Paul's Here

Criminalizing airflight passengers

64 posts in this topic

I'll note that in little ol' Australia, domestic security consists of very little indeed. I can get on a flight to Melbourne or anywhere else in the country without ever showing an ID. I can even meet someone AT THE GATE even if I'm not travelling myself. Americans may recall this is how it once was in America before insanity set in. Will Australia succumb to the same nonsense? I hope not.

I remember a conversation with a French acquaintance who moved to Australia. He pointed out that 1. you get paid a lot more and you're promoted much faster but 2. you have to work much, much longer hours.

That immediately bumped the country up on my "list of places to live"; alas, the time zone sucks (just as with LA), you can only trade Asian markets... well, if I ever move to non time sensitive strategies, Quantas will receive some of my money.

Guns... can be legalized again :D

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I heard this morning on TV, although I have not seen a confirmation of this, that the two leaders in Yemen who planned this attack were Gitmo detainees who were released to the Saudi government a couple of years ago. They were rehabilitated and released.

Charles Krauthammer on Fox said that 2 terrorist leaders in Saudia Arabia were released from Guantanamo, and Karl Rove on Fox said that the second-in-command in Yemen was and may have been involved in the Dec. 25 attack on the commercial airliner.

Gitmo - come to the States, have a free conference, expand your network, your knowledge of the industry, and then you'll be ready to outperform!

I miss the days of Mossad's terrorist assassinations. I hope Chuck Prince and the like still do them. Self-defence.

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I remember a conversation with a French acquaintance who moved to Australia. He pointed out that 1. you get paid a lot more and you're promoted much faster but 2. you have to work much, much longer hours.

That immediately bumped the country up on my "list of places to live"; alas, the time zone sucks (just as with LA), you can only trade Asian markets... well, if I ever move to non time sensitive strategies, Quantas will receive some of my money.

Guns... can be legalized again :D

I don't know about working much longer hours, but I do have to work much smarter down here. For example, an RFP (Request for Proposal) typically requires a lot more time to complete here because prospective customers in Australia/New Zealand have higher technical standards than back in the US.

Fortunately, we deal with the time zone as best we can. In my field (enterprise software), there is always a time zone working, so by being smarter about things, we can get heaps done. For example, if I know I need answers from my American colleagues, I write my e-mails in the evenings, knowing they're asleep and will then see my messages when they start work in the morning. VOIP and other technologies have made the world shrink for me, too. Finally, I am no stranger to long haul flights when necessary.

The best thing I did for my life and career was moving to Australia. I don't regret it for a minute. Oh and Aussies know how to make excellent coffee!

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Finally, I am no stranger to long haul flights when necessary.

Same, I noticed they get better after a while. You just switch off and accept that your next few days will suck...

The best thing I did for my life and career was moving to Australia. I don't regret it for a minute. Oh and Aussies know how to make excellent coffee!

Yes! The best coffee in London is in Flat White, Soho - run by Kiwis, but a major Aussie hangout. I wish they had more seating space, but always pay a visit when I'm in London! When in the UK all the good coffee bean suppliers were Aussies.

Oh, and this friend of mine is in his 20s and OWNS a 500 square meters house (5,800 sq ft), and he's not a banker :D

When hypersonic jet travel becomes a reality (i.e. when the Reaction Engines beasts get funding) I am very, very sure Aussies will see their population grow fast. Esp. as Asian economies massively grow in importance. Can't stop free markets...

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Please let me know so I can schedule my flights accordingly. :D

:D

You know, I wonder if anyone with a rational strategy could even be hired to such a position today.

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Maybe I spoke too soon:

Why more airport security doesn't stop terrorist attacks

Instead, Thomas says authorities should focus on blocking access to the people most deemed to be a threat, which requires more effective profiling and challenging the TSA approach "that everybody who comes to the airport is treated the same - as a potential terrorist, until they are cleared." Cribbing from the Israeli airline model, airline safety specialists are implementing a wide range of behavioral profiling techniques.

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bborg: above the alleged rights of self-avowed enemies. ... they should lose their right to come into this country; and if we get our hands on them... what self-defense entails and how many actively prohibit it.

