Patterico's Pontifications

6/25/2013

Government vs. Terrorism As The Biggest Threat: More Thoughts

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am



Yesterday I ran a poll asking readers to say whether they are more frightened/concerned by government or by terrorism. I am including the poll here again in this post because I would like as many people as possible to answer it. Please answer the poll now if you have not already, before proceeding to my comments under the fold.

Which frightens/concerns you more: government or terrorism?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Some readers complained that the poll was oversimplified, but I made it very simple by design. I wanted to allow readers to respond in a spontaneous manner, treating the concepts of government or terrorism in whatever manner their own minds first presented those concepts to their consciousness.

For example, when I constructed the poll, I personally viewed the concept of government through the lenses of the Snowden case, and thought of the term “government” as referring to our United States government. But if one views the concept of government more broadly, I think it’s objectively true that, throughout history, governments have been responsible for more human misery then terrorists. One need only look at the murderous regimes of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin for sufficient proof of that proposition. Commenter bridget put it well in a comment praised by many readers:

Terrorists can kill me, maim me, or do the same to my friends and family. Short of dropping a WMD, the chances of them doing so are very small.

The government can kill me, maim me, send me to prison, take my children away (if I were to have children), hold my family hostage, take all of my money, suppress my speech, determine what country I can live in, forbid me from practising my religion upon pain of death or imprisonment, make it impossible for me to be gainfully employed, invalidate elections, search my house, commandeer my property for their own use, obtain my cell phone records, read my email and Facebook posts, determine what kinds of health care I can get, draft me into the military, forbid me from receiving certain medical treatment that can save my life, or coerce me into aborting a disabled child.

And if I try to fight back, they can kill me, arrest me, imprison me, or do the same to my family. If I park a bullet in a terrorist’s head, they might try for retribution – or it might end there.

And that is not mere speculation: in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, governments have killed tens of millions of their own citizens, held fraudulent elections to keep dictators in power, forbidden their own citizens from leaving the country, executed dissidents, thrown kids into mass graves, violated human rights, forced their female citizens to have abortions, executed women who were raped, outlawed religion…. yeah, I could go on.

Terrorists can bring physical pain or death to me or my family, and I can do my best to fight back. What the government can do is so much bigger, worse, and if you fight back, an entire army will land upon you.

The government also has the power to determine what physical weapons are at my disposal for protecting my own life and liberty. Governments can and have outlawed the sale and possession of guns, controlled the production and distribution of ammunition, disarmed their citizens, and then proceeded to slaughter them en masse.

Not only are there are different repercussions to shooting a government official in self-defence than there are to shooting a terrorist in the same circumstances, the government can make it impossible for you to have the gun and the ammunition.

Well said indeed.

Nevertheless, I maintain that whether our United States government (as opposed to other governments) poses a greater danger to its citizenry then terrorists, is not as obvious a proposition. Therefore, how you answer the question may depend on how you define the terms, which is perfectly natural (and probably desirable) in the context of a poll question. If I over-defined any of the terms or included long wordy potential answers, I might be putting my thumb on the scale, and I didn’t want to do that.

Because I am trying to keep this balanced for the benefit of those who read the post before answering the question, I would like to balance Bridget’s comment by liberally from one of the most moving posts that I’ve ever seen on terrorism, the post by Allahpundit concerning his reaction to the September 11 attacks. The post was actually compiled by Andy Levy from a series of tweets Allahpundit had done.

Eight years ago, I remember opening my eyes at 8:46 a.m. in my downtown Manhattan apartment because…

…I thought a truck had crashed in the street outside

I remember pacing my apartment for the next 15 minutes thinking, stupidly, that a gas line might have been hit in the North Tower…

…and then I heard another explosion. I hope no one ever hears anything like it.

All I can say to describe it is: Imagine the sound of thousands of Americans screaming on a city street

It was unbelievable, almost literally

I remember being on the sidewalk and there was an FBI agent saying he was cordoning off the street…

…and then, the next day, when I went back for my cats, they told me I might see bodies lying in front of my apartment building (I didn’t)

We held a memorial service in October for my cousin’s husband, who was “missing” but not really…

He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. They found a piece of his ribcage in the rubble not too long afterwards.

This is the guy who conspired to murder him: http://is.gd/38h7y

Had a friend from the high school speech and debate team who disappeared from the 105th floor

Had another friend of a friend who worked on the 80th floor or so, married six weeks before the attack…

Speculation is that he was right in the plane’s path, and was killed instantly when it plowed through the building

Did a bit of legal work for a couple whose son worked in the upper floors. Was dating someone else up there at the time…

I was told that she managed to call her parents while they were trapped up there and that the call “was not good”

Never found out if it was cut off by the building collapsing or not

When there is a large terrorist attack, don’t kid yourself: you and people you know may well be affected.

To this day, you can find photos of thousands of people congregated in the blocks surrounding the Towers, seemingly…

…waiting for them to fall that day

When I got to midtown, rumors were that Camp David and the Sears Tower had also been destroyed. I remember looking around…

…and thinking that we had to get out of Manhattan, as this might be some pretext to get us into the street and hit us with some germ

I callled my dad — and somehow miraculously got through — and told him I was alive, then headed for the 59th street bridge

To this day, the scariest memory is being on that bridge, looking at the Towers smoking in the distance,

and thinking maybe the plotters had wired the bridge too to explode beneath us while we were crossing it.

There was a video online, posted maybe two years ago, shot from the hotel across the street,,,

…and it showed roughly 10-12 bodies flattened into panackes lying in the central plaza

Maybe it’s still online somewhere

You have to see it to understand, though. You get a sense of it from the Naudet brothers documentary hearing…

…the explosions as the bodies land in the plaza, but seeing it and hearing it are two different things

. . . .

I remember getting to 57th Street and asking some dude, “What happened?”

And he said, “They collapsed” and I couldn’t believe both of them had gone down. Even after the planes hit…

…I remembered that the Empire State Building had taken a hit from a military plane during WWII and still stood tall

So it was never a serious possibility that the WTC would collapse. I assumed…

…that the FDNY would get up there, put out the fire, and the WTC would be upright but with gigantic holes in it

It took an hour for the first tower to go down, 90 minutes for the second.

Even now, despite the smoke, I’m convinced most of the people trapped at the top were alive…

…and waiting, somehow, for a rescue. The couple whose legal case I worked for told me that…

…their son and his GF contacted her father very shortly before the collapse. Which makes sense. As much smoke as there was…

…if you have a five-story hole in the wall to let air in to breathe, you’re going to linger on.

