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Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Response to Reader's Comment

The following is a response to a comment made by a reader. The first section of the following article is a point-by-point response to his well presented and well written comment. The second is a fictional answer to the final question in his comment. Note: LibertyWatch always reserves the right to answer questions and comments, or not. Generally, all comments are usually answered in the comment section if they are answered at all.

The Reader’s comments are in intalics
If they started searching only young Arab males, you'd complain about that, too. You can't have it both ways.
Been there, done that. The post on August 4th discusses racial profiling in New York City. Concerning having it both ways, don’t be disingenuous, if the random searching of little old ladies is inconsequential, so is racial profiling. Neither technique will have any effect upon the commission of terrorist acts.

As far as Osama bin Laden is concerned, yeah, I'd like to see the guy captured and brought to justice, but even if we did that there would still be terrorism and the terrorists would just find a new spokesman for the job. It would be ridiculous to spend the money and effort required to find just one man out of thousands.
If the United States, partnered with the rest of the free world is unable to determine the whereabouts of Osama and bring him to justice, then the only useful tool available to protect us from terroristic attacks; “intelligence,” is worthless. He is not just the ”spokesman” for Al Queda, he personally, with his Saudi Arabian funds, founded the terrorist group and is responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center. He should be America’s number one priority in the war on terror.

Our time is best spent trying to change the way the people of the Middle East think. This is not going to happen quickly but it will happen eventually.
If turning Iraq into a terrorist haven is your idea of changing the way Middle Easterners think, then we are well on our way to success.

I've spoken to soldiers who have returned from Iraq. According to them, the children love the fact they are there. They are over there doing good things such as getting the people running water and electricity. When they walk down the streets children run up and hug them. There are dangerous areas in Iraq and we are working every single day to make them safe. There are pockets of insurgents who would love to return to the days of Saddam. Those are the trouble makers and we will eventually capture or kill all of them. It just takes time. The absolute worst thing we can do in Iraq is leave.
Why are the soldiers you have spoken with unaware Baghdad does not have running water most of the time, and still only has electricity for an hour or two a day? All I’ve heard from soldiers stationed in the country is that it is a miserable place and they want to come home.
There are currently not enough forces in Iraq to make the country safe. Our men and women can only move from village to village searching for the enemy who returns the minute they leave town. Only an occupation force of a proportion unacceptable to the White House would be able to pacify the Iraq. For whatever reason it appears Washington has decided there is no need to “win” this war.

We have not had a single terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. I'd say what we're doing is working. I'd rather be safe with a few minor inconveniences than dead. I hear people complaining about losing their liberties, but I see absolutely no evidence of it. What could you do, prior to the Bush administration that you can't do now? I don't want hypotheticals, either. I want a real example of something you were able to do prior to George W. Bush that you were prevented from doing recently. I'm going to guess your answer is "nothing."
I understand the concept of safety over freedom and I reject it out of hand. It is the trade off the Bush Administration has offered us and it should be unacceptable to all Americans. The terrorists have always launched attacks every few years. Such activities take tons of time and planning. Will they attack again sooner or later? I have no doubt it will eventually happen, especially with our pathetic intelligence gathering ability. It is impossible to defend against every contingency.
Below is a little story I wrote that characterizes the “minor inconveniences” we are being subjected to, and takes them to their logical conclusion. Ninety-nine percent of the below is true (including Albertson’s drug testing policy) and very possible today:

