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  1. #1
    rambo's Avatar
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    The Patriot Act II: Real Discussion

    Fine. Since the last thread got crapped in, I'm going to start another.

    This act is total bull****. It infringes upon our rights as Americans, the ones the were stipulated as basic and inherit so many years ago in our constitution. We are NOT at war, we are just giving Rumsfield and those assholes another way to jack our privacy.

    Let's say the government decides that YOU are a terrorist... This act gives them the right to repossess everything that you have in order for them to designate you a non-threat. They need not disclose rhyme nor reason. IT also allows them to spy on you via any means necessary in order to get their information. Screw you, search warrant, we THINK you might be a terrorist.

    I've got more, but I'm tired. Does anyone POSSIBLY think this could be a good idea?

  2. #2
    PurePower is offline Senior Member
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    My friend we are at War right now.

    They will not use this to anyones disadvantage that isn't a terrorist.

  3. #3
    rambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurePower
    My friend we are at War right now.

    They will not use this to anyones disadvantage that isn't a terrorist.
    What if the government decides that YOU are a terrorist? Do you understand what they could do to all your assets? THey need not even tell you why or how you are suspect, merely take all of what you have.

    I can accept the idea that we are still at war, but what happened to our constitution. This throws Search and Seizure Rights out the window.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurePower
    My friend we are at War right now.

    They will not use this to anyones disadvantage that isn't a terrorist.
    They started the war in order to pass those laws my friend. The world is run by a small select few who senced their powers being drained by the freedom given by the Internet. They had to have a way to take down people causing them problems for no good reason. Trying to disprove that someone is a terrorist is a difficult thing.

  5. #5
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    They started the war in order to pass those laws my friend.



    WTF?????????

  6. #6
    PurePower is offline Senior Member
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    See here is the deal. The US government would probably never come after me because I nor anyone that I know is/was a terrorist. In these times I believe that it is necessary to do this because, we are too "politically correct with the race deal. I mean come on people. We NEED to profile such people because last time I looked, people from the Middle East are THE ones who wish to do us harm and are blowing up planes and buses etc.

    The Patriot Act is the governments way of "racial profiling" people who are from countries who wish to do us harm, so they can protect their a$$. Honestly none of us have anything to worry about unless you are a terrorist. Plus, I believe that even if they did so happen to find "anything" it probably wouldn't be admissible in court. Only things that wish to do Americans as a whole harm is what they are looking for nothing more.

    I stand behind this because to tell you the truth i really dont want to see 2000+ people killed on American soil EVER again.

    My friends there will be a time in all of our lives where we will have to deal with suicide bombers on the streets of America. I believe it is inevitable.

    Every person has a right ( Thank God) to voice their own opinion on this, or any other matter. I respect most everyones views and I hope that most everyone respects mine.
    Last edited by PurePower; 03-28-2004 at 12:21 AM.

  7. #7
    PurePower is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by grey_blue_white_red
    They started the war in order to pass those laws my friend. The world is run by a small select few who senced their powers being drained by the freedom given by the Internet. They had to have a way to take down people causing them problems for no good reason. Trying to disprove that someone is a terrorist is a difficult thing.
    I concur. Do you honestly think.........Never mind it isnt worth it.

  8. #8
    jon rock's Avatar
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    Maybe people here who are paranoid about their particular goverment should
    consider this.

    There is no goverment conspiracy to invade our privacy or to steal our assets.
    The goverment is made up of "mostly" honest people who are fumbling through
    the mess that is our existence right along side you and me. These people have
    families and pets and problems like all of us. They are not some collective entity hell bent on taking our freedom away. And before anyone else passes
    judgement on President Bush ask yourself this.. Would you be able to handle
    controlling the most powerfull country in the world? How would your life and
    everything you've ever done since birth look under a microscope viewed
    by the entire world?

  9. #9
    rambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurePower
    #1. Plus, I believe that even if they did so happen to find "anything" it probably wouldn't be admissible in court.


