The Government (was GOP) has really lost it…

Now anyone who follows this blog (yes both of you.. ūüôā ) knows I have some thoughts about how the fight against terrorism should or shouldn’t be done.¬† I’m also not exactly a hard line conservative when it comes to the False Dichotomy of Security vs Privacy.¬† But let’s take a moment to sanity check.¬†

John McCain wants to not grant US Citizens their rights?  Wow, that is so profoundly and deeply disturbing that I am not sure how to respond without getting angry. 

“Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) doesn’t want Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the failed car bombing in Times Square, to be Mirandized. Neither does Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.).”

The Hill: McCain: ‘Serious mistake’ if car bombing suspect was Mirandized
It would have been a serious mistake to have read the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing his Miranda rights, Sen. John McCain said Tuesday. McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a longtime leading Republican on national security issues, said he expected the suspect in the case could face charges that might warrant a death sentence if convicted.”

Apparently Joe Lieberman also thought enough about this to propose legislation to strip citizens of the citizenship.  Mark Rubio, the leading GOP candidate for a Florida Senate seat, also thinks the same.  Do these people really think this is a good idea?  Do they really think that reading rights to a suspect hampers investigation?  I suppose if you never plan to take them to trial and follow the rule of law, then Miranda takes time, but seriously is that it? 

The Constitution (hey GOP, maybe you should read that some day) provides this protection (not specifically Miranda, I know) and frankly it isn’t contingent on citizenship anyway.¬† Foreign nationals who commit crimes are read their rights too, as part of basic legal protections in our country.¬† It’s part of the American legal system and American rights.

So why does the GOP hate America and our rights?¬† Is it only Republicans who are supposed to have rights, everyone else has a pass for the day which can be revoked at any time?¬† How does one get to the unalienable part of the the rights deemed self evident in our Declaration of Independance?¬† Maybe the Bill of Rights and the 5th Amendment have no bearing because the suspect is a “bad guy”?¬† Why then are¬†repeat-offending¬†killers, other terrorists, and people who have succeeded in bombing or killing Americans like Timothy McVeigh not treated the same?

UPDATE:¬† Ok frankly this is beginning to cause me a lot of concern.¬† Politicians who are now being bullied into thinking that taking away citizen’s rights in favor of false security is alarming, but the change in stance over this issue on the part of the existing administration is not only scary, but alarming.¬† A US Citizen, arrested in the US, is being considered a military issue?¬† That is just stupid and dangerous.¬† Yes US Citizens that commit heinous crimes, or even try to commit them, should be dealt with swiftly.¬† But they are still provided their rights and protections.¬† If they aren’t, we become that which we are fighting.


Air Marshals not so effective…

So I’ve posted about the ineffectiveness of anti-terrorism measures before, but this is truly rediculous.¬† More air marshals are arrested than they have made arrests?¬† That’s a truly WTF moment if I have ever heard of one.¬† Of course security isn’t always easy, and even doesn’t always work even if the idea is good, but this is bit over the top.

 Thanks to Bruce Schneier and his blog for the link and comments.  Also a note to say that I do understand the deterrant effect of the program, I just think that the trouble here outweighs the benefit.

UPDATE:¬† It looks like the No-Fly List is being reviewed for improvements.¬† This process could be effective, but really isn’t, largely for the same reasons that security is hard, and often doesn’t work.¬† The bad guys have the advantage of not following rules; like not using their own names, having aliases, identity theft, etc.¬† Then this situation is compounded by the politics not allowing anyone to be removed easily for fear of “letting one go”.¬† Rediculous, because the lists become so large and unmanagable that you might not catch the guy until it is nearly too late. If at all.

So they don’t have 60…

I’m sure we have all heard (or soon will) that the Republicans won in Mass. and got Ted Kennedy’s old seat.¬† That takes the Senate dems to less than 60 seats and introduces a new dynamic into the process.¬† Or does it…

CNN speculates on the impact, but let me ask a question.¬† Since when does not having 60 mean you can’t get things done?¬† Sure I know things will get even more partisan, even more stupid, and even less effective since now the GOP, who has been very set on being obstructionist, has more ability to do so, but really can’t the Dems figure their way out of this paper bag and get stuff done anyway?¬† Are the Republicans so effective at media and message that the dems can’t show when they are being obstructions vs. just disagreeing.¬† Can they even tell the difference?

Maybe they don’t really agree as much as they thought.¬† Or maybe, just maybe, they lack real leadership that can take a few shots when needed and is willing to risk some political capital to get things done.¬† I don’t know politics, but it’s never seemed to be a gentle affair, but playing every side to compromise isn’t going to get the job done on health care.¬† The people need it, but the money of the lobbyists won’t relent.¬† It’s time for something risky and good for the country instead of something not risky to a person’s career.

