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Are 'Police State' Theorists Just Drama Queens?
Insight ^ | 11/25/02 | James Lacey

Posted on 11/25/2002 10:33:36 AM PST by Jean S

Since 9/11 there has been a lot of ranting from the left that America is well on the way to becoming a police state. According to this line of thought John Ashcroft and his evil minions are working overtime to smash all dissent and to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. Such near-great celebrities as Susan Sarandon have taken to the airwaves to announce, "We're living in lockdown."

What more evidence is required?

Countries earn the sordid title of "police state" because they have achieved a certain level of repression that ensures only the very brave or the very stupid ever will speak out against the government. Since Susan Sarandon decided to speak out while in England she cannot truly be considered brave, though it is much too early to rule out stupid.

If America is well down the road toward becoming a police state the proof of it should be all around us. Let's look at the evidence.


The cumulative evidence appears to indicate that we either are not in a police state or that John Ashcroft is the most inept secret policeman of all time. Some on the left would argue the latter. To appease them, I will give Mr. Ashcroft one more chance to enforce the principles inherent in a police state.

As of this moment, and for the rest of the week, I am calling for the nonviolent overthrow of the U.S. government (advocating the violent overthrow of the government actually is illegal). If this column fails to appear next week you can assume that storm troopers have dragged me off to Leavenworth. But, frankly, I think I would have a better chance of being arrested if I were to smoke a cigarette in a New York bar.

James Lacey is a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a New York-based columnist with expertise in finance and military affairs.


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1 posted on 11/25/2002 10:33:36 AM PST by Jean S
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To: JeanS
Thanks for the post. An interesting take on the matter. Of course, there is the opposing view on this matter, that the onset of tyranny is not like turning off a light switch, but instead is a long, gray, almost imperceptible twilight into darkness.
2 posted on 11/25/2002 10:37:12 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: JeanS
Good point. We need a running scorecard in Times Square!
3 posted on 11/25/2002 10:38:56 AM PST by sam_paine
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To: JeanS
Thanks for your post.

I happen to agree with you. I am more pissed off that there is a seat-belt law (which they are currently ratcheting up during the Thanksgiving Holidays for enforcement) than the government having the ability to monitor my spending habits and my emails.

Sure, it's an invasion of privacy and I should be concerned.....IF I WERE BREAKING THE LAW!

Until we weed out the possible terror cells living in our country due to inept enforcement of INS rules, we all have to understand that to ensure our safety, the government needs the ability to track suspects.

I AM NOT A SUSPECT and I will give them no reason to be concerned with me.

4 posted on 11/25/2002 10:39:51 AM PST by DCPatriot
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: DCPatriot
Until we weed out the possible terror cells living in our country due to inept enforcement of INS rules, we all have to understand that to ensure our safety, the government needs the ability to track suspects.

Great. So change the rules for aliens, both legal and illegal. If someone can prove they are a citizen, leave them alone.

6 posted on 11/25/2002 10:42:13 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: JeanS
How about posting the number of Americans who have had property seized in the WOD without ever having charges filed against them?

Besides, we have seen that GWB is an honorable man. What happens when we get another unprincipled person like clintoon in the Oval Office? You cannot grant power to a good and decent president without granting that same power to a hopelessly corrupt and evil president.
7 posted on 11/25/2002 10:43:34 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants
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To: JeanS
Most of them, for sure.
The societal equivalent of Munchausen by proxy.

The U.S. the second most neurotic area on earth.

8 posted on 11/25/2002 10:44:24 AM PST by Publius6961
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To: DCPatriot
Sure, it's an invasion of privacy and I should be concerned.....IF I WERE BREAKING THE LAW!

Of course, once the government has the information, they can always change the law to make you a lawbreaker. Or they can just decide that since probable cause doesn't matter any more, neither does due process.

The trick is not to apply the brakes where you want this process to stop. The political momentum will carry it much further. The brakes need to be applied now, and quite possibly the vehicle will need to subsequently thrown into reverse.

