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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 11:07 AM
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If, as was said, the bar keeps being lowered, it gives me the impression that little by little the terrorists or their threats, is an erosion of our liberties.

Once they are lost, a lot of damage is done, and it is difficult to restore things. The Mc Carthy era of the 50's comes to mind immediately, and what happened then

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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The problem with the gedanken experiment you have cited is there is no question of the man's guilt, and, without doubt about the horrifying crime he is about to commit, there is no question - fill his lower abdomen with cinder blocks until he speaks the truth!

In reality the issue with sacrificing civil liberties for security is the conclusion cited by the judge without being offensive is, all we have done is lowered the bar without trying to be competent about maintaining security. In the end you will lose the civil liberties and never be any more secure.

The respect for civil liberties our nation has established is worth maintaining. It is worth figuring out how to be secure and have our civil liberties. The point of the presumption of innocence for all is that humans are charged with meting out justice and they are fallible. In recognition of this human susceptibility to err, or be corrupt and misuse power, the Founding Fathers established the concept that it is a greater crime to erode our collective civil liberties than let a single, guilty, criminal off now and then.

The gedanken experiment setting is outside all this acknowledged human error and fault that afflicts the humans operating in the name of the government. Outside that framework, yes, anything to extract the information and save the day is warranted. But that conclusion doesn't work in the real world very often. Catch the perpetrator red handed and make the decision to shoot first? Or beat the answer out of him in a more or less one-on-one, environment? I would guess it happens all the time. Sometimes it works out and cop or government representative saves the day and the bad guys die without due process. We don't read about that as the cop has to lie and make the perpetrator's death seem like the result of self defense. But we do often read about police violence against petty criminals or even innocent people. Based on that I don't think the gedanken experiment is very enlightening. I think we need to respect our civil liberties as a government priority. Humans will always continue to be humans. Some will do things that turn out to be the "right" thing at the moment while acting in their capacity as the "government" and others won't. Jim
That's my fault, not Dershowitz. He framed it as a suspect and I substituted the word, "terrorist." He is far better at framing questions, probably why he's a lawyer and I'm not.

The degree to which we have (1) lost civil liberties and (2) are have less, the same or greater security is certainly debatable. Is that where you want to go? I have a feeling it will be pretty darned inconclusive as the general form of the evidence will be negative to both questions. Proof by negative evidence is unsatisfying to me. But if you're game, let's go for it.

In your analysis you left out what the judge included in his criticism -- the time element.

For example, and bringing it close to home -- your beloved (wife, kid, bf, gf, whatever) is kidnapped before your eyes by masked criminals. As they leave they tell you Yahweh has ordered the immediate altar sacrifice of the woman as a substitute for a lamb they couldn't buy in in nearby Bonham, Texas. You pursue and catch a man under circumstances which lead you to believe he maybe one of them.

Will you Jack Bauer him or will you Jesus Christ him?

I would say, "Don't Jack Bauer him." Why? Because of the lack of certitude in the identification of the perp. Now we can begin choosing words carefully shaving the degree of uncertainty in microscopic layers from perfect uncertainty to absolute certainty. Is there no point along that spectrum at which you would be willing at accept the consequences of going Jack Bauer?
B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 12:24 PM
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This is certainly food for thought and discussion. As much as I like my civil liberties, I am more than willing to compromise those if that helps the government catch these terrorists before another 9-11. They wouldn't listen to my phone conversations for very long anyway because my life is boring as Hell.
It is not so much the nature of your calls, it is the calls themselves, who they are to, from what cell tower, all the pattern recognition stuff that starts creeping through your rights.

What is considered part of the National Imperative today might have a limit [it did prior to 9/11, and expanded several times afterwards]. Even the definition of wiretap has changed over the past six years and unless quelled will continue to change.

The erosion of rights are much harder to ‚Äúun-erode‚Äô. LEO will always want to have GPS tracking ability for your cell phone once that was granted. FBI will always want to know why I wired 200 euros to Austria for an AMG steering wheel [surprising form at the bank] once they got the right. Sniffing ALL international calls, no matter who they are from or to is a ‚Äúright‚ÄĚ the NSA will always want to keep, whether national security is involved or not.

And while you might not ever do anything wrong, if you talk to someone who talks to someone who IS on one of the FBI lists, welcome to Hell. You have just been linked via a very non personal data collector that assumes you have a connection until proven otherwise.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 12:27 PM
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This is certainly food for thought and discussion. As much as I like my civil liberties, I am more than willing to compromise those if that helps the government catch these terrorists before another 9-11. They wouldn't listen to my phone conversations for very long anyway because my life is boring as Hell.
Yes, you would rather live on your knees and be frightened then stand up for your rights.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 01:00 PM
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Disaffected conservatives set a litmus test for '08

WASHINGTON -- A new political group recently asked Mitt Romney to promise not to wiretap Americans without a judge's approval or to imprison US citizens without a trial as "enemy combatants." When Romney declined to sign their pledge, the group denounced him as "unfit to serve as president."

