Democrats & Liberals Archives

Searching for the Elephant

The Justice Department is searching for an elephant. It has issued subpoenas to companies running search engines on the Internet. Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL submitted a week’s worth of millions of all sorts of queries by all sorts of people. They claim they did not betray anyone’s privacy. Google did not and is fighting the subpoena. It feels that people’s privacy will eventually be shredded if it submitted to the subpoena. And what do you suppose is the elephant?

Charles Miller of the Justice Department said that the government is looking for information that would help it restore an anti-pornography law that was struck down by the Supreme Court. The elephant is pornography.

It all started with the Patriot Act, a law that would help us locate spies and terrorists. To accomplish this, it was felt that law enforcement people should be allowed to use all means possible to snoop on anyone. What better device for snooping was ever invented than the Internet search engine? With one little subpoena officials obtained millions of requests that indicated how people think, what their habits are, what they desire, who they contact - and lots more. Through search engines, they could search for any elephant.

Why stop at pornography? Search engines could be used to ferret out little tidbits with which to attack critics of the administration, dissidents of the Iraq war or just plain Democrats. In this case the elephant would be a donkey.

That's the way it is today. But nothing lasts forever. Sooner or later, the Democrats will get into power. Then they will use search engines against THEIR enemies. Then the elephant will be the elephant.

Three cheers for Google. I hope they keep resisting. The search engine should be reserved for the daily nitty-gritty searches of everyday life, not for finding elephants.

Posted by Paul Siegel at January 20, 2006 4:51 PM
Comment #114981

If they succeed then the next step may be a knock on your door some night.

Posted by: Bob C at January 20, 2006 6:24 PM
Comment #114984


Frightening isn’t it? If all they wanted to find out was what pornography turned up in searches, they could conduct thier own searches. In the meantime, they have information about ALL searches.

If they see something they don’t like, the next step will be to subpeona the user information, again under the patriot act. The implications boggle my mind.

What a crock.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 20, 2006 6:48 PM
Comment #114985

It sounds more like a ploy to make pornography the hot media topic in the 2006 election. Remember gay marriage in 2004.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 20, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #114986

I am not a bit surprised. Is there more info on this, did it just come to light ?
Really, if the people of America do not demand an end to this administration, I just dred what will happen.
Keep your passports ready folks, I have mine. But this is my America too, I don’t want to see the end of it.

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at January 20, 2006 6:51 PM
Comment #114989


Here’s one source.

From ZDnet:

If the disclosed search logs show evidence of criminal activity, that language may be vague enough to let prosecutors return with a second subpoena to demand the identification of one or more Internet addresses linked with those search terms. Terror-related searches are another likely area of information-sharing—President Bush likes to talk about how “law enforcement officers should not be denied vital information their own colleagues already have.”
Posted by: womanmarine at January 20, 2006 7:07 PM
Comment #114990

Yeah I don’t buy the whole “we need your data to do our research” As a programmer this seem a pretty poor way to do it and actually the least favorable way to do it when you could easily code your tests and research without bothering anyone. But then again they didn’t ask for user info just the search info, so maybe they really like to go at things backwards…

Posted by: chantico at January 20, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #114993

I would really like to hear a republican response to this one, because their querried interests would be found out too. “tits and assault” Good to see Bush has it out for them too, they need to know the importance of the US Constitution and all of our rights to privacy and the rights of the 1st amendment.

Bob C said: “If they succeed then the next step might be a knock on the door some night”—um and guess what that person would be doin’ that’s deemed illegal. Holy crap every guy in America would be at Guantanamo.

Posted by: Novenge at January 20, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #114994

thanks womanmarine
I have one also. WWW.worldcan’
they really want people to join the protest.
Personally, I’m already there.
One has to practice what you preach, right?
well I feel that Americans need to have a change.
This will have to do until election time. Just maybe it will work :)

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at January 20, 2006 7:26 PM
Comment #114995


ROFL That’s a mental image I could have done without!

