PATRIOTs don’t need privacy

Or freedom:

As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people’s private communications and financial information.

Kerr’s comments come as Congress is taking a second look at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Lawmakers hastily changed the 1978 law last summer to allow the government to eavesdrop inside the United States without court permission, so long as one end of the conversation was reasonably believed to be located outside the U.S. The original law required a court order for any surveillance conducted on U.S. soil, to protect Americans’ privacy. The White House argued that the law was obstructing intelligence gathering because, as technology has changed, a growing amount of foreign communications passes through U.S.-based channels.

The most contentious issue in the new legislation is whether to shield telecommunications companies from civil lawsuits for allegedly giving the government access to people’s private e-mails and phone calls without a FISA court order between 2001 and 2007.

It never ends. IT NEVER FUCKING ENDS. If you are dumb enough to go along with what initially appear to be fairly justifiable and reasonable requests, you can guarantee that the unjustifiable and unreasonable ones will inevitably follow.

None of this surprises me in the least, of course. Longtime readers will recall that my very first political column for WND, written right after 9/11, was entitled “Yield No More Freedom”. It’s still disappointing, however, to see how readily Americans have gone along with the creeping totalitarianism I expected.

Rod Dreher notes the similarities between Bush-Clinton America and the movie Brazil:

Jill: Doesn’t it bother you, the sort of things you do at Information Retrieval?

Sam: I suppose you would rather have terrorists.

Vikings-Packers Live Blog

It’s payback time, so I think I’ll experiment with a ProFootballTalk live blog of the game on the frozen tundra today. It occurs to me that it should be much easier than a soccer live blog due to the breaks in the action. We’ll give a whirl, anyhow.

11:42: Okay, we’re set up in front of the TV and ready to go. The Pack is favored by six, but I think the Vikings have a chance if they a) play Bollinger, and, b) put some pressure on Favre and get him into Bad Brett mode.

12:02: Williamson shows up, returns the kick. Thank goodness, Bollinger enters the field. How bad are our QBs that I’m genuinely excited that Bollinger is the QB?

12:03: Only 5 yards for AP on his first carry. Is it too soon to start panicking? Bollinger scrambles for 4 – Tarvaris would have been sacked. Stuffed on third-and-1, have to punt.

12:05: Das boot! Watching the Vikings punt coverage team is exciting… in a very bad way. Finally bring him down. Favre opens with a 7-yard out to the tight end. Favre guns the ball on second down, unfortunately, the receiver was only three yards away, incomplete. 3rd-and-3 – nice underhand shovel pass to avoid the blitz on the shotgun.

12:08: Vikes are putting on better pressure than usual, but the Pack is clearly anticipating it. Looks like they’re using screens to avoid the pressure and pull the secondary towards the line. Nice run by Grant. Williams jumps and then another screen to Grant. Grant’s run twice now and he’s moving the ball against a very tough Vikes rushing D.

12:12: And that’s what they were setting up for. Play action, Driver burns Griffin and Favre overthrows him. Leber knocks away the ball, but the Pack goes for it. Vikes aren’t set and call time-out. I like the decision to go for it, 53 yards outside in November is a tough kick and punting from the 35 is pointless. TMQ would approve.

12:16: They got it. WR goes down short, but doesn’t get touched and lunges forward for the first down. Vikings linebackers are tough, but no geniuses. Double-pump by Favre and a nice deep throw, but he puts it a bit too high otherwise it’s a touchdown. Pitchout to Grant and he goes 25 yards for a touchdown. Ah well, at least I started him in my other league. Nice start by the Packers rewards the smart decision to go for it on fourth-and-3. And in other news, Jones-Drew catches the ball for seven… I feel your pain, Nate, and it makes me smile.

12:23: Good field position, screen to AP gets two, and then AP scares the crowd, bursts into the secondary for a nice gain into Packers territory. Announcers appear to be more interested in Williamson’s paycheck controversy than the actual game, but at least they aren’t climbing up Favre’s posterior to join the King-Madden party. Bollinger throws it to no one and the Vikes have to punt. However, the offense looks functional, so that’s a step forward. Now the defense has to show up.

12:28: Grant is looking more AP-like than AP at the moment. But just wait until the Packers D starts getting a little tired. Favre nearly adds to his legendary all-time interception record, he’s overthrowing everyone today. Another draw goes for 15, the delay is really throwing off the linebackers.

12:32: On the fourth Grant rush in a row, the Vikes suddenly remember that they’re supposed to be good against the run. Vikes hold on third-and-7 when Jennings drops the ball and this time the Pack punts. Good game thus far, both teams are playing reasonably well.