Such rhetoric might be expected from liberal activists. But these critics, who call their organization American Freedom Agenda, are hardly leftists. They represent what they insist is a growing group of disaffected conservatives who are demanding that the Republican Party return to its traditional mistrust of concentrated government power.

"Mitt Romney's ignorance of the Constitution's checks and balances and protections against government abuses would have alarmed the Founding Fathers and their conservative philosophy," said Bruce Fein, one of the group's co founders and a Reagan administration attorney, in a press release last month attacking Romney for not signing the pledge.

The American Freedom Agenda, which intends to put all candidates in both parties to the same test, is aiming to revive a strand of conservatism that they say has been drowned out since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The conservative principle of limited government, they say, means not just cutting the budget, but imposing checks and balances on those who wield power.

"Conservatives have to go back to the basics," said co founder Richard Viguerie , a veteran direct-mail strategist and author of "Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause." "We have to go back and re launch the conservative movement. And for traditional conservatives, it's part of our nature to believe in the separation of powers."

The other two co founders are Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman from Georgia, and David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

All four argue that Bush is not a true conservative, and they decided to join forces earlier this year to make the expansion of executive power a topic of debate in the 2008 presidential election. They have applied for tax-exempt status, created a website, and drawn up a 10-point pledge that they intend to ask every candidate to sign.

"I hereby pledge that if elected President of the United States I will undertake the following to restore the Constitution's checks and balances : to honor fundamental protections against injustice, and to eschew usurpations of legislative or judicial power," the pledge reads. "These are keystones of national security and individual freedom."

Other points in the pledge include renouncing the use of presidential signing statements to claim a right to disobey laws; ending threats to prosecute journalists who write about classified matters; and promising to use regular courts rather than military commissions to try terrorism suspects. The full pledge is posted on the group's website, AmericanFreedomAgenda.org.

The group also plans to lobby Congress to pass legislation imposing stronger checks and balances on the presidency. It is urging debate moderators to ask questions of the candidates about their views on the limits of presidential power, and it is planning to host events to raise voter awareness of the issue.

While the group's ambitions are large, it has yet to make a sizable impression on the race.

One presidential candidate -- Representative Ron Paul of Texas, the libertarian-minded Republican who trails far behind GOP front - runners Rudy Giuliani , John McCain , and Romney -- has signed the pledge. Paul called up the American Freedom Agenda and signed its pledge after it announced its existence in March, Fein said.

There are other ties with the Paul campaign. Fein has volunteered to help Paul if any legal fight arises over getting onto a state's primary ballot, and campaign consultant Mark Fitzgibbons, who is Paul's communications director, is also a volunteer adviser to the American Freedom Agenda. But Fein said there is no conflict of interest in the group vetting Paul's rivals.

"I understand you can get an optics problem here, but we have not said we are going to reserve applause to just one candidate," Fein said. "We told Romney that 'we'll single you out and hold a press conference to celebrate you if you sign it,' so I don't think we can be accused of slanting the playing field toward any particular candidate."

They approached Romney first, he added, because they thought he was likely to want such an endorsement by a conservative group. But through Gary Marx , Romney's liaison to conservatives, Romney said he was not going to sign their pledge for now -- prompting the scathing "Conservatives Say Mitt Romney Unfit to Serve as President" press release.

The press release caused some consternation at the Romney headquarters. A spokesman, Kevin Madden , said that Romney did not say he would never sign the pledge, as the press release implied, only that "at this point we're going to take a pass." He declined to comment further.

Some conservatives who have supported Bush's broad claims of executive power are skeptical that the group will get many candidates to sign -- or succeed in making the growth of White House power a topic of debate.

David Rivkin , an associate counsel in the Bush-Quayle administration, argued that neither Republicans nor Democrats mind the aggressive exercise of presidential power if their party controls the White House.

"The notion -- that assertive presidential leadership with a strong view of presidential power is inherently bad -- I think that just won't resonate with the American people," Rivkin said. "Democrats don't like various policies of Bush's, but they would feel quite comfortable if Hillary Clinton were doing it. Republicans are comfortable with Bush doing it, but not so much if Clinton were doing it."

And Charlie Arlinghouse , the president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a free-market think-tank in Concord, N.H., said that taxes, terrorism, and Iraq dominate GOP voters' thinking. He said it will require a lot of work for the American Freedom Agenda to raise awareness about the abstract issue of executive power among average New Hampshire voters.

"The notion of executive power is not anything that anyone thinks about while they're mowing their lawn," Arlinghouse said. "So there may be fertile ground here, but someone is going to have to start plowing."

But Fein argued the country would be more secure if the presidency adhered to checks on its power. Such Bush administration policies as authorizing harsh interrogation techniques despite laws and treaties forbidding torture, he said, "are making us more vulnerable" by inflaming anti-American sentiment and "creating new generations of jihadists."

And the group's founders argued that the 2008 election presents a good opportunity for a bipartisan debate about what they see as unchecked executive power. Democrats will view the issue through the prism of the Bush administration, while Republicans will be forced to think about a Democratic presidency, they said.

