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The Mind Reels
August 29, 2004 8:55 AM   Subscribe

What is the justice department trying to censor in the ACLU's case against the Patriot Act? Anything they feel like, apparantly, including quotes from The Supreme Court. [via boingboing]
posted by ursus_comiter (42 comments total)

 
Ostensibly, they would use their powers of censorship only to remove material that truly could jeopardize US operations. But in reality, what did they do? They blacked out a quotation from a Supreme Court decision:

"The danger to political dissent is acute where the Government attempts to act under so vague a concept as the power to protect 'domestic security.' Given the difficulty of defining the domestic security interest, the danger of abuse in acting to protect that interest becomes apparent."

posted by ursus_comiter at 8:57 AM on August 29, 2004


At what point will you admit to yourself that you live in a police state? In four years Bush gone a long way toward making this the Soviet States of America. What happened to Democracy?
posted by fleener at 9:16 AM on August 29, 2004


fleener, hopefully, you'll see the end of this eraerror in November. Democracy'll come back--it's like a pendulum thing.
posted by amberglow at 9:24 AM on August 29, 2004


Here's the thing I was wondering about when I saw this -- where's the proof? It's obvious that that text was just typed back over the redacted area -- it's not in line with the rest of the document and there's a typo -- so how do we know what it actually said there? I could've typed "George W. Bush witnessed John Kerry shooting an unarmed Cambodian teenager in the back while doing a bump of coke off the genitals of a hog" in that space. Do we just have to trust the Memory Hole's track record?

I mean, make no mistake, this sounds like prime USDA-certified Ashcroft to me. But any idiot with MS Paint could've made that image (and judging by the typo, any idiot with MS Paint did). What am I missing?
posted by logovisual at 10:17 AM on August 29, 2004


Hmm -- just saw that this was the ACLU link, not the Memory Hole's, but still -- a.), what kind of typists do they have working for them (there's two typos in the complete PDF), and b.), where's the gravy? I'd love to be able to slip this one into my "See? SEE what they're doing to our country?" file, but it's just too easy to discredit if you were determined to do so.
posted by logovisual at 10:20 AM on August 29, 2004


How is it easy to discredit? It's fact.

The republicans have been "discrediting" everything under the sun simply by using "talking points" and swarming Bid Media with speakers. Repeat a lie often enough and we assume it's the truth. The problem here is, we're talking about a matter of public record.

But yeah, I guess you're right. Big Media has shown no interest in covering the administration's lies. Hell, anyone paying attention knew there were no WMD long before we went to war. What's the big surprise? You're only surprised if your only information source is America's corporate media.
posted by fleener at 10:35 AM on August 29, 2004


you'll see the end of this error in November. Democracy'll come back--it's like a pendulum thing.

Your partisanship is getting in the way of your brain.
posted by trharlan at 10:53 AM on August 29, 2004


In four years Bush gone a long way toward making this the Soviet States of America. What happened to Democracy?

Yes! The USA PATRIOT ACT was solely Bush's doing. And more democracy will solve the problem!

The USA PATRIOT Act passed the Senate by a vote of 98-1.
posted by trharlan at 10:57 AM on August 29, 2004


trharlan, the Patriot Act is the TIP OF THE ICEBERG. Hell, it's an oddly placed pebble on the iceberg. Where have you been these past four years?
posted by fleener at 11:08 AM on August 29, 2004


Russ Feingold for president!
posted by homunculus at 11:24 AM on August 29, 2004


Your partisanship is getting in the way of your brain.
If i really was that partisan, i'd agree with Kerry on the Patriot Act--i most certainly do not, and think it should all be rolled back. Secrecy and unaccountability are not hallmarks of a healthy society.
posted by amberglow at 11:25 AM on August 29, 2004


Well fleener, one thng we know for certain is that trharlan NEVER lets his partisanship get in the way of his brain [cough] wherever it is he's been. Nope, not trharlan, NEVER. Gotta have one first.
posted by nofundy at 11:26 AM on August 29, 2004


At what point will you admit to yourself that you live in a police state?

Well, I guess when it actually happens. There may be many shitty things in the PATRIOT act and it's ilk, but the USA is far from being a police state, and crying "Wolf" about it may just make people more jaded than motivated to change it.

Are we as free as we should be. No. Is there work to be done? Yes. Is the US a police state? No.
posted by Ayn Marx at 11:30 AM on August 29, 2004


WaPo article about this case: U.S. Uses Secret Evidence In Secrecy Fight With ACLU
posted by homunculus at 11:32 AM on August 29, 2004


No police state here. And FOX is fair and balanced. And GWB is strong and courageous while Kerry is a coward and a traitor. And black is white. And two plus two is five.