So for many people, the choice probably quickly became: Hang on, endure the smoke, or jump

If you listen to the 911 calls, which I advise you not to do, some of them chose “hang on”

Although needless to say, if you ever saw the Towers…

…you know how dire things must have been up there to make anyone think the better solution was “jump”

They were ENORMOUS.

One more quote, to illustrate the mental impact an event like this can have on a person:

Even when I ended up working downtown for years after that, with a luxurious view of upper Manhattan from the top floors…

…I always feared looking out the window because I was paranoid that at that precise moment, the flash would go off…

…and that’d be the last thing I see. And in fact, for a moment in 2003 when the power went out city-wide,

…I did think that was what was happening. The wages of 9/11.

I don’t mean to denigrate any of the answers given to the poll by observing that, in my opinion, the results are at least in part a function of the times in which we live. That’s inevitable and true of any poll. I think that any but the most anti–government among us would probably concede that a poll like this might well have garnered different results in, say, December 2001 than it does today, in an era of ever-increasing revelations concerning overbearing governmental conduct.

The challenge, I believe, is to do our best to always keep our eye on the bigger picture, and to a adopt a stance that will apply equally well whether the government is in the hands of our preferred politician or a horrible political enemy — and a stance that will work just as well when we have just suffered a horrible terrorist attack as it does when we learn of government lying and misconduct.

A limited government that treats protecting its citizens as the highest priority is an obvious first step. After that, when it comes to balancing privacy, liberty, and safety? It’s not always so easy, is it?

104 Responses to “Government vs. Terrorism As The Biggest Threat: More Thoughts”

  1. I like this a lot. I’ve been doing a lot of research on the subject, and really have begun seeing Terrorism a lot… differently. As a scare tactic almost.

    Saw another article and I think this guy Kyle Kramer pretty much summed it up. “Terrorism is the adult version of the boogeyman.” haha

    (Article for reference: http://opengov.us/is-the-boogeyman-a-puppet-for-terrorists/)

    Donald (0b980f)

  2. It’s not always so easy, is it?

    Actually, it is. IOW, when so many people throughout society are so devoid of common sense that they allowed the person now in the White House to enter the White House in 2008, and then re-affirmed that lunacy in 2012 — and when this foolishness is reflected in so many other aspects of our current society — that isn’t an opaque, complicated equation with lots of gray and ambiguity.

    If 9-11 were to happen today, in light of things like the following, the US government to me, if anything, would not only be a source of comfort, it would be a source of complicity.

    news.investors.com, June 12, 2013: Homeland Insecurity: The White House assures that tracking our every phone call and keystroke is to stop terrorists, and yet it won’t snoop in mosques, where the terrorists are.

    That’s right, the government’s sweeping surveillance of our most private communications excludes the jihad factories where homegrown terrorists are radicalized. Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.

    Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.

    We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.

    Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.

    If only they were allowed to continue, perhaps the many victims of the Boston Marathon bombings would not have lost their lives and limbs. The FBI never canvassed Boston mosques until four days after the April 15 attacks, and it did not check out the radical Boston mosque where the Muslim bombers worshipped.

    The bureau didn’t even contact mosque leaders for help in identifying their images after those images were captured on closed-circuit TV cameras and cellphones. One of the Muslim bombers made extremist outbursts during worship, yet because the mosque wasn’t monitored, red flags didn’t go off inside the FBI about his increasing radicalization before the attacks.

    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…”

    Mark (67e579)

  3. FWIW: that should be “…would not only NOT be a source of comfort…”

    Mark (67e579)

  4. I think I at least mentioned it in my post on the other poll, but one of the reasons I put Government higher than terrorists in things that worry me is that the actions of this government seem designed to ensure that we get more terrorists and terrorist attacks rather than less.

    Mark in Comment 2 lists pretty much all of the reasons for that. It’s the whole “let’s strip search Lutheran grannies at the airport instead of (rather than in addition to) young adult muslim males” mindset of the current government.

    And then there is the fact that we have so many federal regulations that all of us law-abiding citizens are pretty much guaranteed to have broken at least one law a day, which can then be used against us if/when we piss someone in the power structure off.

    It’s the concerted attempts to ensure that we can’t defend ourselves, even against general crime and mayhem, never mind a federal government run amok.

    If terrorists goal is primarily to have us living in fear, what do you call a government who wants to control us by collecting every single secret we have ever had and every single injudicious thing we have ever said in a moment of extreme frustration so that they can threaten us with separation from our families, our jobs, and/or our property?

    I’m thinking this out as I go, but if you follow the logic, you can argue that the federal government as it is currently functioning is a pretty damn good terrorist organization in its own right.

    LibraryGryffon (06c781)

  5. Heartwrenching memories don’t make the NSA any more efficient at detecting terrorists. Indeed they seem to have been designed specifically to spy on us.
    Pretty much useless for the other thing.

    SO far the NSA has stopped 0 zero nil null nada nothing – with the possible exception of Mitt Romney’s presidential bid. But that’s yet to be proven.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  6. Welcome to the coming of age for the conservative citizens of this nation. As a conservative since my high school years, I was raised watching John Wayne movies and Victory at Sea and Combat! on TV. I read Readers Digest and Life magazine and National Review. I swelled with pride at what America had done in the past and was accomplishing in space and medicine, and the Peace Corps. Simply said: I believed.

    Since then administrations – left and right – lost touch with our Founding Fathers vision and our Constitution. My older brother grew up a left wing near radical. His coming of age was during the Vietnam war and the Nixon administration. He seethed about what corporate America was doing to the country and government, and that Republicans were hell bent on destroying our freedoms. I didn’t see it.

    I am a slow learner and I guess I clung bitterly to the America I grew up loving, even as as it was being dismantled piece by piece. I grew sad and weary watching the shift in how the government at all levels behaved and treated its citizens. But I remained hopeful that things could and would be righted.

    Today, my hope is mostly extinguished. I now fear my government for what I know it is doing and more so for what it is doing that I don’t know about – yet. I hate the craven political elites are dooming this country to a dark and bleak economic and societal future. I now feel helpless. Those in who I placed my trust to hold the line in Washington have abandoned me and those who think like me. And for what?

    The brazenness with which the Obama administration has unleashed tyrannical elements and programs against the American people is breathtaking. The media conspiracy to keep the people ignorant and pliable is enabling this behavior to continue unaddressed. Finally, the low information, entitlement seduced voters are selling this country out for a fistful of trinkets.

