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DHS Sends Tourists Home Over Twitter Jokes 709

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the it's-not-like-anyone-would-miss-la dept.
itwbennett writes "In a classic case of 'we say destroy, you say party hard,' the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security detained a pair of British twenty-somethings for 12 hours and then sent them packing back to the land of the cheeky retort. At issue is a Tweet sent by Leigh Van Bryan about plans to 'destroy America,' starting with LA, which, really, isn't that bad an idea."
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DHS Sends Tourists Home Over Twitter Jokes

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  • Zeig Heil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MitchDev (2526834) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:00PM (#38872103)
    herr DHS. DHS and the Patriot Act, destroying a once great nation one bit at a time.
  • This proves that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sofar (317980) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:05PM (#38872167) Homepage

    The terrorists have won.

  • The next time... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by multiben (1916126) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:07PM (#38872183)
    America has a chance to vote for someone like George Bush Jr, please remember how much it has completely screwed the country up!
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:14PM (#38872271) Homepage

    According to the New York Times report [nytimes.com] on this subject:

    Information gathered during this interview revealed that both individuals were inadmissible to the United States and were returned to their country of residence.

    That's the government talking. But they don't say that it was the Twitter posts themselves that rendered the two "inadmissible." They say it was "information gathered during this interview." Presumably the people interviewed repeated many times that it was all a joke, they didn't mean it, etc., so it seems unlikely that the "information gathered" was anything that was said. It seems totally possible, though, that there was something else that flagged them to be blocked at the border during the interview (for example, they had prior drug convictions).

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:18PM (#38872315)
    We have been going down this road for a long time now, long before the patriot act. Remember CALEA, the act that required phone companies to give the police easy wiretapping access? How about the War on Drugs? The United States has been taking baby steps toward tyranny for decades.
  • Alarming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:19PM (#38872327)
    The US is fast on track to be earth's most totalitarian society.
  • by synapse7 (1075571) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:20PM (#38872343)
    Wait.. which ones are the terrorists again?
  • Weeks before trip (Score:5, Insightful)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:20PM (#38872347) Homepage

    A critical detail absent from the summary is that these tweets took place weeks before their trip -- they weren't done at the airport. So whereas previously one could not make a joke at the airport, now one may not make a joke anywhere, anytime.

  • by KiloByte (825081) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:20PM (#38872351)

    Let's check the dictionary:
    1. terrorist -- a radical who employs terror as a political weapon
    1..3. (other meanings) 4. terror -- the use of extreme fear in order to coerce people (especially for political reasons)

    So yes, your fine government matches the definition fully. Although probably telling them what this word means would make YOU labelled terrorist.

  • by yurtinus (1590157) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:22PM (#38872363)
    You are, duh! Oh shit, so am I...
  • by Zelucifer (740431) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:23PM (#38872383)

    The jokes in question were not made in the airport. They were made much earlier, while still in Britain. DHS just ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. The inability to confirm whether "destroy" is British slang, or that the other tweet in question was a Family Guy quote is absurd.

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yurtinus (1590157) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:24PM (#38872397)
    "Arrogant xenophobia" is a way of life too, you insensitive clod.
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:26PM (#38872417)
    Yes, we cannot be too careful when it comes to watching what we say -- the Stasi are always listening! Someone might report you, and then you'll be in for a world of hurt, because you said something they did not like.

    Hrm? Oh, right, there is no Stasi anymore. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to demand that everyone watch their mouths because the government might be watching.
  • by vmxeo (173325) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:27PM (#38872429) Homepage Journal

    So, you're saying, "It's OK because they're white and thus obviously not a threat?"

    No, I'm saying absent any contextual information, 140 characters can be widely interpreted as different things by a global audience. An audience who subconsciously fill in the context based upon their own individual culture, background, beliefs, ideas, worldview, etc.

    Happens both in Tweets and in Slashdot posts.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:33PM (#38872501)

    Forbidding jokes is one of the hallmarks of a repressive regime. Actually a pretty good indicator. Seems this time the US is ignoring history. In the past the price to pay for that was always extreme.

    Les face it, there is no need for terrorists anymore, the US is right on the path to hell. A pity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:33PM (#38872503)

    itwbennett, the author of this story, is now on the DHS no fly list.

    They also ticked the: 'Aways subject to full cavity search.' option.

    Isn't that the default?

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:33PM (#38872507) Homepage
    He already said that.
  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siddesu (698447) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:34PM (#38872515)

    You are obviously forgetting McCarthy, who was doing his best to protect America from subversive elements long before CALEA and the WoD, the incarceration of American Japanese, and who knows what else before these.

    All people seem to just be born as scared-to-death xenophobes, and most just don't learn any better as they age.

  • by Genda (560240) <marietNO@SPAMgot.net> on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:35PM (#38872521) Journal

    Because voting for Obama has so clearly prevented the continued erosion of freedom... yeah right.