Posted by: womanmarine at January 20, 2006 7:30 PM
Comment #114996

Google resisted but what are the others, they said big four? MSN, AOL, Yahoo and Google. But there’s Turbo Ten, Vivisimo, Clusty, Mamma, Gigablast,Ixquick, Hotbot,Teoma, Alexa, Dogpile, Page Tracer, we could be safe for sometime as this could take a while.

Posted by: Novenge again at January 20, 2006 7:37 PM
Comment #114998

Hey - Maybe these stiffs in DC just need some links to some good porn…

Posted by: tony at January 20, 2006 7:40 PM
Comment #114999

… all dick and bush, but no action…???

Posted by: tony at January 20, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #115003

First it is the books we check out, now the internet—is there a trend here? When are we going to wake up to what is going on…Of course the rebut will be “If you are not doing anything illegal then there is nothing to worry about.” Rubbish. What this Pres and his lackeys are doing to the Bill of Rights (of course not the 2nd admendent as that would be attacking the base) is no different that Germany in the early 1930’s. Do not say that well this is just to catch BAD People, because by the time they start looking at the “good people” there will be no freedoms left. I am just astonished at the lack of outroar from the public about this. Oh yeah, it is just “OBL and his people and the kiddie porn people”, well what about those of us who what a change of leadership now. Good God, maybe it is time to get a passport……

Posted by: Mike at January 20, 2006 8:40 PM
Comment #115006

Why Stop at pornography? Great question. It should be only a begining. Lets root out the rest of the slime while were at it.

Posted by: Commander jc at January 20, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #115008

Commander JC,

Just like the anti-abortion movement maybe, do you not see the slippery slope? (I’m assuming JC stands for something)

Posted by: Novenge at January 20, 2006 9:12 PM
Comment #115014

It’s interesting how important facts are conveniently left out the discussion here.

Take the time and actually bother to read what this is all about before firing up the tired Chicken Little “our civil liberties are under siege” rhetoric.

For one thing, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the Patriot Act, as Paul deceptively insinuates when he says “this all started with the Patriot Act.”

In fact, it has to do with a case brought by the ACLU in which the government is the DEFENDENT.

Does a defendent, even if they are the governmetn, not have the right to request information that might exonerate their position?

It doesn’t seem that the government is requesting any personally identifying information at all, and are simply interested in a compilation of information about search engines and web traffic—stuff which is available piecemeal from a large number of sources already, though not in a complete form.

I’m not saying that the government is RIGHT to request this information or that they should or will get it. But it is clear that they’re going through the courts like any defendent here and not using government authority to try and get information by means that any civil defendent couldn’t avail themselves of.

It’s amazing how few of you actually bother to look at the facts before you jump on the dog pile.

Posted by: sanger at January 20, 2006 10:06 PM
Comment #115022

Well Sanger, just what I expected, “Look it is just some web sites” don’t worry “trust us, we in the Bush admin would never ask for anything we really really dind’t need.” Thank God for the ACLU (in fact I am going to send in my renewal tonight, with a few extra bucks included)At least one organization is bold enough to stand up and say “Enough.” Prying into my personal choices of what I look at on the Web is not the Govt. business. And I really doubt that you are foolish enough to believe that this is a “Slippery Slope” we are on. Yes, by the face of things these two issues are not connected, but of COURSE they are. One section of our “justice” dept. does not opperate in a vac. without knowledge of the other section. Someone needs to challange these Stormtroopers from DC. Cause just as the administration BACKED DOWN on Cuba playing in the baseball tourn comming up they will back down when challenged about their illegal attempt to bust the right to privacy. The Patriot Act was pushed on us when everyone was running about saying the sky is falling. so that is the first step and now when they want more power they cry terror or child molesters or whatever and fools swallow this pap like they like it. Well I for one do not feel safer or that my granddaughters are safer because the Govt. cries Molesters or terror every other min.

Posted by: Mike at January 20, 2006 11:10 PM
Comment #115024

Wrong Sanger, the reason for this is to reinforce something called COPA. These were Anti-pornography laws that were put in place under Clinton initially—-BUT IT IS NOT THE ACLU v GONZALES.

