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Thanks Mike;

I don’t think there’s an Anti-American bias on this list (now that Caroline Rechia is gone.. tee hee!) so much as there is an Anti-Bush bias. Americans comprise roughly 50% of the readership here, and in my random sampling of those people not a lot have claimed to feel that way. Still, semantics _are_ meaningful so I take your criticisms to heart.

In my defense I think that there is an Anti-Bush sentiment that runs through here… and that’s just my point all along. Bush and his cronies have seen to it that to criticize his government and its policies is necessarily the equivalent of criticizing America. I>like< America; I obviously like Americans -- so much so, I used to live there. America has problems as does any country. America draws a lot of fire right now because it is at the helm of our entire species. Therefore, it's kind of important to discuss, analyze, and criticize those we lead the country. That's the whole point of FOIB. Believe me, if the Canadian Liberals had any global relevance whatsoever, we'd be kicking the shit out of them and picking apart their policies, too. But as it stands — can anyone even tell me without googling who Canada’s Finance Minister is right now? That fact is important to Canadians but nobody else in particular right now. But the chair of the SEC in the United States has global relevance and consequences, and so discussing such issues appeals to the entirety of FOIB.

In fact, 90% of the time I talk about Canadian stuff on FOIB I’m doing it to be cheeky, and because it interests me (editorial prerogative). Other than that, who really cares?

Sad but true.


On Thursday, March 20, 2003, at 11:08 AM, Mike Masnick wrote:

> Oh, come on, Ian.
> (1) This is old news.
> (2) As awful as it sounds (and it *is* dreadful and shows just what an
> awful person Ashcroft is and why he absolutely should not be trusted),
> as soon as this came out (over a month ago) the condemnations came
> raining down from everywhere:
> Conservatives And Liberals Unite In Opposition To Patriot II
> Congress was pissed off about it to:
> (3) The line about the “control sheet” suggesting that Cheney and
> Hastert have seen the draft is bullshit, and was pointed out
> repeatedly when this first came out. You always put their names on
> the control sheet. It doesn’t mean they’ve seen it. In fact, it’s
> almost definite that they hadn’t seen it. Yet the anti-Americans
> cling to that, as if it was this big secret plan. Get over it.
> (4) The thing we *should* definitely be worried about is if another
> terrorist attack happens, will Ashcroft try to ram this through. That
> is a risk. But, to just repost the same boring bits, and ignore the
> fact that they’re inaccurate and leave out the almost universal
> dislike of the proposal is unfair.
> So, yeah, it’s an awful plan, but the response has been good, and
> ignoring that continues the ridiculous efforts on this list to make
> Americans look bad. I have no problem with serious discussions on
> this, but you seem to post biased one-sided stories. As I’ve said in
> the past, you’re much smarter than that. I’d much rather see you look
> at stuff arguing for the other side and pick that part. You’re good
> at that – even if I may argue back at you. Don’t just repost the same
> useless biased crap.
> Mike
> At 09:58 AM 3/20/2003 -0800, Ian Andrew Bell wrote:
>> Begin forwarded message:
>>> From: Salim Virani
>>> Date: Thu Mar 20, 2003 9:11:11 AM US/Pacific
>>> To: Ian Bell
>>> Subject: Bend over.
>>> US drafts draconian sequel to Patriot Act
>>> Jeet Thayil in New York | March 19, 2003 17:49 IST
>>> In February, the non-profit Center for Public Integrity, a
>>> Washington-based watchdog organisation, posted on its web site an
>>> 86-page draft of the secret Domestic Security Enhancement Act of
>>> 2003.
>>> United States Attorney General John Ashcroft’s staff had drafted the
>>> document even as the Justice Department denied persistent rumours
>>> about the creation such a bill.
>>> The draft bill proposes more than 100 changes in law, and allows
>>> increased electronic surveillance and data collection from sources
>>> such as e-mail, chat rooms and cell phone conversations.
>>> For the first time encryption will be made a criminal offence, a
>>> daunting idea considering the increasing daily usage of encryption
>>> in internet communication.
>>> The draft bill allows the attorney general to deport any foreigner,
>>> including permanent legal residents whose presence is considered
>>> ‘inconsistent with national security’. The summary deportation can
>>> be carried out even if there is no evidence of crime or criminal
>>> intent.
>>> Section 501 of the DSEA allows the Justice Department to revoke
>>> permanent resident alien status. It gives the government power to
>>> strip the citizenship of, and detain as aliens, Americans suspected
>>> of helping those ‘designated as a terrorist organisation’.
>>> The draft bill dramatically increases the government’s domestic
>>> spying capabilities. It permits wiretapping of citizens and
>>> residents for 15 days without a court order, at the discretion of
>>> the Attorney General. It allows a citizen’s internet and chat room
>>> visits to be monitored for 48 hours without a judge’s permission.
>>> The document also protects federal agents carrying out illegal
>>> surveillance while Section 312 invalidates court-approved curbs on
>>> police spying.
>>> Authorities may create a DNA database from ‘suspected terrorists’ or
>>> non-citizens suspected of ‘ordinary’ [read non-terrorist] crimes.
>>> For the first time in US history secret arrests will be permitted in
>>> a section titled ‘Prohibition of Disclosure of Terrorism
>>> Investigation Detainee Information’. It allows federal agents to
>>> carry out indefinite detentions while denying the identity or
>>> existence of such detainees.
>>> In fact, proposed Section 201 of the Domestic Security Enhancement
>>> Act overturns a federal court order that the Bush administration
>>> must reveal the identities of detainees. The relevant section notes
>>> that ‘the government need not disclose information about individuals
>>> detained in investigations of terrorism’ until criminal charges are
>>> filed.
>>> Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity and a
>>> former television personality, was interviewed on Bill Moyers’s PBS
>>> programme Now, on the same day the document was leaked.
>>> The draft bill would ‘give the attorney general unchecked power to
>>> deport any foreigner’, Moyers said.
>>> Soon after the show aired on the enormously influential PBS station,
>>> the leaked document began to make its way to mainstream radio and
>>> media outlets.
>>> Civil liberties group dubbed the proposed bill ‘Patriot Act II’
>>> after the USA Patriot Act, which was passed soon after September 11,
>>> 2001. That act gave the government unprecedented powers while
>>> limiting civil liberties.
>>> “If you liked the Patriot Act, you’re going to love the sequel,”
>>> said George Getz, communications director of the Libertarian Party.
>>> “Patriot II offers awesome government power, rapidly disappearing
>>> freedom, and an action-packed war on the Constitution.
>>> “You’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat as your liberties are
>>> stripped away,” he added.
>>> Other civil groups said much the same thing. “The DSEA of 2003
>>> encroaches on the rights and protections of Americans even more than
>>> its predecessor did,” said Mel Lipman, president of the American
>>> Humanist Association.
>>> Lipman said the bill ‘would see our basic freedoms diminished along
>>> with key checks and balances on executive branch powers’.
>>> He said certain individuals would be targeted not on their actions
>>> but on whether they were a ‘potential threat’ according to
>>> ‘ethnicity, belief, appearance, or other unrelated factors’.
>>> Lewis, who is executive director of the Center for Public Integrity,
>>> said the leaked document provided startling evidence of ‘another
>>> tectonic shift in the historic constitutional balance between
>>> security and liberty’.
>>> The Department of Justice has not yet officially released the draft
>>> bill, but a ‘control sheet’ attached to the bill indicated copies
>>> were sent to Vice President Dick Cheney and Speaker of the House
>>> Dennis Hastert.
>>> No official statement has been made on the draft bill or the fact
>>> that it was leaked to the Internet, and subsequently to the media.
>>> The only response from the Department of Justice was a written
>>> statement from a spokesperson saying it would be ‘premature to
>>> speculate on any future decisions, particularly ideas or proposals
>>> that are still being discussed at staff levels’.
>>> Salim Virani
>>> 604.773.4436