"And at last he learned to love Big Brother." - the final sentence of Rove's instruction manual
posted by nofundy at 11:33 AM on August 29, 2004


Don't you see the disconnect, amberglow?

Someone makes a post about abuses of the Patriot Act.

You write that "you'll see the end of this (error) in November."

I point out that no, you won't see an end to these abuses.

You write that you do not "agree with Kerry on the Patriot Act."

So, are you ready to admit that you won't see an end to the government's war on civil liberties, even if Kerry is elected?

Because it's the only logical conclusion.
posted by trharlan at 11:35 AM on August 29, 2004


nofundy, if your willful ignorance is so pervasive that you cannot see that Kerry will trample over the constitution, just as Dubya has done, it makes perfect sense that noting and mocking my "partisanship" is the best you can do.
posted by trharlan at 11:38 AM on August 29, 2004


A lot of people pointed out potential problems with the Patriot Act prior to its enactment, but voting against it looked tantamount to political suicide at the time. It was a climate of fear. The one good thing about the act is that it is not permanent, although Ashcroft is working to change that. The funny thing is, the sort of silly abuses occurring in the ACLU suit only make it less likely that Ashcroft will succeed in having the act made permanent.
posted by caddis at 11:42 AM on August 29, 2004


Pass the popcorn! My favorite part of the script is the bit where members of the political opposition and media get hit by anthrax a few days before the vote (which passes in a panicked blur) - and then the anthrax turns out to have come from a US bio-warfare lab, and then the investigation stalls and no-one is even arrested - ever! And then the <comment redacted>.
posted by dinsdale at 11:47 AM on August 29, 2004


fleener, the USA PATRIOT Act is the broadest and most inclusive rollback of Civil Liberties since WWII. It was passed by everyone in the Senate except Russ Feingold (and whoever it was that abstained). And you imply that democracy is on its way out? The Act is a product of democracy! With every passing day, Tocqueville's warnings of "democratic despotism" look more prescient.

And while Bush was certainly complicit in its passage and implementation, it's nothing short of foolish to cast blame at him while letting 98-99% of the Senate (including John Kerry!) off scot-free.

Political and intellectual honesty abdicated threads like these long ago.
posted by trharlan at 11:55 AM on August 29, 2004


trharlan: if Bush is reƫlected, the assault on our liberties will not cease. If Kerry is elected, the assault on our liberties might cease (or maybe it'll just slow down a little). Sure, Kerry might turn out to be Satan Incarnate, and to install people even worse than Ashcroft, Rove, et al., but maybe he won't. He's not the perfect cadidate, in my eyes; your point about his voting for the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act is valid. But he's a better gamble than sticking with what we have now.
posted by hattifattener at 12:03 PM on August 29, 2004


trharlan, Kerry's also said he'll rollback some of the more draconian and unamerican parts, and review all of it (go to "civil liberty")...I think that much, if not all of it, will expire and not be renewed under Kerry's watch, unlike if Bush stays in. That's more than a start.
posted by amberglow at 12:11 PM on August 29, 2004


Trharlan , don't waste your time. There is no use for logic around here.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:32 PM on August 29, 2004


If by logic you mean rigorous assertion, then yes.
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:43 PM on August 29, 2004


John Kerry in his addition to his Patriot Act vote has voted for and sponsored much legislation tending to weaken civil liberties.
posted by caddis at 12:45 PM on August 29, 2004


noting and mocking my "partisanship"
Your argument (about the culpability of all of the fed politicos) has validity but I was not about to let your partisan statement go unchallenged, especially considering the lengths you go to to defend partisan crap

Metafilter: No Use For Linnwood Styled Logic Here.
posted by nofundy at 12:50 PM on August 29, 2004


"The mind reels at such a blatant abuse of power (and at the sheer chutzpah of using national security as an excuse to censor a quotation about using national security as an excuse to stifle dissent). "

My mind reels at the pettiness of it. Whoever had this blacked out is using their power in the most infantile way. It's more like schoolyard bullying than a police state.
posted by homunculus at 1:30 PM on August 29, 2004


I was not about to let your partisan statement go unchallenged, especially considering the lengths you go to to defend partisan crap

I didn't think that I made any partisan statements in this thread. Would you mind identifying it (them) for me?

And the lengths I go to to defend partisan crap? You want to back that up?
posted by trharlan at 1:40 PM on August 29, 2004


I personally think that, if left unhindered, the Kerry administration would most likely continue rubber-stamping legislation that limits civil liberties. So I'm obviously going to bicker about how all candidates are the same except for a few marginal third parties who fall far from the center.