THe Aclu is bringing suit for the wiretaps not this as of yet. I went to the ACLU website and they have absolutely no mention of it, none.

Here’s Yahoo news

Here’s a tech paper out of Britain with a bit more detailNot Yahoo

Posted by: Novenge at January 20, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #115027

Novenge, did you look at the link KansasDem provided and that I linked too as well?

The subpoena is right there in black and white—it was filed as part of ACLU vs. Gonzales (in which the Department of Justice is the defendant) before the United States District Court of Northern California (San Jose division).

Do you want the case number? What is it going to take to convice you here?

This subpoena of Google is about internet pornography, the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, COPA, that was enacted under Clinton, and nothing more.

But okay, in the interest of going the extra mile, here’s the case number: 98-CV-5591. Satisfied?

It doesn’t matter what you saw mentioned on the ACLU frickin website, and the ACLU’s suit over wiretaps is another issue entirely—something I never brought up and which has absolutely nothing to do with the request for records from Google. A complete red herring.

I can see how you might have been misled by Yahoo, however, so no harm, no foul.

That Reuters article on Yahoo is a load of misleading crap. It says that this is part of Department of Justice “probe” about internet pornography, conveniently failing to mention the context of the case in court in which the government is the defendent, and in which it is trying to gather information about how internet porn is accessed.

It’s bad enough to defend the rights of Al Qaida to place phonecalls into the US without monitoring.

Is it really necessary now, as part of the Democratic agenda (whatever that is nowdays) to go the wall in defense of pornography aimed at and exploiting minors? What the hell do the Democrats stand for now in this year 2006? Porn and Al Qaida? This is becoming downright sick.

Posted by: sanger at January 21, 2006 12:17 AM
Comment #115029

“First they came for Al Qaida, but I was not a member of Al Qaida and I didn’t speak out.

Then they came for American citizens Al Qaida telephoned in the United States, but Al Qaida never phoned me, so I didn’t speak out.

Then they came for the child-pornographers, but I was not a child-pornographer, so I didn’t speak out.

And then they came for me, a Democrat, and there was no was no one left to speak out.”

Good luck with that.

Posted by: sanger at January 21, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #115036


Just an observation: Whether it’s meant in jest or not, your sweeping generalizations and deliberate use of hyperbole don’t help you get your point across. I was mostly in agreement with you, until you started accusing Democrats of being defenders of child pornography and Al Qaida, a claim that is way over the top and not supported by any evidence.

I do agree that the government has every right to ask for whatever information they think they need to support their case. However, I also believe that Google has every right not to comply to that request.

Posted by: Charles Wager at January 21, 2006 1:05 AM
Comment #115037

Sanger is right about the case , ACLU vs. Gonzales. You have mixed up two seperate cases.

But that is about all he is right about.

Democrates are not in favor of child porn nor Al Qaida, at least NONE of the ones I know.
What we do want is the BUSH ADMIN. out of office. They are dangerous.
Sanger can repeat all the crap he wants, but he is doing so from an ignorant point of view.
This democrat stands for Life, Liberty and persute of justice. AND does not want Bush & co infringing on it.
My question is what the hell do you stand for?
cause from my point of veiw, you stand for getting OBL at the risk of all else. He is not worth everything that America stands for, or he has sucker punched us agian. This time ya’ll stood back and let him.

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at January 21, 2006 1:06 AM
Comment #115038

Sanger that is a counter suit, NAWT THE ORIGINAL request. You claimed THIS: That the reason they wanted those URLS were because the ACLU HAD THE DOJ IN A SUIT. Wrong it was ORIGINALLY about Copa that was the reason for the original request, NOT THE ACLU throwing down a suit. COPA was the original reason and you said clearly in your post it was because of THe ACLU. HOW DO THE URLS EXONERATE THEM?

Now is the reason they want that info to exonerate themselves???—-THEY REQUESTED THE INFORMATION (URLS) FOREHAND. Google said NO the ACLU stepped in BUT the information they wanted isn’t there to exonerate them after the fact, how does THAT EXONERATE THEM?! Riddle me that.

