"One DOJ" : Another Wall Crumbles

The wall between federal and state law enforcement agencies continues to crumble.

The Justice Department is building a massive database that allows state and local police officers around the country to search millions of case files from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal law enforcement agencies, according to Justice officials.

The system, known as "OneDOJ," already holds approximately 1 million case records and is projected to triple in size over the next three years, Justice officials said. The files include investigative reports, criminal-history information, details of offenses, and the names, addresses and other information of criminal suspects or targets, officials said.

The Justice Department is preparing to take the breakdown of the wall even further:

In a memorandum sent last week to the FBI, U.S. attorneys and other senior Justice officials, Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty announced that the program will be expanded immediately to 15 additional regions and that federal authorities will "accelerate . . . efforts to share information from both open and closed cases."

Eventually, the department hopes, the database will be a central mechanism for sharing federal law enforcement information with local and state investigators, who now run checks individually, and often manually, with Justice's five main law enforcement agencies: the FBI, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Prisons and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This is an intrusive program that should be stopped:

The database is billed by its supporters as a much-needed step toward better information-sharing with local law enforcement agencies, which have long complained about a lack of cooperation from the federal government.

But civil-liberties and privacy advocates say the scale and contents of such a database raise immediate privacy and civil rights concerns, in part because tens of thousands of local police officers could gain access to personal details about people who have not been arrested or charged with crimes.

This is just another example of how the Administration's excuse of a war on terror affects not those abroad, but those of us at home. It won't make us safer, only less free.

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    The problem is that as government... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Bill Arnett on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:06:34 PM EST
    ...identifies, categorizes, prepares reports, creates databases to share info, and now to "combat" terrorism, the public will have no way to find out what kind of info is being collected and stored, who's doing the collecting and storing, are they collecting and storing information accurately, and with whom are those collecting and storing the information sharing what could very well be totally erroneous and egregiously wrong information about us?

    This is the final step to a totalitarian government as privacy and the right to know what information is being collected about us and with whom it will be shared are decided by government fiat, without even the input or protections that a Representative or Senator might put into place to prevent abuses.

    Under bush/cheney we have the most secretive and law-breaking maladministration in American history, and anyone believing that all these interlinked databases will be used solely for good is incredibly naive.

    It grows increasingly clear that the government intends to be informed of each and every aspect of our lives in order to control us: controlling us by releasing good info or bad makes no difference when just the release of certain information can prevent hiring, insuring, health plans, housing, destroy reputations, etc., while the citizen has no right to see, read, or obtain a copy of the secret information with which the government may affect or destroy every single aspect of your life with no appeal available as a remedy for the citizen.

    And let there be no doubt: When government collects and records even the most minute aspects of your life (Divorced? Irreconcilable differences or allegations of beatings or infidelity or venereal disease? All this and more coming to a Law Enforcement screen near YOU!) the information WILL be used and often abused (Your neighbor calls in and claims he saw you meeting with terrorists - while you are attending your grandmother's funeral with a dozen witnesses - well, it'll all be there, right or wrong, truthful or fictitious, fair or not, with or without your knowledge, and with no appeal or review for YOU).

    I can think of a hundred ways this info can and will be misused, can't you?

    Are these the actions of a free society with regard for individual rights? I think not.

    There can be no middle ground on this... (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Bill Arnett on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:55:33 PM EST
    ...we are either American citizens with the right to have a degree of control over what information may be collected and disseminated about us, or we are citizens with no right to question our government or petition for redress (which is why they don't WANT you to know what's being retained or shared; rights are useless without a mechanism to enforce them AND THERE WILL BE NO WAY TO FIND OUT OR APPEAL OR CORRECT WHAT INFORMATION THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO USE AGAINST YOU).

    Once again bush/cheney take us another step towards a government of secret information, dispensed in secret, with no checks and balances, and the elimination of your right to petition the government for redress by denying you the right to know what they are collecting, from what resources, maintained by who-knows-who, and with whom it is to or will be shared.

    No middle ground: we are either a free society that respects privacy and protects the rights of all, or we are now a "bounty hunting" government maintaining secret dossiers on every citizen, whether those dossiers are correct or not, with an eye towards arresting and confining "suspects" indefinitely without trial or appeal or habeas corpus because terrorism overrides every other consideration. Mice or men.

    Another abomination brought to you by bush/cheney.

    Whoa (1.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 03:14:35 PM EST
    You've created a false dichotomy. Why does letting the government collect information equal a denial of the right to question government and petition for redress? You seem to think I cannot do both at the same time.

    In fact, both things are occuring right now. In your fervor to describe the horror, the horror, of this "abomination" you've ignored the state of affairs running back as far as the New Deal.

    First, you already have a right (actually a collection of rights) to control what information is collected and shared about you. They are collectively referred to as privacy rights. This is why my concerns about this database only extend to information that is not already a public matter.

    Second, even if you had no privacy rights (which is patently not the case), you would still retain the "right to question government." The Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act are still in operation, y'know? (Also, the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, but nevermind that; we can get a resounding "PATRIOT act" sounded to drown out common sense on that point.)

    Anyone who declares that "there is no middle ground" needs to wake up and smell the gray area. All of life is compromises and trade-offs. And it's going to take more than the frequently misquoted Benjamin Franklin to overcome that practical reality.


    Oh, you mean just like my right to... (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 01:26:17 PM EST
    ...not have my phone calls monitored, to not have my personal info on my perfectly legal conduct being bandied about by federal agencies or telephone companies that bush has authorized to lie under oath to protect his Terrorist Surveillance Program, or the TSA collecting data from airline clerks who can now label you or me a person of suspicion and a possible terrorist 'cause of what kind of meal I order or whether I paid cash or bought a one-way ticket, or the file the DOD has on dissident groups like the Quakers and small churches against the Iraq War and the stepped-up investigation of newspaper reporters for possible prosecution for daring to tell us what the government is doing, and, of course I can file an FOIA request - provided I am willing to wait, possibly for years or possibly forever (as is becoming more common), or until I'm willing to cough up the $20,000-$30,000 that the government says the request will cost to process, you know, pesky rights stuff too unimportant to be considered or dealt with by the very people who want to know everything about you while they shroud their actions in secrecy.

