Thebastidge: 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009
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    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Unique in my experience...

    I voted my Citigroup shares via the Intarweb today...

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    In the wind

    It was a good day for riding the motorcycle.

    Had a good email discussion today in response to this article:

    NOTE: All of these people are my personal friends!!! No bashing these amiable differences of opinion!!!


    Dan1 says:

    "Who would of thought that the ACLU would actually fight for something worthwhile?"

    Tara says:

    "I totally agree with the statement that some TSA agents have "mission creep" issues.  I witnessed a situation where a family was getting verbally harassed by a TSA, causing the mother (and subsequently the child) to cry.  The attitude of the TSA was completely unnecessary. "

    Derrick says:

    "Totally true.. However, this guy was just being a jackoff. He knew he was being recorded so he was trying to instigate them into doing or saying something that would get him on the news. All he had to do was answer the question and none of this would have went down. If he had nothing to hide he shouldn't of been acting like he needed a lawyer."

    Yours Truly:

    "That's complete bullshit, D. There was no legal reason he had to answer questions. In fact, he would be *stupid* to answer any questions not knowing what law he might be falling afoul of. A few thousand dollars in cash is not that much, and is not illegal, there's no reason to have pursued it further.
     
    He's also a political activist- it is his job to point out failings of the system. The whole point of his political career as a Libertarian activist is to point out the intrusive nature of government. He would have been remiss to not capitalize on this, it's the perfect example oif what his message is trying to convey.
     
    Third, I would record any interaction with the law that I might ever have too. Any time some police agency starts asking you questions, especially questions about your own actions, even if you are pretty sure you are in the right, you'd better shut your mouth and lawyer up. I'll try to dig it up, there's a great video of a police officer who is attending law school giving a presentation on the 5th Amendment- he says do not ever answer a question from the cops without a lawyer. Absolutely nothing you can say to the cops can ever help you in court in any way. A cop's interview of you is evidence for the prosecution, but cannot be used by the defense unless the prosecution enters it into evidence first. So a statement "I only had one beer" can be used for probable cause for a field sobriety test but cannot be used as exculpatory evidence, for example.
     
    The idea: "If he had nothing to hide he shouldn't of been acting like he needed a lawyer" is shortsighted and shallow thinking, my friend. That kind of thinking has gotten us to the point where little old grannies get frisked because their underwire bra set off a metal detector."


    Dan2 says:

    "In Derrick's defense...
    Military training to do without asking questions plays a huge part in this thought process and can be summed up as "just shut up and get the job done." Unfortunately it is this way of thinking that continues to lead us down the road of 'Government run lives.' Just remember government is for the people and by the people meaning they need to shut up and do as they are told and not visa versa."

    Derrick again:

    "You both are retarded and should move to montana and start your own militia together.. You both are seriously overboard....there is a time and a place. If he was abiding by the letter of the law then he should of answered the question. Someone carrying large amounts of money on a plane should raise the attention of TSA, if he has simply answered the question "why are you carrying this cash" he wouldn't have had the problem. I think TSA was completly justified in asking that question. No doubt they often over step their bounds many times a day. There are many things that us simple folks do everyday that can be perscived as illegal activity, only to find out that our actions are completly legal and safe after scratching the surface. If the TSA had ingored the cash.. what would you be saying then?? "Oh TSA isn't protecting us.. grumble grumble... we need a revolution..lets move to montana"

    I remember a time was Dan was drinking a root beer in a brown glass bottle while driving (you know the ones that look like a BEER). The cop pulled up next to Dan and realized it was a soda. If the cop had pulled Dan over, by your logic he wouldn't justified, and Dan would have everyright to be a dick and not answer "what is in the bottle"  Because Dan's actions were completly legal.

    This has nothing to do with questioning what the government is doing and your surroundings.

    Dan2:

    "Your example is retarded! Drinking a root beer while driving can appear to be an illegal act. Carrying $5000 in cash between two locations in the same Country is not illegal. In fact, I can take up to $10,000 between here and Mexico without a single question legally being asked.
     
    As for moving to Montana: Sorry but they fall under the same crap laws the rest of the US does. I'll take the first seceded state that binds itself to the US constitution and not what a Supreme court judge FEELS is right."

    Derrick:

    "Questioning is not illegal.. in fact, as you and Larry point out it is necessary. So, for TSA or Law Enforcement or a Citizen to ask questions it is a needed part of this society for personal protection and constitutional protection. If those questions do not get answered; whether you are asking them of the government or the government asks them of you, will raise suspicions, regardless of if they are justified suspicions or not..  It is when the Government and Civilians do not ask the questions is when things start to go wrong.

     I agree with the overall point You and Larry are trying to make. However, I think this was a question that had an easy answer and was a perfectly legal answer, by choosing to not answer that question, whether right or wrong, raises suspicions. Was the letter of the law followed, probably not.. did this guy exaggerate and exploit the situation because he was recording, probably. 
     
    I also think that this was most likely staged to obtain the desired outcome to use for political ammunition."

    Your Humble Scribe, Once Again:

    "Derrick,
     
    You make some valid points, but people are not accountable to Government, it's the other way around. No more than you should have to answer to your neighbor for how much cash you have on hand- really, it's none of their damn business. The government is just a proxy for the people- if you shouldn't have to answer to your neighbor for something, then it's not something the government should be involved in either. If there is reasonable suspicion of an actual crime being committed, then Government may ask questions. I agree that it gets shady around the edges, but mere posession of money is not just cause for suspicion. Particularly within the confines of one country. Even posessing over $10k and traveling with it is not illegal, you simply have to declare it. Carrying well under half that amount in circumstances where one has no requirement to declare it is clearly not grounds for detainment. As soon as he declined to answer their questions he should have been let go.
     