Posted by: Novenge at January 21, 2006 1:25 AM
Comment #115040

I’d be as surprised as anyone to learn that Democrats are all about porn and Al Qaida, not something I’ve ever thought before now about Democrats, but it’s not MY opinion that matters here—it’s the positions taken in black and white here by Democratic posters.

Take a look in the mirror. Better yet, read the actual words that you write.

I’m sorry if I take you at your word. But you’ve said what you’ve said, and you, not me, are the ones who have to take responsibility for your words and actions.

Look, I’m not the one screaming and hollering and mixing up my facts as fast as my fingers can type (as Novenge, Paul and others have done) while trying to say against all factual evidence that the court case which is the very subject of this post, for crying out loud, is about invading the rights of citizens instead of cracking down on interent kiddy porn.

I wasn’t the one making some absurd far-fetched connection between the Patriot Act and a law enacted by the Clinton adminstration.

I certainly am not the one suggesting that as the result of some time-warp, the Patriot Act was responsible for and led to the Child Online Protection Act which was actually enacted many years earlier under a Democratic administration.

That’s what Paul said—if you doubt it, read his post. It’s definitely NOT what I said. And furthermore, it’s not reality. It’s science fiction. It’s fantasy. It’s comedy, actually, and low comedy at that.

Research the facts. Speak to the facts. Get your story straight, and when you screw up, admit it. That’s something I’ve done more than once and have been more than happy to be corrected.

If you want to make a defense of either pornographers or Al Qaida operatives who place phone calls into the United States number one on your agenda, it wasn’t MY idea. It was yours, so take responsibility for what you’ve actually said and don’t blame those who call you out when you’re obviously confused and/or either ignorant of or not actually interested in the truth.

Posted by: sanger at January 21, 2006 1:37 AM
Comment #115041

THe case isn’t about access by kids IT IS ABOUT ACCESS BY THE US GOVERNMENT. Thatis what the case is about not kids not house hold pets or what ever else—-it is about whether the GOVERNMENT can get Googles record not how kids can get porn.

Posted by: Novenge at January 21, 2006 1:41 AM
Comment #115043

SANGER NOW I”M PISSED____THE INTERNET DID NOT EXIST BEFORE CLINTON (I’m refraining from calling you names) Which democratic administration other than CLINTON HAD THE INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Novenge at January 21, 2006 1:48 AM
Comment #115044


The only one who has posted these words or ideas is you.

If you want to make a defense of either pornographers or Al Qaida operatives who place phone calls into the United States number one on your agenda, it wasn’t MY idea.

Let them Google their own porn.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 21, 2006 1:48 AM
Comment #115045

If you say Kennedy I’m going to fall out of my chair.

Posted by: Novenge at January 21, 2006 1:49 AM
Comment #115046

The military intranet maybe if young kids joined a branch of service maybe????? Okay that may have been under—nope that would have been under REAGAN.

Posted by: Novenge at January 21, 2006 1:56 AM
Comment #115051
If you want to make a defense of either pornographers or Al Qaida operatives who place phone calls into the United States number one on your agenda, it wasn’t MY idea. It was yours, so take responsibility for what you’ve actually said and don’t blame those who call you out when you’re obviously confused and/or either ignorant of or not actually interested in the truth.

Whose words? Please show me where anyone here used the words “defend pornographers and al-Queda.” Those words were not used here, YOU read them into what was said to fit what you want to believe.

Give me six lines written by the most honourable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him. — Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642)
Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 21, 2006 3:11 AM
Comment #115081

Look… I know the current administration is serious about cracking down on pornography. I mean look what they did to that gay callguy / newsman or whatever you’d call him, Gannert, or whatever alias he’s going by now. They… oh, yeah, they let him have daily press passes… and spend LOTS of time in the White House. Hhmmmm… well, they’re going to get the NEXT pornographer, you wait and see. They are ETHICAL. None of this dirty picture culture for them. You see what its done for our culture, I mean, look at what’s going on in Washington. Pornography is ruining our honest American politicians.