9 posted on 11/25/2002 10:44:57 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: DCPatriot
You post here. That is reason enough for a Rat administration to suspect you as a "possible subversive". What do you think hitlery clintoon would do with this type of power?
10 posted on 11/25/2002 10:45:21 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants
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To: JeanS
The main concern I hear regarding the new powers granted the Justice Department are that they may someday be used by someone like Hillary. But to use them against innocent citizens, she would have to break the law in some fashion, which she would do anyway, as she has amply demonstrated by her past behavior. She would just be breaking DIFFERENT laws.

Or perhaps the concern is that the new laws make specious invasions of privacy more justifiable, under the linguistic cover of broadened Justice/Homeland Security powers. Is that the crux of the matter? I would really like to know if the sometimes brutal criticism I've seen at FR over this new legistlation is appropriate and warranted. I admit that I want President Bush and his administration to succeed, and that such desire may blind me somewhat to what is happening. But I also don't want to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, in an inchoate overreaction. Are there any good threads debating this stuff rationally?

11 posted on 11/25/2002 10:51:16 AM PST by TrappedInLiberalHell
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To: JeanS
Ya think police states just spring into existance fully-formed? Hardly. They develop over a period of decades, with one administration implementing more tools - always surrounded with warm fuzzy rhetoric - which the next administration abuses.

Remember the flap about Clinton obtaining 700 FBI files? Consider if he had 300,000,000 far more detailed files.
Remember all the rhetoric about how gun registration won't be abused? 50,000 AR-15 owners were recently tracked down and persuaded (under color of law) to hand them over, non-returnable, for "testing".
Remember how we have been assured all medical, credit, flight, tax, etc. records would be kept confidential to the intended use? Now we have the beginning of the Total Information Awareness Office, directed to gather and profile all such data.

Obviously we're not at a full police state yet. Nobody is seriously contending that (except a few fringers). HOWEVER, the path is clear, the methods are being put in place, the "everyone is violating something" laws are building up, and history repeatedly shows the consequences.

Sneer as you like, use carefully selected facts as you like, but do read history lest you repeat it.
12 posted on 11/25/2002 10:56:38 AM PST by ctdonath2
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To: DCPatriot
Sure, it's an invasion of privacy and I should be concerned.....IF I WERE BREAKING THE LAW!

When's the last time you read the laws?
How do you know you're not breaking any laws?
Do you actually know what the law actually says, or are you just going on what a few ignorant people have told you?

I have read a portion of the NY penal law. It is terribly complicated, does not use words in normal ways, and requires a long time to understand properly. And it's surprising how many people violate it without knowing.

Don't be too sure of your legal innocence.

13 posted on 11/25/2002 11:00:11 AM PST by ctdonath2
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To: TrappedInLiberalHell
Not to bang my own drum, but I've read through a lot of the initial bill as passed by the House, and will re-read the entire bill starting tonight as signed by the president. A discussion of that exercise is here:

One FReeper's analysis of the Homeland Security Act, HR 5710

You are right about a lot of the claims being made about this bill - it's basically a large-scale administrative change with a couple of minor stinkers thrown in, as well as some potentially problematic vaguely defined powers and some beneficial aspects (Section 880, for example, kills off TIPS). Claims, for example, that this bill would allow forced vaccinations are hypothetical instead of being based on specific wording. Do we need to watch that process? Of course - but that's true of the transition of any law into the Federal Register.

14 posted on 11/25/2002 11:02:31 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: JeanS
Bump
15 posted on 11/25/2002 11:04:43 AM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: Blood of Tyrants
You're right. I didn't take into account another Clinton-type administration that would compile another FBI-file debacle.

My point, however, was to agree with the poster that while the potential to make "criminals" out of law-abiding citizens exists, there is no proof that Ashcroft is going to run amok.

16 posted on 11/25/2002 11:12:58 AM PST by DCPatriot
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To: DCPatriot
Kind of like when the democr@p communists used the IRS to harass conservative organizations. The point of the matter is, the power and information in the wrong hands is never used in the benign manner that it is intended.

The point of having thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of laws, ever growing, is to grow a web big enough that *ANYONE* you disagree with or threatens your idealogy/ambitions - can 'catch' you, prosecute you - and persecute you.

I.e., Conservatives, "Hate-speech", Christians, etc.