    In response to your idea while we were at work, that we would be complaining if he went on to use it for illegal purposes, well, we would use it as evidence at his trial, and that would be enough for me. While I understand that most people nowadays are used to coddling and the idea that we MUST DO SOMETHING to prevent as much crime as possible, I have two arguments. First, you can't prevent every possible crime and still have a society which is even vaguely "free". Second, most of what government does in order to be seen DOING SOMETHING usually turns out to have a negative effect in the end; it both fails to hit the target and also has lots of unintended consequences.
     
    We work on what is called the "common law" model, that comes mostly from British history. Under this system, that which is not specifically forbidden is allowed- basically something is either illegal or not addressed at all. We don't need explicit permission to live our lives. We are also presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There was not a presumption of innocence in this case. In fact, the direct opposite. They didn't even know what to suspect him of, as the direct facts of his actions are not illegal.
     
    This is opposed to the other main, Western tradition of law, "statutory law" (basically the French model, but that's not important) which tries to define everything in terms of legal or illegal. This latter approach is doomed to failure, through sheer volume, if nothing else. Really, there is just no way to define every possible matter on which the law might conceivably touch- and it would be a very unhappy, totalitarian state that would even seriously try.

    (sidenote: in American legal terms, there is also statutory law and case law, which mean something slightly different. I'm talking about the underlying philosophy of law rather than technical terms in modern usage.)
     
    I agree this guy definitely used the situation and possibly even aggravated it: however he was perfectly within his rights to do so, and the government was in the wrong- clearly demonstrated by the fact they couldn't charge him with anything. Government agents are not there to help you. They are there to perpetuate their own careers.
     
    I think you're wrong about the staging aspect, I find it hard to believe he could readily anticipate this much hassle for such a small amount of money (in absolute terms). I do believe he took full advantage of the situation to advance his agenda and I applaud his willingess and courage in doing so.
     
    I know you see this as someone who is just being contrarian and unnecessarily difficult. A lot of politicians see the voters the same way. In any case, there is no speech that is (rightly) protected so strongly as political speech. It is THE most important and foundational aspect of our system of government. However, all the civil liberties work together, and this was an infringement upon at least three- the 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments. As he was a political activist carrying funds raised specifically for political speech and activities, it should bother all of us that he was hassled, becaus ewhile this case was probably just overzealous employees abusing their authority, it could very easily become a tool of oppression.
     
    If we don't put limits on our government, we will quickly all become criminals- it's the easiest way to control the population.  Any government that has enough power to do good, also has the power to do evil. Most of the 'good' we can accomplish on our own. Most of the 'evil' comes as a mass movement that an individual has no hope of standing against. Protest early, and strenuously, to any usurpation of our individual sovereignty and any curtailment of our liberty."

     

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Cloward-Piven

    I was reading the Smallest Minority this morning.
     
    There's a classic Marxist dialectic for you: that some sort of inevitable march of history will cause a class warfare which can only break through into a true socialist paradise when conditions get so bad that the proletariat rebells violently against the bourgousie.
     
    activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would "the rest of society" accept their demands.
     
    In other words, Marx predicted Malthusian conditions and welcomed them as a precursor to tearing down the entire system of class privilege he saw around him in 1890s Germany. What he somehow couldn't see was a society *not built upon hereditary class* spontaneously evolving from capitalism and free markets. Such as we used to have here.
     
    Patriotism really means trying to tear down the system by any means possible. gah.
     

    --
    The difference between theory and practice, is much greater in practice than in theory...

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Ouchies

    For the second day straight, I managed to slice a finger open on something completely child-safe and innocuous. I eff'ing hate typing with bandaids on fingertips, please excuse typos...

    And then there's the colour job done this eve on my left bicep. The Celtic hounds coursing 'round the sinister arm are no longer mere line-drawings, but actually have some contrast. Hopefully the planned brown outlines and gold highlights turn the proper colours, as right now everything looks red-ish. Bled a bit more freely than expected this time, p'raps I need some more spinach in my diet.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Well what do you know...

    Actually funny AND relevent commentary on the (media coverage of) Holocaust museum shooting from The Daily Show tonight.

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    Add another one...

    ... to the number of defensive gun uses this year. At least peripherally.
     
    Last night, after BBQ'ing all afternoon and going to bed relatively early, the dogs started barking around 1:30 am. This is unusual for them to bark in the house, so I got up to investigate and caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a flashlight shining in the back yard. Got some shoes on and my side arm to investigate, but whoever was out there had taken off.
     
    So one could say that being armed had nothing to do with preserving my safety and that the dogs were more important in chasing off the intruder. But at the same time, I had the ability to do more about it if necessary. If the dogs barking had proved an ineffective deterrent, the option existed. I'd say that makes it a viable defensive use, tho one that would be relatively hard to quantify statistically, even if such uses were routinely reported. There must be many such diffuse "uses" every day, even if the direct effect of a person being willing to check out bumps in the night is hard to measure
     
    Of course, I could be making a bigger deal of it than it deserves, but my lack of sleep afterward makes it stick in my mind today.

    Tuesday, June 09, 2009

    QOTD