    #2. Every person has a right ( Thank God) to voice their own opinion on this, or any other matter. I respect most everyones views and I hope that most everyone respects mine.
    I think #1 is the aspect that bothers me the most. I think, and I may be mistaken, that anything found IS admissible. This means if the govt wants to nab you on tax evasion, then they have the right to label you a terrorist if they need to. There is no check or balance in this act.

    #2. Agreed, and this is why we live in the best country in the world. My goal, like yours, is to keep it that way.

  10. #10
    BOUNCER is offline Retired Vet
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    Rambo, welcome to the real wald. And I have news for you, your country IS AT WAR. Islamic terrorists brought your country to war, NOT your government and you should be thanking your government for taking the fight to the terrorists camp and not fighting it on American soil. Your country is just waking up to terror whereas mine and the UK have lived with it for over 30 yrs.
    We've had similiar laws to the Patriots Act all that time, in Ireland its called 'Section 30 of the criminal justice act', under that law we have the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Proceeds of Crime act, two of the best laws we ever had for dealing with terror and organised crime. In the UK they have the Prevention of Terrorism Act to deal with their terror threat.
    Rambo, its bleeding hearted whingers that lost America the war in Vietnam, try not to mess up this one. Obviously you didn't look through the numberious video's which Rak_Ani' posted earlier yesterday showing Islams hatred of America. Stuff taken from Hamas and Hezbollah TV which the American public don't get to view, truely frightening. So what do you want to wait for before realising you've lost the war on terror?. Wait for these monsters to take their war right to the American heartland?. To put it into perspective for a moment,

    Israel has lost 1000 innocent victims to suicide bombers, a country of 6million. On the same scale England would have lost 30,000 to IRA terror and America 100 thousend. You should be thankfull of these new laws.

  11. #11
    rambo's Avatar
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    Bouncer, are you capable of commenting on a thread without being condescending and overly self righteous? I do not need to "wake up". Do not patronize me, as I am trying to have a civil discussion, and I am not a child. I didn't object to Patriot Act I, as it was necessary, and I don't completely object to Part II. There are certain aspects (see my last post) that I object to. I am not a "whinger" nor does my heart bleed for anything "liberal".

    Sorry, maybe I should just accept everything that is spoon fed to me, whether it be from a zionist or a gung-ho Republican. I should just not question anything, that way I can disregard the ideals my country was built on.

    What I'm trying to say is that this act is TOO UNREGULATED, hell it gives license to everything. This is a HUGE act, and I'll be ****ed if I'm just going to let it pass without questioning it. Or, is that what good patriots do? They just accept things?

    I supported this war, and I continue to, as I feel it was justified. I support my president and the war on terror, but that DOES NOT mean I have to support this second Act.

  12. #12
    BOUNCER is offline Retired Vet
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    Rambo, first you said;

    Quote Originally Posted by rambo
    We are NOT at war
    Then you said;


    Quote Originally Posted by rambo
    I supported this war, and I continue to, as I feel it was justified. I support my president and the war on terror, but that DOES NOT mean I have to support this second Act.
    Any change you can wake up and make up your mind?

  13. #13
    rambo's Avatar
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    In my first quote I was referring to war in the internal sense, war within this country. I do not consider the "War on Terror" to be a war fought within my country at this moment. That's one of the reasons I support "Iraqi Freedom", we brought the war to Iraq, and kept it out of our country. In the second post you referenced I was referring to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Perhaps it is my fault, as the duality of these posts was not intended to be contradictory, but I should have made it more clear in the context I used "war".

    Thanks for "waking me up", Bouncer, I don't know what I would do without you. I honestly don't know why you find it necessary to make insinuating comments in debates. It's really not necessary. As a moderator, I think you'd resort to less inflammatory ways of getting your point across. You certainly have a valid viewpoint, you don't see me labeling you into a political group or telling you to "wake up".