Well, actually, you are not talking about defending yourself. Self-defense is your responsibility and is a solvable problem. The other part is harder because it rests on mixed premises, including unnamed collectives.

Again, this is an old problem. Barbarism needs no explanation. Go back to Sumeria if you want, but I point out that terrorism as we know it began with the Reign of Terror which was a government out of control. In the 19th century, anarchists killed presidents, kings and queens, among others. They planted bombs and instigated violence among laborers in the name of ideology. If you stop and think about it, the death of Hitler did nothing to stop nazism, which is with us today. In fact, it is a dirty little secret that even among self-defined “Objectivists” right wing terrorism is pointedly ignored by the patriots who find jihad a convenient excuse. (On Rebirth of Reason, read here about "Conservative, White Nationalist and Christian Terrorism in the USA." Note especially, the virulent denials.) These militias have engaged in firefights against law enforcement. But they wrap themselves in the flag, couch their hatred for modern civilization in Americanist talk, and they get a boarding pass for the blog site.

There is no “right” to enter a country. But neither is there a “right” of the government to deny entry. Even anti-modernist religious retreatists have a right to build their own utopias, given that they buy their land and not steal it. Pluralism and tolerance knows no rational bounds. Anyone who wants to live in Idaho with six wives has my best wishes. Robbing banks cannot be endorsed.

Realize that before the current attempt at a movie of Atlas Shrugged failed, its teasers touted “terrorism.” What would you call shutting off the motor of the world, shutting off the electricity to New York City, and blowing up all the copper mines in Chile and Argentina?

I’m just saying that what I read in your complaint is the nativist fear of aliens.

mweiss: Flying is out of the question for me.. I carry a $10K HD video camera, a high powered editing laptop, lots of external drives, spare batteries, spare solid state memory cards, cables, microphones... no way I'm going to risk having that stuff damaged by these power lusting bozos.

Yes, I agree. There are many alternatives to airliners. You can fly. You can drive. Take a bus. Travel is what it is: travail means work and even suffering. We want Star Trek transporters, but it is no surprise that we seem to be short of Vulcan scientists these days.

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mweiss: ... IEDs SURGICALLY implanted ... Will everyone have to undergo a colonoscopy ....

OK! Another opportunity to get naked! You know, you guys have a real problem with this, don’t you? I mean like those bozos at Abu Ghraib, the prisoners who were terrorized by being stripped and leashed. I mean, usually if you want some 20 year old girl to make you her puppy, you have to pay for it. The thing is you and they have body taboos, irrational, illogical, unempirical religious beliefs. Mystics are so amusing.

As for the substance. there are many ways to read the insides of a body. Of course, our intellectually bankrupt protectors will not engage them until after the first incident. In fact, actually, if this is a concern for you, that surgical IEDs are a threat, then you need to do something for yourself, rather than demanding that someone else provide a solution for you.

A weak point in security that's been pointed out to me in the recent past is airline staffers.. the people who load food and supplies onto the planes.

Well known, long investigated, reported on like 1979 or 1981 by 60 Minutes. No surprise. These people are screened and passed, of course. Also, no check is perfect. (Police candidates go through extensive background checks and still turn dirty. It cannot be helped, but something is better than nothing.)

Also, if you track the news (not just hear it when it scares you), then you know that airliners go down often, but when the losses are Africans, no one here cares. Put “airliner crash Africa” and equivalents into your search engine. See for instance here. Africa is politically unstable. You do not know about Africa. Read about The Second Congo War. It was worse than World War II in many ways. You are upset because your own world is declining to that level of barbarism. What did you expect?

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rtg24: STRATFOR's opinion is that intelligence focuses too much on "who did it" as opposed to "how does it happen" ...

I never read anything in STRATFOR that did not come from CNN. For three years, I was a member of ASIS: the American Society for Industrial Security, I read all the emails, read all the magazines, and really (1) crime is eternal; it never changes and (2) if these guys were smart, they would not be emulating Soviet Agriculture so (3), I have to agree that Ayn Rand was right: don’t join groups. In the words of Rudyard Kipling: Down to Gahenna or up to the Throne, he travels the fastest who travels alone.

