renew Patriot Act - Jun 9, 2005
Topic: Civil Liberties 1:32 pm EDT, Jun 10, 2005

President Bush on Thursday called on Congress to reauthorize the 16 provisions of the USA Patriot Act that are slated to expire at the end of the year, calling them "practical, important and ... constitutional."

"Congress needs to renew them all and, this time, Congress needs to make the provisions permanent," Bush told an audience of about 150 officers at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy in Columbus.

"We basically said we've very much like to hear about specifics," Gantman said. "The ACLU then, for really over a year, had no specific abuses they could point to. On their behalf, I'd say one of their problems, like us, is we have a helluva time getting information from the Justice Department about what was going on there."

The ACLU, in a posting on its Web site, said the Bush administration and former Attorney General John Ashcroft "essentially refused to describe how it was implementing the law; it left numerous substantial questions unanswered, and classified others without justification.

"In short, not only has the Bush administration undermined judicial oversight on government spying on citizens by pushing the Patriot Act into law, but it is also undermining another crucial check and balance on surveillance powers: accountability to Congress and the public." - Bush to Congress: Renew Patriot Act - Jun 9, 2005

[Politech] Senators again ignore privacy, federalism and approve Real ID Act 100-0 [priv]
Topic: Civil Liberties 10:45 am EDT, May 11, 2005

Link Roundup. Unless you're thinking Bush will veto the Iraq spending bill, RealID is law.

Kennedy said "the so-called Real ID immigration provisions" are "highly controversial, harmful and unnecessary."

But the legislation still passed with a 100-0 vote.

"While this bill is imperfect, it has many important provisions that our soldiers cannot be denied," Kennedy said.

[Politech] Senators again ignore privacy, federalism and approve Real ID Act 100-0 [priv]

Does the Real ID act contain a Constitution-busting Trojan horse?
Topic: Civil Liberties 1:58 pm EDT, May 10, 2005

] H.R. 418 would require the Secretary of Homeland Security
] to waive any and all laws that he determines necessary,
] in his sole discretion,
to ensure the expeditious
] construction of barriers and roads under IIRIRA 102...
] Section 102 of H.R. 418 would amend the current provision
] to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive
] any law upon determining that a waiver is necessary for
] the expeditious construction of the border barriers.
] Additionally, it would prohibit judicial review of a
] waiver decision or action by the Secretary
and bar
] judicially ordered compensation or injunction or other
] remedy for damages alleged to result from any such
] decision or action.

Does the Real ID act contain a Constitution-busting Trojan horse?

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