    So you get to choose between the guy that drag races towards a fascist state vs. the guy who just ambles towards one.

  • by yurtinus (1590157) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:38PM (#38872571)
    Really?

    First: It was a tweet.
    Second: It was a joke. When did we get such a stick up our ass that making a joke is cause for arrest and deportation?
    Third: Airports are not dangerous. Flying is not dangerous. Taking our national security too seriously though - that to me as a freedom loving American - is downright terrifying. Once the tools are in place, they will be used. They will be abused, and it is *damned* hard to get rid of them.
  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:40PM (#38872581) Homepage
    Dear Penis1,

    ... you are a moron.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:40PM (#38872583) Journal

    An even more interesting thing is that they actually look up Twitter posts for random travelers entering U.S. I wonder if I'm gonna have troubles next time I cross the border, given that I've had a bunch of anti-TSA posts in my G+ stream.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:42PM (#38872599)
    That's right, despite the fact the republicans haven't had control over the government for nearly 10 years, their secret plots and alliances with evil corporations still allow them to kick 2 British guys for making a bad joke in an airport. It's not at all possible that the the 2 parties are identical in their goal: Power. And you, being able to say whatever the hell you want to doesn't help in that goal.
  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:42PM (#38872607)

    she had to quickly explain to him that this means "kill a gay person" in America.

    He already knew.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:45PM (#38872633)

    +5 for this vile, lewd, disgusting hate speech? Whatever you think of the USA's policies and practices, only the most sick and twisted can compare this to Nazi Germany.

    This is why I've almost left slashdot completely. The nuttiest commenters have moderators have taken over the political discourse here.

    As someone who has lost relatives to the Nazis, seeing this post as "insightful" almost bring me to tears.

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:51PM (#38872699) Homepage

    Why doesn't the average American see that the freedoms they hold so dearly and supposedly separates them from the "terrorists!" have been eroded and continue to be?

    Here's what I don't get: Why don't more American servicemen and women, past and present, speak out about how cowardly and weak this kind of action makes America look?

    Let's just assume for the moment that the "War on Terror" is totally legitimate. If we assume that's true, and these people were really kicked out of the country because of two Tweets, then... seriously? These two spooked us? This is what we're worried about? That's like a big, musclebound guy strutting around all day, sticking out his chest, then leaping onto a tabletop and shrieking as soon as some passing kid pulls a squirt gun.

    It's deep in the American psyche to think of this country as the most ass-kickin' badass on the planet. The DHS is making us look like a bunch of scared pussies.

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by element-o.p. (939033) on Monday January 30, 2012 @09:51PM (#38872701) Homepage
    Be that as it may, a warrant still provides some kind of tracking. I strongly suspect that implies that a cop isn't going to request a warrant on a lark even if 99.5% of them are approved, because someday, someone could look at his requests and find out how many of them panned out to be legitimate investigations and how many were snooping/harassment/other abuse.
  • by element-o.p. (939033) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:03PM (#38872771) Homepage
    With all due respect, and with every sincere attempt to be sensitive to the loss of your relatives, I have to disagree that the GPP is vile, lewd, disgusting or hate speech. It's someone pointing out (accurately, IMHO) that we are on the fast-track to fascism and a police state. We may not yet be engaging in the type of infamy that WWII Germany was known for, but the comparison serves as a warning about what could happen if we don't reverse the trend. The worst horrors of the Third Reich did not begin as soon as Hitler took office. Likewise, we have not yet reached a comparable level of evil in our government, but I have to admit, I no longer recognize the country in which I am living.

    Incidentally, for whatever it's worth, my father-in-law was a PoW in Nazi Germany. IMHO, I would be dishonoring the sacrifices he made if I didn't warn others that what happened in the past can happen again if we allow it.
  • by tick-tock-atona (1145909) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:06PM (#38872801)

    The spin on the story in some areas of the media is also a nice illustration of the way cowardly people will back the police state by blaming the victim.

    For example, see the Gizmodo article "US Detains and Deports Two Morons Over Dumb "Destroy America" Tweets [gizmodo.com]":

    I'm totally okay with refusing entry to the US based on idiotic Twitter parlance.

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:07PM (#38872809)

    We've a long history of terrorists. If George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were alive today they'd all be on the no-fly lists. Their views would certainly be considered anti-government. Heck, what about the original tea-partiers at Boston Harbor. Those guys would probably be consigned to gitmo.

  • by liquidsin (398151) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:08PM (#38872821) Homepage

    indeed. but this doesn't explain why, after detaining them for twelve hours, they were denied entry to the country. are we to believe that they were unable to convey that context successfully to their interrogators, or that those same interrogators couldn't get on some internets to investigate the whole "destroy" idiom? i can't help but think of the rob corddry character from the second 'harold and kumar' movie when i try to picture the clowns that thought these brits were an honest-to-god threat to america.