Mike starts his day by getting his children out of bed and ready for school. Mike works the day shift at the Albertson’s grocery store downtown and although money is tight, buying mandatory uniforms for his kids to wear to school is a requirement, not a luxury. Street clothing for his fifteen year old daughter on the other hand, is a luxury and Mike’s inability to buy additional clothes for her is an endless cause of friction.
His son, Little Tommy, pipes up as they put on their identical clothing; “We’re going to the Library today on a field trip dad!” Mike’s face turn ashen, “Well that’s good Tommy,” he says “but remember don’t you dare check out any books since I won’t be there with you. We have to be very careful what sort of books we read. Remember, there are people watching what you read and they will use it against you.”
Looking frightened, Tommy nods his head in agreement slowly. “And remember Tommy” Mike adds “We have to study that Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution thing tonight and afterwards we have to study the stork as an alternative to sexual reproduction.”
Quickly hustling out to the street with the kids to meet the bus, Mike waits along the sidewalk with them. It’s illegal in Mike’s community for children waiting for the bus to be unattended by an adult. Finally the bus arrives and Mike can turn supervision of his children to the bus driver and the television cameras that will record all of his children’s activities until they arrive home in the evening.
After a quick wave to the kids, Mike hops into his car and heads for the “random” checkpoint at the end of the street. Officer Bob is waiting for Mike to stop so he can check his license, registration, and insurance papers. Mike proffers the documents to Bob who notes that Mike appears to be tired this morning. “That’s probable cause, Mike” drawls Bob.
“But Bob, yesterday when I wasn’t tired, you said that was probable cause too!” exclaims Mike.
“And so it was Mike, now just step out of the vehicle while the dogs do their job.”
Realizing further protest would land him back in jail like last week, Mike complies. All the rest of the way to the Subway station, Mike waves to the cameras on each street corner, while keeping his thoughts to himself.
After two more checkpoints, Mike arrives at the train and stops at the passenger checkpoint for his “random” search. Luckily, Mike has learned not to carry and packages other than the one holding his identification papers.
The boss is waiting for Mike when he arrives at the grocery store. “Drug test day Mike,” says the boss. “Oh jeez, Mr. Whipple, I’m just a bagboy after all. Even if I did take drugs last night, what would that have to do with me carrying groceries out to cars?”
“Be careful Mike, don’t you know there’s a camera right there watching everything you say?” says Mr. Whipple without moving his lips.
Hanging his head in shame, Mike mumbles “Sorry Boss.”
Arriving at the Doctor’s office to donate his urine for Albertson’s, Mike is informed by the office secretary that his medical records haven’t been returned by the FBI yet.
Knowing this just isn’t his day, Mike calls Mr. Whipple and lets him know he can’t do the drug test because of the records problem. He goes on tell him he’s just going to go home.
After all of the reverse hassle heading home, Mike walks into his house only to find the place is total mess. All of the drawers are emptied out and the furniture is overturned. Stuck on the fridge is a note from government agents telling Mike not to leave work early again. Next time they’ll arrest him for obstruction of justice.
Mike thinks to him self; “I guess I’ll have the last laugh though, next week we have to out of this place and out on the street. The judge says I’ve got to give up my house to make room for a new Starbucks.” He wants to take the little flag lapel pin off his collar and throw it away, but he knows better.

That was a great story. Now I just wonder how long it will be before it becomes true.
That was entertaining, but not what I was hoping for. If you wish, you can read my reponse here.
That was a great stry too bad it is already a book (1984) or I would have told you to write it out a little more.
This is stupidity of the highest degree. The entire story you made from whole cloth is not happening today and even with major powers given over to the government still would not happen for many many years. Let us disect the elements of your story.

School uniforms: While maybe being mandatory, clothing itself is mandatory. In most schools where uniforms are required it is part of the tuition in private schools and in public schools (much like the "free" lunch program) those who cannot afford them are given them from your dime and mine.

The FBI cannot simply waltz into a library and check your records for anything non-terrorism related. Have you even bothered to read the PATRIOT Act?

Those who fear the thought of intelligent design (which is supported by a number of scientists) obviously cannot believe that anyone would question their religion of Darwinism and MACRO evolution. There is no evidence of macro evolution on the scale needed showing species to speceis change yet you believe it like a Christian believes in God. Where is your scientific effort for truth? Is science not always changing looking for the truth? Why have you stopped here?

We do not have multiple daily "random" checkpoints accross the country, nor do we have police checking every single person out with vigor like you describe. The last time we had a large manhunt like that was for a serial killer who was killing people with no motive. That is quite justified.

Probable cause like you state has been thrown out by many courts.

Then you question the right of an employer for drug testing. Lets talk about the multiple issues you bring up here. First, you should (as someone who loves liberty) be the first person to stand up for the constitution since you cling to it so dearly. Remember the freedom of association clause? That pesky thing where we are allowed to deal with the people we want to deal with and not deal with people we dont want to deal with? The employer has that same right. Second, drugs do some really nasty things to your mind, to your body and generally cause ill effects to all around you. For example, pot tends to make people lazier, or hallucinogens make people see things that arent there. They are also an increase in cost of health care treatment and cause bodily functions to slow and cease in some cases. Do drugs or get a job, pretty simple choice.