    Seems like Khrushchev might have been right after all. China and a resurgent Russia will bury us.

    in_awe (7c859a)

  7. Yes, no. 4., I feel the same way. The government foolishness really allows terrorism. Clinton’s State Department met with the Taliban at least 20 times all over the world after the first WTC bombing. They were being played, of course, while AQ prepared for the coup de grace.

    All attacks afterwards were caused by government’s failures. I know that’s always true, and that war is a giant mutual failure, but our multi-culti appeasers have perfected the technique.

    Patricia (be0117)

  8. It’s the whole “let’s strip search Lutheran grannies at the airport instead of (rather than in addition to) young adult muslim males” mindset of the current government.

    LibraryGryffon

    Just yesterday my 5’6″, 120 lb., 87 year father was detained by TSA for 45 minutes at the airport in Cleveland. Seems that the Security geniuses decided his folding cane was a weapon and he needed to be patted down and interviewed about why he was carrying the weapon. The knee brace and limp apparently provided no clue.

    His willingness to abandon the cane and just move along wasn’t acceptable to the minions. He wound up being “interviewed” by the overall TSA shift commander for the airport before being released and admonished not to bring weapons to the airport in the future.

    Meanwhile the southern border remains open and the CBO says that even with the new amendment at least 5MM illegals will cross the border unimpeded within the next 10 years. And future visa overstays will continue apace. But my Dad has learned his lesson and will not be a threat to America’s security in the future.

    in_awe (7c859a)

  9. @8: all we can assume is that the current Powers That Be want a country full of jihadi muslims and La Raza.

    That they should be careful what they wish for is but cold comfort for the rest of us.

    LibraryGryffon (06c781)

  10. The ultimate terrorist is your own government.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  11. In the context of Patterico’s comments, I voted government again because without an effective government focused on the right policies, we have little chance off an effective defense or offense against terrorism. This administration has demonstrated how political correctness can infect and diminish the entire country’s effort’s against terrorism in a short period of time.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  12. With respect to the poll, my objections stand. The word “terrorism” can include anything from a couple wild eyed guys with a machete cutting off Daniel Pearl’s head, to the organized 9/11 hijackers, to the amateurish Boston bombers, to the governments of Syria or Iran or some such who have or may soon have nukes. It’s a waaaay different discussion and thought process depending on which level of “terrorism” you are thinking about. It’s a waaay different level of “fear” depending on whether we are including nukes or dirty bombs that could decimate one of our cities into the equation– or are limiting it to knives and pressure cooker terrorists. This disconnect on what terrorism is came through loud and clear in the answers, I thought.

    The poll’s vague use of the word “government”, likewise, can mean anything from narrowly that of our own beloved country which currently is disappointing many of us, or can include the most evil and murderous governments ever known in the history of the world. Whether one is focused on our own flawed Constitutional republic or on Hitler’s Germany or Mao’s China, kind of matters in framing the responses about “government”.

    The fact that the poll was “simple by design” was in fact what makes it both so complex and also so useless for gauging opinion. If Patterico wanted us to view the situation and poll (as he says he himself did) mostly through the U.S. citizen/Snowden/U.S. government lens then probably he could have crafted the poll toward that direction without “tipping the scales”.

    Sorry. Bad polls are bad polls period–no matter who does them and for what purpose. And there are so many of them out there. The questions matter. And the respondents need to understand upon what they are being asked to opine. This is why we constantly see bad data used for political purposes and for creating false narratives.

    I found the essay responses from commenters to be very interesting and mostly well thought out because they talked about what interested and concerned them specifically. It was, and is a very good post overall, despite the lousy poll. :)

    elissa (c2c614)

  13. A government that respects its role and the people it serves prevents and/or punishes terrorism.

    AMartel (88c646)

  14. I’ve seen the update, and there it is again, this attempt to paint over-the-line, intolerable spying on the domestic population as not so bad, and at least well-intentioned. I feel like wagons are being circled but I hardly know what for.

    Just how is this going to redound upon the GOP? What is the deal?

    Sarahw (b0e533)

  15. I pay my taxes to the government so that they will protect me from the terrorists.

    If the government are the terrorists, what do I do?

    luagha (5cbe06)

  16. I realize you want to make this a big picture issue but I can’t take it out of the context of recent and current governments and terrorist events. At least Bush’s policies actually seemed to make a difference in the war on terror. Show me how this government’s intrusive programs have stopped terrorism and I’ll consider whether they are worth the cost of supporting it and its policies.

    It would be easy to tip the balance toward the government if it had actually caught a significant number of terrorists or stopped a significant number of terrorist events, but there’s no convincing evidence it has. The only exceptions are information obtained during the Bush Administration from the use of special interrogation techniques at GTMO and foreign terrorists targeted by the drone program — primarily during the Obama Administration. However, the interrogation techniques have been rejected by the current government and the drone program (which clearly kills foreign terrorists) has reduced our ability to gather meaningful information about terrorists and potential terrorist attacks.

    Is the trade-off worth enough to tip the balance to government? Not if includes the possibility that the domestic surveillance program becomes another IRS — a massive bureaucracy prone to partisanship and abuse. And I think that’s a real possibility from this point on, no matter who the President is. Once the executive has a specific power, it never lets it go.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  17. 12.Comment by elissa (c2c614) — 6/25/2013 @ 9:36 am

    The word “terrorism” can include anything from a couple wild eyed guys with a machete cutting off Daniel Pearl’s head,

    That wasn’t a couple of wild eyed guys.

    Khalid Sheik Muhammed, chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, said he did it himself.

    (The only reason I can imagine why is that none of the other kidnapers wanted to kill him in cold blood. He might be protecting someone, of course.)