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:09PM (#38872827)

    Nazi Germany didn't start out like the evil machine it's portrayed as in movies. A lot of the German people had no idea the atrocities that were being carried out in their own country. [wikipedia.org]

    While we may not be anywhere near like Nazi Germany as it existed in 1943, how different are we compared to Germany of the 20's and early 30's? We're certainly tottering down the path to a full blown police state with this bullshit; that's undeniable to anyone that's really followed how things have gone in post 9/11 America. Hell, we even have our own ethnic group to demonize in place of the Jews, Middle-Easterners and Muslims. We may not be throwing them in camps and forced to work, but we have no problem shipping them off to Gitmo and holding them as long as we want without trial...

    All this shit is supposed to keep us safer, but we just end up with our rights curtailed more and more. We may not be driving through police checkpoints every time we leave the house yet, but I doubt it's going to be long before people are getting thrown on the ground on the side of the road for not producing their "papers" fast enough.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:11PM (#38872847)

    Whatever you think of the USA's policies and practices, only the most sick and twisted can compare this to Nazi Germany.

    Perhaps you should take the time to learn history, pre-Nazi Germany & early Nazi Germany started more or less exactly as we are now with the "little things" being censored / rejected and moved on from there. This while only being mildly relivent to the conversation as a whole is a prime example of whats been happening http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came%E2%80%A6

    This is why I've almost left slashdot completely. The nuttiest commenters have moderators have taken over the political discourse here.

    If you cannot handle comparison to past then perhaps you should leave.

    As someone who has lost relatives to the Nazis, seeing this post as "insightful" almost bring me to tears.

    I suppose you would like a cookie?... Not to be a heartless prick (which admittedly I am pretty good at) comments like this have no place in a thread that should be an intellectual discussion about the current state of affairs in the United States. The state of affairs being as they are bear a striking resemblance to pre-WWII Germany weather you like it or not that's how it is. Bringing up your relatives who were lost adds nothing to the conversation beyond attempting to tug at the heartstrings of people who are less analytical and more "feeling" then what I assume is the majority of are.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:14PM (#38872865)

    Clinton didn't start two Wars

    No, he only bombed countries without declaring war:

    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1995_NATO_bombing_campaign_in_Bosnia_and_Herzegovina
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Iraq_%28December_1998%29

    Using war crimes and crimes against humanity as a pretext for doing so, while simultaneously ignoring the far worse situation in central Africa:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_genocide#UNAMIR_and_the_international_community [wikipedia.org]

    Lest we forget, Bill Clinton also supported various increases in "defense" spending:

    http://articles.cnn.com/2000-01-24/politics/pentagon.budget_1_defense-spending-defense-budget-military-spending?_s=PM:ALLPOLITICS [cnn.com]

    As for the surplus, it was projected, and had not yet been realized.

    How may of those laws or activities were started by him?

    All of them were carried out with his approval, and his administration was directly involved with the hijacking of TV scripts, the attacks on cryptography, and the use of ECHELON for industrial surveillance. Anyone who thinks that Clinton was some kind of left-wing hero needs to have their head checked; he was on the right wing of politics, and was only differentiated from Bush II in how aggressively he pushed right wing policies.

  • by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:14PM (#38872881)

    I, too, hate Obama for allowing Twitter to exist.

    I suppose that's what you mean, since he has no control over or anything to do with the daily operation of Twitter...

    You, sir, are an excellent troll.

    So vote Democrat only if you want things even worse than voting for Republicans - because in the end the only people really into fascism are liberals.

    I bet you can't name one thing that these dastardly Democrats do that is worse than an equivalent measure by the Republicans (ok, maybe with healthcare).

    Also, by definition a liberal cannot be 'into fascism'. Liberal implies a breaking free from constraints, while Fascist implies the opposite with absolute and strict monitoring and control. They are diametrically opposed and cannot be likened to each other in even the slightest way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:16PM (#38872903)

    That is indeed the big deal here. So you have to start self-censoring yourself if you ever have any intention of entering the USA. Stimulating sufficient paranoia in the citizenry that they will start censoring their behaviour in the belief 'they' might be watching is pretty close to the situation in a totalitarian police state.

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:19PM (#38872931)

    The terrorists, who are in this case the US Government, have clearly won. They have taken the freedoms which we have been granted and been too glued to American Idol and MTV to defend. The ironic part is that they have used the 'fear of losing our freedom' to take it from us.

    The general population are more concerned with celebrity housewives than who is running the country. They have won. We are now a slave population, and those that speak out against it will be detained and perpetually monitored until the powers-that-be determine they have reached their quota of 'unlawful speech' and have them imprisoned, deported, or executed.

    Welcome to the future. Welcome to 1984.

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:20PM (#38872949)

    ...so are you going to vote Ron Paul? He's the only politician thats said he'd do exactly this.

  • Re:Alarming (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:24PM (#38872985) Homepage
    It already is. Most people just don't realize that private corporations can also remove freedom. It seems this only registers on the radar of most Americans when those corporations start to influence the government in the open.
  • by jc42 (318812) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:25PM (#38872991) Homepage Journal

    It's called a "slippery slope". One "right" at a time and we may find ourselves in Nazi land again.