Of course I'm not, guys. Because I think that a Kerry-appointed administration would read the damn newspapers and would stick their heads into the air (instead of burying them in the sand) and evaluate the public dialog at some point, leading to a reevaluation of the laws. Do I have evidence for this? Well, the candidate himself was a member of a grassroots organization at one point, and I haven't seen any signs that lead me to believe he's going to appoint an Ashcroft-like guy that'll lecture morality about what I'm doing in the privacy of my home.

I'll miss the entertaining rogue's gallery that the current regime likes to term a cabinet and advisors, but hey, they're not returning my phone calls and sometimes you've gotta move on.
posted by mikeh at 1:43 PM on August 29, 2004


trharlan ... the would be emperor has no clothes ... and yet, when people like you and i point it out, the insistent refrain is inevitably "kerry is less naked than bush" ... the utter truth is both democrats and republicans have been eroding our civil liberties for years

in fact, an argument could be made that kerry will dare to erode them faster because he's "one of us", a "liberal"

i'm voting for someone i know will roll back our coming police state
posted by pyramid termite at 3:41 PM on August 29, 2004


in fact, an argument could be made that kerry will dare to erode them faster because he's "one of us", a "liberal"

that would be an argument unsupported by any facts or evidence, especially since Kerry's own civil liberties were violated repeatedly as an antiwar protestor.
posted by amberglow at 3:49 PM on August 29, 2004


I love how Kerry can be simultaneously criticized for being "the most liberal member of the senate", "a flip flopper" and "just as bad as bush". Which is it for fuck's sake? That pretty much covers teh spectrum.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:53 PM on August 29, 2004


amberglow ... the evidence is plain ... kerry voted for the iraq war and the patriot act ... and yet, it's bush that gets the criticism for these policies, not kerry ... kerry gets a free pass for these things already ... if he is president, he will continue to get one

space coyote ... a candidate that spoke clearly wouldn't be percieved as being all over the spectrum
posted by pyramid termite at 7:21 PM on August 29, 2004


pyramid, whose ideas were Iraq and the Patriot Act?
Get real. If Kerry had thought up those sorry ideas, he'd be responsible. You've obviously forgotten the fact that basically no one felt free at the time to vote against the Patriot Act due to the post-9/11 climate and threats about dissent being unpatriotic, and the Iraq vote was NOT to rush to war right away like an imbecile. Keep spinning, Rush.
posted by amberglow at 7:27 PM on August 29, 2004


Nothing is going to change as long as the government is invested in creating a climate of fear. I trust Kerry on civil liberties more than I trust Bush, but even if he's elected - if the climate of fear persists (or is nurtured), then there will be enormous pressures on Kerry to keep things like the PATRIOT Act in place just to avoid seeming "weak on countering the terrorist threat." I don't trust Kerry enough to think he'd stand strong under that kind of political pressure, and certainly not in the first four years of a Kerry Administration. Nevertheless, I think there's a possibility of improvement under Kerry, and none at all under Bush.
posted by Chanther at 8:36 PM on August 29, 2004


Kerry's getting a free pass because he hasn't been elected yet. After November, and especially after January, people on the left will dare to be a lot less united and a lot more critical of the man. Right now, ABB is the front runner and clear favorite, and most leftists do not want to mess that up.
posted by skoosh at 11:14 PM on August 29, 2004


Kerry didn't vote for the war, anyway. He voted for a series of conditions which needed to be met before war would be considered, and the Bush people went right ahead and went to war the first chance they could. Not the same thing. At any point Kerry could put this to bed by saying "my mistake was taking the president at his word".
posted by Space Coyote at 4:42 AM on August 30, 2004


no one felt free to vote against the patriot act? ... how could they when they value freedom so little? ... if kerry doesn't feel free to make a tough decision from principle, what kind of president is he going to be?

i knew bush would use this resolution as an "ok" to invade iraq whether the conditions were met or not ... if kerry didn't know it, he's too naive to be president

so, when did kerry say he was going to end the war? ... oh, right, when he gets the other countries of the world to finish it for us ... hmm, maybe he IS naive

sorry, but the man just hasn't done or said anything that would cause me to vote for him ... in fact, the democrats are as much a part of the problem as the republicans are
posted by pyramid termite at 5:24 AM on August 30, 2004


pyramid, whose ideas were Iraq and the Patriot Act?
Get real. If Kerry had thought up those sorry ideas, he'd be responsible.
- amberglow

Kerry didn't vote for the war, anyway. - Space Coyote

For the amount of complaining this site does for Bush apologists, I'm surprised at the amount of Kerry-apologists this site has.