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  18. Comment by Sarahw (b0e533) — 6/25/2013 @ 10:19 am

    The response to domestic eavesdropping, as they used to say in New York, is:

    Spy on this!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  19. DRJ:
    I think the most extreme of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” were never performed at GITMO, but were the province of the off-shore CIA installations.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  20. And here’s another example of how it can serve as a bane;

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/06/25/oh-good-obamas-new-energy-plan-expected-to-raise-electricity-costs/

    Yes, Zubeydah, KSM, were interrogated at ‘black sites, Quahtani might have been the exceptions,

    narciso (3fec35)

  21. Terrorists could take out a coal mine. A government could take out a coal industry.

    Ken in Camarillo (2c0dee)

  22. Some wag said this morning that in light of the Government’s War on Drugs, and War on Poverty;
    the coal industry should be gleefully anticipating a War on Coal!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  23. Thanks for the correction, askeptic.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  24. Can we add a fourth option? In my day to day life I’m not really that worried about either of them. They could both harm me. But I really don’t feel that it’s likely. There’s a whole list of crap I have to worry about. Not to say that they’re not things to keep in mind. Just doesn’t take a lot of energy on my part day to day.

    time123 (6dd049)

  25. I’m glad you don’t feel threatened by the government or terrorists, time123, but we have a President who insists on demonizing those who disagree with him. (Take, for example, today’s announcement that anyone who doesn’t agree with him on climate change is a member of the flat earth society.) There will come a day when you don’t agree with the sitting President. May you be blessed with someone like Bush who didn’t demonize those who disagreed with him.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  26. Let alone target them.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  27. Time123 doesn’t mind if the I.R.S. is auditing people—just as long as it is other people. Or something.
    Just like those Nuremberg Laws targeted ‘the other.’ And guess what—it was legal.

    I bet a lot of those Jews had stuff they had to do with their day, rather than preoccupy themselves with thoughts of the government coming to get them.

    Tough luck for them, huh, Time123 ?

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  28. Which terrorist organization do you fear the most?

    Al Qaeda, Obama WH, DOJ, IRS, ATF, NSA, the Gang of Eight, or the Democrat Party?

    ropelight (b1f0de)

  29. In Surprise, Emir of Qatar Plans to Abdicate, Handing Power to Son

    At the age of only 61, the emir surprised the outside world, if not his subjects, with the announcement that he would cede power to his son, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and move aside his longtime foreign and prime minister, Sheik Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, 53. …

    The Prime Minister/Foreign Minister began serving under the older Emir (still alive, at 80) and was instrumental in the coup by the way.

    So what’a going on there? Has the United States learned some secrets, or woken up as to what the Qatar was really doing?

    They say it has been whispered about for months. A Qatari official says it has nothing to do with health.

    Qatar is close to terrorists, subsidizes *$200 to $300 million a year) and hosts Al Jazeera, while at the same time serving as the longtime hosts of America’s biggest military base in the Middle East, the forward headquarters of the Pentagon’s Central Command, at Al Udeid Air Base.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  30. When there is a large terrorist attack, don’t kid yourself: you and people you know may well be affected.

    Of course you’re correct, Pat. But the thing is in addition to the actual effect the terrorists have our government unfortunately has decided to negatively amplify that fact.

    I’ve mentioned that under Obama the government has surrendered to terrorism. Unfortunately it’s not confining itself to suppressing its citizenry by threatening them for speaking out in the hopes that will appease the terrorists. It’s taking its show on the road.

    http://frontpagemag.com/2013/raymond-ibrahim/u-s-asks-egypts-christians-not-to-oppose-morsi/

    While that may be expected, more troubling is that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt is also trying to prevent Egyptians from protesting—including the Copts. The June 18th edition of Sadi al-Balad reports that lawyer Ramses Naggar, the Coptic Church’s legal counsel, said that during Patterson’s June 17 meeting with Pope Tawadros, she “asked him to urge the Copts not to participate” in the demonstrations against Morsi and the Brotherhood.

    The Pope politely informed her that his spiritual authority over the Copts does not extend to political matters.

    Regardless, many Egyptian activists are condemning Patterson for flagrantly behaving like the Muslim Brotherhood’s stooge. Leading opposition activist Shady el-Ghazali Harb said Patterson showed “blatant bias” in favor of Morsi and the Brotherhood, adding that her remarks had earned the U.S. administration “the enmity of the Egyptian people.” Coptic activists like George Ishaq openly told Patterson to “shut up and mind your own business.”

    …In other words, and consistent with Obama administration’s doctrine, when Islamists—including rapists and cannibals—wage jihad on secular leaders, the U.S. supports them; when Christians protest Islamist rulers who are making their lives a living hell, the administration asks them to “know their place” and behave like dhimmis, Islam’s appellation for non-Muslim “infidels” who must live as third class “citizens” and never complain about their inferior status.

    Essentially the Obama administration has decided we are only at war with AQ. And if we surrender to all other stripes of Islamic supremacists then Muslims won’t have a reason to join AQ.

    Of course that’s only in the vain hope that the US will be deceived into thinking Obama is “tough” (sheer vanity, especially in light of the fact that leaders in China, Russia, and other countries are openly mocking him over Snowden). Given his inclinations we’d be negotiating our surrender to AQ as we are currently with the Taliban.

    We have all seen how the Obama administration has remained silent when Salafi terrorists kill and terrorize Christians not only in Egypt but Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, and anywhere Islamic supremacists such as the Muslim Brotherhood are in power. Not a peep. This isn’t a mere oversight on their part, by the way. They’re even airbrushing the fact the US government ever kept track of the kind of religious oppression the MB is engaging in against the Copts as mandated by Congress.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/5/sweeping-religious-persecution-under-the-rug/

    The State Department recently released its annual reports on human rights violations around the world. In an unprecedented move, it conspicuously omitted any mention of religious persecution, oppression of religious minorities or violations of religious freedom.

    I won’t list all the acts of terror the Copts have had to endure since Obama helped the Muslim Brotherhood overthrow Mubarak. But now he compounds the outrage by telling the Copts to shut up about it.

    I feel like Eric Nordstrom, the DoS Regional Security Officer in Libya who was told not even to bring up the subject of additional security after Foggy Bottom rejected several of his urgent requests, when he said he felt like the Taliban was inside the building. I feel the same way. Bush was bad in this regard, too, what with his constant preaching about Islam being a religion of peace. But like in every way I can think about, whatever was bad about Bush is horrible to the tenth power about Obama. So I can’t separate my reaction to terror events from my increased loathing of this government.

    First I react to the terrorism, then I brace myself for the secondary assault on me by my government which now blames me and/or other Americans for being the “root cause” of the attack. I fully understand how the Copts in Egypt and before them the Iranians during their 2009 Green Revolution felt when the government that they thought would be on their side turned on them.

    Steve57 (ab2b34)

  31. > Not if includes the possibility that the domestic surveillance program becomes another IRS — a massive bureaucracy prone to partisanship and abuse. And I think that’s a real possibility from this point on, no matter who the President is. Once the executive has a specific power, it never lets it go.

    I think this is exactly right, and I don’t think there is a significant body of powerful people in either party opposed *on principle* to this (as opposed to being happy to use it as a cudgel against a current President of the opposing party and then dropping the issue once the partisan composition of the Executive changes).