    We will forever be on different sides of this issue, Gabriel, for despite your accusations of setting up a "false dichotomy", anyone following current events knows that our government has done everything I accuse them of above, and probably a lot more that we don't know about.

    You may be contented as a sheep, secure in your certain knowledge of your rights, but I see a lawless government becoming evermore lawless by the day and I will never play contented sheep to the malfeasant shepherds running our current government as day-by-day they ignore the will of the people and perform any legal or illegal act they so choose.

    Torture, kidnapping, extra-judicial assassinations, wars of aggression, preemptive first strikes, resumption of the arms race and nuclear proliferation; oh, yeah, I want people like this to maintain a dossier on me, a law-abiding citizen, NOT.


    Yeah, Gabe (none / 0) (#44)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 03:22:50 PM EST
    Why does letting the government collect information equal a denial of the right to question government and petition for redress? You seem to think I cannot do both at the same time.

    Almost as much fun as the MCA, right Gabe? Habeas as soon as you can talk your way into a hearing, right Gabe?


    As BTD would say, (none / 0) (#46)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 03:40:27 PM EST
    that was a non sequitur.

    Edger, sweet Edger, I can always count on you. You've got nothing to say about what Bill and I are debating, but you're ready with the quick put-down and the fast retort.

    I sure hope you're having a good Christmas. You brighten my whole day.


    It's sad, and I hate to break this to you, Gabe (none / 0) (#47)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 03:45:31 PM EST
    But, you might convince yourself that you are debating with Bill... but knowing Bill, I'm pretty sure that like many others, Bill was done debating you before you got here.

    I hope this brightens your day.


    Aw, don't be sad Edger. (none / 0) (#52)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 04:54:10 PM EST
    Don't be sad for Christmas, Edger. I'll get by without an answer, though I am still kinda hoping that someone will address my points up in #43. I know you're capable of it, if you'd only try. But I'd be happy to talk to Bill about it or any of the other regulars here at TalkLeft.

    Oh, Edger, we've been through so much together. I feel like we've been back and forth and in and out of modern constitutional jurisprudence enough that we can be honest with each other.

    Remember that time you got so frustrated you said you'd never speak to me again? A simpler time, I guess. Oh! Speaking of the time, it's time for leftovers!


    Well, Gabe... heh. (none / 0) (#53)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 05:00:00 PM EST
    I don't talk much to my cat either. I just toss her things to bat around because it's fun to watch. She thinks she's doing something important with the toys, and she has no idea why I toss them to her... Either.

    Merry Christmas. :-)


    Want some more points to miss, Gabe? ;-) (none / 0) (#45)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 03:23:26 PM EST
    The 1984rd U.S. of A (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by 1980Ford on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 03:04:09 PM EST
    "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." Madison

    In typical knee jerk reaction in the last few decades over dramatic criminal cases, the legislature passed the Patriot Act, the courts enforced it, the executive has cart blanc. This administration will never admit how happy they were over 9/11 because it was just what they needed to implement their Straussian agenda.

    In the good v. evil war, the evil must be evil enough for the people to surrender their freedoms. It can take years to build the publics' consensus enough (think coke, then crack and now meth) and 9/11 was instant.

    Thanks God for small favors. As many people are killed by drunk divers in 3 months as were killed on 9/11. We really don't have that much to fear from terrorists, but if we fear strongly enough, the Bill of Rights is just "goddamn piece of paper."

    outrageous (none / 0) (#1)
    by k ols on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:57:05 AM EST
    This just scares the bejeebies out of me because how do we know just who has access to all this or soon will have?  Everyday it seems another database has been stolen or somehow compromised.

    The other thing that occurs to me is soon many people may not be able to find a job because applications seem to require you to consent to employers snooping anywhere they please concerning applicants. How long will it be before people with even minor traffic violations or failure to pay some fine won't be hired?

    It might even cause problems with credit applications over some minor thing that has no relationship to the loan.  

    Right now most credit card companies & car insurance companies are using universal default as an excuse to charge you a higher interest rate or a large fee for being late on something totally unrelated to their loan or insurance to you.  Might they just decide to also use law enforcement records to jack up your rate?  Traffic stop - up goes your credit card interest rate.

    So far Congress has allowed credit card companies to get by with financial murder on a number of fronts and they might just decide to allow them to do the same with law enforcement records.  Congress loves those credit card companies or any big business for that matter because of the campaign contributions.

    You can bet the same thing is going on with your medical records; sharing them with law enforcement and big business.  I have long been opposed to this sharing of medical records because I think your health is secondary to government snooping purposes.  Think bin Laden and his kidney problem & I think you may just understand where this idea came from.  

    There is no privacy left no matter how minute the detail and we, as a nation, have allowed this to happen.  We the sheeple.

    Suspects and Targets? (none / 0) (#2)
    by MarchDancer on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 04:59:01 AM EST
    Not only are there criminals in every level of our justice system, with more discovered every day of course, this system gives those dangerous people access to anything at all they would like to know.

    And this new system is to include "Suspects and Targets"? Say what? A suspect is just that: a person suspected of committing some type of an already committed crime. Targets are not even lifted to the level of suspects. Somebody in some department has an idea that a person might be involved in a criminal enterprise and goes hunting. That's a target. If my understanding of these differences is not legal, I'm on the correct site to find that out grin Most of all, though, neither of these groups have ever been convicted of a crime! So why should they be in a data base, much less a national data base?

    The article I just read sounds as if we're too late to stop this. Is this another of our current administration's secrets? Another program we don't need to know about?

    I'm truly horrified at the numerous possibilities for mis-use of the information.