Medical records are not seized, they are copied. There would have been no problem as of such. Even if the whole thing was taken they would have made a new set and transferred the records over when they got them back.

If government agents had been in his home they would have still needed a warrant. There is nothing in any act of congress that negates the need for a warrant. Things like the PATRIOT Act make it much easier to get a warrant for TERRORISM related charges, but they still need one.

You story, while you claim it to be 99% factual, is in fact 100% fiction.
This site is scarily misinformed.
The rights I care about are those which allow me to live in safety.
You lefty scum should be rooted out and ****. In my humble opinion.
to all of you out there on the political right, who think that things like the Patriot Act are ok and that a little reduction in our personal liberty is fine; please take the time to read and think about the following (from Germany during the 1930-40's) in the context of the changes your and my political leaders are making:
First they came for the Jews, and I did nothing because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Gypsies, and I did nothing, because I wasn't a Gypsy.
Then they came for the homosexuals, and I did nothing, because I wasn't homosexual.
Then they came for the cripples and mentally challenged and I did nothing because I am sound of body mind.
Then they came for the Catholics and I did nothing, because I was Protestant.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to help me.
Hey Ross, the problem with your analogy is that Jews, Hypsies, Homosexuals, cripples, and Catholics didn't commit acts of terrorism against Germany.

How many Jews used suicide bombings against Hitler? None. Until you can make that distinction, we on the "right" will protect you from those who want to kill you
First, we must stop pretending that the terrorists so far, by-and-large, have not been of the same ethnic origin. This will reasonably narrow down the search for potential perpetrators. But, it makes ALMOST as little sense to stop every Arab or North African in NYC today as it does to stop every 5th random person. Therefore, the profiling must be even more exact than race to be effective.

Israel has been perfecting the art of profiling, and has successfully prevented El Al (national airline) hijackings since 1970. The profilers are trained to look for signs of suspicious behavior (body language), which provides effective clues of whom to question. Barring exceptional con artists, body language is a dead give away of suspicious behavior. In fact, police officers are trained to look for such clues when dealing with everyday criminals.

The results: plenty of Arabs fly El Al, and yet enough people have been turned away to prevent terrorist attacks since 1970.

So why not fly some Israelis to NYC to train New York’s finest on such tactics?
To Jake Porter who said he "wonders how long it will be before it becomes true."
Hopefully, folks will wake up and realize just how bad things are getting and start using reason rather than fear to make their decisions.
Jackington's response can be found at http://viegostav.blogspot.com
Zach cone who thought my fictional story was a bit Orwellian was right on point. Free speech events in England bear out my trepidation.
Haximus raised quite a few objections to the story. In order to simplify this post I will simply number them and reply to each:

1. School Uniforms: While many areas to offer assistance to those who cannot afford the uniforms, the one I'm in certainly does not, even though one of the "benefits" was supposed to be reduced cost. Apparently, children are supposed to wear the uniform exclusively.

2. Yes I have read the Patriot Act (actually is the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act."
The Act allows the FBI to obtain search warrants for business, medical, educational, library, and bookstore records merely by claiming that the desired records may be related to an ongoing terrorism investigation or intelligence activities on their say so alone. Probable cause has been pretty much set aside as a requirement for their intrusion.

3. Evoution is a scientifically proven fact. There was no planet wide flood six thousand years ago. Dinosaurs really did exist, and you and your kin are a foot taller than your ancestors were just a couple of centuries ago. You can believe what you want to believe of course, this used to be a free nation, but badly disguised creationism has no place in the public schools, there are a multitude of private schools teaching such silliness.

4. Oh yes we do have random searches across the country. There's one about two miles away from my house every few weeks. Same place, same time. Of course I exagerated and hopefully it will never get as bad as my story, but you never know.

5. I think you're on weak ground with probable cause. The actions and appearance of the individual at the stop are the primary criteria used by police to determine whether or not to conduct a search.

