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October 28, 2014

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Kafka is alive and well

Also Kafka-esqe:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/us/law-lets-irs-seize-accounts-on-suspicion-no-crime-required.html?_r=1

"Banks are not permitted to advise customers that their deposit habits may be illegal or educate them about structuring unless they ask, in which case they are given a federal pamphlet, Ms. Van Steenwyk said. “We’re not allowed to tell them anything,” she said."

TL:DR of the story is cash heavy businesses are getting swept up because they regularly deposit less than $10,000 in cash. Then civil forfeiture, etc etc.

Of course, without asset forfeiture, how could we afford to pay a hard working business man $1.6 million for $10,000 of illegal silencers, as per your WaPo link?

And never forget the importance of the PATRIOT act at keeping us safe from terrorists:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/10/peekaboo-i-see-you-government-uses-authority-meant-terrorism-other-uses

"The 2013 report confirms the incredibly low numbers. Out of 11,129 reports only 51, or .5%, of requests were used for terrorism"

TL;DR, the PATRIOT act is mostly used to investigate drug crimes, and not prevent terrorism.

However, this is all outweighed by the awesome stuff they do that we're not allowed to know about for our own good. Or something.

I'm going to go with 'something'. Where 'something' is the desperate bid to stay one step ahead of the news cycle. Nobody wants to be the guy that didn't get the silencers our SEALs need. Or let the drug dealers keep their dirty money. Or let crime go unpunished, etc. Because those are the anchors that will drag you down on the campaign trail.

The voting lineup for the majority in Bennis v. Michigan, the 1996 SCOTUS case on civil fofeiture?

Rehnquist, joined by O'Connor, Scalia, Thomas, and Ginsburg.

She even wrote a separate concurrence. Not her finest hour, I would submit.

I understand the invocation of Kafka in this context, barely (yes, Kafka used the metaphor of bureaucracy to communicate the absurd mysteries of existence), but it seems to me to be inaccurate on a couple of fronts (yes, it seems we're all guilty of something, but WHAT? exactly and where is the office I need to visit to receive a description of my guilt and why is there no door into it?), but Kafka is irresistibly funny (he read his work out loud to friends and the lot of them rolled around on the floor laughing because he was trying to get at the absurdity of existence and there really are only two choices when face-to-face with that absurdity: suicide and hilarity).

The stuff described here isn't funny in the least.

Second, Kafka himself was a bit of a secrecy buff his own self, requesting of his friend and executor Max Brod that his work and papers be destroyed upon his death (a topic of some amusement to him), kind of like the NSA scrubbing all of the hard drives as the American people break down the doors to put them out of business (that in and of itself is funny; the American people love the NSA).

If Brod fortunately had not ignored Kafka's demand for secrecy and gone on to preserve and publish Kafka's work, we wouldn't have a vocabulary or the metaphors (Kafka-esque) to approach a description of what is happening, so, to my mind, Kafka himself, unwittingly and for other different reasons, shares instincts with bureaucratic operatives at the NSA and CIA and Pentagon.

My sapience will be questioned with this next remark, despite the fact that I support Obama in most respects. If we had a functioning political system, I would support a threat of impeachment against President Obama for his role in growing the monstrosity of the national security state (I'd have already executed Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and those lot).

Unfortunately, we have a traitorous, murderous, racist political party in disloyal opposition who, instead of prosecuting Obama for giving the national security spooks unconstitutional free rein in this world, would rather impeach the "spook" in the White House for providing "spooks" among the population with health insurance, voting rights, and economic equality.

Then, these Republican enemies of my country will be free to not only deny health insurance to those with pre-existing medical conditions, for example, but they'll enlarge and employ the full force of the armed national security state to send drones and the full complement of surveillance techniques after those folks with pre-existing conditions who try to defend themselves either through voting or through what Republicans themselves brag is the reason for our heavily armed population, violent self-defense.

Because those are the anchors that will drag you down on the campaign trail.

Like Barney Frank often says, voters should occasionally look in the mirror. Your opponent may tie an anchor around your neck, but it ain't gravity that makes the anchor heavy. It's the voters that do the dragging down.

I suppose that someday American voters may outgrow their Pavlovian response to bells like "Soft on crime" or "Weak on terrorism" or "Ebola! Ebola!" but until they do, it's hard to lay the blame entirely on the politicians. FDR could get away with Leadership(TM) like "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" because things were bad enough then that voters were willing to give reason a hearing. Things were not bad enough when Ike warned voters about the Military-Industrial Complex; they were not bad enough when Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote his scathing book Secrecy; they are not, apparently, bad enough now. But they're getting there.

--TP

Ugh:

Thanks for that. Never realized what the split was in that case. I wonder if Ginsberg regrets it. The whole civil forfeiture thing seems blatantly unconstitutional to me...but many things do I suppose.

Speaking of odd couples on the court, Jones was denied cert over the dissent of Scalia, Thomas, and Ginsburg:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/101414zor.pdf

>100 months in prison for something that a jury acquitted you of. Would have been great if one other Justice thought that was worth reviewing the constitutionality of. But sigh.

Tony:

Yes, its the voters fault for voting these people in. I think there is more to it than that. The entire system is primed to incentivize the cheap point scoring, fear response, etc etc.

The news media definitely play to it. Three things get them viewers: conflict, fear and access. Access means you play nice with those in power. Conflict means you play up every little misstep in the hopes that in will turn into the next -gate. And fear...well, if ebola's not really a threat people don't need to tune in for late breaking news and 'expert' opinions, now do they?

FDR could get away with Leadership(TM)

Honestly, I'd settle for a politician that talked to me like an adult.

But they're getting there.

Sadly true.

The question in my mind is: will the Democrats manage to put forward a candidate as an alternative to Clinton? One who is more centerist than Warren (i.e. electable). Or will they just let Clinton have a free shot (I thought it was the Republicans who were into "whose turn is next?" but perhaps not), and pray that the Republicans will nominate someone so awful that even Clinton can get elected?

Granted the Republicans doing so is probably the way the smart money would bet. But they might put up someone like Paul -- who, on recent evidence, might at least have a platform of things he is for, and which are not blatant insanity, to run on.

Because, with Clinton, or with any of the obvious possible Republican candidates, any change in the current security state run amok seems unlikely.

Quick note:

Tony, I meant that first line as an "I agree, but there's more to it..." Rereading it, it seems a little dismissive, which was the opposite of my intent.

wj:

Republicans will nominate someone so awful

I've seen no evidence that this will not be the case. There is some rumbling that the party is beginning to realize that appealing to extremists is not a winning strategy, but I'm skeptical that point has sunk in.

any change in the current security state run amok seems unlikely.

Sadly true.

And yet, it is not impossible. Romney managed to get the nomination, after all. And for all his faults he might well have beaten Clinton if she had been his opponenet. (She is, after all, an even worse campaigner than he is.)

So someone like Jeb Bush, or one of the Governors (we hear about the extreme ones but there are otheres), if they decide to have a go, might squeek thru and give them a shot. Unlikely, perhaps, but far from impossible.


Also it occurs to me that one of the Democratic Governors might decide that Clinton is a bad option. It's no more improbable than the junior Senator from Illinois doing so.

Count - I see what you're saying on the murderous vermin filth, it's depressing and it seems we're doomed to have the current state of spying for quite some time.

I couldn't get past the first 20 pages of The Trial since it was depressingly familiar, so perhaps I erred there.

wj

I'm not quite understanding...You're not enamored of Hillary getting a "free shot", yet dismiss Warren as something less than a centerist, and imply she is thus not electable because she "too" left (?)....but, but, but...Hillary is a centerist and therefore, eh? What's that you say? Awk!

And then we get praise for that nutcase, Rand Paul, because he stands for things, and apparently this negates any concerns you may have about his position wrt "electability" or his right wing extremism. Why this is nice....but he is an out-there nutcase...but, but, centerism!!!