If you believe the Word of God, which I do, then you see that inevitably the PC crowd takes over until the Lord comes back.
17 posted on 11/25/2002 11:15:28 AM PST by ApesForEvolution
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To: Blood of Tyrants
"You cannot grant power to a good and decent president without granting that same power to a hopelessly corrupt and evil president."

Exactly. Americans have far more to lose therefore have far more to protect. The rest of the world is either pitfully hopeless or at least moderately socialist. We would be too if the 'kooks' weren't constantly thinking out of the box. And who can quantatatively, based on the last century, demonstrate America hasn't already slid to a point of near-no return?

The more I here of the so-called 'kooks' and the concerns they raise, the more I seek to find if there is any validity.

For every handful of bogus or flawed contentions that the 'kooks' float, deeper research and investigation reveals a real danger to the American notion of individual liberty, national sovereignty and long term constitutional viability.

Good people rise to office to act positively and, conversely, bad people lust for power and attain it with disasterous results.

How many cotton-pickin' examples in history does one have to point to?

The arrogance of some to dismiss the dynamic, non-statist thinkers is the end of a society and will be the end of America.

From first hand experience, I can assure you that the two parties and their alphabetocracy have concocted, and in some cases attempted, numerous un-Constitutional, disastrous initiatives with, again in some cases, results very detrimental to the America that has thrived and now is in grave danger.
18 posted on 11/25/2002 11:27:11 AM PST by ApesForEvolution
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To: Publius6961
I'll bite. What's the first?
19 posted on 11/25/2002 11:28:34 AM PST by ffrancone
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: JeanS
How many people have had their homes broke into last year by SWAT teams at the wrong house or using a bad warrant?

How many cops have automatic weapons in the trunk of their cruiser?

If an automatic weapon is only useful for killing large amounts of people, and we should ban them because of that, why do cops have them? Do they need to kill large amounts of people?

How many legal cases are filed against cops for violent use of force?

Howe many cops are actually prosecuted for assault when they beat a suspect, instead of just "transferred"?

Whena gun is involved in any situation, why is it that the person with the gun is autmatically arrested?

Why does the government maintain computer records of who buys weapons?

Why do the feds maintain intel on citizens who are not suspects in a crime?
21 posted on 11/25/2002 12:00:32 PM PST by PatrioticAmerican
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To: DCPatriot
You are thinking along the correct lines. No, FISA and most post-9/11 changes do not herald a new police state. OTOH, it is completely good and rational for everyone to be on alert for their privacy. There has been much erosion of privacy and civil liberties BEFORE 9/11. Roll back that erosion, and people will be much more accepting of security-related changes in how much privacy they have. Does the gopvernment deserve to be criticised? Yes! Government is making the mistake of taking without giving any counter-balancing privacy back to citizens. With a small amount of effort, the storm over the Patriot Act could have been avaoided.
22 posted on 11/25/2002 12:07:42 PM PST by eno_
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To: ctdonath2
Do you expect me to believe that 50,000 people turned over their AR-15s?
23 posted on 11/25/2002 12:41:13 PM PST by justshutupandtakeit
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To: dirtboy
There are many citizens selling out their nation or attempting to destroy it. John Muhammed for one.
24 posted on 11/25/2002 12:42:07 PM PST by justshutupandtakeit
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To: justshutupandtakeit
There are many citizens selling out their nation or attempting to destroy it. John Muhammed for one.

And had the cops actually used the database they created for the investigation, they would have nailed him by October 8th. And had the INS followed its own guidelines, Malvo would have been deported when he tried to enter this country as a stowaway.

We don't need to monitor citizens to this extent. Basic law enforcement and enforcement of existing immigration and visa rules would go a long way.

25 posted on 11/25/2002 12:44:42 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
I wasn't speaking of Malvo. But Muhammed, Jose Padilla, Jihad Johnny are American citizens. There are thousands of other dangerous traitors in our midst.
26 posted on 11/25/2002 12:47:34 PM PST by justshutupandtakeit
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To: ctdonath2
WOW!

Thanks for sharing. ;^)

27 posted on 11/25/2002 12:48:26 PM PST by DCPatriot
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To: justshutupandtakeit
I wasn't speaking of Malvo. But Muhammed, Jose Padilla, Jihad Johnny are American citizens. There are thousands of other dangerous traitors in our midst.