    I don't know HTML (none / 0) (#3)
    by MarchDancer on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 05:09:34 AM EST
    It's obvious as you read my above post that I have no understanding of HTML. At least I guess that's what caused my (asterisk grin asterisk)  to become a bolded (grin). So now I feel somewhat stumped. If the surrounding asterisks bold a word, why do we also have the capital B in the block to bold a word or a group of words? Does the asterisk trick also bold a group of words? Last question I promise: Is there a rather simple list of HTML tips on the web I can print out for future use?

    Link to HTML Commands (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 08:49:20 AM EST
    Inisde out (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 08:56:57 AM EST

    For bold, or italic, etc/, first do the link. Then enclosed the link text in the bold command <  strong> text < /strong>

    Note that I deliberately put a space between< and strong and < and / to keep the command from being recognized. Don't do that when you want it to work.


    HTML Help (none / 0) (#37)
    by MarchDancer on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:32:44 PM EST
    Thank you! Your link is perfect for what I, and maybe others, need for basic HTML aid. I sure do appreciate your time.

    Not good..... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 08:02:58 AM EST
    Our police state just got polic-ier.

    kdog it bothers me (1.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 09:17:14 AM EST
    but the world is pushing us there.

    We want protection from terrorists, but we don't want to fight them, so we're going to have to have better databases.

    We want employers to not hire illegal aliens, so we're going to have to better databases and a national ID.

    We want our health providers to never make a mistake, yet we don't want an embedded chip with our complete medical history, including drugs being taken, somewhere on our bodies, and we get spastic if we think it is on line and easily accessiable.

    We want to go anyplace in the world and rent a car for personal transportantion but we don't want car rental companies to know about our speeding tickets and DUI's, yet we drink and drive.

    We don't want credit card companies charging us higher interest rates if we have a history of poor payment, yet we want to be rewarded for good payment.

    So there's a certain amount of wanting our cake and eating it too in this. One thing is for sure. We no longer live in a world where the beat cop knew every one on it, travel was mostly for professional business people and the well to do, your medical record didn't really matter because we didn't have multiple drugs for bad interaction and your credit card was an account at the local grocery and drug store.


    PPJ (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by aw on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 09:38:05 AM EST
    We want protection from terrorists, but we don't want to fight them, so we're going to have to have better databases.

    We want employers to not hire illegal aliens, so we're going to have to better databases and a national ID.

    Funny how your wants (for they are not everyone's) coincide with what the current DOJ wants.  Every day some of the biggest criminals in the country threaten you, your children, and grandchildren.  They knowingly pollute your air, your water, your soil.  They are poisoning and contaminating your food.  Their slipshod industrial practices kill more people than terrorists ever will.  They are more powerful than any terrorists or drug dealers and people like you elect their representatives again and again because they can distract and frighten you with specters of their choosing.


    aw - Huh? (1.00 / 1) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:04:14 PM EST
    I think there are enough people wanting what I deemed as "we" to more than justiy its use.

    Your basic position is that two wrongs make a right. We don't have to tolerate terrorists, or illegal alien employment just because we have other criminals.

    Indeed, who are these companies? Can you name them? Can you provide links to their crimes? Let's go get'em.

    As for as "people like you" electing... since you don't know who I voted for, you have nothing but your bias against me to base your claim on.

    You know, I do things to punish those I think are wrong. I don't buy entertainment from people I think are wrong. (I do buy non-fiction books because I want to understand their position.) I don't purchase many other items from firns/manufacturers that I don't like. Will my actions have any effect? No. But if millions just did their small bit..


    "we" ??? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:13:49 PM EST
    I think there are enough people wanting what I deemed as "we" to more than justiy its use.


    Oh....sorry... By "we" you meant people that "want protection from terrorists", obviously. My bad. I forgot you're a social liberal.


    Even Social Liberals (none / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:24:10 PM EST
    and some on the Left recognize that a country needs national defense.

    That you do not speaks volumes about you and places you in a very marginal position.


    Even Social Liberals??? (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by squeaky on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:06:48 PM EST
    You mean Right Wing Liberals. Feeling a need to distinguish yourself from the left but appear to have a heart?

    No one here is buying that line.


    That statement (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 09:43:11 AM EST
    but the world is pushing us there,

    is simple minded Justification 101. To actually believe that you must feel yourself to be about the most powerless a person can feel.


    So he finds (none / 0) (#10)
    by aw on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 09:59:59 AM EST
    that scapegoating other little people makes him feel better.  He reminds me of the frightened people watching inane, government-approved TV in "V for Vendetta."

    I guess in his case (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 10:09:00 AM EST
    the terrorists won....

    Yes, the terrorists won on 9/11. (none / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:22:34 PM EST
    aw - Where do you such nonsense? (none / 0) (#21)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:21:40 PM EST
    I merely pointed out the downside of NOT having databases. What does "little people" have to do with medical records, driving records, credit records and  illegal aliens??

    Indeed, it is the bad actors who cause the problems, not the "little people.'


    Making note of a fact doesn't mean (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:18:12 PM EST
    that you like it.

    Can you deny that if we are to protect ourselves against terrorist attacks that we don't need the tools? It is beyond argument that if we could have connected a few dots, 9/11 would not happened and millions would have saved around the world.

    Don't want employers employing illegal aliens? Then you are going to have to have a means for identification that works, and can't be easily breached..... Of course since I believe you believe in open borders, this crime against your fellow citizens is no problem to you.

    Don't want rental car companies to know driving records? Okay, just be prepared to pay the higher rental rates caused by the bad drivers.

    Don't want higher credit card rates? Okay, just be prepared to pay higher interest rates and fees to absord the cost of the problem users.

    (Or do as I do, pay it off each and every month. If the pay off hurts that's a good reminder that I'm spending too much.)

    Medical records? No problem in making it very difficult to get them in a timely fashion. Just tell the families of the dead patient they can't sue because Daddy died of drug reactions.

    The world is a complex place, Edger. And it is not going to get less so. That's gonna hurt people who are parnoid... of course someone may actually be following you.  ;-)


    You took their bait (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by aw on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 06:15:17 PM EST
    And you think a giant database is actually going to be used to do all the  things you listed?