Here is what Rand Paul is FOR:

Denying women control over their own bodies;
Letting scociopathic capitalism run rampant;
Discrimination;
U.S. Empire;
Having Congress "control" the money supply (can you f*cking imagine that?)
Denying the mobility of labor;
"States Rights" -the last refuge of political scoundrels;
Mandatory balanced budgets (pro-cyclical economic lunacy);
Trying and holding "terrorists" in Guantanamo;
and by the way, drone strikes against furriners is just fine with darling Rand.


This guy is certifiable, but yes, he certainly stands "for" stuff...most all of it awful. So does perennially losing Seattle candidate "GoodSpaceGuy" (I think he's run for every local office and lost). His positions on issues are more coherent than Rand Paul's.

I'm not a Rand Paul fan. I merely consider that someone who actually says something sensible (in the proximate cause, on foreign policy) is a step above the vacuous stuff spouted by most prominent Republicans on the subject.

It isn't great; but the field sets a low bar. (And you will notice that, when I was talking in a subsequent post, about possible candidates, he was not among those I suggested.) But all I said was that, going head to head with Clinton, he might have a shot. Feel free that that's saying more about her weaknesses than his strengths.

P.S. Coherence has not, in my observation, been a particularly critical characteristic for a successful politicial candidate. Indeed, consider how many guys get elected while being massively incoherent -- in detail, not just overall.

wj:

I'm actually curious why you think Hillary has such bad odds. I don't particularly like her, certainly, I think she's another corporatist and a militarist, to use Nader's words.

But she leads against potential republican candidates currently...and they will likely have to run right during primaries. Which will give her an advantage with the more moderate voters.

Not disagreeing, just trying to get your reasons. I've been assuming she's going to be the next president...mostly because I don't picture her getting primaried by the 'left' and I don't see a viable centrist republican that wouldn't be forced to run to the right during the primaries.

the field sets a low bar.

Again, sadly true.

The entire system is primed to incentivize the cheap point scoring, fear response, etc etc.

more than 'the system': human nature is primed to incentivize the cheap point scoring, fear response, etc etc..

no matter how much we want to think we're rational, logical beings, we're really just Ape 2.0, and we retain 95% of the earlier OS.

From the Farrell link:

the one a left-wing skeptic of American foreign policy

...in reference to Greenwald.

Not sure in what world Greenwald is considered "left-wing". Greenwald came to fame as far as I could tell criticizing Bush from the right.

The left doesn't have a monopoly on personal liberty, even though the right has done much to put things in place that further infringe on them. There is and continues to be a libertarian segment of the right that defends individual liberty.

Mostly their criticism of the left on these matters is that the left tends to vigorously defend only those liberties that it likes. For instance: free speech is defensible, for the right people saying the right things. Ditto the right to bear arms and various other related things such as the right to self-defense. I'm not really arguing any of these things as much as submitting them as exhibits.

This, for example, doesn't sound like Greenwald is really arguing from the left or right at all:

Over the past five years, a creeping extremism has taken hold of our federal government, and it is threatening to radically alter our system of government and who we are as a nation. This extremism is neither conservative nor liberal in nature, but is instead driven by theories of unlimited presidential power that are wholly alien, and antithetical, to the core political values that have governed this country since its founding"; for, "the fact that this seizure of ever-expanding presidential power is largely justified through endless, rank fear-mongering—fear of terrorists, specifically—means that not only our system of government is radically changing, but so, too, are our national character, our national identity, and what it means to be American."

I tend to agree with Greenwald in some matters, and disagree with him in others. Where I part ways with him is over his penchance for using 1000 words where 150 would do even better, and over his tendency to attempt hurling of verbal lightning bolts when angered. He's not really outstanding at that. But I think much of what he has said on camera regarding the matter of Snowden is laudable.

The Farrell piece I expected to be more about factual refutation of things that Packer et al had gotten factually wrong. That's not, as far as I could tell, what it was about. It was more about the coloration and interpretation of those facts.

Ironically, one thing that Greenwald and sapient share is their predilection for personally attacking those whose opinions they don't like.

Which always simultaneously dismayed and amused me, when sapient was on the Greenwald attack.

One advantage of the surveillance apparatus is that it probably can be easily retooled to ensure that relevant social, environmental, sexual, employment, health and financial histories are readily available for needful domestic purposes such as improving ACA and other related programs, ensuring that taxes are properly, tracking employment and income by ethnicity, gender etc to ensure fairness. Then, of course, it may well become important to know who owns how many cars, boats, etc, to ascertain each individual's carbon footprint. From there, we may someday need to know who has wood burning fireplaces, how much wood they burn, how far they drive to work, for errands and for fun. The size, number and energy consuming characteristics of homes and businesses people choose to own could also be something government may have to ferret out as regressive paranoiacs try to withhold information. These metrics could be important if not critical in the looming war against Climate Change, and if we have to break a few privacy eggs to make a Well Earth Omelet, isn't that something we all consented to implicitly by being born?

And, don't forget other pressing gender issues. In time, hopefully, every aspect of unwanted sexual attention will be recognized for the crime that it is. Women in particular deserve the access to the patriarchy's "male only" conversations in which, we know, sexual predators routinely brag about their conquests, which often is the best evidence of assaultive behavior. I mean, really, when you think about it, using the surveillance apparatus to deal with terrorism or crime may be wrong--it probably is wrong, since people who are not guilty of any crime are also being surveilled. But that doesn't mean there are perfectly valid governmental reasons for gathering other kinds of information on citizens (the full range of health, financial, social, sexual and environmental activities for just a few of the reasons stated above), but it should be extremely handy for getting the good things done that need to be done.

You need information before you can properly fix things, McK.

Or, likewise, before you can protect every American from terrorism.

No amount of privacy is too large to sacrifice for safety/for the effectivity of the nanny state.

all things are possible in the magical world of Hypo Thetica.

it's even possible, in that wondrous land, that conservatives would notice that a big chunk of their caucus would love to be able to see who is sleeping with who and in what position and for what reason; and that there's no small number who would love to know who has incorrect views about Jesus; and those who want to know why Ahmed Q Scaryname is reading that book or taking that picture are not an insignificant faction; and that "we must ____, for the children!" is something that infects public policy at every level and every party.

all is possible in Hypo Thetica.

TOAFC--you tu quoque lays all of my concerns to rest. Thank you for that.

Brilliant bit of proof-reading: 'you' = 'your'.

it's even possible, in that wondrous land, that conservatives would notice that a big chunk of their caucus would love to be able to see who is sleeping with who and in what position and for what reason

It's possible, yes. But "their caucus" implies some general level of agreement, backing, and possibly even cheering of said actions by "them". Whoever they might be.

But "their caucus" implies some general level of agreement,

they agree that they are "conservative".

Whoever they might be.

they are the aforementioned "conservatives".

this seemed too obvious to have to point out.

next time i'll know better. *

* 'next time' being the next time i post something here, after this post, which i am posting now and which you will presumably read in the near future given your typical posting frequency which i assume is slightly less than to your reading frequency, for values of 'you' including but not limited to "Slartibartfast".

'post' meaning to comment here, within the limits imposed by my own schedule and the whims of Akismet's blocking behavior.

Akismet being the spam control software used by this blog.

"conservatives" referring to those who self-identify as, follow, endorse, fund, cheerlead for, or otherwise promote those ideals and/or positions which are commonly known to be "conservative" whether or not those ideals and/or meet standard definitions of "conservative", given that conservatism is not simply and adherence to established principles but is also a reactionary position which sets itself to oppose whatever liberals are thinking that day.

'liberals' being those who self-identify...

I'm actually curious why you think Hillary has such bad odds. I don't particularly like her, certainly, I think she's another corporatist and a militarist, to use Nader's words.

thompson,
That's why I think she could be vulnerable in the primaries. If someone a little less conservative, and with some executive governing experience to run on, gives it a shot.

Which will give her an advantage with the more moderate voters.

That's where I think she is vulnerable in the general election. If the Republicans were to nominate someone who hasn't run too far to the right in the course of winning the primaries, or at least can plausibly move back to the center afterwards, they can pick up some of the moderates. And Clinton's "corporatist and militarist" leanings mean that the Democrat's enthusiasm will be limited. Especially if the Republican candidate is not some far right nut job.

