Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Friday, May 31, 2002
Tom and Eugene noticed the breathtaking display of doublethink
over in Ashcroftland, embodied by the simultaneous affirmation that:

Asked whether the change would lead to a rollback of hard-won civil-liberties protections, Ashcroft said the powers would be used only "for the purpose of detecting and preventing terrorism."


The new rules allow agents to conduct "general topical research" and "pure surfing" designed to find Web sites, chat rooms or Internet bulletin boards with information about terror, bomb-making instructions, child pornography or stolen credit cards.

Of course, it's not really "mission creep," you know. The feds are perfectly justified in using their expanded power to look for kiddie porn--because we all know that Islamic fundamentalists regard it as emblematic of the depravity of western culture and are likely to make its purveyors the target of the next terrorist attack. And surely you see that stolen credit cards can be used (like the proceeds of drug transactions, or prostitution, or legitimate business dealings, or ...heck, any money in general) to fund terrorist activities?

In a world where growing wheat for personal consumption qualifies as "interstate commerce," do you really think there's anything the government can do that doesn't qualify as "detecting and preventing terrorism"?

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