Earlier Dean and others basically said the NSA surveillance of US citizens was nothing new and nothing to get worked up about. I commented that my main concern was what would happen when others started seeking access to this information. Turns out I was behind the curve, because according to Reuters, this is already happening.
Via Instapundit we learn:
A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.
The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.
“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.
“It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”
“I expected this, but not so soon.” Maybe that should be the epitaph for our Constitution.
For those of you who don’t remember, Michele Catalano was once one of the most popular webloggers in the world. I was a huge fan of her work and she was a big inspiration to me in a lot of ways. We parted company politically some time ago as we each grew and developed in new directions, although we’re still on the same page in some things. But now grasp the irony, if you can, of a former warblogger who changed her mind now being harassed by the government under the Obama administration for policies enacted under Bush, which the left hated Bush for but mostly (with a few noble exceptions) gives Obama a free pass for not just continuing but in many cases ratcheting up.
Unfortunately for them I think they chose the wrong person this time. But it now frightens me a little anyway, and I’m not normally inclined to be frightened over government foulups, just annoyed. But the climate we’re living in today is increasingly making the first amendment a joke.
Salon says don’t buy the conservative myths about Detroit, and calls out conservatives for being highly selective in the data they choose to look at.
Without particularly taking sides here, I will note that for years now I have bewailed much of the intellectual Left for a seemingly common inability to answer the most basic economic arguments brought forth by conservatives, which has frustrated me no end because I have long viewed conservative and libertarian arguments as having merits but also having weaknesses, and I truly believe in a process whereby through rational discussion we can arrive at optimal answers when parties from all perspectives join in the engagement of ideas and not just name-calling.
(And no, before you ask, I do not consider Paul Krugman worth reading, ever, because he is a partisan hack first and an economist second, Nobel prize be damned. You can’t trust one word he writes on anything.)
There’s still some name-calling there in the Salon piece, but it’s at least a to-the-point rebuttal to the claims of how we got here and what the solutions are that’s more than just generalities. To my eye anyway.
The truth of the matter is that I care less and less about left vs right pissing matches, as both sides annoy the crap out of me, and I increasingly pay less and less attention to anything other than concrete plans of action.
For me, personally, the article linked above merely suggests we may be spending too much on Columbia. Spending more Federal Tax Dollars (or output from the Fed’s Magical Money Machine) on Detroit will only make matters worse by allowing the corruption and mismanagement to contuinue.
Yesterday, July 30th, was the anniversary of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, the ship that delivered the first atomic bomb to Tinian Island at the end of WWII. Whenever I think of this I am reminded of Robert Shaw as the fisherman, Quint in Jaws. In a retrospective on the movie it was revealed that his chilling monologue about being aboard the Indianapolis was done in a pair of takes after the actor had first read up on the incident, then, quite typically, got thoroughly drunk and just rattled it out.
Does anyone know how to get ahold of the methodology and raw data on this survey? Although I believe we are in times of severe economic uncertainty, something about the description here strikes me as fishy. Bugger arguments over what the causes are, it’d be best to know what exactly they’re talking about before even having that discussion.
Men’s rights are human rights. Such a radical thought.