Add to both the fact that she is not very good at campaining, or at inspiring the troops....

It's really amusing to watch McTex and Slarti restating (presumably sarcastically, although it wasn't flagged as such) each other's positions.

But "their caucus" implies some general level of agreement

An equal-opportunity statement, surely.

I.e., applies equally well to all corners of the political spectrum.

At the moment, outside of the intel agencies and law enforcement, the folks who appear to be most intent on aggressively hoovering up every bit of information about you, me, and anyone else in the room are the big corps, who want to use it to fine-tune their marketing.

Remember, you're not just the consumer, you're also the product.

But of course, that's the private sector, and they have no way to exert any influence or control over our lives. Not like that dreaded nanny state.

Why worry about hypotheticals when reality is right here, right now?

It's really *amusing* to watch McTex and Slarti restating (presumably sarcastically, although it wasn't flagged as such) each other's positions.

I would have thought *instructive/enlightening* in place of *amusing*, but that's probably just me.

Or perhaps it's just that some of us are easily amused. Even when being instructed/enlightened.

I'm confused. Is it tu quoques all the way down?

I feel much safer letting my nanny state in on my pre-existing medical conditions than I do letting a prospective private insurer ninny know.

At least, before the ACA.

I'd bare my bottom for inspection by gloved ACA and Medicare technocrats.

Previous to the ACA, the only thing I'd risk baring for an insurance company was my bare bodkin, who were free to treat their "consumers" like terrorists, not that the ACA is anywhere close to the answer, but when a ninny is killing you, it's good to have a nanny intervene.

The Feds want to take my temperature and inquire about my travel whereabouts during the past 21 days, the nosy nannies.

I volunteer the information to a private non- profit hospital in Dallas, and instead of nannying, which is their job, they commence to ninnying and ignore it or lose it and allow me to flirt with the nurses and then send me home for some public hemorrhaging.

I order a book from Amazon.com on the Ebola Virus and while the virus is swarming in my spleen and liver (I'm self-medicating on account of privacy concerns) and they send me suggestions for further reading on something called E.Bowling, a virtual bowling game, because if I liked Ebola, I may like Bowling as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V6GHnxEJjg

tu quoque or not tu quoque, that is the question, or to suffer the slings and arrows of uninsured contagious tortion, perchance to sleep aye thar's the rub ... just a little to the left, Now down a little. Bulls eye!

I was a little confused with part of slarti's comments--couldn't quite tell where the sarcasm ended.

But anyway, yeah, I'm willing to concede to McKT and Slarti that excessive government surveillance could be abused by liberals for liberal purposes. For now, I think it's mainly abused (by both Democrats and Republicans) for "war on terror" and "anti-crime" purposes, but abuses could conceivably spread to other areas.

If I was a terrorist with a preexisting medical condition, I have to say I would be torn about the concept of government surveillance of my cellphone conversations and my vital signs.

A long interview with Snowden at the Nation--he liked the Occupy movement because it highlighted the issue of inequality. This is an odd position for someone typecast (by liberal authoritarian types) as a Randian.

link

wj:

I think the thing that sticks in my mind as 'not gonna happen' even if I really wish it would is:

If the Republicans were to nominate someone who hasn't run too far to the right

They need to, if they wish to stay relevant as a party. I've seen little evidence that they have the wherewithal to do so. I've been wrong before, so you never know.

On the "tu quoques" in this thread...would it be crazy to propose that there are many actors, liberal and conservative, governmental and corporate, that are hoovering up (or intend to hoover up) large amounts of data and its a problem?

I really don't get the implied argument that 'conservatives do it, which justifies liberals doing it' or 'corporations do it, which justifies the government doing it' or vice versa.

If we stipulate it would be incredibly invasive for AT&T to mine our call data to map out our network of contacts, does the government also doing it somehow solve the problem?

Donald:

Thanks for the link. I skimmed it and am looking forward to reading it more thoroughly later (I'm at work). I think its often to easy to put people in boxes based on a label and a loose sorting mechanism: he said X once, therefore he goes in box Y.

I doubt very many people fit neatly into those boxes.

The interview is very much worth reading.

thompson, I don't see much evidence of it at the national level either. If anything, the reverse -- even Romney may look like a wild-eyed leftist by the time we have a 2016 or 2020 Republican Presidential nominee.

But I look at my party in California, which got a decade or two head start down the road to ever-more-purist ultra-conservatism. And there are starting to be glimmers (which there were not before) of people who are merely mildly conservative making it thru the primaries. Just a couple, for the moment, but it's a start.

Our nominees for Governor and for Secretary of State both look pretty reasonable. (The nominee for Lt. Governor, on the other hand, bills himself as a "conservative activist." It's enough to make me consider voting for Newsom. Shudder.) Kashkari won't manage to beat Brown this time -- in part because Brown has been well to the center compared to the Democratic Party in California as a whole. But he may be a sign of better things to come.

One advantage of the surveillance apparatus is that it probably can be easily retooled ... for needful domestic purposes such as improving ACA and other related programs, ensuring that taxes are [paid? collected?] properly, tracking employment and income by ethnicity, gender etc to ensure fairness.

McKinney,

Your tone suggests that you oppose improving the ACA, collecting taxes fairly, or knowing whether pay inequities exist. Maybe you did not intend to imply that's what you meant, but it's hard for me not to infer it.

In fairness, perhaps you support those things but imagine they can be accomplished without ever invading anyone's "privacy". But I don't know any way to verify that your tax returns are honest without looking at your private financial records. (Your word of honor is exactly as good as mine is, but does either of us trust the word of the fella behind the tree?) I don't know any way to improve ACA or any other program without aggregate data, which has to start as individual data points or else be pulled out of somebody's ass. I don't know any way to judge whether women or minorities are systematically underpaid without collecting individual wage information somehow.

You write: The size, number and energy consuming characteristics of homes and businesses people choose to own could also be something government may have to ferret out as regressive paranoiacs try to withhold information. Well, there's a straightforward, free-market, individual-liberty-based way to make that "ferreting out" irrelevant: tax carbon. The Guvmint would not need to care how many turbo-charged jet-skis you own, if the gas you burned in them was taxed at point of purchase based on its carbon content. Would you support a carbon tax as a way to protect your individual recreational-motoring liberty?

Like you, apparently, I think The Guvmint spies on Americans too much. Unlike you, perhaps, I think the spying is mostly motivated by a desire to be "conservative" on "security" -- for conservative definitions of security.

--TP

You need information before you can properly fix things, McK.

Well, OK. This strikes me as laudable if not self evident. Of course it is terrible if the "state" does this, but not a big deal if the private sector does it because Freedom and we all know it's "voluntary" (i.e., you can always just pay cash).

Or, likewise, before you can protect every American from terrorism.

A bi-partisan goal comfortably advocated by our standard issue office-holders if you ask me because it, well, garners large baskets of votes.

No amount of privacy is too large to sacrifice for safety/for the effectivity of the nanny state.

Ah, yes, the ever incandescent boogy-man of the "nanny state". But ask yourself this: It is indeed the haters of the "nanny state" who have advocated so assiduously since the onset of the Cold War for exactly the institutional arrangement we now observe when it comes to "National Security".

corporations do it, which justifies the government doing it

I hope it was clear enough from my comment that the above was not the point I was making.

Ah, yes, the ever incandescent boogy-man of the "nanny state".

The thing about the nanny state is that there actually is a public interest in people not doing stuff like burning up stupid amounts of gas, or heating their homes with wood furnaces that barf up large amounts of particulates, etc etc etc.

Folks piss and moan about stuff like this as if Big Brother is arbitrarily taking away their favorite toys.

It ain't Big Brother. It's me. I, personally, don't want you to do unnecessary wasteful things, because it f**ks up my world.

I, russell, am fine with the government interfering with individual folks' prerogatives to do whatever the hell they want, to the degree that their doing whatever the hell they want f***ks up the world the rest of us have to live in. Because they are doing it on my behalf, and on the behalf of everybody else who happens to live on the planet.

And I'm damned pleased that they are, to the degree that they actually are.