    Except that this is America. It's not and never has been "Nazi land". The appropriate phrase would be "McCarthy Land", as in Joe McCarthy. Not quite as horrific as the Nazis, since he and his ilk didn't kill people by the millions. But still awful enough to serve as a warning to us all.

    Those of us who were kids in the 1950s or earlier know that it's nothing new in the US of A. There has long been pressure to go back to that time, including returning women to the kitchen, retracting the Negro^WColored^WBlack^African-American vote, etc., etc., etc.

    The appropriate slogan here is probably that old one about the price of liberty ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:34PM (#38873037)

    It seems totally possible, though, that there was something else that flagged them to be blocked at the border...

    Right, and what bothers me about the incident is not that they were sent home, per se, but that we don't know why.

    The essence of the Rule of Law is that you don't just have someone in a position of power making gutdecisions (e.g. the King shouting "Off with his head!"). Instead, you have a system of laws and the people in power have power (only) to apply these laws and procedures. And, you havetransparency to be sure that the people in power are not abusing the power based on personal opinions and feelings.

    But in this case, we have only a deliberately vague and useless official statement - the kind of statement one would expect from a corrupt third world dictatorship. And it's not just this case either, I have, myself, had close friends denied entry to the USA totally inappropriately with no meaningful explanation of the reason.

    Now I know there are plenty of people here on Slashdot who blindly trust the federal government on these kinds of issues. But there is a serious problem here. Things were bad under Bush and I had hoped they would get better under Obama. But they have actually gotten much worse. In the last election, I voted for Obama, dontated money and even got the "hope and change" t-shirt but, needless to say, I won't be supporting Obamaor any other democrat in the coming election.

  • by gottspeed (2060872) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:47PM (#38873109)
    Why on earth anybody would want to take a vacation in that fucked up neo-fascist country is beyond me. Its like someone violated the prime directive by giving a bunch of red-necked hill-billies access to the idea of statutory obligation. Capitalism: Its not a mode of commerce, its the idea of registering your biological property to a corporation.
  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:57PM (#38873195)

    We haven't believed in the right of gun ownership since George Washington sent in the troops to quell the Whiskey Rebellion.

    Really, the only way you're ever going to have a revolution is if you have the military on your side. Otherwise, those in power will think nothing of sending in tanks and helicopters for strafing runs as a start.

    Just wait. One of these days, the National Mall or some other location in the US will make Tiananmen Square look like nothing. Fuck if the Oakland PD haven't done a good job of doing shit like it already - or did you think that the asshole using a whole bottle of pepper spray on a group of people sitting nonviolently on the ground was unplanned?

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday January 30, 2012 @10:58PM (#38873201)

    All people seem to just be born as scared-to-death xenophobes, and most just don't learn any better as they age.

    Native Americans probably would be better off if they had been *more* xenophobic. Beware Europeans bearing blankets.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:00PM (#38873223)

    Just the other guys don't understand the language.

    Nonsense. DHS got the joke, they just didn't appreciate it.

    There is a significant segment of the population that simply does not appreciate jokes about terrorism or jokes that put the United States of America as the butt of the joke.

    Right or wrong, that's what was going on here: Brits making fun about God, Glory, Apple Pie... Send 'em home to good old England where people have much more freedom than here in the United Fascist States of America.

    Oh, that's right, the Brits live under constant surveillance that would never be tolerated here...

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:04PM (#38873259)

    We had our own camps, too [wikipedia.org]. We didn't kill the Japanese like the Nazis killed the Jews, but they certainly were imprisoned, they certainly lost almost all of their material possessions, they certainly died in the camps due to lack of adequate medical care and suicide, and, in some cases, yeah, they were killed by sentries "trying to escape".

    There's plenty of horrific things in our own history that are on par with the Nazi's. How many fucking Native Americans did we put in the ground over the 250 years our nation has existed? How many Chinese immigrants died building the railroads? And of course, the millions of African-American slaves...

    I'm not saying that we should allow these things to cast a pall over our entire society, but it's important that we remember these atrocities lest we repeat them. Sugar-coating history, and especially our culpability in these foul acts, does a great disservice to those that fought and lived and died through those times.

    While we may not have condensed our atrocities down to a 30 year period like Nazi Germany, we've definitely had more than our share spread out over the 250 years our nation has existed...

  • by pnot (96038) on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:08PM (#38873283)

    A critical detail absent from the summary is that these tweets took place weeks before their trip -- they weren't done at the airport. So whereas previously one could not make a joke at the airport, now one may not make a joke anywhere, anytime.

    Thank you; this point seems to be getting missed in this discussion. It's even worse than that, though: as has been repeatedly pointed out, this wasn't a joke; it was simply a figure of speech. So, in fact, not only can you not make a joke, you can't say anything which may be construed by the DHS to have a meaning related to terrorism.