12:35: Sweet Lambeau Sweep, but AP is good. Takes a solid hit and just keeps going. Twelve yards on first down. I’d like to think Childress is setting up the secondary for a deep strike to Rice, but who knows. AP forgets the old maxim about not trying to run before you catch the ball and drops the screen. Third down, and at least with Bollinger behind center, there’s a better than 50-percent chance that the result won’t be a sack.

12:40: No sack, just a throw hitting the ground a yard behind the receiver. Another punt. Das boot! 57-yard kick and the punt coverage team actually manages to cover it, hurrah!

12:44: The announcers are upset that Favre isn’t throwing the ball deep. They’re also convinced that they can feel Favre’s frustration. It seems to have escaped them that Favre isn’t throwing deep because the Vikings are playing a full zone and giving up the short stuff – and that Grant has 92 yards rushing and the Pack has 10 first downs already. Make that 11 with a throw to Jones.

12:49: False start doesn’t do the Vikes any good. Three-man rush plus a blitzer gives Favre all day, first down. Williams nearly devours Grant, he doesn’t so much stuff the run as ingest it. Big stick by Henderson on the pitchout… Grant may not make it to 100 yards. Favre has Driver inside the ten in the middle and overthrows him. Field goal makes it 10-0.

Okay, I think I’m bored with this. Thoughts on the game after the game.

Speaking of soccer fans and football fans, there’s just no comparison between the two. In response to police shooting dead a Lazio fan earlier today in Arezzo, 200 Lazio tifosi just attacked a police barracks in Rome and set fire to it. As you probably already know, I consider this to be a perfectly healthy attitude towards the police.

Well, that was certainly a thorough beating. Green Bay really looks good, they should be able to give Dallas a run for their money in the battle for the NFC title. The one good thing about it is that getting shut out at Lambeau should be enough to bring an end to the Brad Childress era.

The Vast Anti-Ron Paul Conspiracy

Was it a coincidence that the phone line went dead just as I was talking about how Ron Paul represents a break from the bi-factional ruling party of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton? It seems even the once pristine principles of the Good Fraters have been corrupted! I blame Hugh Hewitt.

Anyhow, I hope those of you who happened to catch the show found it to be interesting. I think my favorite moment was when I went over Richard Dawkins’s quixotic “proof” in defense of his assertion that a Catholic upbringing is more damaging than childhood sexual abuse, which is based in part on an anecdote about Alfred Hitchcock driving through Switzerland, and one of the guys said: “hey, I’m convinced!”

Mailvox: boys don’t cry

CB wonders about the behavior of my critics:

I have been reading your columns and blogs for years. It is encouraging for me to read someone who has a Christian faith, but possesses the intellect to formidably debate all comers…. Which brings me to “Your idiot enemies”…. The critics of your blog are the real subject of this email. Whenever I read of someone talking about what you have said, all I see is “Women hater”,”Nazi sympathizer”, as well as countless other broad, stupid statements. It has been an education to me how all forms of media have taken little quotes from your writing, totally out of context because I have read those articles, and used them to form some cartoonish, nutcase, evil version of who you are. Incredible.

They have either not read what you write, or choose not to intellectually challenge your thought. I guess it is the typical “shout them down” strategy. It is typical of most of the blogs I read because I never have found a good challenge to what you write. It is always some personal attack on you or members of your family. Why are these people such intellectual wimps? Can’t they come up with anything good? This must be some form of what Christian persecution must be like. First, they have to demonize you, then discredit you. They must know most people have very emotional, knee-jerk reaction to things and thus, will not give something a two-side, deep analysis. Some people cannot handle the truth, period.

Although there are many similarities between their behaviors, it’s important to understand that there are two very different kinds of critics. Most of them who behave in this manner simply don’t have the intellectual ability to even comprehend what I’ve written, much less the capacity to construct a relevant critique of it. They resort to name-calling because they simply don’t have any other way of expressing their distaste for my opinion; this doesn’t bother me any more than a dog growling at me offends me. It is merely their inarticulate way of saying that they don’t wish to have their beliefs challenged and they really wish I would stop.

The second type of critic is far more contemptible, because he understands precisely what I am saying but intentionally chooses to misrepresent it in order to attack it. (I was recently accused of doing just this in the recent past, but I should shortly be able to offer definitive proof, direct from the source, that I was doing no such thing.) Michael Medved is only the most notorious of this sort of critic, who isn’t ashamed to misrepresent, dissemble and outright lie in order to attack what they know perfectly well to be a substantive and well-reasoned argument.

They do so, for the most part, because after reading what I have written, they know they are in over their heads and that they are otherwise incapable of even attempting to refute my arguments with any reasonable expectation of success. You’ll note that when a critic is more confident of his position, like Scott Hatfield in his defense of the theory of evolution, he feels no need to engage in such baseless calumny.

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional cheap shot, done right it can be an enjoyable art form. But if that’s all you’ve got, well, then you’ve got nothing.