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Thread: The National Defense Authorization Act

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    Default The National Defense Authorization Act

    Is it really as bad as this article makes it out to be? If so it's pretty scary...

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain...mericans-face/

    or is it just misunderstood and being sensationalized?
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    It's unconstitutional and unnecessary considering that terrorism in the United States, or at least the provocative activity of the early 2000s has been deescalating since. Not to mention both Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, two main figureheads of Middle-Eastern conflict, the latter leader of "Al-Qaeda", have been reported dead; numerous associated terrorists have been captured or killed; and hostile cities in Southwest Asia have been secured by the U.S. military and other friendlies. By now, US presence is supposed to be leaving the Middle East out of a dwindling perceived need for it, and overall conflict seems to be barely existent, yet we have this Act being pushed in the name of Homeland Security. The Senate wants a law that doesn't need to be a law, at least circumstances haven't necessitated it, so why should it be passed?

    The risk is already there, it's just a matter of the military acting on their legal freedom when the Act passes, if it passes.



    Response from the White House:


    Detainee Matters:

    The Administration objects to and has serious legal and policy concerns about many of the detainee provisions in the bill. In their current form, some of these provisions disrupt the Executive branch's ability to enforce the law and impose unwise and unwarranted restrictions on the U.S. Government's ability to aggressively combat international terrorism; other provisions inject legal uncertainty and ambiguity that may only complicate the military's operations and detention practices.


    Section 1031 attempts to expressly codify the detention authority that exists under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) (the “AUMF”). The authorities granted by the AUMF, including the detention authority, are essential to our ability to protect the American people from the threat posed by al-Qa'ida and its associated forces, and have enabled us to confront the full range of threats this country faces from those organizations and individuals. Because the authorities codified in this section already exist, the Administration does not believe codification is necessary and poses some risk. After a decade of settled jurisprudence on detention authority, Congress must be careful not to open a whole new series of 2 legal questions that will distract from our efforts to protect the country. While the current language minimizes many of those risks, future legislative action must ensure that the codification in statute of express military detention authority does not carry unintended consequences that could compromise our ability to protect the American people.

    The Administration strongly objects to the military custody provision of section 1032, which would appear to mandate military custody for a certain class of terrorism suspects. This unnecessary, untested, and legally controversial restriction of the President's authority to defend the Nation from terrorist threats would tie the hands of our intelligence and law enforcement professionals. Moreover, applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the United States, as some Members of Congress have suggested is their intention, would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets. We have spent ten years since September 11, 2001, breaking down the walls between intelligence, military, and law enforcement professionals; Congress should not now rebuild those walls and unnecessarily make the job of preventing terrorist attacks more difficult. Specifically, the provision would limit the flexibility of our national security professionals to choose, based on the evidence and the facts and circumstances of each case, which tool for incapacitating dangerous terrorists best serves our national security interests. The waiver provision fails to address these concerns, particularly in time-sensitive operations in which law enforcement personnel have traditionally played the leading role. These problems are all the more acute because the section defines the category of individuals who would be subject to mandatory military custody by substituting new and untested legislative criteria for the criteria the Executive and Judicial branches are currently using for detention under the AUMF in both habeas litigation and military operations. Such confusion threatens our ability to act swiftly and decisively to capture, detain, and interrogate terrorism suspects, and could disrupt the collection of vital intelligence about threats to the American people.


    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defa...s_20111117.pdf
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    I was trying to read over the document itself but the wording is confusing and seems to contradict itself... This video clarifies the documents abilities to detain American citizens indefinitely without trial:



    And to think I voted for McCain. I take my vote back. It's a very slippery slope as the definition of "terrorist" no doubt will become very broad as needed by the military.

    Why aren't more of you concerned about this!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bardia View Post
    Why aren't more of you concerned about this!
    We can't even agree on how we're going to deal with our debt problems...our government can't even keep the economy in line, which is arguably the only real purpose of government other than self-defense. I think there's too much for people to feel overwhelmed about to care about something like this.