    That's not what it's for.  It's for power.  It's for subduing the opposition and, yes, the masses of little people (the ones described in the Ayn Rand quote elsewhere in this thread).


    Nooooo, aw. (none / 0) (#74)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 10:40:11 PM EST
    Nooooo, aw. And you continue to want to fuss by pretending to NOT understand.

    I merely noted some of the uses, and what they were used for and what the costs could be if they weren't.

    Pointing out facts doesn't mean the messenger agrees with them, just that they are facts.


    Sure. (none / 0) (#25)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:28:13 PM EST
    It is beyond argument that if we could have connected a few dots, 9/11 would not happened

    I'm glad you agree that US Foreign Policy led to the 9/11 retaliation, but that has little to do with the topic of this thread. Try to concentrate...


    Oh really? (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:39:39 PM EST
    The US at fault.... again and again.

    In your mind  those Little Eichmans got what they deserved.  

    Just as Hezabolah is giving it to that dastardly Israel and all those Jews.


    What do you need Jim? (none / 0) (#31)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:53:09 PM EST
    More factual examples to ignore? Or just your meds refilled?

    Read the archives. Maybe bombing Beirut again will help? You figure?


    Edger - So what you are saying (none / 0) (#73)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 10:37:44 PM EST
    is that OBL's actions are justified.

    Okay, fine. Glad we got that straight.

    Hope you don't mind if we disagree and see if we can bomb him... and the other terrorists.


    Funny, that's the same excuse ... (none / 0) (#65)
    by Sailor on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 05:13:10 PM EST
    ... that pinochet and hitler used.

    Edger doesn't think we have a problem (none / 0) (#75)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 10:56:27 PM EST
    So you don't think we have a problem with terrorism, that people don't sue when they or loved ones are damaged by drug interaction, that rental car companies base rates on their expectation of cost due to poor driving, and that credit card companies don't base rates on expected cost of non/late payments.

    These are all problems that database usuage can reduce.

    Do you argue for accepting the bad results of not using databases?

    Now be honest Edger and try to focus.

    Do you really want to make combating terrorism harder?

    Do you really want people harmed or killed because the emergancy room didn't know of their drug reactions or interactions??

    Do you think that everyone should pay higher rental car rates because some people have demonstrated they are poor drivers and not responsible?

    Should everyone else pay higher interst rates because some people don't pay on time, or not at all?

    At one time if a barn burned down the neighbors would gather around and rebuild it.

    But if it burned two more times, should they? Isn't obvious that the guy is doing something to cause the fires??

    You speak of rights, and I have no problem. But you might just consider that we also have responsibilities.

    To pay our bills on time. To not be poor drivers. To not sue if it is our actions that delayed the medical information. To help out in the WOT.

    Me? I see some middle ground. Too bad you, like the Right, do not see any.


    All I want.... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 11:54:01 AM EST
    is freedom, first and foremost.  With freedom comes many problems.  I've said it a million times...freedom in inherently messy and dangerous.  

    Let us not solve the problems associated with living free by taking away the freedom.  That, my friend, is no solution at all.

    I see a national id creating a vast underground society for those who can't get one or don't have one in good standing.  An underground society that can't get employment, can't see a doctor, or can't report crimes.


    Roman roots (none / 0) (#16)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:06:15 PM EST
    An underground society that can't get employment, can't see a doctor, or can't report crimes.

    Or an underground society that employs it's own, including doctors, and has it's own methods of dispensing 'justice'...........


    Edger becomes a scifi author. (none / 0) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:27:53 PM EST
    Or an underground society that employs it's own, including doctors, and has it's own methods of dispensing 'justice'...........

    You have to know (none / 0) (#27)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:36:51 PM EST
    the secret handshake, Jim

    SciFi doesn't have (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:40:44 PM EST
    secret handshakes. Your thinking of fantasy.

    And since you write so much of it I see your confusion.


    Wrong problems (none / 0) (#17)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:09:39 PM EST
    But it seems to me that you're addressing the wrong problems. The national ID isn't the problem, the problem is that people cannot get employment, see a doctor, or report crimes. We should be asking ourselves why they cannot do those things, rather than blaming a national ID for exposing these problems.

    Wrong end of the telescope (none / 0) (#19)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:16:07 PM EST
    The national ID isn't the problem.

    The problem is people that fail to see that anational ID is a problem.


    When you become engaged (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:33:35 PM EST
    in illegal activities, yes, your options become limited.

    But I take great exception to the "medial treatment" comment. Plus, most none INS police don't pick up illegals.

    Strawmen, kdog. Strawmen.


    Jim... (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:54:40 PM EST
    I was talking about what would happen if your national ID idea was implemented.  It's not a stretch to see medical treatment limited to ID-holders in this current climate.  People are calling for mass-deportations and prison camps for christs sake!

    If you need a national ID to get work, and don't have one, what is gonna happen?  You will either find something off the books, or turn to crime.  Oh yeah, working off the books is a crime...so you will be forced to turn to crime, period.

    And once you are a criminal...you are underground.  Heck, I think govt. intentionally tries to create criminals....criminals tend not to speak out against injustice, self-preservation takes over.

    The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

    - Ayn Rand

    I think this data-basing will ensure the govt. can continue to find (or is it create?) enough "criminals"....

    When nearly every citizen has broken a law at one time or another, not to mention citizens like me who break them everyday....I think its time to realize maybe there isn't a "crime" problem, but perhaps a "law" problem?


    Jim vs. Jim (none / 0) (#49)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 04:05:06 PM EST
    some on the Left recognize that a country needs national defense.

    That you do not speaks volumes about you and places you in a very marginal position.

    Yes, he's against national defense. That's what you would ordinarily call a...

    Strawmen, kdog. Strawmen.

    Well, bowl me over with a feather!

    Personally, I hope he goes for the grand slam and says something like "Why don't you stop being racist and be civil, you black motherf*cker!"