Kerry is responsible for the Patriot Act because he voted for it. Had he read the damn thing and had an ounce of conviction, perhaps he would have spoken out against it. No matter how YOU spin it, Kerry's record speaks for itself.

And Kerry did vote for the war, and three weeks ago, he announced categorically that he would have gone to Iraq anyway, knowing what he knows now. How stupid a man is he, really, after absolutely no imminent threat from Saddam, no WMDs, etc...that he would still preemtively attack Iraq?

He may be a better alternative to Bush, but not by much if we're talking about the War on Iraq or Terrorism. Better stick to consistent qualities, like being in favor of stem-cell research, being pro-choice, and raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:57 AM on August 30, 2004


"In all probability he would have launched a military invasion with the support of the rest of the world by now."

Are you basing your ideas about whether or not Kerry would have gone to war as well on this statement by Rubin (national security adviser to Kerry)? Rubin just a few days ago apologized for making that statement, they were his words and not Kerry's: "I never should have said the phrase 'in all probability' because that's not Kerry's position and he's never said it," Rubin said in a statement. "That was my mistake."

three weeks ago, he announced categorically that he would have gone to Iraq anyway, knowing what he knows now

No. That's not what he said, though it's a nice twisting of the situation. What he has said, and what he has continually said is that he would have still voted to give Bush the authority to start military action if it was found to be needed ... which is different from directly voting to go to war. There never was a vote about whether or not to go to war, only a vote to allow the President to do what needed to be done, IF it needed to be done. As Space Coyote said, Kerry took the President at his word that he wasn't going to rush off to war, that he was going to have the support of world leaders before doing so, that proof of "imminent danger" was to be found correct, and that he was going to try every other option first. As soon as Bush had the authority to do as he wished, he trotted us off to war. I'm not seeing how we can blame a senator for trusting the President to make the right choice or for starting a war. Bush started this one all on his own.
posted by Orb at 10:33 AM on August 30, 2004


What he has said, and what he has continually said is that he would have still voted to give Bush the authority to start military action if it was found to be needed ... which is different from directly voting to go to war. There never was a vote about whether or not to go to war, only a vote to allow the President to do what needed to be done, IF it needed to be done.

Right. KNOWING WHAT WE KNOW NOW, he would still give Bush authority.

Am I the only one who would NEVER give Bush the authority, knowing how much he's lied/covered-up regarding this situation already? Prison scandal, no threat, no weapons, no al-queda link, no imminent danger, and Kerry would STILL give Bush authority to go to war, if necessary? No, no Kerry-apologists here...
posted by BlueTrain at 10:47 AM on August 30, 2004


At what point will you admit to yourself that you live in a police state? In four years Bush gone a long way toward making this the Soviet States of America. What happened to Democracy? - fleener

Actually...this trend towards authoritarianism goes well beyond Bush. As does the seemingly innate dichotomy deadlock in which the American political system seems to be mired.

I would venture to say that the Us vs Them, Red vs Blue state, "liberals as a bad word" vs "hearth, God and country" can be directly traced to the Vietnam war and Richard Nixon's exhortations to the public about it.

As an example, I give you one of the amazingly well programmed memetic messages ever propagated by a modern American president : The Appeal to the Silent Majority speech, "...for the more divided we are at home, the less likely the enemy is to negotiate...".

In a single speech, Nixon was able to turn the country's discontent and discordance about about Vietnam into anger at the protestors and others who disagreed with his administration. "Those damn hippies and protestors are stopping us from ending the war." Sheer. Unadulterated. Memetic. Genius. Evil...oh sure, I'll grant you evil...but genius none the less.

The fallout, as the meme propagated, is the entrenchment of the "We vs Them" ideal. And because each side is so insular and so antagonist to the opposing side, they become...for lack of a better word...inbred. They feed on themselves...chewing up, digesting, shitting and chewing up the same information and ideas and rote thought patterns until logic no longer plays a part in the process. They repeat the rote messages that they are given. They no longer think about the message.

And thus, when old ideas are recycled...but dangerously polluted with shit, the messengers will still put in on a silver platter and offer it up like a platonic delicacy rather than recognizing what it is; an recycled idea, polluted with shit, and dressed up for company.

The USA PATRIOT Act, is an example. Only those creatures insulated in their own polluted thought loops could possibly have voted for something that to the common man seems like an egregious invasion of privacy and a direct violation of the "feel" as it were of the US. And they voted for it without reading it. Because the message came through the appropriate digestive system, they obeyed their programming and voted for it.

Oooof, this started to get really long...and was working it's way towards full blown rant. I'll just save that for my own blog rather than proposing revolution on Mefi. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 1:11 PM on August 30, 2004


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