And let's catch American citizens attempting terrorism while keeping existing liberties in place, by having the feds make better use of the existing data stream, instead of demanding more data when they can't handle what they're getting already. The 9/11 hijackers were foreign. Most of Al Queda is foreign. Let's keep more of an eye on them.

28 posted on 11/25/2002 12:50:28 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: ctdonath2
Regretfully, you're right. ;^(

However, all the personal information about me that you just felt the need to display here in FreeRepublic...while embarrassing a bit, is not going to get be arrested for acitivites against the United States.

Hell, they'd be glad that I'm here before it's all done.

God Bless America!

29 posted on 11/25/2002 12:57:17 PM PST by DCPatriot
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To: DCPatriot
You are more understanding than I am.
30 posted on 11/25/2002 1:20:12 PM PST by TomB
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To: ctdonath2
That was extremely uncool. Do not ever do that again. If you wanted to make the point, you could have Freepmailed that information to him. Thank you.
31 posted on 11/25/2002 1:22:37 PM PST by Admin Moderator
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To: DCPatriot
http://www.donath.org/
Carl Donath
32 posted on 11/25/2002 1:40:30 PM PST by Freemeorkillme
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To: JeanS
go to www.allewislive.com (better known as grandpa munster)and listen to his radio show everyday oh wait you cant the goverment had it shut it down before the office of homeland security officially existed
33 posted on 11/25/2002 1:47:42 PM PST by freepatriot32
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To: justshutupandtakeit
There are numerous FR threads addressing the situation. Not sure how many actually complied. The total number was far from trivial. Point is that once a perceived "terrorist" attack began, the information available (very inconvenient and limited, but still available) was substantially abused by the feds...how much bigger a problem when the TIA database makes such searches easy.
34 posted on 11/25/2002 1:53:59 PM PST by ctdonath2
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Yes, my post #20 was extremely uncool. The moderator's deletion and chastising is completely warranted. Pulling such detailed personal information together for display to unknown strangers is A Really Bad Thing. Such actions should be rapidly shut down, and the perpetrators (me, in this case) should be told in no uncertain terms to never try such a thing again.

Which is precisely my point about the Total Information Awareness program. The federal gov't wants to do the same thing in far more detail and for every person in the country. Such a system is extremely uncool times 300,000,000 precisely because of how such consolidated data can be abused, and comparable systems have indeed rapidly led to police states in the past.

Juxtaposition: I get severly chastized for pulling together a little publicly & easily available info on someone who openly states he has no problem with the gov't doing far more on everyone whether they like it or not.

Sure, I deserved it; does not the gov't deserve more so for doing the same on a far grander scale? DCPatriot, did you call the moderator in on post #20? if so, why shouldn't I do the same on the proposed Total Information Awareness system?
35 posted on 11/25/2002 2:13:17 PM PST by ctdonath2
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To: dirtboy
I have no problem with watching the Islamaniacs more closely but in other to do so there will be extra-ordinary measures required. Those measures are the ones you oppose. However, they will not greatly impose on law abiding citizens (or even non-citizens.)
36 posted on 11/25/2002 2:34:51 PM PST by justshutupandtakeit
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To: Freemeorkillme
Thanks, donath. You seem to be a very nice person. Point taken and no offense taken. ;^)
37 posted on 11/25/2002 2:35:11 PM PST by DCPatriot
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To: justshutupandtakeit
there will be extra-ordinary measures required. Those measures are the ones you oppose. However, they will not greatly impose on law abiding citizens (or even non-citizens.)

Yeah, just like the income tax was only supposed to impact a small percentage of the highest-income taxpayers. Or the Social Security number was never going to be used for anything but Social Security. I could go on, but I think you understand why I have a hard time believing your assertion here...

38 posted on 11/25/2002 2:37:33 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: Admin Moderator
Thanks for calling him on releasing personal information about me in the forum. I just noticed that you cited him.
39 posted on 11/25/2002 2:41:07 PM PST by DCPatriot
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To: ctdonath2
"...DCPatriot, did you call the moderator in on post #20? if so, why shouldn't I do the same on the proposed Total Information Awareness system?"

