T Nation

Is this the type of government you want???

This scares the shit out of me that this new bill has this kind of power. The very infringement on personal freedoms I have been warning you are coming.

In the old days, we used to complain about INS that they have too much
power, such as searching your home no warrant needed. Now a day with
Patriot Act, it’s worst. They can strip you off in the public in any day.
Listen to this message and compare. Just FYI.

----- Original Message -----

On April 23, 2003, Secret Service agents visited Oakland High and
interrogated two 16 year-old male students in connection with comments
they had allegedly made during a classroom discussion concerning
President Bush and the U.S. Government’s role in Iraq.

The Secret Service was called the day before because the teacher felt the
students’ statements could be interpreted as threats to the President.
The students were each subjected to intimidating interrogation for 45
minutes to an hour each and were told they had no rights because of what
they had supposedly said. When one of the students asked if he had to
talk to the agents now, could he talk to them later with a lawyer
present, the student said one of the agents told him, “We own you, if you
don’t talk to us now, and we find out you haven’t told us everything,
we’ll put you MF’s in federal prison. This is the beginning of the end
for you.” The students were asked all kinds of questions about their home
life as well as things like, “Are you a terrorist?” And their families -
Mien & Vietnamese - were threatened with deportation if the students
didn’t cooperate. All of this was in the presence of the principal, who
made no attempt to contact parents or advise students of their right to
remain silent or seek legal counsel.

We deplore this blatant infrigement of students’ free speech & academic

Students have a right to discuss their opinions on any subject without
the fear of reprisal or threats of arrest from law enforcement. We will
not allow the atmosphere of repression against dissent and immigrants to
pervade our schools and community.

The city of Oakland, along with 92 other cities in the country, has
passed a resolution against the Patriot Act. Be it resolved that in the
spirit of that resolution and in opposition to the atmosphere of
repression against dissent, we call for any file related to this event to
be stricken from students’ records. We further call on the OEA to support
these students in the spirit of academic freedom and upholding their
human and civil rights. And we call on the school district to honor the
rights of students at all times, including the right to remain silent, to
have parental representation, and to have legal counsel.

Larry Felson & Cassie Lopez,
OEA reps, Oakland High

That is scary, and unbelievable if a band that I work with didn’t have the same thing happen to them recently.

A bandmember of Spearhead recently had 2 FBI agents visit his parent’s house, at which time the agents showed pictures of the band playing at a rally and asked if his parents knew anything of the group’s political activities, and basically demanded them to be “informers”, scaring them needlessly.

Something tells me that we’re not getting the whole story here. We don’t even know what it was that these individuals said. Could you please elaborate and give us the whole story before you start with your “free speech” rhetoric?

I am not so easily pursuaded…

 completely agree. What is this now, Iraq? Motherfuckers dont even try to insinnuate I dont have the right to a lawyer, or to remain silent - my miranda rights.

  If this is true, and we lose our rights, something BIG would be blowing up very soon.

Roy, I’m not calling you a liar but there seems to be more to this story than just a few high school students taking about Bush and the government. Not to mention that this happened in a very liberal part of the U.S. Where did you get this information? This is an honest question and I’m just wondering about the source.

Sorry, I don't share everyone's paranoia regaring the Patriot Act. I know I have nothing to worry about. But, if by chance, the Gestapo breaks down my door during the night any time soon I'll be sure to post my experience on this board.

That sounds like you live in a totalitarian state. In the old Soviet Union, being anti-Soviet was a crime. Same with Brazil. Were those people in (or those kids @ that school) really against Russia or Brazil? I doubt it. They were only opposed to the policies of the State. If anything, they want the best for the people of the country. So really, they’re PRO-American & so on. Here in Canada, if somebody wrote an article called The Anti-Canadians or something, exposing the people who are opposed to the government, people would laugh! People even mock & make jokes about the government & nothing happens. But in a society that has no conception of democracy, something like that becomes anti-Americanism. It’s a device used to prevent the heresy of honesty of applying to ourselves the same standards we apply to others.

I don’t know the family directly, but a dear friend of mine who lives in that area knows them. He claims that the very THOUGHT of those two being considered terrorists was completely insane.

My friend has been much more rigorously interviewed and screened because he is a high-energy physicist in Berkely working for the national lab, building all sorts of wild shit. Anyway, they keep really close tabs on him, and his a blue-eyed, blond haired, born and raised in the South guy (who just happens to be brilliant).