    Plus it's hard to care when no one cares to listen and those that do think it's the right thing to do. There are better battles to pick, perhaps in reducing our military occupations with the world, over worrying that laws have the potential to slippery slope into big brother. Anything can, Bardia. My concern with things like this is over whether we have the power to abolish these things if/when they get out of hand. And I think given the greater political freedoms this country has over much of the rest of the world, it isn't a problem.

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    I guess I am just surprised more people aren't posting saying something like "wait what's going on? Our freedom is being flushed down the toilet?"
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    lol fascism rules

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    Ha! Only a matter of time before this is implemented in Canada.

    ( Pro-tips:
    NEVER trust your neighbors, ever, even if you think you can trust them! They may be getting paid to squeal, are in debt, or have a family connection to the FBI.

    Secret police - thugs and sadists in uniform - are the lowest scum on Earth. Even if they're women. )
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    I don't like the idea, judiciaries are critical for the checks and balances to work properly. Courts are critical in determining if the actions of the executive and legislative branch are legal and allow citizens the ability to challenge the authority and charges brought against them. I don't think there is any problem with defense based legislation; such as wire tapping and detainment of terrorists, but they need a judicial review process to prevent it from being corrupt.

    I've been in a situation where I was hanging out at a parking garage between classes at university and the people owning the garage called the cops because he thought I was suspicious... I showed the guy and the cops my permit that gave me permission to use the garage all hours during the semester and I explained I lived over 30 minutes away and I was just taking an hour break between classes and hanging out at the garage in my car was a good option because by the time I drove back to my place and back I'd spend my entire time driving. Even with the permit and the logical explanation, which could have been validated reviewing my address on my DL the police still started to ask me questions. They suspected me of being suicidal, as I was "driving around aimlessly, on the top level of the garage"..... and they have had problems with someone jumping from the top of one of the other garages. So basically the cops asked me all these question to get a feel for my mental state, and eventually let me go, but it was annoying. What made it worse was I couldn't act annoyed because it made me look suicidal, when in fact I was actually annoyed at having to talk to the police when I had rightful permission to use the garage. They would say, "are you sure your not upset about anything, you seem kind of annoyed" and I was thinking "yeah because I shouldn't be dealing with this bullshit".... but you can't really tell the police that. Anyways, I bring this up because now I've begun taking pictures of the skyline of the city I'm from when I park at garages and I'm afraid a police is going to accuse me of terrorism for snapping photos of the skyline. If there wasn't some means for me to defend myself in court, I'd basically be screwed. It's not hard to build up evidence selectively to paint a portrait of someone that isn't true and it's not hard for cops to press a person to a false conviction under enough stress and coercion. Defense lawyers and judicial review are critical elements in the process, they are the only line of defense against mass hysteria spreading through society and people getting accused of things in a salem witch trial fashion -- and if the occasional guilty man goes free due to one or two corrupt defense lawyers, its worth it imo, because the overall function has a very critical role, and slight corruptions in the system are only practical and neccesarily consequences of an imperfect system maintained by human beings which make errors and fallacies. What matters is that the basic architecture of the system allows for some kind of fair equilibrium... checks and balances, which allows social harmony to exist, but does not promise it.

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    It's an unconstitutional and potentially highly dangerous piece of legislation. It cuts at the heart of what are at least our theoretical freedoms. It lays the groundwork for a police state to evolve easily and unchecked.

    As I understand it, the act also has been tied legislatively to approval of the defense budget, to add pressure for it to be signed into law.

    If it becomes law, the only legitimate channel of redress against it would be the Supreme Court. But how does a case come before that court in the first place? Typically, there has to be an effect, an abuse, that makes for a solid case. I have been told there may be some other way to petition the court about a matter such as this (anyone know what that is?). Either way, if the court refuses to hear the case, then nothing can be done to challenge it short of revolution, revolt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bardia View Post
    Is it really as bad as this article makes it out to be? If so it's pretty scary...

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain...mericans-face/

    or is it just misunderstood and being sensationalized?
    Wow, this is a pretty offensive piece of legislation. I'm surprised McCain has gone full circle from a moderate Republican to borderline fascist.