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rtg24: 2-sided sword intelligence-wise: if you obviously target a certain group ...

bborg:The problem is that the one thing security should be doing, but both the Bush and Obama administrations have been opposed to, is criminal profiling.

bborg: Cribbing from the Israeli airline model, airline safety specialists are implementing a wide range of behavioral profiling techniques.

alann:It's the behavioral profiling that we need, ...

Again, yesterday’s news... First of all, law enforcement has long used “criminal profiling.” That is what a pretext stop is. Someone looks suspicious and you pull them over on something or other like having a dangly hanging from their mirror, which is an obstruction. Then, you see how they act.

Also, David Ben Gurion Airport is exactly the kind of place where the external (“racial”) profiling could not work and was never used. Like typical Americans, you seem to think that “Arabs” are “dark.” Racialist thinking is so prevalent that you cannot get around it. It is known from empirical tests that people see what they expect to see. You see people from western and southern Asia on TV in news on the street and yet you fall into American racialist stereotypes.

At David Ben Gurion Airport they have always been a bit smarter than that and they profile by actions. So far, so good. This is nothing new.

Again, you have been thrashed into a “state of fear” that leaves you stupid. Sorry, but it is true. You “know” everything I have pointed out. You just “forgot” it because you are being spun in a blind man’s bluff of current events.

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First of all, no one’s rights are being violated. That loose talk is out of place on a board for Objectivists.

Like all minor problems, jihadi are consequential of philosophy, not antecedent to it. In other words, there will always be crazies, but we live in a world where they are socially ascendant, the new barbarians of our twilight empire. We can reignite reason and marginalize them back into random acts. That, however, is a deeper problem. That we live in irrational times is the source of the inconveniences on the airlines.

These airlines do not accept responsibility for your safety. They want the government to do that. The airlines are only serving the perceived demands and expectations of their customers. People put up with this. No one is any smarter than you are and they are all mentally hobbled by their irrational beliefs, contradictory premises and untested assertions. The present situation is only the result of Soviet Agriculture applied to mass transportation.

In a vibrant, dynamic market society, not only would airlines be run differently, we would have luxury bus lines, lighter-than-air cruisers and transoceanic speedboats, to say nothing of our favorite: Taggart Art Deco Maglev. Don’t hold your breath for the bright futures your leaders promised you. Three of the ten wealthiest suburbs in America are outside Washington DC where think tanks and lobbyists pay high salaries to otherwise bright people who do absolutely nothing productive.

What did you expect? What other outcome could have been possible, given the premise?

That said...

Paul’s Here: This is a slippery slope since, today, there is no objective definition of what constitutes "public safety." ... let the public decide, based upon contract ... or with the airlines asking for police protection. ... What is soft is intelligence gathering and the ability to integrate the information and use it to implement a strategy. ... But passively reacting to every threat that comes along ... What's the difference if I were a bomb maker? Pretty soon, no action will be possible ...

To take the last point first, yes, these barbarians would like to see us reduced to the physical savagery resulting from their chosen ignorance. We must remain clear on that and what it means.

If you read back on the history of airline hijackings, the 1960s were a time when crazies took planes to Cuba. In fact, the first case of an airline hijacking was supported by the USA. In 1950, a group of dissidents from Czechoslovakia seized a plane and demanded asylum. The USA prevented Interpol from issuing red flag warrants on the grounds that this was a “political” problem, not a crime. Since 1972, the situation has escalated to normality. Going home for the holidays in 1975 or so, I have prevented from carrying Christmas wrapped toys in my carry-on. This is not just a result of 9/11.

Passive response to threats is not just the mode of government -- though there is that -- it is the mindset of our age. Michael Crichton’s State of Fear was not “about” global warming. It was “about” the way we are whipsawed by manufactured events and manufactured responses to them. Again, these hijackings go back over 50 years, yet you act like this something new. You have been cudgeled into confusion. You are now easier to control.

“Soft intelligence” is an appropriate term. Government agencies do not pay a lot in wages. They offer vacations and healthcare. They promote by civil service. This is the Soviet Agriculture model of intelligence. What do you expect. You put private money for profit into this, and you will get a different outcome. rtg24 subscribes to STRATFOR. I do not, but I recognize them. Which intelligence services do you pay for? You want free, public intelligence from the government. That’s what you got. What did you expect?

