Jefferson's democracy

Franklin Jefferson's thoughts on the world

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The difference between conservative and libertarian

Conservatism vs. Libertarianism (Jacob G. Hornberger)

I hate 'em all

The newest congressional corruption scandal doesn't surprise me-- Democrats take bribes too? No surprise. It's kind of karmic retribution; after all, what with (Republican) Randy Cunningham now in prison for taking bribes, and influence-peddler Abrahmson pleading guilty. I'm pissed off, but have to admit also being a bit happy to see the Democrat's smug holier-than-thou attitude get a little bit punctured.

But what I don't get is the instant Republican response. Jefferson was videotaped by the FBI taking bribes. One of his aides had pleaded guilty to bribing him. They got a search warrant, they searched his office-- sounds routine.

Congress is not above the law, dudes. He's just as fair game for a search warrant as a drug dealer or fence or any other criminal. Why the outrage over the search? This is the same congress that, when Bush says that search warrents aren't needed if you say the magic words "war on terror", says "well, that's reasonable.",1,2834107.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed,1,7962390.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&track=crosspromo

The burning question I have is, why is Hastert so afraid? What does he have to hide?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

LIberty and Security, Continued

So, WIRED mentions Orwell...

WIRED online has now posted some documents with technical details about the cooperation of AT&T with the no-warrent wiretapping of phone lines.

What I found most interesting is the end of the article, where WIRED asks what the data from the wiretapping was actually going to be used for. Apparently the point of the wiretapping was to do massive amounts of data collection, that could then be sifted to test the "Total Information Awareness" (later renamed "Terrorist Information Awareness") initiative to do data-mining on large amounts of data

At the very end of their post, they quote a 2003 DOD Inspector General's report about who is involved here:

For testing TIA capabilities, Darpa and the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) created an operational research and development environment that uses real-time feedback.... Among the agencies participating or planning to participate in the INSCOM "testing" are the "National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the DOD Counterintelligence Field Activity, the U.S. Strategic Command, the Special Operations Command, the Joint Forces Command and the Joint Warfare Analysis Center." There are also "discussions" going on to bring in "non-DOD federal agencies" such as the FBI.>/i>

Yow-- eight government agencies are going to be sifting through our conversations, plus "discussions" about more.

WIRED concludes, "This is the infrastructure for an Orwellian police state."

Yep. That's the problem. And most especially, it's an infrastructure that they have already said is not subject to warrents, or legal oversight of any kind; in fact, it's infrastructute that they have now told us we weren't even supposed to know about. Once they set up the infrastructure, why are we supposed to trust that nobody, ever, is going to decide to use it?

Once again, back to the quote from Eppers:
"Dangerous laws created by well intentioned people today can be used by dangerous people with evil intentions tomorrow."

Conservative Criticisms

Conservative Forum on Bush (linked from Roman's Weblog).

"...The first speaker, former Reagan aide Bruce Bartlett. Author of the new book Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, Bartlett called the administration "unconscionable," "irresponsible," "vindictive" and "inept." ...speaker No. 2, conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan. Author of the forthcoming The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It; How to Get It Back, called Bush "reckless" and "a socialist," and accused him of betraying "almost every principle conservatism has ever stood for.""

"Nor was moderator
[Cato Institute vice president David] Boaz a voice of moderation. He blamed Bush for "a 48 percent increase in spending in just six years," a "federalization of public schools" and "the biggest entitlement since LBJ."

"True, the small-government libertarians represented by Cato have always been the odd men out of the Bush coalition. But the standing-room-only forum yesterday, where just a single questioner offered even a tepid defense of the president, underscored some deep disillusionment among conservatives over Bush's big-spending answer to Medicare and Hurricane Katrina, his vast claims of executive power, and his handling of postwar Iraq.

No real surprise that conservatives are "disillusioned" with Bush; it's been quite clear for a while that GEORGE BUSH IS NOT A CONSERVATIVE. I'm baffled that people have failed to notice this.

And he absolutely, completely, totally isn't a "small-government conservative libertarian." Isn't, never was, never will be a "small-government" anything.

"Betraying almost every principle conservatism has ever stood for." Yep, that's about it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Security and Democracy

The Chicago Tribune
The article quotes Congressman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) as saying that this issue is this: "You have no civil liberties if you are dead."

Patriot Patrick Henry once expressed the opposite view. He said "Give me liberty, or give me death!"

Or, to quite Benjamin Franklin, "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

It seems that the government is asking us to give them our liberty and our privacy, and saying that we should just trust them not to misuse it. But, if we give away our liberty and our privacy for a never-ending war, will we ever get them back? It's not just a question of trusting this administration, but trusting every administration in the future never to misuse the powers we are giving them. Because they will continue to use the same arguments, of course. This is always the argument for taking away liberty, that they're doing it for our own good.

And it gets worse exponentially. The politicians that don't use the power we give them to spy on political opponents in secret and increase their own power, well, those ones don't stay in power as long as the ones who are more ruthless (and secret) about using their power to stay in power.

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
--Lord Acton, 1887

We may need some limit on the absolute power.