TSA Rulings, good news to my ears

I just wanted to drop up a short post to share this ruling about TSA Searches.¬† Why?¬† I had just asked about where my protections from illegal search and seizure were, and this comes out.¬† Maybe I should ask where my lottery winnings are next?¬† ūüôā

Once more into the breach…

Ok as if there wasn’t enough to think about when flying on vacation to Mexico with Swine Flu and Drug Cartel Violence, I’m actually categorizing the possible US Customs and TSA experience right up with those things. Why you may ask?

Because I value my personal freedom, and I don’t think these guys get it.¬† They seem to (knowingly or unknowingly) be supporting the slow slide into a police state, and frankly doing a poor job of it at that.¬† Stories of outright theft in the TSA ranks and others talk about how the senior TSA officials don’t consider Fingerprints private data lead me to believe that this ungoverned police presence is being abused or at least not directed to support the Constitutional rights we all are supposed to have.¬† Where is my protection from unreasonable seach and seizure?¬† Why is information that can be used to identify me not be considered mine, or even private?

These guys have it wrong, and there is little chance of a change in the process.¬† We all know politicians can’t be seen as weakening anything that might come back to haunt them, even if it’s illegal, unconstitutional, and ethically challenged.¬† And now to top it all off, the company that was trying to make avoiding TSA possible goes out of business, and there is doubt they can assure that the data they gathered about their clients will be kept safe.

So let’s cut to the chase.¬† TSA isn’t in the security business, at least not adding much if any airline security.¬† They are in the job security business for themselves and the politicians that need something to say they are acting against further terrorism (tell that to Dr Tiller).¬† They do have rules and process, but they are often not doing what they were intended to do.

At least in Norway they have a real threat to worry about and still manage to keep the populace safe.

Homeland Security, if it would only work…

So it’s approaching¬†seven years of the anniversary of 9/11, and one can argue that progress has been made to better secure our country against the threats of low intensity, asymmetrical conflict (for those not familiar with those terms, read that as terrorism, though really that term is nearly meaningless now with all the ways it is abused).¬† But for as much security and security theater as we have, there is still a¬†notable¬†opportunity for pork barrel spending, cases of misuse¬†after misuse¬†after misuse, and heck even lots of just plain incompetence to go around.¬†

Business Week shows that many Department of Homeland Security (DHS) projects are plagued by trouble¬†and their own IT Systems might not be secure.¬† And with all of the focus on airports, we might just be missing out on the bigger threats like our borders.¬† (This isn’t meant to extend to the immigration debate, only in so far as terrorists can in fact cross the border in many ways not guarded today).¬† Heck even MI5 has come out and stated there is no profile for a terrorist¬†candidates or potential recruits and Malcom Gladwell states profiling doesn’t really amount to much.

But they did warn us about liquids that can be dangerous, and Yankee Stadium got into the spirit of things by confiscating sunscreen.

So how do we do this?¬† What’s the right answer?

I’d suggest to start with the basics, and that is that a cost benefit analysis and some rational thinking, which would go a long way to resolving this.¬† Oh yeah, and remembering that life isn’t safe.¬† Ever. Terrorism is nasty, no doubt, but it’s not likely going to be the thing that kills you.

A plan for the economy

I blogged recently about a thought about stock purchase as a means to bail out the weakening sub-prime brokers.  Well it turns out that similar thinking was going on in Washington, and it resulted in this plan, being proposed by Chris Codd.

“Senator Chris Dodd, the committee chair, said he is working to create a Home Ownership Preservation Corporation, which would purchase mortgage securities that are backed by at-risk, subprime loans from lenders and investors.

This corporation would give these lenders and investors a better price for the securities than they would get if the properties backing them were put through foreclosure.

Additionally the loans on these properties would be restructured so that borrowers could afford the new payments and remain in their homes.”

Essentially this buys the bad debt, restructures it and re-prices it, then sells it back to the industry.¬† Essentially a cash infusion, to the places that needs it, the financial companies laden with bad debt.¬† The good news is that it does what is needed from a cash flow perspective.¬† The bad news, which may not be bad news but just wasn’t clear to me, is what oversight and policy changes will accompany this move.¬† I firmly believe that if we bail out corporations who made bad debts with a bailout, and don’t bother to provide legal oversight, or ensure that the cash we put in comes back out at some point, then we just paid off the people who made bad decisions.¬† Bad Bet on Credit?¬† No worries we’ll fix it on the taxpayer dime.

Now before I come off sounding all cynical (or is already¬†too late ūüôā ) I think this step is needed, and I do give credit to the folks in Washington to have enough sense to at least hire real economists.¬† Dodd has some experience here and I think they’ll have some oversight in the deal or to follow.