    I'm going to the gym, I will be back on in a few hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PurePower
    See here is the deal. The US government would probably never come after me because I nor anyone that I know is/was a terrorist.
    Well here are my opinions on this as an uninterested third party... not being an American this "patriot act" doesn't affect me at all...

    But looking at it from an outside point of view, it is pretty scary. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and this gives the government almost absolute power.

    Is it necessary to fight terrorism? Probably... when the that kind of criminal doesn't play by the rules, the people who try and stop them have to do the same (and you get things like this patriot act).

    The question is what accountability is there and where does it end?

    There is much talk that those exceptional powers are already being used to track down pedophiles and drug importers... not a bad thing in my book, I would not object to that... but whats next? People who import steroids ? Fraud artists? Mobsters and gang criminals? Petty criminals?


    I do not object in this "patriot act".... we had something similar here in the 70's called the "War Measures Act". See Canada is no stranger to terrorism, back then we had our own home grown separatist terrorists (The FLQ, Front de Libération du Québec) who kidnapped and murdered a foreign british diplomat, and had fun exploding bombs here and there in Montreal.

    The response was swift and hard from the federal Gov. War Measures Act came in, civil rights went out the window, if you were suspected of terrorism then any kind of warrants were unnecessary, jails were filled with everyone suspected of terrorism (or pissing off a cop...).

    But as soon as the main threat was "less bad" (as it never went away), this act was repealed. A country cannot live in a constant state of "War Measures Act" (or Patriot Act which is the same thing with a nicer name).

    Red

  15. #15
    Cycleon is offline AR-Hall of Famer / Retired
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    Before everyone hops up on the stump - can anyone give me even 1 case where it has been abused yet? 1 case even? how about where they have even used some of these newfangled powers they have? anyone?

    I want the government to have the ability to catch bad people - I also want the right to bust their balls if they begin using that ability that I give them to do things that were not stipulated - for example, going after criminals unrelated to terrorism, no matter how bad they might well be - we have a body of laws for that already

    But trust me - the patriot act is FAR better than martial law, which is what could indeed happen if we are not diligent and terrorist acts keep happening on our soil.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurePower
    My friend we are at War right now.

    They will not use this to anyones disadvantage that isn't a terrorist.

    Hey, not too long ago some drug enforcement types arrested **** near every black person in a little town in West Texas for being in some drug ring. Sent most of 'em to jail on the say-so of one officer, who was later found (confessed) to have lied. If it wasn't for the ACLU, they'd still be in jail.

    It's true, you can't trust terrorists. Sad to say, you can't always trust law enforcement officers either. IMHO, the government has taken too much liberty away from us, and for itself.

    -Tock

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    Cycleon is offline AR-Hall of Famer / Retired
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    Tock - its true that authority can be abused - but that is not a reason for eliminating that authority where it is needed - it is a good reason however to keep checks and balances on it to ensure conformity to the origional intent

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    Quote Originally Posted by CYCLEON
    But trust me - the patriot act is FAR better than martial law, which is what could indeed happen if we are not diligent and terrorist acts keep happening on our soil.
    Indeed War Measures Act is not martial law...

    Martial Law = Military are in charge and you have no civil rights

    War Measures Act (and "Patriot Act") = Law Enforcement is in charge and your civil rights are not worth the paper they are written on.

    Such "emergency powers" are needed in times of emergency, but a country cannot live permanently like that... once the clear and present danger is reduced to a threat it must be repealed.

    Red

  19. #19
    Cycleon is offline AR-Hall of Famer / Retired
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    I agree that it should have an automatic expiration date built in (it does) - and have to be renewed by vote of congress every 2 or 3 years to continue

  20. #20
    PurePower is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tock
    Hey, not too long ago some drug enforcement types arrested **** near every black person in a little town in West Texas for being in some drug ring. Sent most of 'em to jail on the say-so of one officer, who was later found (confessed) to have lied. If it wasn't for the ACLU, they'd still be in jail.