So if you feel inclined to complain about the nanny state, cut out the middleman and bring your complaint right to me door.

In return, I will not bitch and moan when I'm asked to not do stuff that screws up the world for you, and/or all the rest of us. It's been my lifetime habit not to do so, I have no problem continuing that practice.

It's actually not that hard.

Other people live here, too. Not just you.

I have to admit, this nanny state stuff is a bemusing. Go to Europe and the government keeps a huge amount of information about its citizens, and people really draw the line at private companies. In the US, people get all bent out of shape about the government collecting information but seem to care less about private companies hoovering up whatever information they can get their hands on. And of course, everyone wants the government to do more with less, so doing something like identify people earlier with critical diseases or trying to avoid the kind of end of life costs is something the government really has to do, but not with my data, I hear people scream.

I admit, I'm a bit jaded about all this, as my FB feed is filled with people from back home who, in going on a tear over fradulent voting, wonder why India and Mexico have photo id cards, but then, if there were anything like a system of creating such photo ids, they would be bleating that it's not fair.

The subtext from BP, TP, Russell and LJ is pretty much this: if it's for the right purpose, it's information gathering, which is good. If it's not for the right purpose, it's an invasion of privacy, or worse, and that's bad. In the latter, the concern is that wrongfully gotten personal data can and will be misused, abused, etc. Apparently, the same data, if gathered for the right reasons, won't be misused, abused, etc. Outside of cocoon, this is known as wishful thinking.

The larger issue, from the outside of Progressive Land looking in, is that progressives recognize few, if any, limits on state action if the state action is in aid of a progressive goal.

Because their hearts and minds are in the right place, because their goals are for the good of all, limits on what the state can or cannot do are wiped away. Where there was once a constitution, we now have Critical Legal Studies, one end product of which is the jurisprudential abomination they have deceptively named "yes means yes". That Progressives cannot appreciate the damage they do to substantive due process and to the concept of what a penal statute should be and how it should be enforced underscores the fundamental disconnect between Progressive theory and hard reality.

The concerns expressed here about the security state or the NSA ring hollow. The state today does nothing Progressive won't "regretfully find necessary" if not enthusiastically endorse when their time comes. The difference is simply this: the enemies of Progressivism are domestic.

And spare me the "private sector does it" stuff. Google can't send me to jail or take my home or tell me how many cars I can own.

In related events, I can understand why Americans might look askance at say, the Department of Homeland Security or the EPA putting out its own "journalism" DISGUISED (as in not divulging for the reader/viewer the source of content. I used to write press releases for the Department of the Interior; my name, phone number and the name of my employer emblazoned at the top so all could see my pr bias upfront and proceed accordingly; when a reporter or an editor would call me with interest, his/her conversation usually started with ("so you're telling me ...... ?") as a newspaper or a website, or a TV show, but this growing trend by corporate America to poison what is left of journalistic integrity (dicey from the get-go, but at least there used to be some semblance of a notion of a public trust) doesn't seem to raise an eyebrow in many quarters (pasted from a Sullivan link):

"The most-valuable, second-richest telecommunications company in the world is bankrolling a technology news site called SugarString.com. The publication, which is now hiring its first full-time editors and reporters, is meant to rival major tech websites like Wired and the Verge while bringing in a potentially giant mainstream audience to beat those competitors at their own game.

There’s just one catch: In exchange for the major corporate backing, tech reporters at SugarString are expressly forbidden from writing about American spying or net neutrality around the world, two of the biggest issues in tech and politics today."

Get that last sentence. The old, more accurate definition of fascism seems to apply, the one established by Mussolini, who at least it told like it was.

I doubt the site will be labeled as essentially an in-house Verizon propaganda organ, because labeling is something a nanny might demand.

russell:

I hope it was clear enough from my comment that the above was not the point I was making.

It was not. I'm certainly not saying it was clear that it was the point you were making, but just that I'm not really clear on what your point was.

You said:

But of course, that's the private sector, and they have no way to exert any influence or control over our lives. Not like that dreaded nanny state.

I assume that was meant to sarcastically juxtapose the relative dangers of private actors vs government actors having troves of personal data.

I guessed, and clearly missed, at the larger point you were trying to make with that statement. Perhaps you could explain?

LJ:

In the US, people get all bent out of shape about the government collecting information but seem to care less about private companies hoovering up whatever information they can get their hands on.

Really? We must read different news sources. I regularly see people get bent out of shape about facebook and google hoovering up information. Frex, there are pretty regular discussion threads about it on Slashdot. Perhaps a little fringe, but those threads generally link back to a more mainstream journal like Guardian, Telegraph, NYT, WaPo, etc.

Is there an overwhelming outcry against facebook/google/etc? No. But than again, there isn't really an overwhelming outcry against the NSA, either.

I think, in general, the average american cares little about dragnet surveillance by any actor.

if it's for the right purpose, it's information gathering, which is good. If it's not for the right purpose, it's an invasion of privacy, or worse, and that's bad. In the latter, the concern is that wrongfully gotten personal data can and will be misused, abused, etc. Apparently, the same data, if gathered for the right reasons, won't be misused, abused, etc.

I'd say, as a progressive, that I think almost any information can be misused. The question is how readily and for what goal(s), which feed into both the likelihood and severity of a given outcome.

I'd also say that information "wrongfully gotten" is an abuse in and of itself.

...because their goals are for the good of all, limits on what the state can or cannot do are wiped away.

This is just crap. Of course I agree with furthering the goals I believe in, otherwise I wouldn't believe in them. Yes, progressives generally support progressive goals - shocking!

I think that if 50% of the wealth (wealth, not income!) of the top 1% were simply confiscated and used to provide nutritional, educational and healthcare services to the poor, it would be better for the country as a whole. But I still wouldn't do it or support doing it.

Is progressivism free from overstepping constitutional bounds? No. But neither is conservatism. Does either camp come down harder on the abuses of the other than on their own? Yes - another two-way street, also shocking.

This is the problem with this high-level meta-argumentation about the nature of progressivism or conservatism - it says nothing about the merits of a specific proposal. It's a rabbit hole of argumentation that leads nowhere and to nothing.

What HSH said:

It's a rabbit hole of argumentation that leads nowhere and to nothing.

wj:

Just a couple, for the moment, but it's a start.

Here's hoping. California, due to affluence and number of electoral votes, actually has a reasonable chance of influencing national parties towards moderation.

I'm going to have to read up on California's "yes means yes" law, since McTX keeps referencing it and assuming all Progressives approve.

It may be that all Progressives don't approve of the law for the "due process" slippery slopes entailed therein.

I see McTX's larger point, however.

We all picks our battles according to our own lights.

As to what Google can do or cannot do, it wouldn't surprise me in the future (if they can monetize it) if they convince city councils around the country to pass ordinances limiting the number of traditional cars a person can own, thus encouraging the move to self-driving cars.

I suspect they'll leave "taking my home" to the mortgage bankers, with help from the local sheriff, and renters' evictions to landlords, with help from the local sheriff.

As a sidelight, I've been reading lately about supposedly progressive cities, like San Francisco, and the issue of housing affordability because highly paid workforces from Google and the like are moving in and in fact are creating, inadvertently, yes, along with local housing policies, mass evictions of the poor and middle class who live and work in the city as well.

Google has its ways of screwing others without actually being accorded gummint status.

It doesn't help that waiting lists for public housing around the country are soaring because HUD funding is sharply curtailed, but I guess those booted out of their homes can take solace in the fact that it is the private market, largely, that is to blame, and maybe when they find a place to live they can start worrying about larger issues like government surveillance and whether they might qualify for affordable (I use the word advisedly) health insurance via Obamacare and its totalitarian progressive insistence on providing free pap smears, information which could be used later by Homeland Security to place them on the no-fly list and convict them of providing aid to ISIS, in our nightmare scenarios.

It might be better like it used to be that private insurance companies can use surveillance of a woman's vagina via pap smears to deny future insurance claims or even halt they're insurance altogether, because the NSA's and Obamacare's potential for evil are exactly the same.

