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06-December 03
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User is offline Oct 16 2004 12:22 PM

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  1. Police State 1, Freedom 0

    Posted 10 Jan 2004

    Bush Increases Government Police Powers

    While the nation was distracted last month by images of Saddam Hussein’s spider hole and dental exam, President George W. Bush quietly signed into law a new bill that gives the FBI increased surveillance powers and dramatically expands the reach of the USA Patriot Act.

    The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 grants the FBI unprecedented power to obtain records from financial institutions without requiring permission from a judge.

    Under the law, the FBI does not need to seek a court order to access such records, nor does it need to prove just cause.

    Previously, under the Patriot Act, the FBI had to submit subpoena requests to a federal judge. Intelligence agencies and the Treasury Department, however, could obtain some financial data from banks, credit unions and other financial institutions without a court order or grand jury subpoena if they had the approval of a senior government official.

    The new law (see Section 374 of the act), however, lets the FBI acquire these records through an administrative procedure whereby an FBI field agent simply drafts a so-called national security letter stating the information is relevant to a national security investigation.

    And the law broadens the definition of “financial institution” to include such businesses as insurance companies, travel agencies, real estate agents, stockbrokers, the U.S. Postal Service and even jewelry stores, casinos and car dealerships.

    The law also prohibits subpoenaed businesses from revealing to anyone, including customers who may be under investigation, that the government has requested records of their transactions.

    Bush signed the bill on Dec. 13, a Saturday, which was the same day the U.S. military captured Saddam Hussein. Any attention that might have been given the bill, they say, was supplanted by a White House announcement the next day about Hussein’s capture.

    The inclusion of the financial provision has been called “an intentional end-run” by the administration to expand the administration’s power without proper review.

    Critics say the government is trying to pass legislation that was shot down prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when the Bush administration drafted a bill to expand the powers of the Patriot Act.

    Patriot II was discovered by the Center for Public Integrity last year, which exposed the draft legislation and initiated a public outcry that forced the government to back down on its plans.

    But critics say the government didn’t abandon its goals after the uproar; it simply extracted the most controversial provisions from Patriot II and slipped them surreptitiously into other bills, such as the Intelligence Authorization Act, to avoid raising alarm.

    It is clear the administration would rather expand on the USA Patriot Act through deception and secrecy than debate such provisions in an open forum.

    The Intelligence Authorization Act is a favorite vehicle of politicians for expanding government powers without careful scrutiny. The bill, because of its sensitive nature, is generally drafted in relative secrecy and approved without extensive debate because it is viewed as a “must-pass” piece of legislation. The act provides funding for intelligence agencies.

    The provision granting increased power was little more than a single line of legislation, but it was written in such a cryptic manner that no one noticed its significance until it was too late.

    Rep. Porter Goss (R-Florida), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that reviewed the bill, introduced the legislation into the House last year on June 11, where it passed two weeks later by a vote of 264-163. The Senate passed the legislation with a voice vote in November, which means there is no record of how individual senators voted or the number who opposed or supported it.

    Many legislators failed to recognize the significance of the legislation until it was too late. But the fact that 15 Republicans and over 100 Democrats voted against the bill in the House signifies that, had there been more time, there probably would have been sufficient opposition to remove the provision. To have that many people vote against it, based on just that one provision without discussion beforehand, signifies there is strong opposition to new Patriot Act II powers.
  2. Favorite Final Fantasy Game?

    Posted 30 Dec 2003

    Post your comments here.

    Polls can have a maximum of ten choices, so if your favorite Final Fantasy is not listed, please talk about it below.

    I was stuck between FF4 (for nostalgia value) and Final Fantasy Tactics (because of its wonderful tactical battles and vintage class system), but in the end, I voted for FFT.

    From the impressive 3D terrain, the expertly animated characters, the gorgeous soundtrack, to the sheer volume of available game-play options, Final Fantasy Tactics is a masterpiece. FFT boasts tremendous replay value for an RPG with its 20 available occupations from which to choose, each with dozens of specialized techniques. The alarmingly cute characters belie the serious nature FFT’s thoughtful, exciting plot -- treachery, social struggle, lost love, murder, and moral dilemma along the way.

    Unfortunately, the English translation of the original Japanese script does its worst to deter you from FFT’s story with poor grammar and the consistently awkward use of “quotation marks,” but thankfully the story remained intact.
  3. Enhasa Gone for a Week

    Posted 21 Dec 2003

    Enhasa Gone for a Week

    My boyfriend and I are leaving for Florida at 7 AM Monday morning, and I won’t be back until Monday, December 29.
  4. Which Final Fantasy Class Are You?

    Posted 17 Dec 2003

    FF Classes Quizzes

    My Final Fantasy Tactics Job


    a master of the mystical katana
    noble; honorable; deadly

    My Final Fantasy V Job


    a superb warrior with mad skillz.
    resourceful; evasive; kick-ass

    My Final Fantasy Tactics Character

    a scholar who seeks the truth.
  5. Rules of the Forum

    Posted 17 Dec 2003

    Welcome to the video game forum! This forum is for the discussion of video games of all platforms and genres.

    Some Basic Guidelines

    1. Stay on-topic. If it’s not about video games, post it in one of the other forums.

    2. Be respectful of other members, even if you disagree with something they’ve said. Feel free to debate with them, but refrain from making personal attacks.

My Information

Member Title:
41 years old
December 17, 1981
Summerville, SC
I’m sorry, but all questions must be submitted in writing.

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Click here to e-mail me
AIM  FreudianSlippers
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