I have gotten off my topic. I wasn’t there so cannot personally attest to its legitimacy, but my friend has never lied to me over stuff like this. My main point is, if such things are to become the way things are, how much more of this are you willing to take?

Personally, I don’t want to live in Isreal, where you are simply accustomed to seeing assault tanks in neighborhoods. I want more police, but I don’t want to live in a police state. If only that nationwide cut that reduces the number of police and firefighters had not gone through, right when that big tax break to the top % was also going through. Our Intel tells us that the next attack on our country isn’t “if”… Its “when”. So what do we do? Cut back on police men and give a bunch of wallstreet rich MFs a nice big bonus in the form of a tax break. The money has to come from somewhere to give those rich people more money, so it came from pensions of police, and cutbacks in staff. But hey, those guys with all the money, they are going to spend it in this ecomony, and that is going to boost us right back on the top of the world.

I’ll bet you a dollar that MY business does not benefit from all the money being pumped into business. I will have to do what I have always done. Survive until I finally reach a point where my family can thrive! This is my year to shine, no thanks to the geniouses that penalize us for being stupid enough to attempt to own our own business.

Sorry for the thread hijacking but…

Roy: You are probably correct when you say that the tax break will not benefit your business despite the supposed trickle down effect. Most of the capital freed up by the tax break will in all likelyhood go overseas where investment opportunities are riper for the same reason it’s doing so now. The US dolar is entering peso-land relative to the Euro and other currencies because the US is such an unatractive environment for investment right now. Normally weak currencies help spur exports, which trickles wealth into the rest of the economy while encouraging domestic investment, but in this case the effects of such will probably be quite limited due to the general lack of growth opportunities in the US market associated with years of overinvestment. Also, despite low interest rates, eventually much of that freed up capital will have to finance itself and the booming defecit.

As for the patriot act issue, have you read about patriot II?

Sounds to me as if the FBI was using intimidation tactics. I do not believe there is any law that says that the FBI must tell the truth. All that they were required to do was read their Miranda rights before any interrogation. After that they can say anything they want. Being minors (I assume,) I don’t know how this affects if they could be interrogated or not.

I have decided a while ago that if I am ever arrested, I will only say one thing. “I refuse to talk until I speak to a lawyer first.” I will lock this statement into my brain and make no other statement.

No law supercedes a constitutional right, and people have the right not to incriminate themselves. But I don’t believe this can keep any law enforcement official from trying. The strongest power law enforcement has is ignorance. These techniques work best on younger people.

The real questions to ask are:

  1. Were there any rights actually violated?
  2. Did the kids give a truthful account of events? Or are they just trying to make the FBI look bad?
  3. What did they say in class? Did the teacher overreact? Did the teacher give an accurate account of statements to the FBI?

We have to be careful to make any assumptions. People don’t realize that most of what they know is wrong. I actually though of writing a book called “Everything you know is wrong.” Unfortunately the title has recently been used. Then again book and movie titles are not copyrightable, so any title can be used repeatedly. (Bet you didn’t know that.)

Oh yeah, speaking of bet, I’ll take that dollar bet. I agree with tax cuts. (Not big enough though.) The proof is out there. The 90’s boom was fueled by a capitol gains tax cut. The 80’s boom was helped by a similar thing. (Although capitol gains was raised at that point.) The biggest problem I have with the current administration is their inability to cut any spending, and even to increase it. Family fortunes have been ruined because of uncontrolled spending, and the government is not immune to the effects of being unable to control ones own budget.

Regardless, good luck in your business.

This is disinformation in my opinion. You have only given us part of the story thus distorting the truth. We are lucky to have Government agencies that are protecting us from terrorism-so take the bad with the good and TELL THE WHOLE STORY!

Roy, your friend may be referring to his own security clearance process when he talks about being questioned. As far as those two schoolboys are concerned, the whole story is hard to believe. No one cares what schoolboys say, especially the teachers and admin staff. While it is against the law to directly threaten the president, remarks about wanting a new president or not liking the existing one are not threats. They are what the First Amendment is all about. Some documentation seems appropriate.

You are aware that expressing a wish to assassinate the president is a federal offense, correct? This is a well-known exception to freedom of speech. I don’t know what the students said, but if they get taken to a normal court, they surely don’t have to worry. Anything they said will have to be stricken from the record. Btw, are these students actually citizens, or on visa?