    What goes around, and around, and around. Heh. (none / 0) (#51)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 04:14:18 PM EST
    He's getting close, scar. He's already done a complete 180 in the same post at least once today. ;-)

    funny ... (none / 0) (#70)
    by Sailor on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 07:31:41 PM EST
    ... but ppj doesn't mind advocating murder of Americans.
    These are the same people who pissed away his father's presodentancy.. If I were him I'd send their name to the CIA with "Extreme Prejudice" stamped on the front of the report.
    Yeah, death to Americans is OK, but pot ... golly gee, we have to stop "illegal activities."

    Go tell it on a bush.


    One thing is for sure (none / 0) (#48)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 04:01:59 PM EST
    When Ben Franklin said that those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither, he had an image of PPJ in his head.

    There it was! (1.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 04:11:26 PM EST
    Oh and there it was. Just 45 minutes after I predicted it.

    It should be noted for the sake of accuracy that what Franklin said was "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Note the modifiers "essential", "little", and "temporary."

    You are from the party of nuance, are you not? It's easy to sit around and yell "no middle ground." It's much more difficult, and more necessary, to determine just what compromises will keep the ship of state safely away from Scylla and out of the reach of Charybdis.


    What (none / 0) (#57)
    by aw on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 06:23:39 PM EST
    are the non-"essential" liberties, Gabriel?  Why don't you parse the whole quote and tell us what those modifiers mean to you?

    Some of us still remember what it was like to grow up mostly free.  You don't even know what that's like.  Why should we listen to you?


    the world is pushing us there (none / 0) (#56)
    by Sailor on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 06:18:41 PM EST
    How amusing that 70% of Americans disagree with ppj
    I think there are enough people wanting what I deemed as "we" to more than justiy its use.
    Nope, that's just another way you think your anti-American thinking is the norm.

    Get used to being in the minority ppj, next will come secret detentions (that you have advocated for), torture, (that you have advocated for), 'extrraordinary rendition' that you have advocated for.

    I sure hope it doesn't come to unAmerican executions ... that you have advocated for.


    But (none / 0) (#58)
    by aw on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 06:27:18 PM EST
    PPJ will walk a narrower and narrower line in order to comply with the law.  If he drives a blue car and they make that illegal, why, he'll ditch it the next day.  If they make women wear burkas, he'll be on line at the burka store next day with his womenfolk.  As long as they say it's for national security, he'll do whatever they say.

    aw - Nope (none / 0) (#72)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 10:33:38 PM EST
    and I served to protect our liberty from one of the isms.

    Now I know that means little to you, but actions speak louder than words.


    I'm not (none / 0) (#12)
    by peacrevol on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 10:51:22 AM EST
    exactly sure that this is such a bad thing. If one agency has information on a felon, they need to be able to cross reference with other law enforcement. Of couse, like anything else, that power can be abused (and it probably will be).

    Perhaps I dont understand the idea that innocent people will have their privacy invaded. Can somebody explain that a little more clearly? How can the trading of information among LE agencies infringe on someone's privacy? I can think of one example, but it seems as though it almost never happens. The FBI had a file on John Lennon and w/ this new infor sharing all agencies may have been able to access the FBI's research. Is that where the invasion of privacy problem comes from?

    The Problem (none / 0) (#13)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 11:23:12 AM EST
    The problem here is that it appears that the database will contain more than just public information and felon information. Each excess is a concern for different reasons.

    First, I would have no problem with government agencies sharing public information. After all, by nature of its "public" status there are no privacy implications to sharing or publishing the information. The problem here is that it is not immediately apparent that this database will contain just public information.

    Before supporting the program I would want some assurance that the information contained in each individual's file is already public.

    Second, while felonies are a matter of public record, the identity of "suspects" and "targets" is not. I don't know if this is the kind of information that will be included, but a commenter upthread seems to think so.

    I'm hesitant to say that a person has a privacy right in whether or not they are a suspect or target (after all, they may not even know they were a suspect or target). That seems like information that can reasonably be shared between one law enforcement officer and another (e.g. "Oh, yeah, FBIguy, I seen him before. Didn't have enough evidence to charge him, but he sure was suspicious.")

    On the other hand, it's clear that what may reasonably be shared between LEOs should not be made public.


    Of course (none / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 12:43:19 PM EST
    it will share information on suspects, targets and people of interest.

    What good would just sharing public information do in a terrorist and/or criminal investigation.


    Ol Buddy.... (none / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 05:32:06 PM EST
    If it doesn't give you the creeps, at least a little, I don't know what to say.

    May you never end up on the wrong side of the over-reaching, information-hoarding, long regenerating octopus arms of the law.



    it vill never give him ze creeps ... (none / 0) (#59)
    by Sailor on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 07:18:51 PM EST
    ... until they come for him.

    Bill - You have a point. The question (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:19:06 PM EST
    becomes what do we do to make the need for databases not required.

    I ran through several. Pay your credit card bill every month and we won't have the issue of non or late payers... Don't sue over things caused by lack of information and we won't need to worry about the lack of information... Have everyone pay the increased costs associatd with lack of driving/credit card payment information and we don't need to worry about it... and the list could run on.

    Shut down the borders and you won't have the illegal problem. Put very strict rules on visas and you will decrease the need for following terrorist suspects.

    But you seem to want no effort to prevent terrorist attacks, yet I would guess you have criticized Bush several times 9/11.

    Can't have it both ways.

    Jail (none / 0) (#38)
    by squeaky on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:32:45 PM EST
    ... and the list could run on.

    Shut down the borders and you won't have the illegal problem. Put very strict rules on visas and you will decrease the need for following terrorist suspects.

    ppj is dreaming about the NSDS aka right wing liberals....

    why not just put everyone in jail, ppj, then all your social problems will disappear.


    Or jail everyone and let each person... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Bill Arnett on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 02:06:58 PM EST
    ...try to prove their innocence without allowing them attorneys, the right to see, hear, and confront any/all witnesses and evidence used against them, even allow the introduction of evidence obtained by torture and other illegal means, and, just for grins, let's NOT ALLOW THE PRISONER TO EVEN ATTEND HIS/HER OWN TRIAL.