As for arresting me, if it has to happen, that's what government is for, though my progressive instincts would like to fund courts and public defenders around the country adequately to speed up the wheels of due process, and if prison is my fate, my progressive tendencies certainly hope "yes means yes" is in effect and the mistreatment of prisoners by both public and private prison facilities has been vastly ameliorated, at no small cost to the taxpayer, who apparently wanted me in jail in the first place.

I could say conservatives of a certain ilk might be leaning toward privatization of the chain of justice, from private police forces, courts, and prisons, in which case Google might jump into the fray for business reasons, but that would be too tu quoque at this late hour in the thread.

"I think, in general, the average american cares little about dragnet surveillance by any actor."

This is about right. Our little group here has bigger fish to fry than most Americans do.

The grammar/punctuation Nazis, both public and private, I hope, will cooperate to correct "they're" to "their", in paragraph #10, above.

As it is, I'm going into hiding and changing all of my passwords on account my annoying wordiness.

This is just crap.

I wish it was. Where is the informed dissent, or even informed analysis of "yes means yes"? At this very site, the notion of the state "condemning" loan amounts on homes to reduce monthly payments for financially stressed homeowners was well received without objection. Hounding people out of their jobs for a politically incorrect political donation? Approved over mild dissent. Not a single blink at forcing citizens to buy an insurance product and not a single blink at regulatory fiat compelling every citizen who buys insurance for employees to provide BC benefits.

Limits on the 'good' that government can do are theoretical only. That you would not support summary confiscation is small comfort. I am confident you would support a tax on wealth, which is functionally the same, only more limited in scope. And, of course, tax rates can go up.

But, this is a bit afield--the point is, information gathering--not wealth confiscation--is perfectly fine with Progressives if it is being gathered for the right purpose. The Progressive reaction to the IRS thing (nothing to see here folks, let's move along) is not comforting and makes my point.

It may be that all Progressives don't approve of the law for the "due process" slippery slopes entailed therein.

There was not unanimity in the Progressive community; however, the push back was pretty mild and mainly along the lines of "this probably won't work and it may not be entirely, 100% fair . . . but, ok, it passed and now let's move on."

The subtext from BP, TP, Russell and LJ

There was no subtext in my comment. It was all explicit.

It's fine with me if the state interferes with your ability to do stuff of the type you listed in your comment. Where, for "interferes", what we are talking about is regulates, by law and policy.

The characterization of that as the "nanny" state versus the rights of the private citizen is, by my lights, not accurate.

It's the state acting as the arbiter between your interests - your right to do as you please - and mine - my right to not be adversely affected by your doing as you please.

It cuts in more than one way, and without citing exhaustive lists of examples, I'll simply state that I'm sure you are in many cases the beneficiary of the state acting in precisely that role.

It's great that the government does that, because otherwise we would resolve stuff like that with civil wars and pistols at dawn.

If you re-read the comment of mine that you responded to, you will see that it includes nothing whatsoever about information gathering. For the record, I am not in favor of indiscriminate information gathering by either the government or by private actors.

I guessed, and clearly missed, at the larger point you were trying to make with that statement. Perhaps you could explain?

Sure.

Both the government and private actors should be subject to limits on what information they can collect about private individuals.

The intent of my comment was to observe, somewhat sarcastically, that folks were going on at length about what Big Government *might* do, without reflecting on what private actors actually were doing, right now.

I am confident you would support a tax on wealth, which is functionally the same, only more limited in scope. And, of course, tax rates can go up.

I support a tax on wealth every quarter as homeowner in the State of New Jersey. It consumes more than 10% of my pre-tax annual household income.

And, yes, tax rates can go up. Can they only go down? Doesn't it matter where they start from? What's the legal/constitutional issue you're raising?

How does this demonstrate that there are no limits? Isn't the "more limited in scope" what's under discussion? Isn't it the very point?

If you want to discuss the ACA and BC coverage issues, that's great. I guess if we don't agree, it means I think the government can do anything and everything without regard to the law or the constitution, right? Since I already think that, being a progressive, there's not much point in discussing any proposal I support or why I support it.

That's why I don't bother with political blogs or other political discussions. I'm not interested, since I know I'm pure of heart.

Now I'll let my thoughts flow freely in the limitless ether of my good intentions.

Relevant to the OP:

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/08/05/watch-commander/

The top five U.S. cities represented on the main watchlist for “known or suspected terrorists” are New York; Dearborn, Mich.; Houston; San Diego; and Chicago. At 96,000 residents, Dearborn is much smaller than the other cities in the top five, suggesting that its significant Muslim population—40 percent of its population is of Arab descent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau—has been disproportionately targeted for watchlisting. Residents and civil liberties advocates havefrequently argued the Muslim, Arab and Sikh communities in and around Dearborn are unfairly targeted by invasive law enforcement probes, unlawful profiling, and racism.

and

“To my knowledge, there have been no Muslims in Dearborn who have committed acts of terrorism against our country,” Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Intercept.

russell:

Thanks for the clarification, it was helpful.

Perhaps I could observe, not sarcastically, that both government and private entities are, at this very moment, collecting vast amounts of data? Additionally, neither shows any sign of limiting or constraining that collection in the future?

Some people are going to be more worried about what the government does. Some people are going to be more worried about private industry. I get both views. There are different incentives and restraints in each case. Different people see those risks differently.

What baffles me to no end, is the constant insistence to dismiss, sarcastically or otherwise, view X because at the moment it is expressed someone not sufficiently worked up by situation Y.

It is, of course, a perfect way to go down the rabbit hole HSH mentioned.

imo, of course. ymmv.

McKinney: Where there was once a constitution, we now have Critical Legal Studies, one end product of which is the jurisprudential abomination they have deceptively named "yes means yes". That Progressives cannot appreciate the damage they do to substantive due process and to the concept of what a penal statute should be and how it should be enforced underscores the fundamental disconnect between Progressive theory and hard reality.

When did you go to law school? I mean, I went to UC Berkeley 15 years ago and even there the CRT folks were marginal. And I don't think I ever heard of "yes means yes."

Care to expand?

"CRT" being critical race theory - effectively the same (IIRC) as Critical Legal Studies.

Ugh:

McK is likely referring to CA's SB-967:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB967

It establishes an affirmative consent standard for sexual contact between students on UC, CSU, and CA community college campuses.

Sorry, to clarify, it is popularly known as the "Yes means Yes" law in the blogosphere.

Care to expand?

Here is a link to the statute: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB967

Take a look at it and see if the following deficiencies don't come to mind:

1. does the accused have the right counsel?
2. ditto the right to confront and cross examine?
3. ditto, the right to appeal? to whom?
4. is a record of proceedings required?

What protections are in place for the accused? How many people have to agree--and how are these people chosen--to have a conviction? Is there even a requirement of an impartial tribunal? Does the policy even give a friendly nod to the 4th and 5th amendments?

The list goes on and on. And it--the Act--is right out of the Critical Legal Studies handbook.

So, not only do we see a statute that is grossly outside substantive and procedural due process norms, we have gov't sticking its nose not just in the bedroom, but between the sheets--but it's for the right reason, so who cares?

Hounding people out of their jobs for a politically incorrect political donation? Approved over mild dissent.

But McK, this was an action by private actors, and you just finished lecturing us on how private actors don't have the power to have significant deleterious effects on our lives. Have you suddenly succumbed to the vile cancer that is Progressive Thought?

The larger issue, from the outside of Progressive Land looking in, is that progressives recognize few, if any, limits on state action if the state action is in aid of a progressive goal.

I could effortlessly (and frankly was tempted to) go through this and the following three paragraphs and replace "progressive" with "conservative", and "Critical Legal Studies" with "National Security". It'd be just as true as what you write. Would it be tu quoque? Certainly. Would it be a fallacious red herring? Given that your tone (and indeed, words) aims at creating a (false) distinction between "progressives" and "non-progressives", I don't see how it would be. Will you respond with "Ah, but I don't think like that"? How does that matter when you've established the standard for damning large, non-homogeneous blocks of political thought based on public statements by a few who may or may not be broadly representative, even if they're unquestionably loud? I'm against widescale public information gathering for "good" reasons of all stripes, but that doesn't matter since I identify as a leftist, right? That's certainly what I'm getting from your lecture. Or is it that I'm not sufficiently loud in protesting this as to meet your arbitrary standard of satisfaction? Hmm, do we get to dictate to you how loudly you must protest assorted Constitutional erosions by conservative actors, or is concern trolling strictly your perogative?

