I'm sorry to have to remind you of this, but...

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it ain't getting any better in the democracy department. We have been experiencing a slow slippage from democracy to totalitarian government for quite a while now. It is only occassionally that someone stands up and says "hey! what the heck do you think you're doing!" I would suggest that those who would like to support the original idea of the constitution, support this lone voice with your own version of dissent and disgust. Do it for the heck of it. It's your constitution, people.

September 29, 1998 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- BARR EXPOSES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE POWER GRAB WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Representative Bob Barr ( GA-7 ) released today information exposing an effort by the Department of Justice to obtain massive new enforcement powers in the closing days of the 105th Congress. Barr obtained the information from a confidential source within federal law enforcement. Among other things, the Department's "wish list" for new authority includes ( among others)

A vastly expanded definition of terrorism to include domestic crimes having no relationship to terrorism. The power to seize commercial transportation assets for federal use. The ability to commander personnel from other federal agencies without reimbursement. Expanded wiretap authority to allow "roving" wiretaps, and wiretaps without any court authority. Enlarged asset forfeiture provisions to allow the FBI to seize personal property in both criminal and civil matters. The establishment of a permanent "FBI Police Force." Loosening of Posse Comitatus restrictions to allow more military involvement in domestic law enforcement. Authority to force telephone and Internet companies to divulge information on their customers.

"These requests belong in some bizarre conspiracy novel, not in serious legislative documents being circulated at the top levels of federal law enforcement. These proposals represent a sneak attack on the most cherished principles of our democracy. If they become a part of our law, freedom and privacy in America will be permanently and severely diminished," said Barr.

Barr also noted the Department and the FBI are "shopping" this wish list in an effort to get the items placed in a spending measure without hearings or debate.

-- Goldi (goldilucks@yahoo.com), October 16, 1998


See: "Has Dept. of Justice gone mad?" in the Previous Threads, General/awareness section.

-- Mike (gartner@execpc.com), October 16, 1998.

Its my understanding this has been put in the budget bill and passed.

-- Paul Davis (davsip1953@yahoo.com), October 17, 1998.


Where did you hear that? I sure want to know if it did.

-- Mike (gartner@execpc.com), October 17, 1998.


It is true. I saw a news report on CNN. Not much on details, but it was this bill and the jist of the story was that this power would be used to identify 'terrorist' groups within the U.S. What worries me that a "terrorist" can be defined as anyone who holds an opposing view of the governments position.

So much for our freedom. Most people don't even have a clue. _________________________________________________________________

-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), October 17, 1998.

Sadly, the US went towards controlling the private life of the citizen quite some time back. I think it started with what is sometimes termed the westward movement of Christ back about 140 years ago. Prior to that time, there were not many churches west of the Mississippi (yes, there were some, and there certainly were Mormons, but really widespread). This religous movement built many churches, and baptized tens of thousands. Now there is on one like a new convert in a new church to want to convert the heathen. So a positive feedback reaction developed with many lay preachers and so forth being very active in spreading their faith. With that kind of vigor, it did not take long to reach the Pacific Ocean. Then, this group of religious activists took two paths. One group became missionaries and mostly went abroad. The other group became social activists determined to stamp out unchristian attitudes in the US. This spun off in several directions but coalesced around drinking, gambling, drugs and pornography. As is usual in such cases of religious fervor, they went much too far. Prohibition was passed after many years of lobbying by fanatics - and if you read their figures on alcohol consumption in the US during the Prohibition years it was a complete and unquestioned success - by their figures average consumption was about 2 tsp per citizen - this at a time when just liquor stopped at seaports would have been a much greater amount!!! The leader of the anti-porn crusade, Alfred (or Albert?) Comstock bragged he had used his powers as postmaster general to jail many people - and had hounded a dozen to suicide or the grave. The logic used by the anti-porn people has an odd ring to us now - even though many of the laws passed by them are still on the books - erotic material leads to lust - lust leads to masturbation - masturbation leads to feeblemindedness or insanity (???!) - so pornography must be eliminated to prevent an epidemic of insanity!!! Of course we know this to be totally founded in prejudice and ignorance - but the laws are still there in many cases. As for drugs - just look at the figures given by the DEA or read your newspaper - the drug war was lost before it began - we are just still beating a dead horse. Gambling is now legal most places in one form or another, but that was not the case in 1930 or 40. This movement towards censorship and control reached its peak around 1950, but we still must deal with its aftermath - including the FACT that for many people involved in this social agenda of 'control thy neighbor' it has become a religious duty to attempt to enact and preserve these controls to protect us from ourselves and our freedom.

Need I point out that the US somehow survived many many years without all these laws protecting the citizen from him or her self? If a crime has no one who will stand up in court and say - that person by this action directly caused harm to me - how can it be a crime in a nation where the people are nominally free? Only by the fact that many people are fearful of their neighbors and their actions - and wish to limit what their neighbors can and cannot do - unmindful of the limitations this places on themselves.

Of course, to impose the will of the people - ie the prejudices of one group on everyone - requires a great deal of mechanism to support the controls. So now we will have the military enforcing drug laws, and anyone who makes a wrong number call to someone on the wire tap list will have their phone bugged without a court order. We already have laws which permit the confiscation of property at the whim of police - who merely have to charge that the victim 'fits the profile' ie the sterotype - of a drug dealer - and the victim must prove before a judge that he/she is not and never has been involved with drugs to retrive his/her property. How on earth do you prove something like that? And what happened to innocent till proven guilty? How about the laws requiring reporting of cash withdrawn from the bank? This is just one more feather on a pile of bricks.

Myself, I don't think either party wants it any other way. I started voting Libertarian in the last election - and it felt good!

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), October 17, 1998.

If you really want to read some scary stuff, take a look at:


-- Alexander Garrett (agarrett@demiurge.org), October 18, 1998.

Great thread...

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), October 20, 1998.

Great sentence in a newspaper article read this weekend, covering 2 candidates here in Iowa. One said that the candidate (the incumbent) should listen to the people of his district, who have said (in this case) that they want the Clinton impeachment proceddings brought to a speedy conclusion so that the business of running the country could proceed. The incumbent stated that this decision could NOT be made by opinion polls, which I took to mean that he felt that he was not bound to represent what his constituents wanted - that he (and other Congressmen) would make their patriarchal decisions based on what THEy felt was best for us. I was annoyed - what the heck does "representation" mean anymore, anyway? This is NOT about whether Clinton should be impeached, but could they at least keep up the PRETENSE that we, as a people, govern ourselves through our elected representatives?

-- Melissa (financed@forbin.com), October 20, 1998.

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