    OH! Wait! We do that already, which is why we are so extremely successful at combatting terrorism that we are no longer in danger, right?

    Information overload: sorting through endless databases looking for the terrorist needle buried under the haystacks of trillions of bits of minutiae collected on every citizen.


    Is there (none / 0) (#36)
    by peacrevol on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:21:32 PM EST
    a way to impliment a checks and balances type of system on something like this to try to ensure that the power of the ability to share information will not be abused? I see why it could potentially be a travesty if misused, but I can also see the benefit. Could they institute a committee or new branch of LE that reviews information shared between agencies to make sure that it's appropriate and being used correctly?

    So there's a certain amount of wanting our cake and eating it too in this.

    Why can't we eat our cake and have it, too?

    On the other hand, it's clear that what may reasonably be shared between LEOs should not be made public.

    Absolutely...for reasons that either side of the issue can understand. Is there any danger w/ this plan that info would be shared with the public (beyond what is already shared)?

    You asked, so... (none / 0) (#61)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 04:04:11 PM EST
    All sarcasm aside, if you are unwilling to believe that there exist non-essential liberties, you should stop reading now. I disagree with you and feel justified in my disagreement because nearly all members of Congress--back to the time of the founding--and the Supreme Court--both modernly and in the early days of the Republic--agree with me. Furthermore, I will give examples of such compromises so any "no middle ground" advocates still hanging around will have something to wail about.

    First, however, aw, I will address your second point, since an unsatisfactory answer will also render what comes later moot. You note that I am young and infer that I did not have the opportunity "to grow up mostly free." I assume that your question, "Why should we listen to you?" comes from both observations: (1) I am relatively young compared to the commenters here at TalkLeft; and (2) I didn't get to grow up "mostly free" and therefore am not well positioned to make comparisons.

    To that first point, I have little to say except that "I will not use the age and grouchiness of my opponent against him." Okay, joking aside (and with apologies to President Reagan), there is no reason that you should listen to what I have to say except that I'm fairly well educated and I can string words together into sentences which make arguments that have conclusions sharply different from your own. If you have any interest at all in understanding why many people disagree with you (and aren't so tired or arrogant as to simply ascribe it to ignorance or evil), what I write to you will probably be a good place to start, my age notwithstanding.

    As far as the second point goes--my having been denied a "mostly free" youth, I'm not even sure how to respond except to deny your premise. I can't imagine how my early years were less free than those of people who grew up in the 1970s or the 1950s or earlier. Whereas those eras were consumed with limitations on personal freedoms, publicly supported racism and sexism, my youth was largely free of such intrusions and bigotry. Certainly, all were criticised publicly. I know for a fact that my life as a young gay man would have been sharply different had I grown up in the ::shudder:: 1970s or earlier.

    I'm not sure I could make a a list of concrete rights that I was denied as a child or teen that, you, for example, were not (assuming of course that you're older than me to a significant extent). If I told you that I am only now in my mid-20s, could you create such a list?

    To sum up my answer to your second point, if you're looking for an appeal to authority, I haven't got one for you. I happen to think you should listen to me because I'm right. But I don't have age or experience or any specific expertise that I can rely on to simply proclaim, "You should listen to me." The answer to your question is: you should listen to me, or not, as you choose. However, I have an answer to your other questions and I intend to share it with you. To that extent, at least, you asked for it.

    And so I begin. aw, you have asked that I describe what Franklin's quote means to me, with some emphasis on the concept of nonessential liberties. I agree that the meaning of "essential" in this context is more important than that of "little" and "temporary." The meaning of the latter words is almost self-evident in this context, especially as the two are used together to trivialize the Safety mentioned.

    So, I would take "essential" to mean "that which we cannot exist without." In context, then, it means those liberties which are so central to republican democracy that to lose them would destroy us. It is notable that not all liberties have been viewed as essential. Those familiar with John Locke's treatises on government, as the Founders were, will recall that the very existence of the State necessarily preserves Liberty and simultaneously curtails it. The struggle and purpose of organizing a State is to restrict those exercises of Liberty that are destructive--say, abusing the minority simply because they are outnumbered, or stealing from a neighbor who cannot defend himself--without going to far into Tyranny.

    That necessary impulse to strike a balance between order and liberty has extend from the founding to present day. President Clinton once remarked, we "can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans...that we are unable to think about reality." [Those with access to Lexis.com can verify this from March 2, 1993 in the Washington Post or the Boston Globe.]

    Examples of such compromises are all around us, and indeed, should be patently obvious. However, as I promised the "no middle ground" people something to complain about, I will list some examples.

    The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech or of the press." And yet, we are all familiar with laws preventing speech which presents a clear and present danger to the public. We know that obscenity is not protected speech and neither are fighting words, despite the fact that both have the expressive character of protected speech. Similarly, commercial speech is subject to greater regulation that other types of speech. This despite the clear language of the First Amendment.

    Are we to conclude that speech freedoms are not an Essential Liberty? Or can we make a more nuanced appraisal? Rather than viewing the denial of some speech freedom as a denial of all speech freedom, we should be asking ourselves whether speech which presents a clear and present danger, obscene speech, fighting words, and commercial speech are "things that the republic cannot exist without." Only if it is clear (or maybe likely?) that republican democracy would come to an end unless  fighting words are protected speech, should we declare that the right to use fighting words is an Essential Liberty.

    Of course, you know that fighting words and obscenity and the other types of speech have been regulated or prohibited since time out of mind. Clearly, they are non-essential Liberties.

    It probably requires little discussion to note that the Second Amendment has seen its share of compromises in the name of order. Whether you take an "individual rights" view or a "militia rights" view of the Amendment, denial of the freedom to buy, sell, and use firearms is a denial of Liberty, but it is one that is widely regarded as necessary for the continuation of republican democracy. Oddly enough, then, while some ownership of firearms is held out as an Essential Liberty to combat the tyranny of government, it seems that some regulation of firearms is an Essential restriction on Liberty, in order to preserve Order.