And before you pull out your inevitable defense that I'm mindreading and ascribing motives to you that simply don't apply, you lost all credibility to do such a thing when you hopped into the rabbit hole of speculating on the underlying reasoning behind "subtexts". Take your lumps, or stop lecturing us on how we need to take ours.

This is the problem with this high-level meta-argumentation about the nature of progressivism or conservatism - it says nothing about the merits of a specific proposal. It's a rabbit hole of argumentation that leads nowhere and to nothing.

This is worth repeating, and so I shall.

What protections are in place for the accused? How many people have to agree--and how are these people chosen--to have a conviction? Is there even a requirement of an impartial tribunal? Does the policy even give a friendly nod to the 4th and 5th amendments?

Um, McK, no number of people can agree under this law IOT produce a conviction, etc. It can't have escaped your notice that these are regulations governing administrative disciplinary actions, not criminal ones.

Oh, dear, I suppose my saying the above suggests that entities other than governmental actors can have a significant deleterious effect on an individual's life. McK, I'm sorry for having tried to infect you with Progressive Thought.

Oh, that "yes means yes."

And at the conclusion of the proceeding under that statute the accused will be sent to jail?

What is BC?

Would it be too much for both government and private actors to cease and desist with the acronyms? IMHO, LOL, but LYCBYG.

McKinney dropped the "IRS thing" into the discussion, by which I guess he means the Lois Lerner thing, or do we mean the wider issue of the IRS collecting any and all financial information?

Three years ago, I did my taxes wrong and didn't claim as much of a refund as I was entitled, and the IRS, without my asking, corrected me, having more information than I did, and made it good.

Yes means yes was in response to the no means yes, maybe means yes, drunken unconsciousness with shallow breathing means yes, skirt length means yes -- any skirt length -- please stop means yes, what kind of a girl do you think I am means yes, she's backstage with Ted Nugent trying to get an autograph means yes, she's not backstage with Ted Nugent means yes, instead she's walking down a sidewalk minding her business holding her skirt down in a stiff breeze means yes, "you have the most eyes I've ever seen ... she bought it" means yes, ethic prevailing among private actors at colleges in California, if not everywhere.

I can see that it, the law, is dicey in some ways, not that I've read the actual wording.

Personally, I get that all of the above don't amount to yes. Even a wholehearted "Yes" takes me by surprise and I grow hesitant at the implications of the shocking fact that she might really mean it, but the thought that maybe in ten years or sooner, whichever comes first, she'll change her mind about the wholeheartedness of the original "Yes!" kind of dims the anticipatory joy of that original "Yes!" for me, but I guess that comes with age and the realization of the fragility of love in the unstable medium of time.

I need to get out more.

I'm sure that's a rhetorical question, and not one aimed at me, but of course not. It's not a criminal proceeding, which is why it's held to a "preponderance of evidence" standard of proof. The worst that can be done is expulsion from the university and being barred from university property, which the uni can already do - this isn't empowering them to do anything new, it's dictating the minimum standards the state requires for their admin proceedings in this matter if the uni wants state money.

NV - that's pretty much my thought. Hard to see how good or bad that statute is in terms of 4 things McTx lays out without all the other context. It doesn't even say the school has to punish the accused upon finding that the accused did the thing accused based upon the preponderance (although I'm sure that's laid out pretty clearly elsewhere).

So, not only do we see a statute that is grossly outside substantive and procedural due process norms, we have gov't sticking its nose not just in the bedroom, but between the sheets--but it's for the right reason, so who cares?

OMG, how did I miss this?

Seriously, McK, this is about sexual assault. Characterizing government efforts to criminalize sexual assault - which this bill is not, but your words strongly imply that you view it as such - as the gov't "sticking its nose into the bedroom" is frankly shocking. That's like saying that the gov't criminalizing mail fraud - or armed robbery - is the gov't sticking its nose into private financial transactions. You may not agree that a positive consent standard is a reasonable standard, but I'm somewhat appalled that you would chose to conflate governmental efforts to define sexual assault (even if only for collegiate administrative disciplinary proceedings) with government prying into private sexual acts between consenting adults.

What NV said:

How does that matter when you've established the standard for damning large, non-homogeneous blocks of political thought based on public statements by a few who may or may not be broadly representative, even if they're unquestionably loud?

What baffles me to no end, is the constant insistence to dismiss, sarcastically or otherwise, view X because at the moment it is expressed someone not sufficiently worked up by situation Y.

I'm not dismissing "view X", if by "view X" you mean that government collection of information about private individuals is excessive and unaccountable.

I don't dismiss that view, I share it.

My comment was intended to compare McK's hypothetical riff about how the surveillance apparatus would "probably be easily retooled" to count up his cars and boats with the *actual* current-day practice of private actors.

So, hypothetical vs actual.

No intent to dismiss either, just an attempt to inject a dose of reality.

I'll also say that characterizing the position of "the left" on surveillance as "all good, as long as it's for what we want" ignores the quite prominent role that folks on the left have played in protesting and acting against excessive government surveillance, of all kinds, for all sorts of reasons.

Historically, and now.

There are some conservative libertarians who raise objections, but as far as I can tell the general response on "the right" ranges from support to no response at all.

Historically, and now.

As far as the "IRS thing", what folks on "the left" find worthy of ridicule is the obsessive search for proof that Obama and the White House directed a deliberate campaign of suppressing tea party advocacy via the IRS.

It's a bold claim, we'd all like to see the evidence before we buy in.

Ugh and NV:

And at the conclusion of the proceeding under that statute the accused will be sent to jail?

No, but they will likely be publicly named and expelled from their college. I view the public college system in CA as a pretty damned important instrument of equality (access to education in general is crucial for equality).

Being kicked out of college administratively isn't jail. Nor is having 'sexual assault' pop up when HR googles your name down the line. But its hardly ideal.

More to the point, I think this law, as most laws, will likely fall disproportionally on minorities:

In a study of 250 convictions that were later overturned, 89 percent were for sex crimes, despite the fact that only 10 percent of our prison population is serving time for such crimes.

and:

lack and Hispanic men make up about 14% of the American population, and yet they made up 70% of the exonerated convictions.

from:

http://fredrikdeboer.com/2014/10/13/the-burden-of-expanding-the-police-states-power-to-prosecute-sex-crimes-will-fall-on-the-poor-and-the-black/

I don't agree with everything deBoer has to say (a lot of his writing is overwrought, imo). But I agree with him that this is probably not going to impact a large number of rich, white, men. But I think it will screw over a lot of poor minorities.

russell:

Thanks again for clarifying. I should not have implied you were being dismissive of the view...that was my misjudgement.

I pretty much agree with your last comment. I suppose I get frustrated because I see so much room for agreement between disparate political views on certain issues (surveillance being one of them), but the agreement tends to get lost in the noise of 'progressives say...' and 'conservatives say...'.

This isn't (or shouldn't be, at least) directed at you. Like I said, my misjudgement.

I agree with him that this is probably not going to impact a large number of rich, white, men. But I think it will screw over a lot of poor minorities.

What will actually happen in the long run is this:
1) a bunch of minority men get kicked out of college as a result of accusations which don't even come close to meeting the standard for a criminal conviction. Which is why no criminal prosecutions occur.
2) eventually, some rich frat boy gets kicked out as well.
3) at which point, his family lawyers get on the case, and the college decides to back off and re-admit him.
4) followed by a class-action law suit to get the other guys who were kicked out readmitted.

And then the law either ends up repealed, or is so gutted by caveats that it becomes effectively a dead letter.

Dictating how two people in an intimate moment must communicate is not the gov't getting between the sheets because "it's about preventing sexual assault".

