Patriot Act

Homeland Insecurity II

A few days ago I linked to a story by a student in Seattle who ran afoul of what appears to be some overzealous law enforcement folks.
Via Pacific Views I see that there are some legs on the story. From the Seattle Times:

On Monday night, the volume of Internet traffic to Ian Spiers’ Web site � � crashed his server. Strangers from Chicago and New Zealand offered him space on their servers to get his story back online.
There is more at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Homeland Insecurity

These stories will, I’m sure, help feel much more at ease.
First, PZ Myers points us to this student’s adventures in photography and then Kevin Drum shares this writer’s experience.
It is pretty clear that the bushies have been pretty successful so far in building their culture of fear. So when someone like Washington Representative Adam Smith (D) says:

No, I’m sorry, I actually understand the issue.
when asked why he voted against the Sanders amendment I have to believe him and believe he means he supports the kind of behaviour depicted in these two stories. Certainly his broken understanding of the Patriot Act supports this view:
Smith, a member of the Armed Services and International Relations committees, disputed statements by some critics that the law allows investigators to gather sensitive information on suspected terrorists without a warrant or probable cause.
“If that was true I would vote against it, no doubt,” he said. “But it’s not true. You have to get a warrant, you have to show probable cause and there’s no evidence that this has been abused.”
Take a quick look at Section 215. Sure it requires a warrant but the only probably cause that is required is that
shall specify that the records concerned are sought for an authorized investigation conducted in accordance with subsection (a)(2) to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.
In other words the alleged probable cause is the word of the investigator. No other evidence is required. I don’t think this is what most of us understand by probably cause.
Isn’t it time to rise up and say NO??


I take it that Tom Ridge made this announcement:

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Thursday that there is “credible” information indicating that al-Qaida is moving ahead with plans for a “large-scale attack” in the U.S. aimed at disrupting the November elections.
to assist in bush’s effort to squash a House attempt to remove some of the more onerous pieces of the patriot act:
The Republican-led House bowed to a White House veto threat Thursday and stood by the USA Patriot Act, defeating an effort to block the part of the anti-terrorism law that helps the government investigate people’s reading habits
Nah, they wouldn’t do anything like that….
Hat tips to Norbizness and Talkleft.

Supremes Sing for bush?

Arthur Silber isn’t very happy with the rulings in Hamdi, Padilla and Rasul:

…as Turley notes, the fact that these questions arose in this form in the first place — questions that lie at the very foundation of what was our original system of government — is a very ominous sign, a sign whose significance a great many people appear not to appreciate fully, if at all.

MORE CONFIRMATION: Of my view — if the Wall Street Journal is pleased about the Supreme Court’s rulings, you can be pretty damned sure that they’re bad news for the defenders of individual rights:
Now I’m not as happy with these rulings as I was two days ago.


Just why is this allowed?

But today was my first experience with the special “premier” security screening. While other travelers waited in long lines, first to have their bags checked and then to pass through the metal detectors, I was whisked through.
This apparent perk makes me more then uncomfortable. It makes me a bit angry and my answer to a question that Kleiman asks later in his post iis that, no, it is not a good idea to let folks buy their way out the regular security line!!