Thursday, October 10, 2002

Since Antonin Scalia has written such a strong defense of the right of revolution; does this mean that terrorists or those charged with sedition can quote his article to argue that since revolution is not as immoral as judicial activism (not yet even a crime!) they should get off?

...the choice for the judge who believes the death penalty to be immoral is resignation, ... Of course if he feels strongly enough he can go beyond mere resignation and lead a political campaign to abolish the death penalty—and if that fails, lead a revolution. But rewrite the laws he cannot do.
Search & Seizure
This sets the stage for what prompted this post: an otherwise interesting post by Am So A Pundit that describes how the police visited ASAP's apartment -- which is in the area of the recent sniper shootings -- to ask him if he was walking around with a gun. The post argues that "The Constitution doesn't say I only have my rights when everything's going swimmingly," and closes with "I don't think that, because I may fit [a] very vague profile [of a potential shooter], I should be subject to searches, seizures, stops, or other kinds of questioning."

Well, it turns out that the Constitution also doesn't constrain all "searches, seizures, stops, or other kinds of questioning." The Fourth Amendment itself bars only "unreasonable searches and seizures"; and while that has been interpreted as generally requiring at least articulable, individualized suspicion for most law enforcement searches and seizures, it has not been interpreted as covering questioning.

It is always important to point out however that one is not required to answer the door when cops knock on it or talk to them when they ask you questions in the street or on buses or trains. And the Supremes have held that they can't even stop you in the street without an articulable, individualized suspicion and if stopped, you don't have to say a word to them. In the interstate bus drug search cases, the Supremes have also constantly lectured the defendants that they were perfectly free to not answer questions and not submit to the pat downs and baggage searches that the cops sought. These facts have to be emphasized because most people don't know them.

In fact, the cops can arrest you and you can be tried, convicted, and executed without ever being required to open your mouth. They can kill you but can't make you talk! You can be required to testify in court (but not out of it) but only if you've been granted immunity for your testimony and you never have to talk to cops under any circumstances.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

A Note for Your Oppressor

[All-purpose note to give to people who are currently oppressing you or helping the government oppress you. To be used to counter government oppression rather than private conflicts.]


Fate has handed you a rare opportunity to increase your understanding of human behavior.

Have you ever wondered why Americans oppressed other people in the past?

Have you wondered why Americans imprisoned 110,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII?

Have you wondered why Americans turned away the hundreds of Jews on the ocean liner Saint Louis sending them back to Europe to die?

Have you wondered why Americans forced the Cherokee off their land in Georgia and sent them first to Alabama, then to Oklahoma and finally onto a reservation killing 90% of them in the process?

Sometimes, it's hard to put ourselves in the place of those who did these things. We tell ourselves that we would never have done it. We can't comprehend why they did.

But it's actually quite easy to understand why people much like ourselves oppressed others.

People oppress other people because they think that the oppression is right. Their government and community tells them it's right. Even if they are unsure, they go along to avoid risking their livelihoods, the opinions of their neighbors, or even the punishment of the government.

It's only later when attitudes change that we can say that what was done in the past was wrong. Then we can go along with the crowd and condemn actions which we may have supported in the past.

The real trick is to figure out what we may be doing now that is oppressive.

The real trick is to stop our current oppressive actions even though we risk our livelihoods, the opinions of our neighbors, or even the punishment of the government.

If we don't stop our own oppressive acts, will we be no better than those oppressors of the past.

I would like you to consider the possibility that you may be oppressing me by...

[Fill in here a statement outlining the oppressive actions of the person you are giving the note to. Include three points. 1) What the specific
oppression is. 2) What the real motives of the government are. 3) What the person could do to both stop oppressing you and guard their own interests at the same time.]

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Do you want to increase your net worth, improve your health, extend your life, and reduce the risk that you will commit (or become a victim of) a crime -- all without spending any time or money?

It's easy but there's only one downside -- the technique only works if you are a member of or a voter for the Democrat Party. (It may work if you are a Green or an affiliate of one of the other minor Parties of the Left -- but I can't guarantee anything.)

If you do qualify, you can magically change your statistical risk profile by the simple step of changing your affiliation to the Republican of the Libertarian Parties.

Those who vote Republican or Libertarian are richer, healthier, and longer lived (on average) than Democrats so you can be too simply by joining them. See how cheap and easy it can be.
Law Panel on Civil Liberties in Wartime

When it was his turn, Prof. Volokh spent part of his time addressing what I believe is a very strong and often overlooked point. Much of what was being complained about was not racial profiling, but citizenship status profiling, which is totally different.

Though the recent arrests in Buffalo and Oregon were of citizens and the perps came to the attention of the authorities because of their religious clothing and grooming (in the Oregon case) and because of their ethnicity (in the Buffalo case).

Later on, Prof. Armour raised the often used spectre of the Japanese internees during World War II, and used this as an example of the inherent racism and willingness to trade away due process rights for minorities in American society. This gave rise to my second question, which he also went unasked by the moderator, where I wanted him to address how the approximately 13,000 (46% of the slightly over 32,000 total internees) internees of Italian and German citizenship fit into his "racism" argument as opposed to Prof. Volokh's "citizenship profiling." I was also curious as to how he could legitimately claim that all were innocent when in fact about 5,000 people who held dual Japanese and American citizenships chose to willingly renounce their American citizenship, and only then were interred as citizens of an enemy state (without these voluntary internees, there would have been more Europeans interned than Asians). Somehow I doubt that Prof. Armour would have had a good answer as to why that was still racism as opposed to "citizenship profiling." (For more on these European internees, read Undue Process by Arnold Krammer.)

I miss your point on The Relocation of the Japanese vs. the Internment of Enemy Aliens. Of the 110K "relocated" persons of Japanese Ancestry, 70K were citizens. Even though they weren't interned as Enemy Aliens they were interned for 2-3 years while they waited for the Supremes to decide that they could be legally relocated but not interned once relocated. A subtle difference but just as much time in stir.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

The US Army's new website [which promotes its first person shooter recruitment game] features an Afghanistan weblog "Written by a member of the America's Army game development staff". I wonder what his MOS is. Unfortunately, the webmaster has neglected to hide the directories.