As I noted above, the airlines do not want to pay for security. The flying public wants cheap airfare and they are willing to be packed like eggs in crates to get it. In a rational world, instead of competing with price alone, you would have high-value services. Even the very production of airliners has been frozen by govern-mentality. The physicality of the infrastructure limits the outcomes.

Don’t fly. Or hire a plane, charter it. It is just a matter of carpooling, really, and you can do it if you want.... but... it’s not worth it... too much hassle... not your problem.... OK, so live with the mass produced answer.

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Mike, great posts! Thanks for taking the time to write them.

Again, these hijackings go back over 50 years, yet you act like this something new. You have been cudgeled into confusion. You are now easier to control.

I immediately think of most people's reactions to very predictable market movements. As an economist you know what I mean!

rtg24 subscribes to STRATFOR. I do not, but I recognize them. Which intelligence services do you pay for?

Would you mind suggesting a better source? (I noticed you criticized them above.) I'm very interested.

Re: development of airliners being frozen, I did find it amazing that it took almost twice the time for Boeing to produce the latest 747 as it did for Lockheed to launch the SR-71 from idea stage. Admittedly, at the time the best talent in the country worked for Lockheed. Now they work for Jim Simons or Steve Cohen.

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Yes, I agree. There are many alternatives to airliners. You can fly. You can drive. Take a bus. Travel is what it is: travail means work and even suffering. We want Star Trek transporters, but it is no surprise that we seem to be short of Vulcan scientists these days.

Since the only travel I have done recently was international, driving and busses not being watercraft, I'd say that unless one plans to limit travel to the continental USA and Canada, one's travel options are pretty limited sans air flight.

Every time there is a terrorist scare somewhere, the airlines go crazy with unscheduled rules changes. Now they are banning laptop computers as carry on. Who in their right mind would check a delicate and costly laptop that my be carrying corporate confidential documents? Back in the '60s, corporate couriers used to travel with the briefcase containing the important docs HANDCUFFED to their wrist, as an assurance that the docs wouldn't be lost or fall into the wrong hands. As ridiculous as that method was, today it would violate TSA regs.

WRT IEDs implanted in terrorists, no I don't have a problem with nakedness, but I DO have a problem with being treated like cattle on the way to the slaughterhouse. Really, Mike, such a wry sense of humour you have there. I've lurked on RoR (but not joined because I think it's mostly full of Libertarians and Brandenite second-handers) and read a lot of your fascinating logic in various topics.. you're pretty smart, but you have a weird sense of humour sometimes.

Africa is not part of the civilized, free world, so what goes on there with savages using technology is hardly a measuring stick for the safety of technology.

WRT securitizing background airport services, how much scrutiny do we exercise there? Do we hire Muslim cooks to prepare the food? What if one of them is a sleeper with 20 years of spotless service record and one day, knowing his record will garantee no one will suspect him, he takes part in an elaborate terror operation? There are so many holes in the airline industry. It only takes a patient group of Muslims. They are committed and they have all the time in the world. And they believe they are morally right. That last one is the clincher.

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I’m just saying that what I read in your complaint is the nativist fear of aliens.

That kind of "reading into" the posts of others is psychologizing and mind-reading which I do not allow on THE FORUM. If I had caught this earlier, I would have pulled the post and asked that this unacceptable remark be removed. Please be aware and don't do this again.

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First of all, no one’s rights are being violated. That loose talk is out of place on a board for Objectivists.

Since this is MY board, I will decide what is out of place here. If you see something unacceptable or offensive in a post, hit the "Report" button at the bottom of the post and/or send me a PM and I will deal with it.

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mweiss: ... IEDs SURGICALLY implanted ... Will everyone have to undergo a colonoscopy ....

OK! Another opportunity to get naked! You know, you guys have a real problem with this, don’t you? I mean like those bozos at Abu Ghraib, the prisoners who were terrorized by being stripped and leashed. I mean, usually if you want some 20 year old girl to make you her puppy, you have to pay for it. The thing is you and they have body taboos, irrational, illogical, unempirical religious beliefs. Mystics are so amusing.?