    It's true, you can't trust terrorists. Sad to say, you can't always trust law enforcement officers either. IMHO, the government has taken too much liberty away from us, and for itself.

    -Tock
    There is no law against lying, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. The reason why they arrested nearly every black person is due to the fact that they were dealing drugs and happened to be black. Why would you want these kinds of people on your, or your brothers street? Yes I understand that people have rights, and I firmly believe that they should be upheld to the max. Again, nothing requires law enforcemant officers to tell the truth to get the facts.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Ketchup
    Well here are my opinions on this as an uninterested third party... not being an American this "patriot act" doesn't affect me at all...

    But looking at it from an outside point of view, it is pretty scary. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and this gives the government almost absolute power.

    Is it necessary to fight terrorism? Probably... when the that kind of criminal doesn't play by the rules, the people who try and stop them have to do the same (and you get things like this patriot act).

    The question is what accountability is there and where does it end?

    There is much talk that those exceptional powers are already being used to track down pedophiles and drug importers... not a bad thing in my book, I would not object to that... but whats next? People who import steroids ? Fraud artists? Mobsters and gang criminals? Petty criminals?


    I do not object in this "patriot act".... we had something similar here in the 70's called the "War Measures Act". See Canada is no stranger to terrorism, back then we had our own home grown separatist terrorists (The FLQ, Front de Libération du Québec) who kidnapped and murdered a foreign british diplomat, and had fun exploding bombs here and there in Montreal.

    The response was swift and hard from the federal Gov. War Measures Act came in, civil rights went out the window, if you were suspected of terrorism then any kind of warrants were unnecessary, jails were filled with everyone suspected of terrorism (or pissing off a cop...).

    But as soon as the main threat was "less bad" (as it never went away), this act was repealed. A country cannot live in a constant state of "War Measures Act" (or Patriot Act which is the same thing with a nicer name).

    Red
    D amn french

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CYCLEON
    Tock - its true that authority can be abused - but that is not a reason for eliminating that authority where it is needed - it is a good reason however to keep checks and balances on it to ensure conformity to the origional intent
    thats just it though, there are no checks and balances in this act. this act rises above the law, for the first time in the history of the country there is no limit. and there are those who abuse power, you're correct. unfortunately many of them work on the hill.

    "they that give up liberty for safety deserve neither" - ben franklin

  23. #23
    rambo's Avatar
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    Symatech hit it on the head. This is the first time possibly in the history of our country that an act might be passed with no check or balance.

    That quote from Franklin was exactly what I was looking for.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOUNCER
    Rambo, welcome to the real wald. And I have news for you, your country IS AT WAR. Islamic terrorists brought your country to war, NOT your government and you should be thanking your government for taking the fight to the terrorists camp and not fighting it on American soil. Your country is just waking up to terror whereas mine and the UK have lived with it for over 30 yrs.
    We've had similiar laws to the Patriots Act all that time, in Ireland its called 'Section 30 of the criminal justice act', under that law we have the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Proceeds of Crime act, two of the best laws we ever had for dealing with terror and organised crime. In the UK they have the Prevention of Terrorism Act to deal with their terror threat.
    Rambo, its bleeding hearted whingers that lost America the war in Vietnam, try not to mess up this one. Obviously you didn't look through the numberious video's which Rak_Ani' posted earlier yesterday showing Islams hatred of America. Stuff taken from Hamas and Hezbollah TV which the American public don't get to view, truely frightening. So what do you want to wait for before realising you've lost the war on terror?. Wait for these monsters to take their war right to the American heartland?. To put it into perspective for a moment,