Ok, someone has no sense of irony. If it's for a 'good, Progressive-approved' purpose, the details just don't matter.

No one goes to jail, they just get kicked out of college, pilloried on the internet and have no remedy, but hey, they didn't go to jail.

Jesus.

Dictating how two people in an intimate moment must communicate is not the gov't getting between the sheets because "it's about preventing sexual assault".

If neither party claims an assult took place, they can communicate by making monkey sounds to initiate intercourse. People aren't going to get kicked out of school simply for not saying things no one else heard them say and to which no one raised any objection.

Beyond that, the discussion is too lawerly for this layman. Maybe it's a stupid law (if it's even a law, which I guess it is - just not a criminal law).

I opine that our commenters and readers of a more conservative bent should read Dean Baker's The Conservative Nanny State before embarking on lectures about how "Progressives" see no limit to government action.

It should also be noted in passing that the system and enforcement thereof of "private property" is in itself a creation of the evil state and that conservative interests work nonstop to see to it that their interests get special government coddling.

So, to take McKinney's complaint: If a government policy helps lawyers corner outsized financial wealth, then we should be, in principle, able to tax it at whatever rate we collectively agree to.


they agree that they are "conservative".

We agree that at least many of us posting here are human, yes? Does that somehow deliver a stamp of approval on the doings of other humans, by virtue that they share our species? No, it does not.

they are the aforementioned "conservatives".

this seemed too obvious to have to point out.

Baby steps, I suppose. Ok, then, here we go. You said:

it's even possible, in that wondrous land, that conservatives would notice that a big chunk of their caucus would love to be able to see who is sleeping with who and in what position and for what reason

Lots of conservatives HAVE noticed. However: speaking for myself, it is not MY caucus. It doesn't belong to me. I don't control it. I haven't funded it, other than through the same compulsory mechanism that every taxpayer is subject to. And I certainly have never advocated anything like bedroom-spying.

So, in a sense: it's as much your caucus as it is mine. They are people who are built largely the same as you or I, but they are not people I have much in common with, other than the highly general and possibly largely meaningless stamp of "conservative".

Or, more succinctly: I am not all conservatives, and all conservatives are not me.

But sure, it's none of my business what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home. It might even be none of my business how much money people make, and how much of it they deserve to keep.

Ah, yes, the ever incandescent boogy-man of the "nanny state". But ask yourself this: It is indeed the haters of the "nanny state" who have advocated so assiduously since the onset of the Cold War for exactly the institutional arrangement we now observe when it comes to "National Security".

I can see that my variously sarcastic and wryly, despairingly humorous comments were confusing. Definitely my fault, here. But yes, you have restated pretty much exactly my point: that things have been encouraged in the direction of protecting the public to the point where some members of the public may well prefer to be more endangered and less surveilled. I am certainly responsible at least in part for this progression, and would like it to stop. Even reverse, some. I have on more than one occasion commented on the topic of classifying things just because they'd be embarrassing for the public to get wind of them, for instance. Some transparency in the matter of domestic surveillance, for instance, seems to be warranted.

I hope that's clear enough.

McK, two things: first, and very much foremost, what HSH said. The subject at hand isn't the state isn't going snooping between the sheets. It's not the state at all, but if it were it would be the state intervening at the request of one of the people that was between the sheets to make a judgement as to whether coercion was applied in a sexual encounter.

Second:

No one goes to jail, they just get kicked out of college, pilloried on the internet and have no remedy, but hey, they didn't go to jail.

This is the status quo. This law changes not one damned thing about this except to attempt to standardize the procedures by which colleges chose whether or not to kick out/pillory alleged offenders (and it doesn't even affect whether or not they do decide to do these things). You don't have a beef with the government here, you have a beef with private institutions. And nothing short of evil 'ole gov't intervention can prevent these private actors from having significantly deleterious effects on the lives of those they deem deserving of such a fate.

No one goes to jail, they just get kicked out of college, pilloried on the internet and have no remedy, but hey, they didn't go to jail.

Jesus.

I'm seeing a lot of criminal and civil law concepts and sanctions mixed together as if they're all exactly the same. They're not. You know that. Hence my rhetorical and somewhat facetious question about whether anyone is going to jail.

There is no right to counsel in a civil proceeding. Even for one as potentially devastating as deportation. Same with the right to confront witnesses. Etc.

All if which is to say McKinney, if you want to argue that the consequences of being accused of sexual assault and being kicked out of college for it are severe enough that the accused should be afforded the full due process of a criminal trial by the college he/she attends (to use the current context), I'm all ears and may even agree.

But, let's be clear what you're arguing for (if that's in fact what you're arguing for).

1984. I'm out.

Course, corporations (those very special people) make their own laws about individual citizens hoovering up information:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/technology/google-glass-is-now-completely-banned-from-all-us-movie-theatres/ar-BBc1TJu

I recall Google recently banned Google Glass from corporate meetings.

1984. I'm out.

Double-plus ungood!!

"1984. I'm out."

Been following along as best I could, resolving to read more about this "yes means yes" thing (I read the link to Freddie and it sounds like a bad idea), but I have no idea what McK is saying here. Is everyone just supposed to agree with everything he says in this thread or be accused of doublethink?

And to repeat, based on my extremely tiny knowledge as of this moment, this "yes means yes" thing sounds like it might be a bad idea. But I'll have to read more about it.

wj:

4) followed by a class-action law suit to get the other guys who were kicked out readmitted.

I think you are far more optimistic than I am. Not a bad thing, I suppose.

Are you doubting that the class action suit will get filed? Or that it will be successful?

Experience in California suggests that someone will fund a suit to protest that minorities are not getting equal protection. And it isn't clear how whichever university that is involved would defend against that (entirely accurate) complaint.

I'm not sure I count as optimistic. An optimist would believe that the frat boys would finally get held responsible for their actions. But decades of tract record suggest that just ain't gonna happen.

apparently my fellow texan believes that anything other than sustained, active, uninterrupted resistance to sexual advances must be called consent. i find that wholly in keeping with the worldview he (is mckinneytx male? i don't know but i think that is the case for some reason) has so eloquently represented most of the time he comments here but it is a worldview i cannot share. i know that at points i have seen him change his mind about an expressed opinion so i am disappointed to see him opt out at this point while classifying what i regard as a noble effort to help foster a culture of consent as reminiscent of "1984."

Really? We must read different news sources. I regularly see people get bent out of shape about facebook and google hoovering up information.

I should point out, this isn't news sources, it is my facebook feed. Which, given my travels and my background is a rather strange animal. Because of where I grew up, my facebook feed is full of dark conservative mutterings and one of the ones popping up now is the argument that somehow, the government doesn't want or is unable to create a national photo id like India or Mexico. Yet these are the same people who are given to complaints about the incompetence of government, so I'm not sure if they are saying that part of American exceptionalism provides us with a particularly inept government.

But given that we don't have Brett giving us the pulse of the conservative zeitgeist, is all I have to go on.

I was also amused by this
The subtext from BP, TP, Russell and LJ is pretty much this: if it's for the right purpose, it's information gathering, which is good.

You try to make things shorter and punchier, and suddenly you are all about the subtext. That particularly fragrant lump of #2 is made all the more ironic in that McT's comments have apparently had the subtext of the California law or consent, which I really don't understand and have asked McT to explain in a previous thread. I know he's busy, but when he doesn't have time, it's understandable, when we don't, it's trafficking in subtext.

My point was not that 'it was good' as a sort of platonic ideal, my point was that if you want the kind of seamless web of commerce, you have to live with having more of your information out there. I'm not sure why that is so hard to understand. I realize that the urge to argue against the great progressive collective is strong, but I didn't realize it decoupled all other reasoning.

Donald:

If you want pro-views:

http://www.vox.com/2014/10/13/6966847/yes-means-yes-is-a-terrible-bill-and-i-completely-support-it

http://www.vox.com/2014/10/10/6952227/rape-culture-is-a-tax-on-women-CA-yes-means-yes-dierks-katz

I'll admit I was swayed to some degree by Taub, and not at all by Klein. There are many other posts, a lot of ink has been spilled on it. No doubt you could go through a list of writers you respect and find a good argument.