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    would someone mind summarizing what this is all about in a paragraph or two
    maybe a saint is just a dead prick with a good publicist
    maybe tommorow's statues are insecure without their foes
    go ask the frog what the scorpion knows

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allie View Post
    would someone mind summarizing what this is all about in a paragraph or two
    Sure, government thinks you are a terrorist(aka government doesn't like you). Government goes to judge. Judge says yes. You spend life in Guantanamo bay. You die.
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    LOL. They are probably preparing for some predicted national unrest.

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    So its like the cold war all over again. What the fuck...
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    I think it would be hard for some people on the street to even explain what the supreme court does, even though its an extremely critical branch of government. We're probably fucked.

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    I guess I am just surprised more people aren't posting saying something like "wait what's going on? Our freedom is being flushed down the toilet?"
    We were never free though. It was a law to go to school till you are 16. You are forced to play their little game even when you were a child.

    Here's how I see it though. The war to control my mind and make me afraid (so I keep consuming things I Don't need) and people projecting their fears onto me.... the way I see it, it's a battle that can only end by going AWOL and seeing through the veil of both government and businesses. They want you to feel conflicted over these things, when really they're one in the same. (control over another) The only really control I have is how I view things emotionally despite my physical circumstances.

    Yeah people hate on religion now but the story of Jesus is interesting because Jesus was able to remain happy even though they nailed his body to the cross and poked nails in his arms and shit. The more you try to ignore this and fight them, the more they will try to troll you - to make you feel the illusion of the world. Sometimes, all you can really do is smile and surrender control and realize that they want power because they are the ones afraid, not you. You realize that everything they're doing is an attempt to troll you and rile you up so you can be even more controlled. I will laugh at all puppeteers.

    By wanting people to be frustrated or 'emo' about this, no matter how true it is- that's falling right into their trap. I was never born into a family with power so I can only do the best that I can. And I do not really seek power over another. "Controlling others gives you power. Controlling yourself.... that is The Way.'

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    They don't have the balls to destroy the world, so they have to settle on controlling it. But that's because they believe in the 'realness' of this world instead of the illusion that it is. It would actually be healthier if they blew it up. Blowing up creates a nirvana of energy. Controlling creates a repression.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BubblesAndSpikes View Post
    We were never free though. It was a law to go to school till you are 16. You are forced to play their little game even when you were a child.
    Having to go to school is not quite the same as being labeled a terrorist for whatever reason and being taken away without trial indefinitely.

    Looks like Obama's going to sign it rather than veto it now that it has changed to give the president a little more say. RIP 6th amendment to the Bill of Rights.
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    Yes, the government can now indefinitely detain anyone who can be reasonably construed as a "terrorist". Isn't that nice?

    Most people don't care what goes on in the White House and in Congress so long as they feel they have stability and some sense of control in their lives. If "average," ordinary Americans start getting detained by this bill then some may speak up and few others still might realize what is happening, but just as long as it is just minorities or anarchists or "terrorists" who are affected then who really cares?

    The people who proposed and passed this bill have been in it for a long time, and you can fully expect them to get re-elected when the time is up for them to leave Congress. It doesn't matter what principles get subverted so long as the paradigm can be maintained.

    Fascinating, isn't it, that the government managed to gain control of the people through the very process that was supposed to keep the government in check? Ah, such is life. Perhaps we will just have to start over again at some point. It would just be a gamble to think that the dissolution and reinstallation of the government and everything it has dominion over in such a complex age would produce better results than what we have right now. It would be fun to try, sure, but once the wheel has been set in motion it cannot go in reverse, and we all have to live with whatever comes after. It's all balance and counterbalance. The main goal of a government is to try to take all the power it can, but the people it governs can ensure that that government does not form a tyranny, for the second goal of government is to ensure that it does not get dissolved. If a government can find a balance between the first and the second, then, and not be blinded by the first and paranoid by the second, then an optimal balance of interplay between the government and the governed can be achieved. So the people still hold all the power. But it is also in the people's best interests to avoid a revolution and lawlessness, at least for the immediate future. There will be perhaps be a time when everything is made right, but now is not that time, though it certainly could be.