    In fact, few sensible Brits would knowingly make a Twitter joke about terrorism, after what happened to Paul Chambers [wikipedia.org].

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mug funky (910186) on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:13PM (#38873317)

    TSA agent with passport in hand, google in the other. it's not hard to social-network stalk somebody.

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:15PM (#38873337)

    indeed. but this doesn't explain why, after detaining them for twelve hours, they were denied entry to the country. are we to believe that they were unable to convey that context successfully to their interrogators, or that those same interrogators couldn't get on some internets to investigate the whole "destroy" idiom? i can't help but think of the rob corddry character from the second 'harold and kumar' movie when i try to picture the clowns that thought these brits were an honest-to-god threat to america.

    It doesn't explain why, if the DHS thought they actually intended to "destroy LA" that they put them on a plane back to the UK without any charges.

    Terrorists, bent on destruction, and THEY PUT THEM ON A JUMBO JET.

    Nothing could demonstrate more clearly that the DHS knew full well it was a joke and was simply punishing the tourists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:16PM (#38873341)

    What about someone who lost relatives in Hiroshima? What about Native Americans who lost, well, their ENTIRE CULTURE and GENE POOL. Or black people in America. Etc. etc.

    Fuck you for hoarding all the misery for "your" relatives. Ask anyone who lost family in the fire bombings of Tokyo, the napalm in Vietnam, ANYONE from East Timor, on and on and on.

    Germany vs America? Fascist police state, check. Eradication of undesired peoples, check. Slavery, err, well we were a bit more heavy handed there. Nuking people, well, we have that over everybody else as well. Bullshit lies and propaganda everywhere, check. The list goes on. I think the USA is at LEAST tied there.

    Did Germany eradicate an entire culture and its people? They tried, but didn't succeed. America DID.

    So fuck off and get off your high horse asshole. There is plenty of evil for all, you don't get to whine about your relatives exclusively.

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:16PM (#38873347) Homepage Journal

    DHS and the Patriot Act, destroying a once great nation one bit at a time.

    Yeah, but they're really small little bits. So small that if you squint, you don't see them.

    Today, I saw kids smoking weed about a block from a high school, watched a downloaded film, did tai chi in the park, read a pretty radical book while sitting on a big cement block in front of the Dirksen Federal Building (it was almost 50 outside here in Chicago today).

    I read articles about hundreds of people protesting in one town and a bunch getting arrested and hundreds protesting in another town and nobody got arrested, so there still seems to be a fair amount of localization of the phenomena.

    I drove back from a week in Memphis this past weekend, and I didn't really notice the gulags and FEMA prison camps. In fact, I saw a whole bunch of bumper stickers which were about as disrespectful to the president as it gets and the people driving didn't seem all that worried about getting arrested and tortured.

    I think it's absolutely appropriate to talk about certain laws as being fucked up, wrongheaded and a big mistake. In fact, so many people did that about a particularly bad law a few weeks ago (SOPA) that there were congressmen who decided it was better not to vote for it.

    Yes, there are forces trying to make things worse, and there are forces who are trying to make things better. The "worse" side is better funded, but the "better" side is more talented, more technologically skilled and has better-looking chicks.

    It doesn't help when you talk about "destroying a great nation" because sane people say, "What the fuck is he talking about?" Better to talk about, "This is a shitty fucking law, and if we all go down and get in some congresspeople's faces, there's a good chance we can scare them into not voting for it." A bunch of idiots and paid shills known as the "tea party" did that in 2009 and '10 and made all the politicians shit themselves. Imagine what a bunch of motivated, reasonably intelligent people with good communications and technical skill could do. When the Patriot Act passed, everybody was too scared and/or lazy to do anything about it. 9/11 was still a fresh memory and nobody knew what the fuck to do. Most important, nobody went to get all up in their congress-critter's face and made him shit his pants. There's actually a pretty good tradition of making politicians shit their pants in this country and it's a tradition that people have forgotten, thinking that if they tweet enough, and put enough comments on the Internet, that's just as good as having 100 people show up at a congressman's event and getting all up in his face.

    If you're an American citizen, or a resident of the US, stop whining and go make a politician shit himself. If you're from anywhere else, take a look at the sequoia in your own country's eye (UK and Europe, I'm looking at you) before you start pissing and moaning about the douglas fir in our eye and the "fall of the once-great America".

    Hell, I'm still trying to figure out when the golden era of the "once great America" actually happened. When I was born, you couldn't drink out of the same water fountain as me if you were sufficiently dark-skinned and there has been some kind of ugly shit or another every decade since. Everybody's responsible for their own golden fucking age, OK? If you want some, you have got to make it happen.

  • by mug funky (910186) on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:19PM (#38873373)

    so much Godwin...

  • by mug funky (910186) on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:23PM (#38873399)

    say you're a scientist, minding your own business, and the rather right-wing government that you're not a big fan of makes you an offer you can't refuse?