    I think the battle has already been lost and we have no options left other than to welcome the security state we allowed to be built in our names.

    aphrael (0d3ebe)

  32. aphrael,

    Do you see a direct link between what Bush did and what Obama is doing? For example, do you think Bush’s targeted foreign drone program inevitably would lead to domestic surveillance drones, so we shouldn’t have allowed drone technology to be used at all?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  33. it’s a testament to what a screwed up field, that NYC has, that Weiner holds a slight lead over Christine Quinn,

    narciso (3fec35)

  34. I concede the domestic communications surveillance is a more difficult question but I don’t think all Bush’s anti-terror policies opened the door to Obama’s policies, let alone his excesses.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  35. Comment by ropelight (b1f0de) — 6/25/2013 @ 2:22 pm

    YES!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  36. DRJ, at 32: yes.

    I think the policies of the Bush administration in this regard laid the groundwork for the Obama administration policies, and *as I was known to argue at the time* I think the precedents set by the Bush administration were such that they would inevitably be abused by some president, sometime.

    I voted for Obama in the primary in 2008 because I thought he was more likely than Clinton to roll back the aspects of the security state that I viewed as being troubling and inevitably abuse-inviting. The fact that he’s rolled it the other way infuriates me.

    aphrael (0d3ebe)

  37. DRJ, I think the difference between 43, and 44, is that GW was brought up to think of the Presidency as a stewardship; whereas BHO has stated that the office will allow him to “fundamentally change” the country.

    One was interested in maintaining a Federal Republic where the rights of minorities are protected;
    the other intending to institute a Socialist Democracy where 50+1 rules.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  38. All the policies? So after 9/11, you wouldn’t have changed anything about how the government fought terrorism?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  39. That may be, askeptic, but Presidents have to consider how their executive authority can be used by their successors. I agree with aphrael that Bush’s communications surveillance policies may be a concern — if they are as far-reaching as recent reports suggest, but frankly I don’t trust the Obama Administration to tell me the truth about what Bush did.

    Nevertheless, I don’t think the “if we give a little, the President may take a lot” analysis is correct. Bush had to take action to protect America and Americans after 9/11. That Obama may have expanded Bush’s policies far beyond what he contemplated doesn’t make it Bush’s fault that Obama did so.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  40. The second paragraph of my last comment is in response to aphrael, not askeptic.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  41. Really the problem goes back much farther than Bush. I see it as two-fold; Congress essentially delegated it’s legislative powers to the executive branch bureaucracy and Congress legislated agencies like NSA and CIA into existence in such a way it can’t effectively oversee them.

    I suppose the second problem is a derivative of the first. The first problem stems from the fact that Congress doesn’t want to enact unpopular programs into existence although a majority truly desires to have them. So it passes a wish list and gives executive branch bureaucracies the power to regulate them into existence.

    The advantages are Congress gets what it wants plus job security. Now they can run on promises to fix their Frankenstein creation.

    The problem with NSA is that even if a majority of the members of the House and Senate wanted to “fix” those agencies they can’t. They have no way of independently knowing what’s even going on. They’re entirely dependent on people like James “least untruthful answer” Clapper to tell them. And even then the only people getting the least untruthful answer in classified form are those on the Senate or House intelligence committees. Congress as a whole has no information upon which it can act to rein them in.

    Steve57 (ab2b34)

  42. Steve, perhaps witnesses at Congressional hearings should be required to sit in a low-voltage version of “Old Sparky”, with each member of the committee having a button that allows only so many pushes – Chairman and Ranking Member with unlimited privileges?
    If the witness’ answer seems non-responsive….PUSH THE BUTTON (Max)!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  43. The problem, is that Congress in general is not interested in oversight, the likes of Church and Pike in the mid 70s were the exceptions, and not for particular good ends, later there was the Boland Amendment, which led to Iran Contra

    narciso (3fec35)

  44. Over reliance on electronic intelligence so easily compromised and abused may not only deprive us of the essential freedom that is, or ought to be, the only thing it is there to defend – but get in the way of actually stopping terror events.

    Sarahw (b0e533)

  45. Here is another example how the government helps itself, for months, years, even decades, but it cannot last as they must come to the end of other people’s money:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-25/bonds-its-lehman-repeat

    The terrorists can only deprive you of your physical life.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  46. Only the government can tell a person that their 6 yo daughter at school has to share a bathroom with a boy who thinks he is a girl, and then tell the (biological girl) to get used to it, even when they are 17 and taking a shower together after practice for the girl’s basketball team.
    http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/transgender-girl-wins-right-to-use-bathroom-at-public-school-183951487.html

    Already the law in Massachusetts, now by judicial ruling in Co, and soon to be the law in CA, I guess.

    I have plenty of concern and sympathy for a 6 yo who is physically a boy but identifies as a girl (in part because her parents have championed this since age 4 with the “help” of a psychologist),
    but making a federal (or state) case out of your 6 year old’s situation just so you can guarantee years of “awkwardness”.

    When the kindergarten teacher is ordered by a court who gets to stand in which line for the bathroom, is there anything the government can’t tell you to do?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  47. MD–I saw that story and thought it was very interesting. In one of the articles it said that this transgender child is a triplet which causes me to assume (but obviously do not know) that considerable amounts of extra hormones may have been involved in the conception process. Do you think that this possibly could create a greater likelihood of a gender mess up? Apparently as even a baby and very small toddler this child gravitated to girls’ colors and play items and his/her two other siblings instinctively sensed something was amiss with the situation.

    elissa (c6f8c4)

  48. I know a little boy like that. At age five, he already identified as a girl. He was a normal birth. He’s about sixteen now and his parents are still getting “treatment” for him. We don’t talk about him much. Different culture.

    nk (875f57)

  49. I think the range of individual factors is quite large, and little chance of meaningful speculation at a distance.

    But I don’t think making the world make otherwise irrational policies to accomodate the unusual situation of an individual child is likely to be of much help to society or the child in the long run.

    I reiterate, this is the law in massachusetts. Exactly what will happen when a biological boy becomes a dominating player on a girl’s basketball team will be interesting to see.
    Or when a biological girl becomes a major distraction on a boy’s basketball team.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  50. DRJ,

    I realize you want to make this a big picture issue but I can’t take it out of the context of recent and current governments and terrorist events. At least Bush’s policies actually seemed to make a difference in the war on terror. Show me how this government’s intrusive programs have stopped terrorism and I’ll consider whether they are worth the cost of supporting it and its policies.