    Israel has lost 1000 innocent victims to suicide bombers, a country of 6million. On the same scale England would have lost 30,000 to IRA terror and America 100 thousend. You should be thankfull of these new laws.
    Whenever you refer terrorist you include Islam, purposely, eventhough you know Islam and terrorism are two seperate things. Based on your logic you should call Oklahoma bomber "Christian Terrorist" but you would not.
    You are good about giving numbers, how about palestinian people, their death people do not count? All of them terrorists? I remember israeli soldiers shooting insanely innocent people on the streets, but of course you see what you want to see.
    A story has two sides, but you are stuck on one, you are taking a side and it is obvious. Those palestinians are trying to take back their homeland stolen away from them, I wish they had a proper army to face up israeli army, but again they dont.
    For your information Islam is not a religion of terrorism, so dont call those terrorist as Islamic Terrorist.
    Peace

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurePower
    There is no law against lying, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. The reason why they arrested nearly every black person is due to the fact that they were dealing drugs and happened to be black. Why would you want these kinds of people on your, or your brothers street? Yes I understand that people have rights, and I firmly believe that they should be upheld to the max. Again, nothing requires law enforcemant officers to tell the truth to get the facts.

    No, they weren't dealing drugs. Some idiot gumball out there thought he'd make a name for himself sending a bunch of folks to jail for drugs. When court time came, it was his word against all of theirs, and the jury took his word.
    Nah, when one law enforcement guy has that much power over so many people and can ruin so many innocent lives, something's wrong.

    Something similar happened here in Dallas about a year ago . . . seems a couple of narcotics officers decided they'd plant crushed gypsum (wall board) in cars they "searched" and they sent a few guys off the jail using that as evidence. Had a big scandal when it all turned out to be fake; the cops were supposed to do a field test on the stuff to see if it was drugs, and they didn't, then some other folks were supposed to test it, and they didn't.
    Ya, big scandlal here in Dallas. Houston had an even worse scandal, turns out they had to let go a couple hundred people that had been convicted in court because the Houston police boogered up most of the lab tests they did. I dunno the details, but it was in the papers up here and on the news.
    Moral of the story . . . ya can't trust government agencies to do everything they are supposed to do, and sometimes they'll f*** with ya just because you're black or they have nothing else better to do.

    -Tock

  26. #26
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    tock is absolutely right, the men arrested never did anything. It was one cop who wanted to be famous so he sent them all to jail. They would have gone to prision if the aclu hadn't started asking questions.

    The point is, who are we to trust with an act like this? The answer is nobody. As we are all human, we are all prone to error. as such, being held indefinately on some idiots 'error' is not right, and it is not worth the safety of others. What if it were you, or i? I know I would want somebody to help me. and who would do that? certainly not the same government who put me away.

    this act is one of the most unconstitutional ever proposed. those who support it...well, like ben said...you dont deserve your liberty or safety. you cannot live in fear, everybody dies. i would rather die tonight with my liberty, than see my children grow up in a safe world without it. and i a man of my convictions. we must remember that we have a president, congress, and the judicial system....not a dictatorship, you dont have to buy into everything that comes out of any politicians mouth. question everything, always.

  27. #27
    symatech's Avatar
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    bump for more discussion

  28. #28
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    I don't have time to get into details right now, but sym, you and tock are WAAAYYY off base. Amazing how you even reference the drug incident with the patriot act for one thing. That whole ordeal had nothing to do with any patriot act laws.

    And, I have a close personal friend that was involved in the drug task force that was busting all of the guys up there...they were ALL guilty as hell, but the dumbass the cops were using was crooked...ended up the wrong charges were being filed for the wrong drugs, they were all druggies, just didn't get busted the right way.