    By the way, the idea behind involuntary public schooling is to teach people how to be good citizens to ensure they make reasonable decisions regarding voting and personal decisions and the like. Fancy that, eh?

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    lol@all this talk of "proper checks and balances" of government power. Get real.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post
    lol@all this talk of "proper checks and balances" of government power. Get real.
    I am real, you're the one assuming that simply having checks and balances will ensure things will be fair -- of course that's unrealistic, but that's not the point of having them, the point is that they exist to potentially be utilized, whether they are or are not is a totally different matter. In the same way that giving a person a scalpel doesn't automatically make them a surgeon... giving people a good architecture for a government doesn't ensure the government will actually work well, but obviously having no scalpel isn't a better position to be in when confronted with a patient who needs surgery.

    Obviously your going to argue people are not a patient that "needs surgery" and that governments shouldn't exist and instead their should be anarchy, but your missing the point, governments are essentially anarchy, order in government is an illusion, that satisfies peoples need for control over their environment socially (hence the patient analogy). Formal disestablishment of the government wouldn't change much but give certain factions greater opportunities to seize power, which will inevitable lead to those factions attempting to impose an illusion of order on people. People that think disestablishment will lead to some kind of utopian free society are shortsighted and naive imo. Anarcho-Capitalism will just lead to a kind of corporate feudalism, where the law of the land is replaced by "company policy", and instead of military and police we will have contracted mercanaries and security firms.
    Last edited by male; 12-21-2011 at 12:57 PM.

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    Keeping with the scalpel reference, government intervention is more like doing brain surgery with a baseball bat. It's like this large centralized entity that's trying to make all sorts of localized changes, yet they can only really interfere via policy. Their policy ends up effecting large portions of society, often screwing up things worse than they were originally.

    A scalpel is a much more localized instrument that's usually more signified by people making changes on a small scale.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    This analogy is bogus because scalpels actually work and do what they're designed to do—whereas government never does. Experiments in statecraft have been an abject failure for over 6,000 years now.
    K let's skip this formality, obviously I knew you were going to have contention with the analogy...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Eventually, I think future generations will wise up and statism will go the way of slavery, religion, and other big lies. But for now, we have more than enough people like you to keep evangelizing faith in the so-called "necessity of government." So, congrats I suppose.
    Lol "evangelizing the faith"..... it's not a holy war its a difference in philosophy. I'd argue social integrity has its advantages over disestablishment as long as its kept at a minimal equilibrium. A lack of integration will have its problems and over-integration will also have its problems. That's my political philosophy, please feel welcome to convince me how I'm wrong, it's not a "faith".

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    There are many ways for people to satisfy a hypothetical need for social control, without government.
    Yea I know, but overtime those other things become the government. Government isn't a material thing, its an abstract social concept created by people, it's not like government existed before people lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Though I'm not convinced that most people have a pervasive need for "social control" anyway.
    Really I find this blatantly obvious, I take it as an empirical fact from observation -- but I suppose you should explain if you don't see it that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Sure, but if you're such a big fan of checks & balances, then you should obviously welcome this change.
    Well actually I'm not a fan of disestablishment, but rather streamlining, minimalizing the government. There is a difference between both philosophies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    So? What's intrinsically wrong with that? Is political control via 'the law' somehow more virtuous than people making free-market contractual arrangements regarding their own property?
    Competition works great to drive economic efficiency well past were a beaurocracy can, but its not such a great thing when it comes to defense. Thing about it, if you have several private entities which are similar to what we have as police "aka security firms" acting in competition, that could have horendous unintended consequences. I'd argue integrity is superior to competition when it comes to defense, but economically competition is superior to integrity.

    I'm not forming my opinion on the basis of virtue but rather functionality. I don't attribute virtue to a system, but to human beings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hitta View Post
    Keeping with the scalpel reference, government intervention is more like doing brain surgery with a baseball bat. It's like this large centralized entity that's trying to make all sorts of localized changes, yet they can only really interfere via policy. Their policy ends up effecting large portions of society, often screwing up things worse than they were originally.