    Germany went down a slippery slope too. avoid at all costs people who tell you what you want to hear.

    at that time, only the lucky, or those with more than the usual foresight left when they could. if your life is in Germany, you're not going to leave until it's too late and there's war. and then you're held to ransom, especially if you have family.

    things aren't so black and white.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:42PM (#38873503)

    Terrorists: 1
    Land of the free and home of the brave: 0

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grcumb (781340) on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:48PM (#38873545) Homepage Journal

    That's assuming the military goes along with it. Having been in the military myself, and having family still in, I can tell you know that there are no orders issued by any commanding officer that would cause them to open fire on U.S. citizens unless their own lives were in imminent danger.

    I know you believe this, but the Ohio National Guard beg to differ.

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotSanguine (1917456) on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:48PM (#38873547) Journal

    'Emporer' is the american spelling.

    Actually, it's not the American spelling. It's the illiterate jackass spelling.

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:52PM (#38873571)

    I said "we even have our own ethnic group to demonize in place of the Jews"; the Nazi's didn't immediately start throwing them in camps, either. At first it was just anti-immigrant propaganda, you know, kinda like how people are blaming all of America's ills on illegal immigrants lately?

    As for your Muslim co-workers, they may not be worried about getting shipped off the Gitmo, but ask them if they have been mistreated by racists and bigots over the last 10 years. Ask them if people don't look at them suspiciously in the airport or any other mass transit. I have friends from all over the Middle-East and North Africa that came here to go to school and they deal with shit like that all the time out of ignorant assholes right here in the good ol' U.S. of A.

    I think maybe you should go back to school and read up on your history. I think you'll find there are a lot more similarities between Nazi Germany and the path we're currently on in this country than you'd be comfortable to admit. We may not be burning books yet (although some bigots are happily burning Qurans [usatoday.com]) but we're not against banning them, and restricting the freedoms of the people of this country day by day.

    I hope you're just a troll, I really do, because if not, you're one of the sad people that are unable to see past the propaganda and bullshit, and frankly, we have far too many of them in this country as it is...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2012 @11:59PM (#38873621)

    Seems like the DHS have improved on the lower bound of Richelieu's requirement.

    "If you give me six lines written
    by the most honest man, I will find
    something in them to hang him.
    "

                                                                    - Cardinal Richelieu

  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:16AM (#38873731)

    All depends on which part people are upset about. I'm pro immigration, so aliens (spare me the martian jokes, please) are quite welcome. I have tremendous respect for people who will give up their home, extended family and friends to make a new life in a new land. Now the illegal part, there I have a problem. If part of making your new life is disregarding the laws of the land, that's not good. Should we really welcome with open arms those who come here saying the hell with your laws, I'll do what I want?

    The sentiment is just a consequence of the fact that we're not resolving the issue either way. We don't make it legal for them to be here, and we don't send them home. Pick one.

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:19AM (#38873745) Homepage Journal

    Best comment on slashdot so far this year

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:19AM (#38873753)

    "Requiring a warrant" is a joke. The FISA courts approve about 99.5 percent of requests: http://epic.org/privacy/wiretap/stats/fisa_stats.html [epic.org]

    Because Intelligence agencies and prosecutors self-select on what cases they take to court. No sense going through the trouble unless you are fairly certain you will get the warrant.

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:36AM (#38873857)
    Those poor xenophobes, my heart weeps for people who'd love to trample on other people just because they are different. Their secret membership in various oranizations truly is an important right, clearly secrecy is the best way to achieve your reasonable and fair political goals.
  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gaspar ilom (859751) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:48AM (#38873937)

    It IS that bad -- your comment seriously downplays what's been going on. Part of the problem is that not all Americans are affected to the same degree. (which is perhaps why you haven't noticed.) Look at the differential rates of incarceration, depending on what race you are. (holding constant particular crimes & crime rates, eg: white vs. black drug use rates are nearly identical for various drugs -- but the incarceration rate for blacks can be more than X10.) Or, just look at this guy, who just spent TWO YEARS in solitary confinement, after having had NO TRIAL. [msn.com]

    Meanwhile, if you were the decision-maker at a bank that issued "liar's loans" en masse -- or led one of the credit agencies that fraudulently rated these bundled mortgages as "AAA" -- I guarantee that you got off scott-free! No one has gone to jail, or even been arrested for these crimes. (described & documented by many people, e.g.: William Black, here. [youtube.com]) ...even though the ENTIRE ECONOMY NEARLY COLLAPSED -- putting the both the Constitution and American lives in peril.

    That's just a few small examples of how law & order have broken down in this country.

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aryden (1872756) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:48AM (#38873941)
    The National Guard and the U.S. Army live under very different rules my friend. The NG is controlled by the Governor and CAN be used without invoking martial law. The U.S. Army is controlled by the President and cannot be used with out martial law being invoked. Redneck weekend warriors is most of what I've met as far as NG's go, with very few being former active duty personnel wishing to continue service while living a civilian life.
  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:51AM (#38873959)

    Considering how little priority the USA gives to education, isn't that pretty much one in the same?