Posted by: LibRick at January 21, 2006 8:11 AM
Comment #115087

Is being American too scary for some?

Now I’ve seen the fear of danger rise to a pathetic level. I guess it’s the true sign of the chicken hawks. They are too fearful to join the military and fight, yet are so eager to engage the military in war. They are all about soldiers fighting and dying for our freedoms, but have shown to be to cowardly to actually live and fight for these freedoms at home.

It seems their argument is “Here, please take my freedoms… any of them, just keep the bad guys away from me!”

Freedom take sacrifice, and not just from the military. If you fear these sacrifices, then give up your own freedoms, you do not have the right to surrender my freedoms for your own pathetic ‘safety.’

Posted by: tony at January 21, 2006 9:27 AM
Comment #115088

So … what’s the fix?

How do we let adults surf porn and keep the kids away from it without having to sit at the computer with them each and every minute?

How do we get rid of the illegal porn?

Would anyone have a problem with sex sites having their own .com address? like .xxx ?

This way it could easily be blocked from children and … it would be easier to keep out the illegal stuff.

Posted by: dawn at January 21, 2006 9:46 AM
Comment #115089

Dawn -

The exisitng filters in use now have been proven effective in keeping porn sites out of view from children (or those who want to avoid these sites.) Personally - I find the very graphic violence more worrisome for my children than sexual content.

Either way, I’m not that concerned with what they see, as long as I can be there to explain it and help them work through what they are exposed to. This is easy for me to say now, because my daughters are 2 and 7… they don’t explore much on the web yet. I do, however plan to be extremely involved with what they are exposed to when they do start searching the web.

The dangers presented by ‘sickos’ in chat rooms are far greater to them than images of people having sex, no matter how freaky. As far as I know, you still can not filter out the ‘sickos’ - so I think every parent should force themselves to deal with this potential threat.

Laws… I don’t think anyone should ever expect a law to take the place of their responsibility or involvement as a parent. It’s not going to be easy… but it’s far easier than facing the horrors if something ‘were to happen.’

Posted by: tony at January 21, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #115090

As a libertarian, I am totally with Google in their resistance to this kind of prying. This is nothing but an ill-conceived effort to get more information on citizens. This is also why the founders of our country made every effort to protect the citizens from the government. This is an end run around the Constitution. If the Justice Dept has information about specific sites or persons, let a court issue a subpoena for those sites or people, but keep your grubby hands off the rest of us.

The pity is that both parties want to control all of us. The Republicans are going to clean up porn online, reform campaign laws, protect us from the evils of those “liberals” and whatever else they can think of. The Democrats are going to protect us from ourselves, with our tax money of course, and usher in the golden age of peace and goodwill.

My personal view is this: The only thing I want government to do for me is what I cannot do for myself. Defend my country, level the playing field for all of us regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or religion, then, stay out of my business.

Notice I said cannot, not will not. If I cannot work and support myself and my family, then I would expect government assistance for the period of time that I can’t. If I am not willing to support myself or my family, tough cookies.

Going back to the beginning of this country, and to the Bible, ” Let him who will not work not eat.”

Posted by: John Back at January 21, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #115092

“Going back to the beginning of this country, and to the Bible, ” Let him who will not work not eat.””

Wow… glad to hear that… what with all those horrible little 8 yr. olds out there who won’t take a job. I think the place our Country went wrong was our child labor laws. If a child happens to be born to a worthless mother or father, then need to have good jobs as an option to get out of poverty.

Posted by: tony at January 21, 2006 10:45 AM
Comment #115134

I find it ironic that the repubs that rail against public healthcare, because GASP poor people might actually get sick, rally in support of this. What the? It’s not the governments job to provide healthcare government should be small, ok I can see how one would believe that, but it’s up to the government to look into people’s entertainment practices, what? You can’t have both. It makes no sense.

Posted by: chantico at January 21, 2006 1:26 PM
Comment #115135

Sanger, please read:

Unless I’m mistaken the “time-line” supports what Novenge is saying.