    You guys kill me sometimes.

    peace,

    ttgb

  29. #29
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    I have a bigger problem with John Ashcroft being in charge of the Justice Department than the act itself. He has a very narrow view of liberty and personal freedom.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOUNCER
    Rambo, welcome to the real wald. And I have news for you, your country IS AT WAR. Islamic terrorists brought your country to war, NOT your government and you should be thanking your government for taking the fight to the terrorists camp and not fighting it on American soil. Your country is just waking up to terror whereas mine and the UK have lived with it for over 30 yrs.
    We've had similiar laws to the Patriots Act all that time, in Ireland its called 'Section 30 of the criminal justice act', under that law we have the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Proceeds of Crime act, two of the best laws we ever had for dealing with terror and organised crime. In the UK they have the Prevention of Terrorism Act to deal with their terror threat.
    Rambo, its bleeding hearted whingers that lost America the war in Vietnam, try not to mess up this one. Obviously you didn't look through the numberious video's which Rak_Ani' posted earlier yesterday showing Islams hatred of America. Stuff taken from Hamas and Hezbollah TV which the American public don't get to view, truely frightening. So what do you want to wait for before realising you've lost the war on terror?. Wait for these monsters to take their war right to the American heartland?. To put it into perspective for a moment,

    Israel has lost 1000 innocent victims to suicide bombers, a country of 6million. On the same scale England would have lost 30,000 to IRA terror and America 100 thousend. You should be thankfull of these new laws.
    yeaaaaa just spread your propaganda!

  31. #31
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    M-guy and free speach

    Its interesting that I have been trying for a very long time to get on to an Arab forum do discuss, and voice opinions, but everytime I am either denied entry or told my opinions do not subscribe to the local terrorist views.
    So it must be a true honor for a terrorist supporter such as yourself to be able to spread your brainwashed poison whenever you like.

    Viv la democracy
    Viv la freedom

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by singern
    Its interesting that I have been trying for a very long time to get on to an Arab forum do discuss, and voice opinions, but everytime I am either denied entry or told my opinions do not subscribe to the local terrorist views.
    So it must be a true honor for a terrorist supporter such as yourself to be able to spread your brainwashed poison whenever you like.

    Viv la democracy
    Viv la freedom


    IMHO, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, should be open for discussion. Various viewpoints of terrorists as well.
    It would be a heckuva lot better to discuss controversial issues in hopes of better understanding boths (and I said BOTH) sides of the issue and possibly finding a workable solution or compromise, than to just berate each other because of each other's stupidity.

    As Joseph Joubert once quipped, "It's better to discuss an issue without settling it than settling an issue without discussing it."

    -Tock

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    Quote Originally Posted by markas214
    I have a bigger problem with John Ashcroft being in charge of the Justice Department than the act itself. He has a very narrow view of liberty and personal freedom.
    Speaking of Ashcroft... hope you don't like your porn too much, 'Cause ashcroft sure don't...


    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bal...home-headlines


    Administration wages war on pornography

    Obscenity: For the first time in 10 years, the U.S. government is spending millions to file charges across the country.

    WASHINGTON - Lam Nguyen's job is to sit for hours in a chilly, quiet room devoid of any color but gray and look at pornography. This job, which Nguyen does earnestly from 9 to 5, surrounded by a half-dozen other "computer forensic specialists" like him, has become the focal point of the Justice Department's operation to rid the world of porn.

    In this field office in Washington, 32 prosecutors, investigators and a handful of FBI agents are spending millions of dollars to bring anti-obscenity cases to courthouses across the country for the first time in 10 years. Nothing is off limits, they warn, even soft-core cable programs such as HBO's long-running Real Sex or the adult movies widely offered in guestrooms of major hotel chains.

    Department officials say they will send "ripples" through an industry that has proliferated on the Internet and grown into an estimated $10 billion-a-year colossus profiting Fortune 500 corporations such as Comcast, which offers hard-core movies on a pay-per-view channel.

    The Justice Department recently hired Bruce Taylor, who was instrumental in a handful of convictions obtained over the past year and unsuccessfully represented the state in a 1981 case, Larry Flynt vs. Ohio.

    Flynt, who recently opened a Hustler nightclub in Baltimore, says everyone in the business is wary, making sure their taxes are paid and the "talent" is over 18. He says he's ready for a rematch, especially with Taylor.