    The Fourth Amendment is probably foremost in your thoughts, in this time of terrorist surveillance, and DOJ databases, and airport body-searches. Surely, the Fourth Amendment in its entirety is an Essential Liberty? Well, not quite.

    No one here is going to deny that the Fourth Amendment has been compromised in the name of order. On that point the "no middle ground" folks will simply have to concede. The difficult comes in determining which of those compromises we are willing to live with--indeed, are nonessential--and which cut to the very heart of republican democracy.

    Probably the least contentious will be those compromises that took place long before the Presidents Bush (and long before my birth). I'm talking about searches and seizures, of course. The text of the Amendment is pretty clear: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon Probable Cause..." And yet, the Supreme Court, and Congress, and the state legislatures, have all created policies whereby it's possible to enter a building and search for people or items and seize such people and items without search warrants. In fact, some searches are allowed without even reasonable suspicion.

    These searches based on "exigent circumstances" and "administrative investigation" certainly have less of a pedigree than the First Amendment compromises I listed above, but they go back before my lifetime, at least, and the republic has not fallen as a result. For that reason, some applications of the Fourth Amendment cannot be called Essential Liberties. Clearly, administrative searches pose no threat to the existence of republican democracy.

    Searches at transportation hubs fall into the same category: those things which are a curtailment of Liberty, but which are necessary for the preservation of Order. When it comes to airport searches, the argument is over the degree of scrutiny that should be applied to each passenger, not the very necessity of scrutiny. It is notable that the republic goes on, despite the fact that airport security was drastically increased following the airline hijackings and bombings of the 1970s and 80s.

    I could go on, but at this point I want to turn to the more contentious compromises--the ones that have led some zealots to declare that there is no such thing as middle ground--and examine whether they represent threats to the existence of republican democracy. Needless to say, I am satisfied that the above list of compromises reveals the lack of understanding of modern America that is presented by the "no middle ground" folks. Clearly, there is a middle ground between unrestrained Liberty and tyrannical Order. As ever, our jobs as citizens is finding it.

    I turn now to three contemporary compromises that possibly represent threats to Essential Liberties. That is, these things could represent a real threat to republican democracy. I've chosen, because they are dear to many of you: (1) the denial of habeas corpus petition to US citizens; (2) the warrantless surveillance of transoceanic terrorist phone calls; and, topically, (3) the DOJ database that was so recently discussed here.

    Returning to our test: an Essential Liberty is one which is necessary for the very continuation of republican democracy (or American democracy, or "our way of life" or whatever way you want to phrase it). To define it by its lack: our very existence would be threatened by its absence.

    The constitutional right to habeas corpus provides for every citizen who is held prisoner, the right to appeal such confinement to a federal court. It was included by the Founders because King George had a habit of locking up Colonists and forgetting where he put them. Such an act is a patent example of Tyranny: the denial of liberty without recourse to law. Such an act could easily be exercised against a populace in an attempt to destroy it (and was, of course, by that very same King George).

    Therefore, it is clear that habeas corpus is for  citizens an Essential Liberty. Without it, our very existence as a republican democracy would be threatened.

    Warrantless surveillance of the transoceanic telephone calls of suspected terrorists is not clearly prohibited by the text of the Fourth Amendment. After all, a phone call is not a "person, house, paper or effect." However, as I demonstrated above, neither Congress, nor the courts, have chosen to apply a strictly textual understanding of the Amendment. Modernly, we know that the prohibition against searches and seizures applies to such intangibles as conversations on telephones.

    So that's not the problem, here. Such surveillance no doubt constitutes some curtailment of Liberty. Our job is to decide whether such restriction threatens the very existence of the republic. Only then does the right to not have one's suspect phone calls listened to without a warrant rise to that of an Essential Liberty.

    I would argue that it does not pose such a threat for three reasons. First, such surveillance is only undertaken with reason, and does not represent a type of randomized search. Second, I find it unlikely that communication between law-abiding individuals--something necessary for republican democracy to continue--will be deterred. Third, criminal activity, on the other hand, does not constitute private activity meriting Fourth Amendment protection. Indeed, I find that these searches have some benefit to the maintence of ordered democracy: (1) they occur at borders, where hightened scrutiny has often been applied; and (2) it is difficult to acquire warrants in advance due to the technologies involved.

    Therefore, on balance, I do not find that the right to have one's suspect transoceanic phone calls go unmonitored to rise to the level of an Essential Liberty. There will be no crushing of democracy just because suspected phone calls are being scrutinized when they cross borders. Furthermore, privacy interests--already curtailed at borders--are not threatened without reason.

    I recognize, however, that others will, having weighed the same concerns that I just did, reach a different conclusion. Hence, the importance of having a national discussion with the intent to find out how much Liberty is to be given up for Order. We must find the middle ground.

    As I wrote yesterday, my concerns about the DOJ database center on whether or not private information will be made public or shared with individuals not privy to it. Privacy is foundational for republican democracy. However, once information is public, I see no reason why law enforcement agencies should be prevented from sharing it.

    Without knowing more about the DOJ program, my analysis must end there. I don't see it as a threat to Essential Liberty so long as it only makes use of public information. I am not so excitable or anti-government that I will immediately assume that objectionable, contrary use is its purpose without at least some evidence that that is the case.

    In sum, I believe there are many Liberties which are non-essential, including the Liberty to beat up my brother. On the other hand, I agree completely with the sentiment that Essential Liberties, those which the US could not continue without, should not be sacrificed for Temporary Safety. The point is that we must figure out the difference between the two.

    I assume you trust (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by aw on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 05:05:19 PM EST
    the authorities absolutely with your information.

    I know for a fact that my life as a young gay man would have been sharply different had I grown up in the ::shudder:: 1970s or earlier.
     You don't have full rights now.  Are you okay with that?  Do you feel free?