    I don’t know if I can show you exactly how each capability played into the mix, because I am not on the inside. I’ll say this, though: we caught KSM, killed Osama, and have nabbed just about every other major high-value Al Qaeda target that played any part in 9/11 and is still alive. I’d be hesitant to remove any capabilities from the government that were instrumental in these successes unless it can be shown that the capabilities are either unconstitutional or otherwise intolerable.

    And in that vein, I turn to SarahW:

    I’ve seen the update, and there it is again, this attempt to paint over-the-line, intolerable spying on the domestic population as not so bad, and at least well-intentioned. I feel like wagons are being circled but I hardly know what for.

    Can you tell me exactly what intolerable spying on the domestic population is occurring, and how we know that?

    The answers to those questions may be more obvious to you than to me. I’ll admit that I have been extremely busy at work, but in the reading I have done, I have seen a lot of claims — but I’m not sure I believe all of them.

    Do I need to trust Ed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald to believe them, or is there other proof?

    P.S. There is a difference (which I have discussed) between having a database and accessing it.

    P.P.S. I believe the Supreme Court has ruled that phone metadata is not private information. They might be wrong about that, but I think that’s the longstanding ruling.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  51. I’d be hesitant to remove any capabilities from the government that were instrumental in these successes unless it can be shown that the capabilities are either unconstitutional or otherwise intolerable.

    But there’s been no showing that the domestic metadata/communications surveillance led to these successes, and each time the government has tried to show there has been by identifying a specific terrorist incident, the government’s claim doesn’t seem to withstand scrutiny.

    I think we each have our own balancing point. I was willing to give the government leeway when it comes to surveillance of communications with one foreigner or a non-citizen. I’m not comfortable with widespread domestic surveillance unless the government can show me how it helps (and, thus, why it’s worth it for Americans to give up their privacy).

    Add in the Obama Administration’s targeting of political opponents and I’m even less willing to hand it a tool like this.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  52. Do we know widespread domestic surveillance is occurring, or do we (perhaps reasonably) assume it because the collection of data makes it possible?

    Patterico (9c670f)

  53. In fact, it’s my understanding the government may not even use the metadata in any active way because it’s too much information to analyze. Instead, the government simply retains the data for use in the future if someone comes on their radar for another reason. (That may be how the government identified the now-deceased associate of one of the Tsarnaev brothers.) If so, I submit the government is using the surveillance program for crime-fighting, not terrorist-fighting.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  54. I’m not saying I disagree with any of your positions, necessarily, DRJ. I’m playing Devil’s advocate to some extent because I am a little unsure how I feel about all of it, and it helps me to talk it out with smart people.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  55. Does it matter whether someone is looking at the data? I guess it depends on your perspective but the fact the government could look at the data is what bothers me. Maybe the government uses the data to pinpoint potential terrorists but it appears it doesn’t have that capability, because the data is so vast. Instead, it’s more likely that the government decides who to target and uses the data to substantiate its decision.

    In all candor, I’m willing to let the government use that backward logic when it comes to foreign targets but I’m not willing to let it do that domesticallly.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  56. In fact, it’s my understanding the government may not even use the metadata in any active way because it’s too much information to analyze. Instead, the government simply retains the data for use in the future if someone comes on their radar for another reason. (That may be how the government identified the now-deceased associate of one of the Tsarnaev brothers.) If so, I submit the government is using the surveillance program for crime-fighting, not terrorist-fighting.

    Tsarnaevs: terrorists? criminals? both?

    I’d say both.

    (Remember that you’re dealing with an authoritarian by trade, even if I am a sometime libertarian. There is a natural reluctance on the part of a prosecutor to give up access to data that helps us solve and prosecute crimes. We’re limited by the Fourth Amendment, of course, but if something doesn’t run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, I’m likely to seek out the information and use it.)

    Patterico (9c670f)

  57. this is not indicative of a healthy work/life balance, what I’m hearing here

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  58. Pen registers are constitutional under Katz but require a court order by statute http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/3121, FISA or old fashioned. US v. Miller (1976) held that bank records did not come under Fourth Amendment protection when obtained by grand jury subpoena, but there was a grand jury subpoena.

    nk (875f57)

  59. Does it matter whether someone is looking at the data? I guess it depends on your perspective but the fact the government could look at the data is what bothers me. Maybe the government uses the data to pinpoint potential terrorists but it appears it doesn’t have that capability, because the data is so vast. Instead, it’s more likely that the government decides who to target and uses the data to substantiate its decision.

    In all candor, I’m willing to let the government use that backward logic when it comes to foreign targets but I’m not willing to let it do that domesticallly.

    There a couple of questions: what is constitutional, and what we accept as a policy matter.

    I am unwilling to give up even a shred of my constitutional rights for security.

    But with telephone metadata, we are told by the High Court it’s not a Fourth Amendment violation to have it.

    So then the question becomes: is there a reason to oppose the collection of such information, within constitutional bounds, for policy reasons?

    That’s a debate I’m interested in having, but the answer is not obvious to me.

    Let me take another example: I have read privacy advocates wring their hands about the electronic data recorders in cars — black boxes for automobiles, essentially — which record (depending on the company and the make and model) any number of attributes of a car’s actions immediately before a crash.

    I can understand being concerned about such things as a citizen. But as a prosecutor, I have subpoenaed such information in more than one DUI manslaughter case (I handled several such cases before joining the gang unit). You get a lot of valuable information from the EDRs. Helps you find the truth. As a prosecutor I love it.

    And remember: nabbing the right people not only protects people who could be victims, but also helps ensure the wrong people are not punished. Information helps in a search for the truth. So I put a thumb on the scale in favor of collecting information in a debate like this.

    Again, as a participant of sorts in the system (at least a system), I am perhaps less cynical about it than some.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  60. Pen registers are constitutional under Katz but require a court order by statute http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/3121, FISA or old fashioned.

    A case where society has placed restrictions on law enforcement that are not required by the Constitution.

    I am fine with that.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  61. this is not indicative of a healthy work/life balance, what I’m hearing here

    Oh, I don’t know. I would think libertarians would want prosecutors who have some sympathy for the libertarian mindset.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  62. I’m also a conservative or authoritarian more than a libertarian, and I agree the Tsarneavs were terrorists and criminals. But according to our current government, the investigation of their family, friends and associates is a criminal matter and I submit that’s how it was treated. Just like Nidal Hassan’s “workplace” shooting and all the other terrorist events since Obama took office.