    A scalpel is a much more localized instrument that's usually more signified by people making changes on a small scale.
    Yea I agree -- I'd attribute that to poor architecture... I'd say the design of our government isn't horrendous, it could be better, but the main problem is the mis-implementation of that architecture. I'd further the analogy to saw the people in politics have all the tools in front of them, but they use them poorly, the use the bone saw for precision incisions and the scapel to cut through bone.... Our government obviously has the architecture for different tiers of power from local to federal, but politicians consistently over-federalize legislation, especially when it would be wiser to have certain types of legislation be locally maintained and established -- which is probably what would happen in an anarchy, people would still form communities and develop policies, agreements, services and so forth for things on a local level. It just seems like minimalization would be a quicker pathway to this, than disestablishment and rebuilding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post
    lol fascism rules
    You said it.

    Quote Originally Posted by CONFIMED View Post
    It lays the groundwork for a police state to evolve easily and unchecked.
    Yes, what next - U.S is going to turn into a ferderal state? Unthinkable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    So its like the cold war all over again. What the fuck...
    This time you're going to compete with those Americans.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Aw, c'mon now. Be kind to the faithful little statists. What're you gonna do next, tell them Santa Claus doesn't exist?
    Santa, in fact, does exist. Ask Tcaud.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Aw, c'mon now. Be kind to the faithful little statists. What're you gonna do next, tell them Santa Claus doesn't exist?
    I'm sure you have been in this discussion over 9000 times, but what makes you think society could would work better in anarchy than it would in government?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nil View Post
    I'm sure you have been in this discussion over 9000 times, but what makes you think society could would work better in anarchy than it would in government?
    Ask him why didn't he move to Somalia yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Why wouldn't it? It's already self-obvious that government makes society demonstrably worse in many ways. That taxes are too high, spending is horribly inefficient and wasteful, politicians are corrupt and self-serving, legislatures pass too many stupid laws and regulations that backfire with unintended consequences, police are invasive and petty tyrants, and so on. Stuff that's already considered common knowledge by most, nothing revelatory here.
    That's right, nothing new here. Speaking about taxes, spending and so on, that is. Only issue I see is its implementation.

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    American authority figures are paranoid as fuck and have no sense of common decency. Its like a doctor going to an American airport and getting his scalpel confiscated because it could be used as a weapon. Lol. Hes a fucking doctor, trust the man already. I mean its a random example but this is generally the attitude of American authirity figures in general: suspect everyone and show how suspicious you are, better yet now, detain them against their family's wishes despite the fact there is no actual proof of having done anything wrong(laws are meant to punish not prevent, though since 9/11 paranoia has taken the upper hand to the point that this has been forgotten) in the name of "public safety". Give me a fucking break. Im glad I moved out of America and dont plan on ever moving back for these reasons precisely; authroity figures are assholes with immunity, you are guilty of everything because you are not in their position of enforcement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Shrug. Blame Obama, apparently it was his idea:
    Maybe he wants to steal voted from the republicans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BionicElmo View Post
    We can't even agree on how we're going to deal with our debt problems...our government can't even keep the economy in line, which is arguably the only real purpose of government other than self-defense. I think there's too much for people to feel overwhelmed about to care about something like this.