Psychologizing other posters on this board is bad enough, but this is ridiculous! If anyone feels compelled to make comments like this, make them in private messages -- NOT posts.

This constitutes my semi-annual warning and reminder. After this I will pull posts.

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This constitutes my semi-annual warning and reminder. After this I will pull posts.

Bravo, my dear! I love it when you operate in full Den Mother mode.

Bob Kolker

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rtg24 subscribes to STRATFOR. I do not, but I recognize them. Which intelligence services do you pay for?

Would you mind suggesting a better source? (I noticed you criticized them above.) I'm very interested.

I have none better. As I said, as a member of ASIS, I got magazines and other information. My wife is in computer security, so we both belong to INFO-GARD, sort of like "Neighborhood Watch" for computers, run by the FBI. As vetted users of their very public information, we found "interesting" stories and reports but nothing that made a difference in operations. Again, working in security, most offices have a slew of these magazines from different organizations. The real stuff is Need to Know, and we don't, really. I mean, you can gather your own intel, of course, and not share that. The warnings are important in a general sense.

Like, when your computer is on, but you are doing nothing, and the disk drive light is flashing, what's that about? How do you know that your computer is not acting as a zombie for a "Russian" or "Chinese" attack?

So, it is better to have information coming in, than not. I just never was motivated to spend that kind of money for Stratfor, but then, again, I probably do not see the higher level intel that you do. I just get their emails.

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I have none better. As I said, as a member of ASIS, I got magazines and other information. My wife is in computer security, so we both belong to INFO-GARD, sort of like "Neighborhood Watch" for computers, run by the FBI. As vetted users of their very public information, we found "interesting" stories and reports but nothing that made a difference in operations. Again, working in security, most offices have a slew of these magazines from different organizations. The real stuff is Need to Know, and we don't, really. I mean, you can gather your own intel, of course, and not share that. The warnings are important in a general sense.

Like, when your computer is on, but you are doing nothing, and the disk drive light is flashing, what's that about? How do you know that your computer is not acting as a zombie for a "Russian" or "Chinese" attack?

So, it is better to have information coming in, than not. I just never was motivated to spend that kind of money for Stratfor, but then, again, I probably do not see the higher level intel that you do. I just get their emails.

Should clarify that I don't pay for Stratfor (yet). I like it because it's clear and helps clarify situations in regions with which I am not familiar (you must realize there are hedge funds that invest in China based on "Chinese TV" - their ability to translate it gives them a sufficient edge!); it's also quite popular amongst financial analysts. So I'm not so much seeking the counter terrorist aspect of it but a no-nonsense analysis of situations explaining the key players, likely (or unlikely) outcomes, etc. so I know where to look (or just to keep up to date with global situations).

But as you say, better have information coming in, and better have it come in from multiple sources.

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Should clarify that I don't pay for Stratfor (yet). I like it because it's clear and helps clarify situations in regions with which I am not familiar... So I'm not so much seeking the counter terrorist aspect of it but a no-nonsense analysis of situations ...

I have to confess that if I make a statement on my own authority, it does not carry as much weight has when I cite an internationally recognized bureau. So, there is that. This is from the current STRATFOR (Strategic Forecasts) http://www.stratfor.com/ about the Christmas Day incident.

The Christmas Day Airliner Attack and the Intelligence Process

January 4, 2010 | 1840 GMT

By George Friedman

[...]

The incident drove home a number of points. First, while al Qaeda prime — the organization that had planned and executed 9/11 — might be in shambles, other groups in other countries using the al Qaeda brand name and following al Qaeda prime’s ideology remain operational and capable of mounting attacks. Second, like other recent attacks, this attack was relatively feeble: It involved a single aircraft, and the explosive device was not well-conceived. Third, it remained and still remains possible for a terrorist to bring explosives on board an aircraft. Fourth, intelligence available in Nigeria, London and elsewhere had not moved through the system with sufficient speed to block the terrorist from boarding the flight.

[...]

From this three things emerge. First, although the capabilities of jihadist terrorists have declined, their organizations remain functional, and there is no guarantee that these organizations won’t increase in sophistication and effectiveness. Second, the militants remain focused on the global air transport system. Third, the defensive mechanisms devised since 2001 remain ineffective to some degree.