    If he’s going to treat these incidents as criminal events, he should have to do it according to domestic criminal law rules. The line is too blurred and I’m afraid that we are giving up our rights under the guise of fighting terrorism, but it will be used in domestic criminal investigations.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  63. hey no labels

    but the ripple effects of the surveillance state are horrific is all I mean

    I think your job is too narrow a lens for to appreciate all of the ripples as they ripple across a dark Scottish loch

    many miles away

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  64. If he’s going to treat these incidents as criminal events, he should have to do it according to domestic criminal law rules. The line is too blurred and I’m afraid that we are giving up our rights under the guise of fighting terrorism, but it will be used in domestic criminal investigations.

    Hard to disagree with that.

    If there has been any showing that anything has been done in violation of domestic criminal law rules as to Tsarnaev or Snowden, for example, I oppose that. (Has there?)

    Patterico (9c670f)

  65. On the other hand, if the government has everyone’s metadata and there’s no Constitutional/policy issue, then why couldn’t they use it to solve your SWATting case?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  66. If there has been any showing that anything has been done in violation of domestic criminal law rules as to Tsarnaev or Snowden, for example, I oppose that. (Has there?)

    It’s hard to know about Tsarnaev and Snowden since that information is either classified or not available pending trial. As for Todashev’s death, it’s hard to say since the government’s version of events keeps changing.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  67. My problem with all of this Snowden deal from the beginning is that it seems so improbable, so almost scripted or crafted or manufactured for some purpose other than what it seems. I do not believe he acted alone and I am not convinced that Wikileaks was the only co-conspirator in acquiring the top secret data from inside the NSA and the Fisa court docs, although they may be the primary facilitators of the story now. I do not accept that Snowden had access to all what is claimed he has on his computers when apparently even the top congressional leaders on the intelligence committee are not privy to the FISA rulings. I do not plan to get into Sammy territory here but there is more–much more to it than we know. I am sure of it, and that we are arguing about things with blindfolds on and one hand tied behind our back.

    elissa (c6f8c4)

  68. We have all seen how the Obama administration has remained silent when Salafi terrorists kill and terrorize Christians not only in Egypt but Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, and anywhere Islamic supremacists such as the Muslim Brotherhood are in power. Not a peep.

    That’s why I admit that I do place characters like Snowden, et al, in the overall context of American society in 2013. If I had confidence in and respect for the political hierarchy of this nation — from the White House on down — my attitudes would be different. I would probably be far more leery (or scornful) of Snowden, and, in turn, far less cynical about the NSA—and the IRS, the DOJ, the FBI, the EPA, the DOD, etc.

    I’ve sometimes wondered how sensible, decent, honest, practical-minded people who are native to and residents of nations like Mexico or Argentina, or the secularized, exhausted societies of the EU, have any respect or admiration for, or pride in their home countries. I hate to think that peculiar idiosyncrasy will become increasingly a part of the USA in the future.

    Mark (67e579)

  69. At least under the Bush Administration, the government’s special terrorism powers were initially limited to foreign actors, the FISA court, and military proceedings. I don’t see any limits under the Obama Administration. That’s a good thing for people who worry about terrorism more than government. It’s not so good for those of us who worry the government’s thumb may be too heavy on that scale.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  70. I’m prepared to accept that Eric Holder sent a death squad to eliminate a journalist last week elissa

    I’m NOT a conspiracy person even a little I tend to think people are too stupid for any of your better conspioracies to be plausible

    but the Hastings thing seems like a distinct enough possibility that a prudent person wouldn’t dismiss the idea out of hand

    this is what america’s come to

    and so fast

    lickety split quick like a bunny it was

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  71. *conspiracies*

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  72. On the other hand, if the government has everyone’s metadata and there’s no Constitutional/policy issue, then why couldn’t they use it to solve your SWATting case?

    Because it doesn’t have the capacity to collect and keep metadata to the point that the government can trace a communication through a VPN run by a company that doesn’t keep logs.

    You think the feds have the ability to read Julian Assange’s mail? I think they’d like to and I bet they’re trying, but I get the sense they can’t.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  73. we are arguing about things with blindfolds on and one hand tied behind our back

    I heartily agree with that.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  74. If there has been any showing that anything has been done in violation of domestic criminal law rules as to Tsarnaev or Snowden, for example, I oppose that. (Has there?)

    The government waited 16 hours to give Tsarnaev his Miranda warnings because it was a terrorism case. It’s not a violation of criminal law rules but it’s not common. It’s hard not to wonder what other procedures they’re deviating from.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  75. Since happy is going to go all meta with Police references, I think the government probably has the capability to analyze the metadata. Why else would it be building a huge data center to store it?

    As happy alludes and DRJ states, the ripples may be more important than the current debate.

    When the government possesses so much information, regardless of the party in power, what does it mean for the individual?

    The left has already made its position clear.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  76. So the moral is: we should all use foreign ISPs?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  77. That didn’t bother me. There was plenty to ask, in my view, that fell within the public safety position.

    But then, you’re talking to a skeptic of the Miranda decision to begin with. I follow it, to be sure, because it’s the law. But I don’t feel any need whatsoever for the decision to be read in any but the narrowest way legally permitted.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  78. So the moral is: we should all use foreign ISPs?

    I don’t like it. I’d like for those companies who don’t keep logs to be put out of business. They make successful SWATting possible.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  79. But you’re a lawyer, Patterico. Laws are for lawyers and for the public, and the public thinks Miranda warnings are there to protect them. This puts an asterisk on that protection if the government thinks you have anything to do with terrorism.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  80. While I do believe the foreign VPN provider was the main problem in my case…

    …I still think that if the FBI agent I dealt with could legally push a button and learn who SWATted me, I’m not sure he would. I think instead he would argue with me about why it would be too difficult to push the button.

    Why that is, I’d love to know.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  81. This puts an asterisk on that protection if the government thinks you have anything to do with terrorism.

    But terrorism by its nature is often organized, and capturing one terrorist gives rise to the realistic possibility that they may have information that could prevent other attacks. I don’t see the problem in questioning them for the public’s safety. Treating terrorists differently vis-a-vis Miranda is often rational and defensible, in other words.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  82. With domestic terrorists who are American citizens, I think we should either try them in the criminal law system or treat them as enemy combatants. But trying to meld the two systems could ruin both, and may be jeopardizing our rights in the process.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  83. But I’m perfectly willing to let the government choose which system to use in each individual case. I don’t think there has to be a hard and fast rule, only that we can’t pick the rules we like and ignore the rest.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  84. but the Hastings thing seems like a distinct enough possibility that a prudent person wouldn’t dismiss the idea out of hand

    That’s merely one more thing that casts an unpleasant, demented haze over this current period of time — this “chickens coming home to roost” phase — in US history.

    huffingtonpost.com, June 25: The peculiar circumstances of journalist Michael Hastings’ death in Los Angeles last week have unleashed a wave of conspiracy theories.

