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©2001 Andy J. W. Affleck
Saturday, December 08, 2001
Andrew Pulrang on Ashcroft Ashcroft cited an Al-Quida terrorist training manual that says, among other nasty things, that terrorists should use the rules and protections of our free society to their advantage in their attempt to destroy us. Fine, I get the irony. Does that mean that we need to stop being a free society? Nazis in the early 1930's used Germany's democratic system to gain power, then promptly used that power to dismantle democracy. Does that mean that it would have been better if Germany hadn't been democratic to begin with? Ashcroft's comment implies that in order to preserve the way we are, we need to become completely different. I disagree. You can go around in circles about this, but we also play into terrorists' hands if we dispense with our civil liberties protections. To me, the only thing to do is to continue to be who we are, authentically, and pursue criminals in a fair, agressive, and straightforward manner. Either our system is the best, most effective one, or it isn't. Personally, I'm putting my faith in our system, civil liberties and all. It will get the job done, and we don't need Ashcroft's thumb on our side of the scales.(9:11 AM)

New York Times Editorial: Confessions of a Traitor But don't count me among those who quake that Mr. Ashcroft is shredding the Constitution. He does respect some rights, after all, like that of illegal immigrants and terrorists to buy guns in the U.S. without fear of government intrusion. And he just doesn't seem clever enough to undo the Bill of Rights, even with the president's backing. You have to have more command of the law than he does to subvert it.(9:10 AM)

Dave Winer's Scripting News Weblog Dave on Ashcroft and all the inroads being made against our civil liberties: I know I keep saying this, but my grandfather, who ran from the Nazis, warned me about this when I was a kid, and I will keep passing on what he told me. It's at this point that we can do something. Later there won't be anything we can do.

Dave is dead on right. If you will forgive a somewhat geeky reference, one of the major themes in Babylon 5 was the takeover of the Earth Government by something very similar. It became seditious to speak out against the government and people were being arrested and convicted for just speaking their minds. Critics of the show cited this as one of the reasons it was a bad show. How could such a thing happen? It was ludicrous. The writer of the show replied very simply: he took all of that material directly from history. He was appalled at how few people seemed to know anything about Senator McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Commission. If you think it can't happen here, remember that it did happen here. And it can certainly happen again. Any time a populace is scared, it can happen. And, right now, we're scared.(7:28 AM) Daily To those who pit Americans against immigrants, citizens against non-citizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil. Our efforts have been crafted carefully to avoid infringing on constitutional rights, while saving American lives. A dead on critique of Ashcroft.(7:18 AM)

Thursday, December 06, 2001
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | First image taken of a dark matter object released(11:04 AM)

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