[...]

This terror attack made another point, intended or not. U.S. President Barack Obama recently decided to increase forces in Afghanistan. A large part of his reasoning was that Afghanistan was the origin of 9/11, and the Taliban hosted al Qaeda. Therefore, he reasoned the United States should focus its military operations in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, since that was the origin of al Qaeda. But the Christmas Day terror attempt originated in Yemen, a place where the United States has been fighting a covert war with limited military resources. It therefore raises the question of why Obama is focusing on Afghanistan when the threat from al Qaeda spinoffs can originate anywhere.

[...]

The West’s problem can be identified this way: There is no strategic solution to low-level terrorism, i.e., terrorism carried out by a sparse, global network at unpredictable times and places. ... There are two possible solutions. The first is to accept that Islamist terrorism cannot be defeated permanently but can be kept below a certain threshold. ... In this strategy, there are two goals. The first is preventing the creation of a jihadist regime in any part of the Muslim world. ... The second goal is preventing terrorists from accessing weapons of mass destruction that, while they might not threaten the survival of a country, would certainly raise the pain level to an unacceptable point.

[...]

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR"

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Read that when it arrived in my inbox.

Did you read Friedman's book? I have a 15 book backlog in my "must read" list, wondering whether to add it...

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Read that when it arrived in my inbox.

Did you read Friedman's book? I have a 15 book backlog in my "must read" list, wondering whether to add it...

I just finished a bachelor's in criminology in 2008 and in April, I complete a master's in social science. For that, on a core of criminology and sociology, I added cognates in international finance and multinational enterprises in order to give context to a focus on transnational crime. I will be closing with two classes in geography: Earth Resource Monitoring and Geographical Information Systems. Again, my interest is to add depth to the concept of the "panopticon society" i.e., Big Brother always watching. One of our local papers prints a weekly crime map. I'd like to get those and collate them into an animation. Last semester, for an elective in US Foreign Policy, I read an 800-page Pulitzer Prize winner, one of six books of assigned reading for that class. Graduate school is not conceptually harder, but they do give us more work.

As it was, on my own, among the books I read was CITY by Max Weber. Weber's description of the rise of the medieval city -- as distinct from other cities before -- underscored many of the elements of American political society. Our nation was founded very much as a large, middle class, urban society: elective councils, citizen militias, clock towers, law that was made not handed down, fundamental equality of station (no nobles or peasants).

I am now on my second read of ON LIBERTY by John Stuart Mill.

And among the writing that I sell often are book reviews for numismatic publishers. I could go on at length about the falsehoods (counterfactuals) about the nature of money that are accepted by libertarians and Objectivists.

Just to bring this to the problem at hand. ... American government regulation of airline security have the same effect on commerce as tariffs and subsidies. True cost accounting would show deep losses across the economy. I am not sure that it is necessary to "respond" to terrorism. I grant that Lieutenant Bannon took the problem back to the doorstep at Tripoli, thus resolving that issue. However, in 1812, the New England merchants who were suffering losses were on the verge of secession from the Union because they saw war as the greater loss.

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"panopticon society"

I never thought I'd see Foucault quoted on an Objectivist forum :D (I am pretty certain nobody will quote Derrida)

It was a good book!

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I could go on at length about the falsehoods (counterfactuals) about the nature of money that are accepted by libertarians and Objectivists.

Remarks like this imply unsubstantiated criticisms of individuals on this FORUM for ideas they may or may not hold simply by their membership in a collective ("Objectivists"). This kind of group-think is unwarranted and unjust and runs contrary to the spirit of mutual respect we maintain here.

If your point is that some people hold an idea or conclusion you regard as false, instead of condemning their group membership, simply state what the false idea is and why it is false. A good argument beats a collective ad hominem every time.

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Good commentary over at http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/01/07/...ack-napolitano/ :

The president is treating terrorists like citizens and citizens like terrorists.
It’s not working – it’s not making us safer – and it’s time to stop.

Only it's not just the current bastard in the White House, Marxist, America-hating Obama. The previous bastard, bumbling pragamatist Bush, was infected with the same virulent "politically correct" philosophy. Both are products of the anti-reason nihilism spawned by Kant.

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