The patriot act does certainly give too much power… and the idea of abusing 1984’s material witness law is downright shameful. But let’s have all the facts, first.

You are correct, that was his own clearance. It was really late when I typed my last message, and I was typing while fighting back fatigue (should have just dragged my happy ass off to bed). My friend was fully investigated, and they even came to interview me. They asked me questions like “have you ever heard [blank] say anything against the US?” or “do you consider [blank] to be a patriot?” It was a little spooky. He knew to expect it though. He has to have a high level of security clearance to work in the national physics lab.

The children were full US citizens. I don’t know exactly what they said, but even if they had said some comment against the president, they shouldn’t have been treated that way. They should have had their parents or an attorney present. The principal should have called their parents to let them know what was happening. As a parent myself, I would have been outraged.

I have not read Patriot II… can you give me some highlights, or send me a link? Is is a watered down version of the first act, or is it worse? Personally I feel that it smacks of McCarthyism.

Mage, I am not as educated as you in the finer workings of economics, but I just know that I pay a ridiculous amount of taxes, then there is every kind of insurance you can think of, then there are city and state taxes, fees, workmans comp, and more. I have been in business for over 10 years, and I have become more and more jaded about the government (both under Dem and Rep) than ever. I think half the fees I pay are nothing short of legalized racketeering!

As far as Bush is concerned though, I don’t have the same belief that he is giving a tax break to the top 5% for the benefit of the middle class. You don’t cut taxes AND increase spending. That is just math that doesn’t add up. I am all for paying less in taxes, but that tax cut won’t affect me personally. I don’t like to see Police men and firefighters cut, and veterans pensions cut. I think that is wrong.

Whew… this thread has topics all over the place. Sorry! :slight_smile:

 I posted my last reply without thinking.

 Exactly what did the kids say? This is the US. Regardless of waht they may have you believe, you will always have your rights.
 My opinion is that they were in fact using intimidation tactics - and that they had a very good reason to use them so harshly. We're talking about the president of the United States. If two guys, regardless of age, make comments that show they are planning to kill GWB, and that they're very serious about it, and have the resources about it - then its understandable the FBI would have a sense of great urgency in getting any and every piece of info from those two kids, even though, by law they have to advise them of their miranda rights. After they give them their Miranda rights, they can use deception, intimidation... they can say they have witnesses, and have found a plan of attack to kill Bush, and that they've been spying on them all along; they can tell them they can have it easier by simply confessing, or have it harder by going through a lengthy court process, which will give them a much harsher sentence, possibly the death sentence, as Im sure writing out a plan and planning to execute the killing of the President of the US is a capital offence. They can say all that regardless of wether the kids are innocent and were only joking or not. It happens all the time in your local, state, federal police departments, FBI, CIA, you name it. For instance, my Criminal justice professor, who is the Chief of a local police department told us he used deception when trying to get a suspect to confess - he told him hed found DNA evidence in the crime scene that matched his and he had right next room, so hell be better off if he simply confesses (in reality he had no DNA proof, and didnt even have enough evidence to have a case in court).

 MONSIEUR QUEBEC: We're americanc. We're not canadians. We're not slaves. 

 Our Constitution is written by WE THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE. It's not written by 'WE THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE GOVERNMENT'

 While your sense of patriotism comes from blindly obeying anything the government says even if it interferes with your personal liberties - in the US, we will have none of it. Our government's job it to keep americans from hurting each other, or being hurt by someone else. It ends when someone's personal liberties are taken away.

 If this situation was true exactly as it was written, then those who support the actions by the FBI would not be Patriots - they would be scum who dont know what this country is about. Pretty much like you. 

 Tell me again, when did being a canadian citizen make you an expert on US affairs and politics?

I only read the story & said it sounded like what happened in the bad old days in the Soviet Union which was a totalitarian state with no conception of freedom or democracy. Holding dissenting views was a crime. What has that got to do with the USA? & who’s saying I’m an expert on anything, including US affairs? I agree that if the kids (or anybody) personalizes an issue by saying so-&-so should get asassinated, that should be taken seriously, but if two kids just want marijuana decriminalized, they should be allowed to make their views public.