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grcumb (781340) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:57AM (#38873993) Homepage Journal

    The National Guard and the U.S. Army live under very different rules my friend.

    No argument from me on that count. But I believe the reference was to 'the military', of which the National Guard is most definitely a part.

    And while this didn't involve exchange of fire (but did involve tanks and cavalry, whose movements can be deadly in close quarters), the Army has indeed been used [wikipedia.org] against innocent American civilians.

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gaspar ilom (859751) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:05AM (#38874043)
    You can't be serious. Failed federal policies, facilitated by corporate-financed corruption, nearly caused the entire American economy to collapse. ...A collapse big enough to put both the Constitution and countless American lives in jeopardy. Next time, we might not be so lucky.
  • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:08AM (#38874055) Homepage Journal

    Well, McCarthyism and Naziism have a lot in common. They both were heavy on fear-mongering and scapegoating.

    But history never quite repeats itself. There's always a different wrinkle. In some ways contemporary America resembles the environment in which far right and fascist parties rose to power in post-Depression Europe. There's economic dislocation and uncertainty, albeit milder, the same longing for a simple explanation to our problems that assigns responsibility for solving them to anyone but us.

    On the other hand, the experiences of WW2, McCarthyism and the Civil Rights Movement have left us less inclined to scapegoat our neighbors; maybe even the least inclined anyone has ever been in the history of civilization. I think it's remarkable that there hasn't been a major resurgence of anti-semitism after the banking crisis of 2008. That's almost unprecedented.

    There's the anti-immigrant movement, but I don't think most people who are in the anti-immigrant camp actually think that Mexican braseros picking crops is the source of our economic or international problems. Sure there's bound to be a few, but the sense I get is that what drives the thing is a feeling the world has got out of control, and this issue is one that ought to have a straightforward solution. The immigration issue is like a canvas on which you can paint simple sounding solutions to exerting control (like building a wall -- excuse me, *fence -- along the border).

    But then we'll always have race. Racism is alive in this country, yet it's hobbled, forced to take bizarre forms like birtherism because nearly *everybody* agrees racism is wrong. If you don't think that's remarkable, go back and look at papers, magazines and books of the 1930s. Racism was actually seen as respectable, * scientific* even. If that seems inconceivable to us, that represents real progress We still have racism, but it has to pretend to be something else. Politicians who want to exploit have to dance around it. Racism today is a puny, petty thing, still able to damage, but deprived of most of its terrifying weapons. Nobody in the mainstream dares to call for concentration camps, lynchings, or overt racial discrimination in public or economic life. Today it is the norm for even *racists* to reject racism.

    It's like Dicken's said. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That has always been and always will be true.

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:21AM (#38874113) Homepage Journal

    .A collapse big enough to put both the Constitution and countless American lives in jeopardy.

    Welcome to America. We've been here and done that before. Got the t-shirt. And judging European history, it's not really unique to us.

    And then people did some stuff and things got better.

    Every so often, people have to do some stuff to keep away the darkness. So far, all I hear from you is darkness-cursing. Go light a fucking candle for christ's sake.

  • This is a message. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forkfail (228161) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:31AM (#38874183)

    And that message is, "We are watching everything now. Everything."

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by korean.ian (1264578) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:53AM (#38874285)

    There is much controversy over the Venona Files, and if you were merely a member of the Communist Party of America, and not spying for the Soviets, with that level of hysteria, you would certainly lie your ass off too lest you get hauled off to the 50's equivalent of Guantanamo Bay.
    McCarthy might have been right some of the time, but he was certainly not innocent of creating a poisoned atmosphere.

  • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@@@justconnected...net> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:36AM (#38874443)

    You had a good point, but you lost your credibility by claiming that Obama hates the rich. I find it unlikely that he would particularly hate himself for his own wealth (he is a millionaire).

    Despite what the Republicans have been saying, the Democrats, Obama, and the OWS folks (most of them, anyway) actually have a relatively nuanced argument. The basic principle is that the wealthy have received the benefit of society in excess of the middle class or the poor, so they should pay a higher percent in taxes. It's the same philosophy behind donating to your university - it helped you get where you are, so you want to give back. It's the same principle that explains why the poor pay fewer taxes than the middle class. The government, if you believe one ought to exist, should be a joint effort. (If you don't believe that a government has a role, I have nothing to say). What "class warfare" exists is in the wealthy attempting to wiggle out of their moral, ethical, and legal obligations to pay a proportion of their income as taxes to the entity that secured their ability to make that income.