No sir, I was so shocked at what you posted, the thought never occurred to me to push the abuse button.

Thankfully, specific replies can be deleted without wasting the entire thread.

And, I can't answer your question because the TIA system didn't do anything like you did.

40 posted on 11/25/2002 2:54:09 PM PST by DCPatriot
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To: JeanS
They're only "Drama Queens" if the buck stops here, in terms of invading your privacy.

But when was the last time the Government didn't try and expand their power?

Government will always try and expand its power over the populace, as these privacy-killing measures prove. Who knows what a Democrat administration would do with a federal database/profiling system of every American? I don't want to find out.

The potential for future abuse, IMHO, is much greater than the benefits such measures are supposed to accrue. That just seems to be the way government programs go.

And I'm not necessarily talking about explicit programs -- think about the possible behind-the-scenese abuse bureaucrats could heap on citizens (like gun-owning citizens) with accesss to every facet of your personal history and federal profile... it's just a baaaad idea.

41 posted on 11/25/2002 2:58:36 PM PST by zoyd
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To: dirtboy
All things are not the same.
42 posted on 11/25/2002 3:02:21 PM PST by justshutupandtakeit
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To: justshutupandtakeit
Except to you. You are a disaster just drooling to happen. Thanks for your reassurance, it's just what we need. John Ashcroft can do what ever he feels he must, YOU said it's OK. I guess our fears are groundless in the face of your reassurance, the track record of FedGov notwithstanding. Is that about the way of it, statist-boy? or girl? or whatever?
43 posted on 11/25/2002 3:23:44 PM PST by dcwusmc
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To: eno_
Somebody might post a link to an article archived here on FR titled "FEMA: THE DARK UNDERBELLY" if you want to see how such a police state might come about rapily and smoothly especially in light of a possible terror attack using WMD.
44 posted on 11/25/2002 5:42:07 PM PST by ExSoldier
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To: dcwusmc
MOrons fears are never allayed. Paranoids can find fear in every corner. But Marines fearing the dark? I never thought I would see that day. Pitiful.

Let me know when the midnite roundups start.
45 posted on 11/26/2002 7:05:28 AM PST by justshutupandtakeit
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To: ctdonath2
As I thought any guns turned in are likely to be not even 50 much less 50,000. Don't you guys ever get any facts right?
Any who turned them in after such a request don't deserve to have them anyway. They probably don't even know which end to point.
46 posted on 11/26/2002 7:08:10 AM PST by justshutupandtakeit
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To: justshutupandtakeit
Try actually READING things like this:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/795617/posts?page=41#41
or this:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/795617/posts?page=35#35
or this:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/795617/posts?page=22#22
or this:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/795617/posts?page=21#21
Then get back to me. But apparently, all this is OK with you. Hence your nick... it's not ironic as I think you once stated; it's more wishful.
47 posted on 11/26/2002 11:43:03 AM PST by dcwusmc
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To: dcwusmc
Try actually READING things like this:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/795584/posts?page=130#130
Or this:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/795584/posts?page=132#132
Or this:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/795584/posts?page=135#135
48 posted on 11/26/2002 11:46:33 AM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad
You are as much a statist, constitution-ignoring thug as justshutupandtakeit so what would be your point? That JimRob doesn't think the Constitution's being changed by the HSB? That's his opinion, which I respect. I think he's totally wrong but I respect him and his opinion. YOU, OTOH, I have zero respect for, as your every post is a paean to the joys of bigger and bigger government. Sorry, I ain't buying. And, in these days of Islam-o-nazis, I'd give SERIOUS thought to finding a new nick. I know you have declared Jihad on America's Constitution but your handle is rather suspect in the post 9-11 clime.
49 posted on 11/26/2002 12:58:38 PM PST by dcwusmc
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To: dcwusmc
None of those comments refute the point of the main article they are responding to but that is not a surprise.

If this information is readily available why would the National Security forces not use it to protect the nation. It is foolish to expect them not to, criminal, in fact.

As far the fears one expressed of the RATS using against conservatives. What is there to prevent the Party itself from gathering such info and using it for blackmail or political purposes? NOTHING.
50 posted on 11/26/2002 1:25:25 PM PST by justshutupandtakeit
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