Thursday, January 29, 2004

As you know, my friend Tom Leete and I have been pounding each other on the heads for months about the Patriot Act. Tommy seems to have a much higher trust level that yours truly when I comes to our elected officials.

Don't get me wrong... I'm still one of those guys with an R after his name down at the courthouse... I voted for the boy, and his Daddy too... but I just don't want any of those guys to have a blank check when it comes to constitutional issues. That doesn't make me a liberal. I'm perfectly aware that our previous president was a threat to all of our peace of mind. All of us who are fathers know the feeling that guys have when they want to not only lock up their daughters but bring the dog in from the porch too. That man was typical Democrat... weak and silly and prone to using the hose as a thinking organ. Our current president is more of a "real man", capable of thinking with the correct organ, and not afraid to kick some ass when it is necessary. And... apparently willing to go it alone when he has to.

Now, the good folks at the ACLU have won a few procedural rounds and trimmed Mr. Ashcroft and Company's tail feathers a bit. Not much, but enough to let them know that there are folks out there just as fanatical about constitutional issues as there are folks who feel just as strongly about the struggles that we are having with the terrorists now.

My friend Tom was generous enough to send me a link to the Wall Street Journal the other day so that we could continue the friendly debate. This has started me on a path of explaining myself that will probably require one of my dreary essays. I sent him the following email:

Tom --

Allow me to say... I agree (again) with the fellows at WSJ. And the elements of the act that provide for oversight WHERE CONSTITUTIONALLY PROVIDED are music to my leathery bailbondsman's ears (my emphasis). And that is exactly what is provided under existing law (re the dope cases that the DEA and the FBI are constantly involved in... including the roving tail stuff). Where I stop smiling is where the good fellows in the government seem to think that they don't need to conform to any judicial oversight, that due process is just too bothersome to fool with, and that they should be allowed to go do whatever they want whenever they want. That... is a problem.

I'll admit to a certain reserve when it comes to protecting the "rights" of folks who do not have the red, white, and blue sticker on their passports. But I just feel that when they are snooping around anyone who is a citizen... it's just terribly... painfully... critically important that the cops give a rats ass about who's ass is in the wringer. So long it is the evil baddies (Oh Samma and his ilk) then I suppose we can wink at not caring about constitutional privileges.. after all, those sand lizards ain't actually part of "our tribe" if you follow me... but where do we draw the lines? Shouldn't we be spending just as much time getting good data on folkies who are trying to come here... it seems as if that would be a logical place to ask to see their bonafides... while they're standing in line at the airport trying to come in at Orlando International visit Mickey and not wait until their damned visa is 5 years out of date... that way we wouldn't have to do all this damned archaeology after the facts. I'm not interested in determining who's to blame. I want to do better real cop stuff. You know... serve and protect.

I guess what I'm asking for is better police work. Knocking heads and "rounding up all the usual suspects" Casablanca style has never been very practical investigatory practice in my mind.

My concerns about all this crap comes from the peculiar "turf wars" that go on among the agencies arising from this Weimarian theater of bickering and finger pointing. I'm working on an essay about this very subject now and will hopefully have it for your consideration in a week or so.


OK... I'll get busy. Thanks Tom.