    A more specific issue is the capital gains tax. "Normal" people work; they get paid, and that income is taxed. But "the 1%" don't need to work (if they don't want to) since the earnings on their investments aren't the same, and they're taxed at a much lower rate. But they haven't produced anything, they're leveraging their wealth to produce more wealth. It's not bad in and of itself, but if you subscribe to the economic principle that people act according to incentives, you can see that we, as a society are incentivizing the wealthy to avoid doing anything productive with that money, since then they might be taxed at a higher percentage than if they'd just let it sit. People also have problems with the "soft power" that the wealth brings, like accountants that can figure out how to pay even less in taxes.

    The problem people have isn't with success. They work hard, they make a good living, support their family, pay their bills and taxes and things - but then they see that there's this other class, where if they could possibly get into it, they wouldn't need to worry about pesky things like work and money, because it'd all take care of itself. The objection isn't to the wealthy, or even the disparity, but to the feeling that there's an institutional clique that's keeping them out. And they hear the wealthy still complaining about taxes and trying (successfully!) to get them lowered. And they get angry.

    Remember all those old movies or TV shows, where the good man who's being harassed always tries to defend himself with "I pay my taxes"? When did that stop being a matter of pride?

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GauteL (29207) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @03:29AM (#38874619)

    Look I'm not saying this as a "flag burning" hater of America, but what is this Once Great Nation you're talking about? Was there ever a single time in American history where a great atrocity wasn't occurring?

    The country was created from genocide of native Americans, built upon the rock of slavery and may perhaps have started becoming "free" for a large part of the population in the 1960s. You had your own concentration camps for the Japanese and McCarthyism showed that even as a white middle class male, your freedoms were severely limited.

    Don't get me wrong, many great things have been achieved in America, but this "once great nation" stuff requires an awful lot of white washing of history. This is no different from most countries that have played a big role in history, but you are probably the best in the western world at ignoring large parts of your history so you can call yourselves great.

  • by Patch86 (1465427) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @04:49AM (#38874901)

    1) Man gets criminal conviction for severely beating a woman, gets travel restrictions when applying for visas.
    2) Holidaying teenagers get detained and deported for tweeting that they were going to party hard.

    If you can't see a difference, you're beyond help.

  • by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @05:12AM (#38875007) Journal

    Look, I love equality for everyone and I think prejudice is stupid. But can we please stop pretending that Muslims are a "race" or an ethnic group? They are the followers of a religion, Islam.

    Some religious extremists love spreading this lie because it allows them to stop any criticism (legitimate or not) of their actions by labeling it as "discrimination" or even "racism".

    Please don't fall for it: there's a very important difference between attributes like ethnicity, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, place of birth and other characteristics like religion or political ideas.

    Everything in the first group is something that people get assigned at birth and cannot change, so discrimination based on them must be strongly opposed. But the stuff in the second group is something that people can change at any time if they want to, so criticizing people for their religion or political ideas should always be fair game.

  • by ConfusedVorlon (657247) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @06:45AM (#38875375) Homepage

    yup - they laughed at him.

    right there, they sealed their fate.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @07:56AM (#38875707) Homepage Journal

    I would have thought all this was clear. Are you still baffled?

    What I'm baffled by is how people can think that the stated goals of an organization change their tactics from terrorism to not terrorism. There is no such mechanism. The USA is a terrorist organization which is made up of terrorist organizations. The CIA and our military spread terror to other nations with bombings and assassinations; half of our first ten naval engagements were bombardment of latin american towns to force them to sell to United Fruit, later Chiquita, now known as Bonita. The FBI and DHS spread terror within our own nation by treating citizens like criminals and by murdering any group of people with whom the powers that be do not agree (see: Waco, where they parked a tank on top of the escape hatch whose location they knew ahead of time, and set the buildings on fire with tank-mounted flamethrowers; or Jonestown, where Jim Jones and all his followers were forced to drink the Kool-Aid by men with guns (a fact recorded on video) whose bodies were not among the dead.

    America is a terrorist entity and always has been since its inception. I would have thought all this was clear. Are you still baffled?

  • Re:Zeig Heil (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @09:50AM (#38876435)

    So according to (3) I could enjoy anal sex with a man but because I don't fall in love with them, I'm not gay?

  • by Stormthirst (66538) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:40AM (#38876913)

    It's funny. When the Irish where bombing London, I don't remember the Americans taking that particularly seriously. In fact, as far as I know, a lot of Irish Americans were financially supporting the IRA. Certainly doesn't help when one of your own Congressmen actively supports [wikipedia.org] the IRA, you have to wonder which side he's on. Especially when Peter King is the chairman for the United States House Committee on Homeland Security.

    Does he support terrorism or not? Oh that's right - he supports it when it's not in the USA.

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:07PM (#38877977)

    When someone says "zeig heil, der DHS", its not the witty political commentary you seem to think it is. Its someone who would, if you engaged them, declare that we are right now as bad as nazi germany and that we have our own gestapo that will detain you for badmouthing the president [slashdot.org].

    Seriously, this is what people actually think, and it really does drag the whole conversation into a gutter. Calling the US the equivalent of Nazi Germany isnt a warning, its either ignorant or a troll.

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