    Plus it's hard to care when no one cares to listen and those that do think it's the right thing to do. There are better battles to pick, perhaps in reducing our military occupations with the world, over worrying that laws have the potential to slippery slope into big brother. Anything can, Bardia. My concern with things like this is over whether we have the power to abolish these things if/when they get out of hand. And I think given the greater political freedoms this country has over much of the rest of the world, it isn't a problem.
    These supposed "priorities" are a form of msidirection to real problems like this one - Im not saying the crisis isnt a real problem, but whats more important your freedom who your founding fathers and many others gave their blood for, or your government's debt?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Or the Republicrat duopoly is getting brazenly sloppy now, and not even bothering to sustain the usual theatrics anymore that any effective difference exists between the two.
    Yeah, and unfortunately that intricate illusion is the only thing that allows the current system to be effective in any way.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    The "reservations" in question are really not in the bill itself, but in the Obama administration's claimed application of it; ie if he leaves ofice who knows what kind of power abuse this would lead to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Typhon View Post
    The "reservations" in question are really not in the bill itself, but in the Obama administration's claimed application of it; ie if he leaves ofice who knows what kind of power abuse this would lead to.
    Yea that's the scary thing. Obama may be well intentioned and not abuse his power to indefinitely detain US citizens but he's opened the door for every future president to do so.
    “No psychologist should pretend to understand what he does not understand... Only fools and charlatans know everything and understand nothing.” -Anton Chekhov

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    Now that I have read what's it all about I have to admit that this is fucking sick, seriously.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Stop spreading the lies that this is a Obama thing. It's not like a veto is meaningful against a 90+ yes to less then 10 no vote.

    There's a lot of rhetoric flying around about this and everyone is trying to pin the blame, this is just another neocon power grab. Stop watching Fox news people

    If it was a Obama backed bill, it wouldn't get past a congress that is playing politics the way it has been, where the debt ceiling debate resulted in a downgrade of American credit due to GOP political tactics. The only way to get anything passed in congress without that kind of political wrangling if its a Republican backed bill.

    Anyways, the bill sucks, and congress right now as a whole kinda of sucks. But the people that really really suck are these hypocritical small government conservatives who basically vote for any expansion of governmental Power as long as it doesn't cost their rich buddies any money. Basically, the scum of the world that has caused the downfall of many a great society. If you want your society to thrive, you work hard, you bring people up, you make the world a better place for everyone, you don't suck up to the rich and powerful for crumbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    Stop spreading the lies that this is a Obama thing. It's not like a veto is meaningful against a 90+ yes to less then 10 no vote.

    There's a lot of rhetoric flying around about this and everyone is trying to pin the blame, this is just another neocon power grab. Stop watching Fox news people.
    I thought it was pretty obvious from the vote count in the senate for this thing that both parties are on board. Our wonderful presidential candidate reject McCain spear headed it and Obama signed it. Both parties are equally guilty in my eyes.
    “No psychologist should pretend to understand what he does not understand... Only fools and charlatans know everything and understand nothing.” -Anton Chekhov

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Looks like hkkmr missed the memo:



    Just to reiterate, the language in the bill authorizing the detainment of US citizens WAS taken out of the bill, but Obama pushed to have it put back in.
    The language that was removed would have made it so that the only form of permanent detention possible for detainment of US Citizens would have been military detention. Do you want language that would have allowed only military detention of terrorism suspects even if they were American citizens. The whole bill is crap, but don't get the idea that indefinite detention isn't already happening, just be a computer hacker. The difference is military detention of US citizens is a totally different form of tyranny, and ultimately a far worse consequence and the language was made so that the only mechanism of indefinite detention would have been military detention against US Citizens.

    The indefinite detention of terrorism suspects has been in place since 2001 but by the military. See Guantanamo Bay.

    Simplified Version

    Bill with Amendment = Military Detention: Yes Civilian Detention: No
    Bill without Amendment = Military Detention: Yes Civilian Detention: Yes

    You want the option to have the Civilian Detention be possible, no matter how onerous the bill. Spin it however you want, but I don't see a situation where military detention is preferable to civilian detention from a civil rights perspective.

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Just wait'll this one passes: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-3166

    Another fun bill for everyone to watch.
    IMO, currently America is a country ruled by fear. Fear of terrorists, fear of universal health care, fear of civil liberties being taken away, fear of government, fear of debt. A lot of people just react to the world around them without a cohesive direction or plan for how their society should look. It's the kind of general aimless that occurs when you've reached the top and there's nobody left to copy and improve upon. America's gotta fall a bit before it rises again.

    Rising developmental societies generally just have to copy someone that's doing it good, then improve, that's a much more reliable task.

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