"As it becomes more and more clear that Hillary Clinton could be the president of the United States, this is going to get a lot of conservatives' attention in a way it hasn't done before in recent years," Viguerie said.

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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcbear
It is not so much the nature of your calls, it is the calls themselves, who they are to, from what cell tower, all the pattern recognition stuff that starts creeping through your rights.

What is considered part of the National Imperative today might have a limit [it did prior to 9/11, and expanded several times afterwards]. Even the definition of wiretap has changed over the past six years and unless quelled will continue to change.

The erosion of rights are much harder to “un-erode’. LEO will always want to have GPS tracking ability for your cell phone once that was granted. FBI will always want to know why I wired 200 euros to Austria for an AMG steering wheel [surprising form at the bank] once they got the right. Sniffing ALL international calls, no matter who they are from or to is a “right” the NSA will always want to keep, whether national security is involved or not.

And while you might not ever do anything wrong, if you talk to someone who talks to someone who IS on one of the FBI lists, welcome to Hell. You have just been linked via a very non personal data collector that assumes you have a connection until proven otherwise.
The definition of wiretap was due for a change -- it followed the number, not the person. That worked great during the era of fixed phone lines but is inadequate for cellphone and internet.

The rest of your post is right on the money for me.

B

PS GS, I hadn't heard from that group in a while. I've always rather liked Barr. Viguerie I had thought of as a hack, nice to see I was mistaken. Don't know the other guy's name.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama

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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 02:27 PM
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interesting thread. I think the one thing overlooked by those who muse about the founding fathers is that we have been infiltrated by an enemy, and we need to be able to detect them. With that in mind, and with the knowledge that the constitutional requirement of due process can be defined the way we want it, I think we should table the BS political posturing and write some rules that allow us to detect those patterns of communications or whatever we've learned they do when they prepare to attack. There are clearly ways to do just that without eroding our liberties if we would get our politicians to stop sensationalizing this issue in both directions.

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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst
That's my fault, not Dershowitz. He framed it as a suspect and I substituted the word, "terrorist." He is far better at framing questions, probably why he's a lawyer and I'm not.

The degree to which we have (1) lost civil liberties and (2) are have less, the same or greater security is certainly debatable. Is that where you want to go? I have a feeling it will be pretty darned inconclusive as the general form of the evidence will be negative to both questions. Proof by negative evidence is unsatisfying to me. But if you're game, let's go for it.

In your analysis you left out what the judge included in his criticism -- the time element.

For example, and bringing it close to home -- your beloved (wife, kid, bf, gf, whatever) is kidnapped before your eyes by masked criminals. As they leave they tell you Yahweh has ordered the immediate altar sacrifice of the woman as a substitute for a lamb they couldn't buy in in nearby Bonham, Texas. You pursue and catch a man under circumstances which lead you to believe he maybe one of them.

Will you Jack Bauer him or will you Jesus Christ him?

I would say, "Don't Jack Bauer him." Why? Because of the lack of certitude in the identification of the perp. Now we can begin choosing words carefully shaving the degree of uncertainty in microscopic layers from perfect uncertainty to absolute certainty. Is there no point along that spectrum at which you would be willing at accept the consequences of going Jack Bauer?
B
Bot,

I am not interested in proving we are or are not more secure without those civil liberties, against another 9-11. I agree you can't prove that and once you let go of a civil liberty, or any other of our rights specifically not granted by the Constitution to the government, in order to enable the government to more easily provide security against a specific threat, that you are are not more secure. But you can be assured you have lost that civil liberty or right, permanently, and that you have set a bargaining price for the government to gain greater authority by eroding your remaining rights and civil liberties. You have also accepted poorer performance and set your expectations for your government's performance lower.

I would never consider any infringement on my civil liberties or rights under the Constitution without a rigorous analysis of failed attempts to provide security or whatever else the government claims they need your civil liberties to accomplish, without any infringements. Until someone tries like their lives depend on it, there is no way to know whether the level of security can be delivered without any infringement, or whether the new, higher level of threat can be tolerated.

We never see any debate on this stuff, just a bunch of fear mongering and name calling between Americans while the terrorists watch us slowly change our spots to become more like them. Our political system is too polarized and with it the population to have a reasoned debate on these topics. Which benefits no one but the political parties.

Jim
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Bot,
1.
... and once you let go of a civil liberty, or any other of our rights specifically not granted by the Constitution to the government,...

2.
I would never consider any infringement on my civil liberties or rights under the Constitution without a rigorous analysis of failed attempts to provide security or whatever else the government claims they need your civil liberties to accomplish, without any infringements. Until someone tries like their lives depend on it, there is no way to know whether the level of security can be delivered without any infringement, or whether the new, higher level of threat can be tolerated.

3.
We never see any debate on this stuff, just a bunch of fear mongering and name calling between Americans ...
Jim
1. The government does not grant rights to the people, though that is undoubtedly the common belief due to a truly f**ked-up civics education in public school.

2. I agree.

3. The Congress and people have been debating this issue for over 200 years. In my life time I have seen the argument ebb and flow in each administration since I began paying attention to issues of security under President Eisenhower.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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