Ultimately, I think its a bad law, not the end of the world. I think it will result in innocent people being punished and will do little to prevent sexual assault.

wj:

Are you doubting that the class action suit will get filed?

I doubt it will be filed and resolved in a timely manner. I view it as more likely 20 years down the line, maybe the UC will have to pay out some damages if they railroaded people. Most of the fees will go to attys, and society will feel justice has been done.

LJ:

it is my facebook feed. Which, given my travels and my background is a rather strange animal.

Ah, I understand. It also doesn't surprise me that your facebook feed isn't littered with complaints about facebook.

Fear not, liberals are divided on the yes means yes law:

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-10-27-what-they-are-saying-20141027-story.html

Aren't there fundamentalist religious colleges (I know there were still when I attended to college) who punish both men and women students who are caught canoodling in full mutual yes means yes yessing in campus facilities, including kicking their butts out of school?

All four feet on the floor, or at least two feet on floor in dorm rooms with open doors was the standard before my time.

Conservative Dean of Women, circa 1948, at Anystate Wesleyan, mouth puckering sourly like she just sucked on a lemon: "Young lady, the young man said you said yes to his (coughs into her hanky) .. entreaties, is this so?"

Coed: "Yes, ma'am."___
Dean: "NO!"
Coed: "What?"
Dean "YOU should have said NO! I'm bringing you before the board to consider expelling you, and your parents will be notified of this behavior. Further, your name will be
dirt in this town!"

-------------------

Conservative Dean thesa days: "Young lady, I see you are submitting a complaint against the young man because you said "no" halfway through his entreaties and he ignored you and continued on his merry way. Is this so?"

Coed: "Yes, sir. I mean, yes ........ I said no, and he ignored me. I'd gone as far as I wanted to with that particular encounter."

Dean "NO!"

Coed: "What?"

Dean: No, you shouldn't have legal standing to say "YES" and have it mean "YES", and if you are the kind of girl who means "YES" at any time of HER choosing, then why should a "NO!" at your choice be the subject of a government law about what private parties say between the sheets where yes and no are at best ambivalent utterances?"

Coed: "I... I don't .. look, the guy forced me after I said NO."

Dean: "I had a guy in here just last week who claims his female date ignored his request of her to stop sticking her tongue down his throat and grabbing at his crotch!"

Coed: "I don't believe you."

Dean: "You're right, I lied."


Count:

That LA times has some good links on both sides of the issue. Thanks.

I can see that my variously sarcastic and wryly, despairingly humorous comments were confusing...

Or my confusing interpretation thereof. The Democratic Party joyfully joined in with the fun to create the "sky is the limit" defense establishment and the associated intelligence gathering edifice we now see. Truman red baited with the best of them.

This I view as part of the culture of Empire and some of us wild eyed lefties see this as the outgrowth of our conquest of the continent and our little imperialist ventures in Latin America starting c. 1898, our great wealth, and the more or less inevitable engagement with the world during two big wars.

Thus I do not see this in terms of "more government" v. "less government" but in terms of the tendency toward empire on the part of the powerful and the urge for domination on the part of the powerful, a concept not at all unfamiliar in the annals of human history.

It also doesn't surprise me that your facebook feed isn't littered with complaints about facebook.

I guess my question (if it is a question) is whether this argumentation (Mexico and India have national ID cards, why don't we? Ah, cause the liberals want to keep using voter fraud to stay in power) is floating around. In other words, is what I see on facebook reflective of an actual argument that is floating around?

I admit that I admire the human tendency to maintain two totally contradictory positions in their minds and act as if they both prove their ultimate argument, but this seems a bit more blatant than most.

The Count's comment reminds me of a what was told to me as a true story.

My storied alma mater, which recently made news, even across the pond, had a curfew for female students until the mid or late 70's. There was a review board to determine the penalties meted out to students concerning violations of the curfew and a professor who was on that board told the following story.

This couple came before the review board, looking very sheepish. When asked what happened, they said well, they were watching TV and they both nodded off and when they woke up, they realized it was past curfew. The board members looked at each other and were thinking, gee, this is understandable, it could happen to anyone. One of the professors, out of politeness more than investigative zeal, said 'OK, that's understandable. When you realized you missed the curfew, what did you do?' and the guy said 'well, gee, we jumped up, pulled on our clothes and I took her back to the dorm!'

How does one deal with "An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity."

What's keeping the accused from saying "I didn't say yes either, so the accuser is just as guilty"?

I suppose nothing, and in the affirmative consent construct they'd be equally guilty and subject to the relevant punishment. Which makes a certain sort of sense.

I also don't see anything in there that says there must be a verbal statement of consent.

LJ:

I guess my question (if it is a question) is whether this argumentation (Mexico and India have national ID cards, why don't we?

If it was directed at me, I'd say we don't have them because there is no need for a federal ID card, and fears about voter fraud are detached from reality. But that's me.

I can't say I've seen the griping you're talking about, but I imagine we run in very different groups...so by no means am I suggesting it doesn't exist.

I've seen crazier positions expressed.

I admit that I admire the human tendency to maintain two totally contradictory positions

Admire isn't the word I use...but it is damn impressive in its own way, I suppose.

Ugh:

What's keeping the accused from saying "I didn't say yes either, so the accuser is just as guilty"?

This is one of my problems with the law. It starts out with an equal responsibility, but than quickly shifts to descriptions of the "accused" and "complainant". In other words, it strikes me as whoever complains gets the pass.

Practically...I don't really know how it will go. Which brings me to another aspect of the law I don't like:

I also don't see anything in there that says there must be a verbal statement of consent.

The law doesn't really specify many things. There was another deBoer post: http://fredrikdeboer.com/2014/10/16/various-things-i-have-been-told-about-affirmative-consent/

I didn't link to it previously because its fundamentally a post summarizing people that he disagrees with. Which is rarely an useful art form.

But it serves to quickly illustrate a larger point, that being a lot of people have said a lot of things about the law, that there isn't really an understanding of what it means.

That's hardly unique to this law. In my experience, people rarely take the time to understand laws, or opinions, before expounding on them. But after reading the law...I don't really know what affirmative consent means as a legal concept.

Is it verbal? How explicit does it have to be? What does "must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity" mean? Etc.

That lack of clarity is one of the things that concerns me.

What's keeping the accused from saying "I didn't say yes either, so the accuser is just as guilty"?

This is really the biggest problem I see with the law. The hardest part of prosecuting SA cases is that it very often devolves to dueling unsupported testimony, and this does nothing to resolve that. There's some edge cases where a lack of active dissent might have been unreasonably interpreted as consent that it might eliminate, but by and large it's nothing resembling a sea change.

As a practical measure, I think the continued active participation in the sexual activity in question could be weighed against counter-claims of parallel non-consent, though (without going into details and diagrams) that's not necessarily easy to to weigh, even optimistically assuming you're getting semi-honest recountings of the details in question.

Ultimately, again, I can't see it making a major difference except in a very narrow range of cases, or in preventing the imposition of particularly unreasonable standards of expressing negative consent, and I can see it being used to frivolously muddy the waters far more frequently. I do not, however, see it as a menace to all and sundry as some have chosen to do.

Is it verbal? How explicit does it have to be? What does "must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity" mean? Etc.

That lack of clarity is one of the things that concerns me.

What's interesting to me is that the law is, I believe, an attempt to respond to the lack of clarity on what "consent" - or more specifically the lack thereof - is generally. Is that any clearer currently than this law is potentially?

I don't know. It seems that we have, and maybe will always have, a morass in this area. In the case of college campuses and students, this is amplified by (a) lots of young people; (b) newly living away from home/family; (c) in concentrated groups under the same roof; (d) most with more free time on their hands than they have ever had before; and (e) rampant use of mood altering substances, legal and illegal. So this attempt to "clarify" things in that context in an (it seems) attempt to reduce the number of sexual assaults.

Or maybe I'm misinterpreting the motivation and it's all an elite progressive attempt to undermine due process and put people accused of crimes behind bars en masse (a noted progressive tendency).

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