    Now there’s another theory to contribute to the paranoia: According to a prominent security analyst, technology exists that could’ve allowed someone to hack his car. Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke told The Huffington Post that what is known about the single-vehicle crash is “consistent with a car cyber attack.”

    Clarke said, “There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers” — including the United States — know how to remotely seize control of a car.

    Hastings was driving a 2013 Mercedes C250 coupe when he crashed into a tree on Highland Ave. in Los Angeles at approximately 4:30 am on June 18. Video posted online showed the car in flames, and one neighbor told a local news crew she heard a sound like an explosion. Another eyewitness said the car’s engine had been thrown 50 to 60 yards from the car. There were no other vehicles involved in the accident.

    In the days before his death, Hastings was reportedly working on a story about a lawsuit filed by Jill Kelley, who was involved in the scandal that brought down Gen. David Petraeus, according to the LA Times. KTLA reported that Hastings told colleagues at the news site BuzzFeed that he feared the FBI was investigating him. On June 20, the FBI denied that any investigation was under way.

    What unnerves me — after seeing the video that shows his car speeding through an intersection seconds before it crashed — is reading that Hastings was reportedly a cautious driver, with one of his friends saying he drove like a “grandmother.” Also, his wife is saying that reports he was working on a story about Jill Kelly aren’t correct.

    Mark (67e579)

  85. With domestic terrorists who are American citizens, I think we should either try them in the criminal law system or treat them as enemy combatants. But trying to meld the two systems could ruin both, and may be jeopardizing our rights in the process.

    I agree. I was concerned with the shenanigans they were pulling with KSM, where they seemed ready to bring him to civilian court, but only if they could guarantee a conviction. There should be standards in place for which system applies. It doesn’t strike me as something that should be a discretionary decision the way trying an older juvenile as an adult can be.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  86. Don’t forget, Holder doesn’t think the public safety exception is enough. He wants a terrorism exception. Maybe we can stretch the criminal law system to handle terrorism cases but I’m conservative so I’m leery.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  87. As far as choosing the system, I think the idea of holding Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant (the way crazy Lindsey Graham wanted to do) would be unprecedented and dangerous.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  88. Don’t forget, Holder doesn’t think the public safety exception is enough. He wants a terrorism exception. Maybe we can stretch the criminal law system to handle terrorism cases but I’m conservative so I’m leery.

    Me, I say overrule Miranda. If you can’t? Try to get any exception you can.

    Miranda is the enemy of the truth.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  89. Good discussion, Patterico. Thanks for hearing me out.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  90. Very much enjoyed discussing these issues.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  91. I don’t really care about Miranda but as long as it’s the rule, it’s the rule.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  92. I don’t like the idea of treating American citizens as enemy combatants either. It’s too much like the gulag.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  93. That’s true. We have to follow even stupid rules.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  94. The 1979 Supreme Court case Smith v. Maryland held there was no 4th Amendment protection for phone metadata:

    The Smith decision left pen registers completely outside constitutional protection. If there was to be any privacy protection, it would have to be enacted by Congress as statutory privacy law.

    James B. Shearer (fc4608)

  95. 80

    Why that is, I’d love to know

    Laziness maybe.

    James B. Shearer (fc4608)

  96. I saw that article, too DRJ. I’m getting the feeling that when these old birds discuss technology and capabilities and acronyms they have absolutely no clue what they’re even hearing or talking about or what questions to ask.

    The part about Nadler being “summoned” to hear the error of his ways was interesting, too, no?

    Very troubling.

    elissa (c6f8c4)

  97. I very much agree with the tacks DRJ and ‘lissa have taken, entertained, poked about, here.

    It is beyond argument that the governments’ business is government, entrenchment, its security, well-being and luxury.

    Service to and benefit of Amerikkka really never enters the calculations let alone the practice.

    The GOP bum rush on Immigration is not insanity, its a grab for every last dime available.

    The revelation of State secrets is hardly debilitating unless I miss my guess. There is really no danger Snowden has algorithms to break heavily encrypted code, or to hack Cisco routers. What he has is the evidence that the US has data centers on telecommunication backbones.

    When Rushbo says they’ve a turnkey police state he’s hit the nail squarely.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  98. 98. The revelation of State secrets is hardly debilitating unless I miss my guess. There is really no danger Snowden has algorithms to break heavily encrypted code, or to hack Cisco routers. What he has is the evidence that the US has data centers on telecommunication backbones.

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 6/26/2013 @ 5:51 am

    You miss your guess. And why would you guess? You’re playing the same game Snowden is pretending to play. That you know better than the people who classified the information that it can be leaked without harm.

    You don’t even know what Snowden stole. We know from Greenwald’s Meet the Press interview the majority of the information is harmful to the US, which is the reason Greenwald says he hasn’t published it. But we know Snowden willfully communicated it to Greenwald.

    Yet here you are in the blind pronouncing it’s not debilitating.

    A friggin’ mazing.

    Steve57 (ab2b34)

  99. Awww, thank you, Patterico!

    I understand where you are going with the ambiguity regarding what we mean by “government,” but I simply don’t think that there’s magical faerie dust sprinkled on the U.S. Capitol that prevents it from ever being like the Stalin regime. In chemistry, you talk a lot about entropy: if you want it to decrease in a certain system, you need to continuously apply lots of energy to that system. To me, corruption in government is like entropy: the natural state of government is to increase in power, size, and corruption, and decrease in accountability, thus increasing its ability to inflict the above-mentioned house of horrors on us.

    So I answered for “natural state of government,” perhaps a bit a la James Madison, Federalist 51 (“If angels were to govern men,” etc.).

    bridget (84c06f)

  100. I seem to recall one of the tools that helped Obama’s re-election campaign reach potential voters was identifying links between potential voters’ email and social media accounts. In other words, seeing who (but not what) they emailed and texted.

    And now we learn that’s exactly what these surveillance programs did.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  101. 101. Someone with an eye on the OFA ball.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  102. 99. Your answer to admitted speculation with 20 year’s experience in the IT industry is..

    “That you know better than the people who classified the information that it can be leaked without harm.”

    Speculation in concert with known adversaries.

    Yeah, I’m humbled alright.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)


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