6. Using freedom of association to justify drug testing is...well I'd say insane, but let's just say...weak. Do you ask your friends to take a drug test? What do they tell you?
I am well aware of what drugs can do to a person, both the legal and illegal kind. I just happen to shop at Albertson's when I'm not going to the commissary, and I think its a goofy policy, but I agree that if someone is too stoned to carry a bag of groceries out to the car, then by all means they should be let go.

7. You're right, but it was a fictional story after all, and I needed to fit the government's access to my medical records, (as decided by the Rush Limbaugh case) into the story.

8. You're right again, but the warrant is issued in secret and the individual to whom the warrant is issued is not allowed to know it has happened until a much later date. The officers can conduct the search in privacy, without any limitations and seize whatever they feel like taking. Patriot II may increase this "law enforcement" ability by allowing the FBI to issue their own warrants.

In conclusion you claim my story was 100% fiction, but sadly, it wasn't.
free the 6 said some things without meaning and hardly worth a response, but I will because I need to let everyone know the "rules."
Except for free's (and maybe even his)comment, I understand the effort put forth in responding, sometimes in great detail, to my daily article. I appreciate it and if we disagree, so be it, but please no name calling, threats, or obscene language. I've been know to engage in "on-line" chats now and then, and here is the signature line I wrote to avoid such nonsense: "The moment you attack me instead of my thoughts and ideas, you readily admit to your own inability to make an intelligent point in a simple statement. How sad for you."
I love that old saying Ross. Nationalism and patriotism are wonderful, but extreme nationalism is scary as hell. I was in Germany for quite a few years, and to this day I cannot reconcile what they became with who they are now. If it can happen in Germany, it can happen anywhere.
Haximus, the defining act, the attack that clinched Hitler's power in Germany, was the Terrorist attack against the German Parliment Building; The Reichstag. As the building was practically still burning, Hitler was blaming the Communists for the attack.
Since many of the Communists were Jewish...
I like your thinking Kira. Sounds like a good idea using the Israeli experience. I knew a company in Northern California that was developing "fuzzy logic" software which could also be utilized for such purposes. Their program could recognize an individual who was attempting to disguse themselves in a crowd. I wonder how they're doing now?
As to 2, many judges issue warrants for far less than what is required by the (excuse me) USA PATRIOT Act. But as has been held up by MANY courts, evidence found while on a warrant for one issue, cannot be used in a seperate crime investigation. For example, if they come into your house looking for illegal bombs and weapons and they find a meth lab, the meth lab evidence is completely thrown out and the police have to start an independant investigation of that. By that time, the lab is gone and their lead is worthless.

Micro evolution is proven. Macro evolution is not. Hence the "missing link". Creationism is the teaching that the Christian God created the universe and everything in it. Intelligent design teaches that a being (not a god(s) or God specifically) played a role in creating the universe. Evolution involves more faith than christianity. Why is yours called a theory when mine is called a religion? Is it not possible that in the course of science (ie. the earth is not flat, the earth is not the center of the universe etc) that science could point tword the intervention of a higher being in the course of life?

I know of alcohol check points (which are legal), but random stops with no probable cause, are by the courts own definition, quite illegal.

As the courts have also said, if someone refuses a search, that is not probable cause for a search. That policy is applied quite liberally and if someone forces a search and comes up empty handed, they aren't in the force very long.

An employer has every right to run their business the way they want. If for some reason you think that the government should be forcing its' own rules into the workplace, might I suggest moving North Korea or Cuba? Also, I know whether my friends use drugs or not. If they do, they are not my friends. I don't need to test them because I am the person they hang out with. Employers hoever, do not have that luxury. Also the simple fact that people who use drugs tend to get worse and then use them of the job is quite high. Aside from that, an employer is where someone chooses to work, and gets paid to be there. I don't pay my friends to be with me. Maybe you do, but I certainly dont operate that way.

Skipping to 8, the warrant still must be presented if the person is present. That is still the rule of law, it just makes it easier for the police to do the search. If the police really wanted to, they would execute their warrants when people aren't home (and they often do if they are trying to be covert), but often they try to seize the person in the wrong and hold them there so as not to be tipped off. In terrorism, with the loose connections between cells it is much more important to not let them know the FBI is on to them.
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