Personally I think COPA is a noble undertaking. My problem, as usual, is how much trust can we place in this administration. Well, that and believing that the government can provide a better solution to internet privacy than the Tech Industry.

What I very strongly believe is that this is just one small part of the Domionist Theocracy agenda. The religious right would like to roll us back to the “wholesome” days of Ozzie & Harriett, when truly god fearing folks wore pajamas to bed (twin beds I might add) and the missionary position was the only acceptable method of, and then only for the reason of, pro-creation.

Then we could put homosexuality back in the closet where it belongs along with spousal abuse and all those other pesky problems that can’t be mentioned in “polite conversation”.

Perhaps we can roll the clock clear back past the “New Deal” and even make John Back happy. The American Indian’s are often portrayed in movies as sending their unfit, elderly, etc. (all those who are no longer of use to the tribe) into the wilderness alone to die. Of course this was seen as “barbaric” by the white settlers and helped reinforce the need to commit the greatest act of genocide in our history as a nation.


Posted by: KansasDem at January 21, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #115172
How do we let adults surf porn and keep the kids away from it without having to sit at the computer with them each and every minute?

The government’s solution is always regulation, no matter which party is in control. But perhaps, the best solution is not in law enforcement at all, but rather in the free market and technology. Broadband should be able to allow the delivery of the unfiltered Internet, and a kid friendly version that includes websites that are devoid of pornography. Current web filters are not the best solution; because they block some sites that are “clean” and let through some that are “dirty”. The example of this I have seen, is when searching for the word “breasts”. Such a search could pull up anything from the “American Cancer Society” to “flash your rack” and worse. The technology needs to be refined but I don’t think it is beyond what we can do. The Innovation Agenda

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 21, 2006 3:52 PM
Comment #115191

John Back,

I actually lean strongly Libertarian on most issues. However, I have a moral dilemma with their views on welfare.

You wrote:

Going back to the beginning of this country…

Article I, Section. 8 of the U.S. Constitution:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

The general welfare of the United States. Is having a healthy productive population part of general welfare? Does having a well-educated citizenry contribute to the general welfare of the United States? Don’t get me wrong I have major problems with entitlement programs. Throwing money at the problem only rewards bad behavior. But, give people the tools and opportunity to succeed and they will. Many states spend much more on entitlement programs than they do on Education. That’s just sad.

IMO, nobody, who is able to work, should be paid to sit at home. Those on welfare should have to do jobs that are being neglected by the state. I live outside Detroit, and I can tell you this is a city that can use a good cleaning. Why can’t welfare recipients be out there, beautifying the community they live in? Once they have to work, even for welfare, they will be motivated to better themselves and find a better job.

Then you wrote:

…, and to the Bible, ” Let him who will not work not eat.”

The bible also tells the story of a city that was destroyed by God. Many believe it is a story about homosexual sin, not so. Sodom’s sin according to Ezekiel 16:49-50 (NIV):

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”

They took care of themselves but did not help the poor and needy, so God destroyed them. Hmmm.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 21, 2006 4:36 PM
Comment #115225

“so God destroyed them. Hmmm. “

One can only hope.;)

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at January 21, 2006 5:57 PM
Comment #115226

“so God destroyed them. Hmmm. “

One can hope ;)

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at January 21, 2006 5:58 PM
Comment #115231


I agree there is a dilemna involved here. I am a firm believer in government programs that actually help people. But, sadly, there are very few that do. Much of the money is spent on a bloated upper echelon and the people that are supposed to be helped get very little. I have an idea: charities are required to file forms every year detailing how much they took in and where it went. What if government agencies had to do the same thing. Then we could see how much was actually spent on the program and how much was spent on staff and supervisors. That could be interesting.

Old saying: Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Government aid programs should be exactly that: Teach me to fish and then get out of my way. Then the agency or program could really do some good. And, we coould save some money at the same time.

Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Here we are many years later and poverty has won. What we should have done is just give all of the poor their share of the appropriation and they wouldn’t be in poverty anymore.