    "Everyone's concerned," Flynt said in an interview. "We deal in plain old vanilla sex. Nothing really outrageous. But who knows, they may want a big target like myself."

    A recent episode of Showtime's Family Business, a reality show about Adam Glasser, an adult film director and entrepreneur in California, had him worrying about shipping his material to states more apt to prosecute. It also featured him organizing a pornographic Internet telethon to raise money for targets of prosecution.

    Drew Oosterbaan, chief of the division in charge of obscenity prosecutions at the Justice Department, says officials are trying to send a message and halt an industry they see as growing increasingly "lawless."

    "We want to do everything we can to deter this conduct" by producers and consumers, Oosterbaan said. "Nothing is off the table as far as content."

    Money and friends

    It is unclear, though, just how the American public and major corporations that make money from pornography will accept the perspective of the Justice Department and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

    Any move against mainstream pornography could affect large telephone companies offering broadband Internet service or the dozens of national credit card companies providing payment services to pornographic Web sites.

    Cable television, meanwhile, which has found late-night lineups with "adult programming" highly profitable, is unlikely to budge, and such companies have powerful friends.

    Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast, which offers "hard-core" porn on the Hot Network channel (at $11.99 per film in Baltimore), was co-chair of Philadelphia 2000, the host committee that brought the Republican National Convention to Philadelphia. In February, the Bush campaign honored Comcast President Stephen Burke with "Ranger" status, for agreeing to raise at least $200,000 for the president's re-election effort. Comcast's executive vice president, David Cohen, has close ties to Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

    Tim Fitzpatrick, the spokesman for Comcast at its corporate headquarters in Philadelphia, declined to comment on the cable network's adult programming. But officials at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, which Roberts used to chair, said adult programming is legal, relies on subscription services for access and has been upheld by the courts for years.

    "Good luck turning back that clock," said Paul Rodriguez, a spokesman for the association.

    Ashcroft vs. consent

    In a speech in 2002, Ashcroft made it clear that the Justice Department intends to try. He said pornography "invades our homes persistently though the mail, phone, VCR, cable TV and the Internet," and has "strewn its victims from coast to coast."

    Given the millions of dollars Americans are spending each month on adult cable television, Internet sites and magazines and videos, many may see themselves not as victims but as consumers, with an expectation of rights, choices and privacy.

    Ashcroft, a religious man who does not drink alcohol or caffeine, smoke, gamble or dance, and has fought unrelenting criticism that he has trod roughshod on civil liberties in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, is taking on the porn industry at a time when many experts say Americans are wary about government intrusion into their lives.

    The Bush administration is eager to shore up its conservative base with this issue. Ashcroft held private meetings with conservative groups a year and a half ago to assure them that anti-porn efforts are a priority.

    But administration critics and First Amendment rights attorneys warn that the initiative could smack of Big Brother, and that targeting such a broad range of readily available materials could backfire.

    "They are miscalculating the pulse of the community," said attorney Paul Cambria, who has gone head to head with Taylor in cases dating to the 1970s.

    "I think a lot of adults would say this is not what they had in mind, spending millions of dollars and the time of the courts and FBI agents and postal inspectors and prosecutors investigating what consenting adults are doing and watching."

    The law itself rests on the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in Miller vs. California, which held that something is "obscene" only if an average person applying contemporary community standards finds it patently offensive. But until now, it hasn't been prosecuted at the federal level for more than 10 years.

    Since the last time he faced Taylor, Flynt's empire has grown into a multimillion-dollar corporation with a large, almost conservative-looking headquarters in California, where he and executives in dark suits oversee the company's dozens of men's clubs, sex stores and more than 30 magazines.

    "He's basically crusaded against everything I've fought for for the past 30 years," Flynt said. "This is for consenting adults. They have the right to view what they want to in the privacy of their own home. And even if they don't enjoy these materials, they still don't want to be looking over their neighbors' shoulders."