I don’t know how you can say my sense of patriotism comes from ‘blindly obeying anything the government says,’ I was the one calling for the kids’ rights to disagree with the policies of the government. What you’re claiming is the opposite of what I said. Maybe you should read it again.

About the tax cuts, there was already a big tax cut from the Bush administration. I got back 300 bucks.

How’d that one turn out? Did it stimulate the economy? Did it turn around the downward slide?

Just curious, because the next tax cut will not be as large as the last one.

Besides Patriot Act, there is another trend in law enforcement I find disturbing. To a certain extent the police have transitioned from law enforcement into a paramilitary force that is directed against their own people. I’m talking about using tanks to demolish houses, doing SWAT raids, etc. SWAT used to be used sparingly, now it seems their use is commonplace.

Here’s an interesting story from the New York area… Just a few days ago, NYC police did a SWAT-style paramilitary raid on a house, and used a flash bomb as they burst in. However, they busted into the wrong house, and the elderly lady who lived there died of a heart attack. Her family plans to sue the city for a half-billion dollars.

If a SWAT team burst into your house, and you showed any sign of resistance, they could shoot you down with no questions asked. So imagine, you hear someone breaking in. You go get your baseball bat, and run towards the door. But it’s the police, and they see you running towards them with a baseball bat, and they shoot you. Oh well! Shit happens!

Do a search on the Patriot Act 2, it is a very disturbing development. The first Patriot Act was rammed through Congress post- 9-11, when everyone was scared to death. Now there are Congressmen (both Dems and GOP) who say they regret voting for the bill and admit they passed the first one out of “fear”.

Here’s one aspect of the Patriot Act 2: Let’s say you give some money to a charitable organization (making up a name here) “The Sons of Ireland”. Well it turns out that the group secretly gives some money to the IRA (Irish Republican Army, a so-called terrorist group). You didn’t know that, you thought your money was buying blankets for little old ladies… tought shit! Under Patriot Act 2, you could be STRIPPED OF YOUR CITIZENSHIP for that (even though your donation was well-intentioned) even if you are a natural-born American citizen. Because you “supported terrorism”, whether you actually knew it or not doesn’t even matter. No trial, no excuses, no nothing. See ya!

Scary stuff!

Actually the SWAT team gets many questions asked when they bust into ANY house and shots are fired. We had a known drug dealer that shot and killed an entry team member go through three trials here. I don’t think he ever got convicted even though some of the shots were to the cop’s head after he fell. There were claims of improper or no identification of the entry team as police at the time of entry.

One SWAT team did bust into the wrong house and during a scuffle a woman was shot. That didn’t go so well for the police department that time either.

As far as the FBI tactics go they are often heavy handed until you get a lawyer, all cops are. They try to scare a confession out of you before you can get enough wits to assert your rights. It saves them a lot of hassle in the few times it works. Their memory of the Constitution greatly improves in the presence of an attorney for some reason.

What kids said used to get ignored or blown off until those two dickheads shot up that school in Columbine. Now threats aren’t automatically assumed to be idle like in times past.

I personally think the Patriot Act is the reaction of cowards. To give up even a modicum of freedoms for what amounts to the mere illusion of added security is surely the act of some sort of a pussy, and we have too many of those in office.

Looks like I better get that lawyer’s number on the speed dial in case anyone deems this as some sort of a threat.

Steely eyes is right, what used to be ignored in classrooms can now wind up getting your ass sued and fired. At my school, all it takes is some kid going home and complaining about something that was said that makes them uncomfortable, and the teacher could be facing all sorts of problems. And if you think that cops are heavy handed, take a look at an irate parent with a high priced lawyer. As far as the donations thing under the Patriot act, we’ve actually had something very similar for nearly ten years in the banking industry. It’s called “structuring” Basically, if you make some sort of transaction in cash over 10k, you have to fill out a from explaining what you’re doing. It used to be, that if you broke that money into smaller segments to avoid the forms for the purpose of hiding illegal actions, you were guilty of breaking the structuring laws, and were subject to forfiture of your assets, plus whatever else went along with your nefarious deeds. In the mid 90’s that law was changed, removing the “intent to hide” clause. Now, regardless of why you break the payments down, you’re guilty, and you can kiss your cash goodbye. Guess it makes it easier to raise government funds that way.

“He who is willing to trade a little bit of freedom for a little bit of security, deserves to have neither.”
-Benjamin Franklin