To mt sarcastic friend, the quote refers to adults, not children. Just how dense can a person be?

Posted by: John Back at January 21, 2006 6:25 PM
Comment #115319

John Back,

I’m on Social Security Disability. I’m 54 years old and I’ve been disabled since 51.

You seem like a totally reasonable man. No argument there. In a personal setting we’d likely get along just fine. You’d take one look at me and say, “damn, I’m glad I’m not like that”. You might even offer me rides to the doctor or the store. You’re probably one of those people that goes out of their way to help those who can’t care for themselves. But, not all people are like that.

Some people just don’t give a damn. I’ll grant you that there is abuse of every charitable cause. There are always people who will abuse any social program just as some people will abuse the tax code. Or, for that matter, some will abuse their power in government.

So, what makes the most sense, punishing the program or punishing the abuse? Sometimes changing the program is a good partial answer but there will still always be abuse.


Posted by: KansasDem at January 21, 2006 9:46 PM
Comment #115348


We could probably get along better than you think. I have no problem with programs to help those who cannot help themselves. That is a legitimate function of government at some level.

I do have a problem with programs that do little more than create an entitlement. There should be some level of accountability on both sides of the equation. Those who receive should be responsible for working to get off the rolls. Those giving should be working to do the same. There should also be some measure of success of a program or agency. For example: The Department of Energy has spent billions of dollars during it’s lifetime and has yet to produce a drop of usable fuel. What good is it doing? The Department of Education has spent even more billions and has yet to make a positive impact on education in this country. It has however generated tons of paperwork and kept quite a few otherwise unemployable people in jobs. (Mostly filing reports that serve no useful purpose)

My take as a libertarian: The Federal government has no business doing anything that state and/or local governments can do. Government best serves the people at the lowest level. Accountability is greater at low levels. My county commissioner is much more accountable to me than the state commissioner of highways, and he is more responsible to me than the head of the U.S. Transportation Department.

State’s rights is now a dirty concept, but it is the basis of the Constitution. Our founders set up a government that would be quite limited in scope and authority. However, 200 plus years of political chicanery and cowardly or complicit courts have eroded our freedoms and seem to be bent on taking away even more. The ultimate insult to the Constitution is the decision that strips me of the right of property ownership.

Now, the government is trying to pry into my internet activity. Why? Fortunately, I have never used Google for much, but, I still strongly object to the Justice Department’s fishing expedition!

All I really expect out of government is basic protection and services. Otherwise, stay out of my llife.

Posted by: John Back at January 21, 2006 11:36 PM
Comment #115359
charities are required to file forms every year detailing how much they took in and where it went. What if government agencies had to do the same thing. Then we could see how much was actually spent on the program and how much was spent on staff and supervisors.

John Back,

Actually, under the constitution, the government is required to do just that. Article I, section 9:

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 22, 2006 12:53 AM
Comment #115695

John Back:
“Government best serves the people at the lowest level”. International corporations serve themselves best when unregulated. Unfortunately, a lot of problems arise when multi-billion dollar corporations have power. A large government is the only entity that can do anything at all about keeping international corporations on the up and up.

Posted by: dn4v at January 22, 2006 5:56 PM
Comment #115696
A large government is the only entity that can do anything at all about keeping international corporations on the up and up.


Who keeps the large government on the up and up? “We the People” certainly haven’t been doing it.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 22, 2006 6:02 PM
Comment #115801

“Keep your passports ready folks, I have mine. But this is my America too, I don’t want to see the end of it.” Gypsyirishgirl

Amen to that… I’m not into leaving the country that I love, but I also shall not remain to become an unwilling participant in the live version of the “Handmaid’s Tale.”

If you’ve never read this book I would suggest having a look. It’s only fiction, and it’s not recent in the least, but the underlying theme echoes resoundingly with the current conservative fervor in our nation right now…

Britian, Ireland, and Scotland are all looking incredibly attractive to me at this point…

Posted by: MJ Shaw at January 23, 2006 4:41 AM
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