    Cases and results

    Taylor, who has been involved in the prosecution of more than 700 pornography cases since the 1970s, including at the Justice Department in the late 1980s and early '90s, declined to be interviewed. But he did talk to reporters for the PBS program Frontline in 2001, when he was president of the National Law Center for Children and Families, an anti-porn group.

    "Just about everything on the Internet and almost everything in the video stores and everything in the adult bookstores is still prosecutable illegal obscenity," he said.

    "Some of the cable versions of porno movies are prosecutable. Once it becomes obvious that this really is a federal felony instead of just a form of entertainment or investment, then legitimate companies, to stay legitimate, are going to have to distance themselves from it."

    The Justice Department pursued obscenity cases vigorously in the 1970s and '80s, prosecuting not necessarily the worst offenders in terms of extreme material, but those it viewed as most responsible for pornography's proliferation.

    Oosterbaan said the department is employing much the same strategy this time, targeting not only some of the most egregious hard-core porn but also more conventional material, in an effort "to be as effective as possible."

    "I can't possibly put it all away," he said. "Results are what we want."

    The strategy in the 1980s resulted in a lot of extreme pornography - dealing in urination, violence or bestiality - going underground. Today, with the Internet, international producers and a substantial market, industry officials say there is no underground.

    Obscenity cases came to a standstill under Janet Reno, President Bill Clinton's attorney general, who focused on child pornography, which is considered child abuse and comes under different criminal statutes. The ensuing years saw an explosion of porn, so much so that critics say that Americans' tolerance for sexually explicit material rivals that of Europeans.

    That tolerance could prove to be the obscenity division's biggest obstacle. Americans are used to seeing sex, experts say, in the movies, in their e-mail inboxes and on popular cable shows such as HBO's Sex and the City. There is no real gauge of just how obscene a jury will find pornographic material.

    The majority of defendants indicted in federal courts over the past year have taken plea agreements when faced with the weight and resources of the Justice Department. More than 50 other federal investigations are under way.

    In 2001, though, one interesting case emerged from St. Charles County, Mo., the heart of Ashcroft's conservative Missouri base. First Amendment lawyer Cambria defended a video store there against state charges that it was renting two obscene videotapes that depicted group sex, anal sex and sex with objects.

    Cambria won, convincing a jury of 12 women, all between the ages of 40 and 60, that the tapes had educational value and helped reduce inhibitions. They reached the verdict in less than three hours.

    The department's most closely watched case involves "extreme" porn producer Rob Zicari and his North Hollywood company Extreme Associates. The prolific Zicari is charged with selling five allegedly obscene videotapes, which he now markets as the "Federal Five," that depict simulated rapes and murder.

    Almost reveling in the charges, Zicari's Web site says, "The most controversial company in porn today! Guess what? Controversy ... sells!"

    The case hangs on a strategic move by the Justice Department that could make or break hundreds of future cases. Instead of bringing charges in Hollywood, where Zicari easily defeated a local obscenity ordinance recently in a jury trial, department officials ordered his tapes from Pittsburgh, Pa., and charged him there, hoping for a jury pool less porn-friendly.

    Industry lawyers and top executives contend that the courts should rule that because the tapes were ordered on the Internet, the "community standard" demanded by the law should be the standard of the whole community of the World Wide Web.

    The Internet is filled with ample evidence of even more hard-core or offensive material from abroad, they say, and someone in Pittsburgh should not be able to determine what someone in Hollywood can order.

    Either way, Nguyen, father of a 2-year-old girl, and his co-workers spend their days scouring the Internet for the most obscene material, following leads sent in by citizens and tracking pornographers operating under different names. The job wears on them all, day after day, so much so that the obscenity division has recently set up in-house counseling for them to talk about what they're seeing and how it is affecting them.

    "This stuff isn't the easiest to deal with," Nguyen said recently while at his computer. "But I think we're going after the bad guys and we're making a difference, and that's what makes it worthwhile."

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