    Oddly enough, then, while some ownership of firearms is held out as an Essential Liberty to combat the tyranny of government, it seems that some regulation of firearms is an Essential restriction on Liberty, in order to preserve Order.
    Except when it comes to terrorism.  
    The Justice Department refused to allow the FBI access to the audit log of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to determine whether suspected terrorists had purchased guns.  See, the gun lobby actually has it right.  No compromise.

    Second, I find it unlikely that communication between law-abiding individuals--something necessary for republican democracy to continue--will be deterred.
     Have you ever had phone sex?  Would you say people shouldn't have phone sex because they have no expectation of privacy?  How about other sensitive issues?  Ever discussed them on the phone?

    Is there anything in your medical records you don't want to share with the entire government/law enforcement/business world?  Maybe some backwater deputy who is latent himself, who hates gays, picks you up for speeding. But you would never speed, right?  

    You act so confident in the leadership.  Maybe you're just whistling in the dark.  I don't know what will make you understand, they are not to be trusted.  They don't give a fig for the rule of law now.  You don't think there is any possibility that they will blackmail the opposition and the press? They have the power and they will use it.

    Put me on the side of No Compromise.


    Those are some high standards.... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 06:17:03 PM EST
    for essential liberty.  As long as the republic will stand, a lil' tyranny is ok?  I prefer the republic struggling a bit with no tyranny.  

    Right now the republic has people in cages who did nothing to threaten order or the republic..lets ask them about their essential liberty.  


    ::Shrug:: (none / 0) (#71)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 08:54:42 PM EST
    I was asked what "essential" meant. So I went for a dictionary.

    Figures. (none / 0) (#76)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 12:17:21 PM EST
    Did you (none / 0) (#77)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 12:18:08 PM EST
    find 'avoidance' in that dictionary too?

    Eh? (none / 0) (#78)
    by Gabriel Malor on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 01:02:21 PM EST
    Kinda like how you avoided reading my comment, choosing to "imaginate" instead.

    I come here to talk in good faith about these topics which interest me. Some of the posters and commenters here also seem engaged in discussion. Others are just cheerleaders. And some have simply "checked out" on these topics. The frustrating part is that some of those who chose not to participate do not stop themselves from running their mouths anyway.


    Oh I read it. (none / 0) (#79)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 01:11:36 PM EST
    When I have 5 or 6 seconds with nothing better to do I'll deconstruct it. Not that I think you'll get it when I do, but only because it might save someone else 2 or 3 seconds.

    But you did a pretty good job (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 01:13:53 PM EST
    of deconstructing it yourself, when you had to look up 'essential' in the dictionary, so maybe I'll just leave it there.



    Try not to miss ::that:: point, Gabe... (none / 0) (#81)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 01:14:50 PM EST
    With this single statement you have... (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by Bill Arnett on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 02:58:08 PM EST
    ...surrendered yourself to the government to do with you as they please:

    I am not so excitable or anti-government that I will immediately assume that objectionable, contrary use is its purpose without at least some evidence that that is the case.

    Man progressed to his current status by NOT PLACING ABSOLUTE FAITH IN GOVERNMENT and EXPECTING THAT GOVERNMENT WILL NOT ABUSE ITS POWER, and, as a law student and presumably familiar with the concept of "checks and balances" and the lack of faith our forefathers had in government, a distrust that was so severe they did their best to see that government be of, for, and by the people bespoke a mistrust of government that has served us well for over two hundred years.

    And you gave it all up in just one sentence. Yes, Gabriel, we shall always disagree on this matter.

    Maybe being a Vietnam vet that was poisoned by the government in which you repose such trust, and having to fight tooth-and-nail against that government for TWELVE YEARS to force an admission of what had been done to me to get the help I needed, and witnessing the suffering of countless vets, now and coming down the pike, has a way of, let's say "flavoring" perceptions of who and what are worthy of the blind trust you express.

    But you are certainly entitled to your opinion, as I once trusted my government also; I just hope that when government does finally slam you to a wall, and if you lose your entire life behind the lies and schemes of the government Madison and company wanted to protect us FROM, well, I hope the letdown will be easier for you than thousands and thousands of veterans lied to and let down by our government.



    Taking that a little far, aintcha? (1.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Gabriel Malor on Fri Dec 29, 2006 at 08:53:58 AM EST
    Bill, I said I wasn't so inately suspicious as to accuse without evidence. That's not "surrendering to government", that's just common sense.

    How do you get evidence (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by aw on Fri Dec 29, 2006 at 09:14:20 AM EST
    when everything is secret?

    The wondrously named Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board held its first public hearing the other day on the National Security Agency's illegal eavesdropping program. If you expected it to discover any truths about the secret program, you can forget it. The board spent its time explaining why it was more important to work from within the administration than to challenge it. Thus wags the tail of a watchdog with neither bark nor bite.
    A frustrated witness informed the board it was "all bark and no bite." But in truth, there's no bark either. The board's initial report to Congress in March will first be vetted by administration factotums.

    And how do you evaluate evidence... (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 29, 2006 at 09:25:02 AM EST
    ...when denial takes over every time it is presented?

    non-essential liberties (none / 0) (#62)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 04:11:08 PM EST
    Non-essential to what?

    Defined as such by whom?

    I must have not made that clear (none / 0) (#63)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 04:58:17 PM EST
    I was responding to aw up above and didn't want what had become a lengthy post to become all squished against the right sidebar.

    yes, yes (none / 0) (#66)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 05:42:25 PM EST
    It's ok. You can just say they are uncomfortable points that you'd prefer to avoid...

    Read (none / 0) (#67)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 05:53:46 PM EST
    I answered your questions in my comment (#61). I understand that the length of my commentary may be off-putting (it kinda suprised me, actually), but I assure you that I have already answered your questions. Read it.

    Unless (none / 0) (#69)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 06:47:30 PM EST
    you've had some kind of an epiphany I can pretty much imaginate what I would find, based on all of your other comments.

    But thanks anyway. ;-)