Monday, June 22, 2009

If Joe McCarthy were a Democrat

By Capt. Fogg

This new report is proof positive that known and suspected terrorists are exploiting a major loophole in our law, threatening our families and our communities. This 'terror gap' has been open too long, and our national security demands that we shut it down.

says Sen. Frank Lautenberg, (D-NJ) No one my age can fail to be reminded of Tailgunner Joe McCarthy and his fake list of names. Frank, of course, is also a damn liar.

As might be expected, we're really not talking about "known" terrorists, but about people who have been put on a watch list, but against whom there is no evidence. The Justice Department tells us says CNN, that the FBI had thousands of names on its watch list based on outdated information and should have removed them. The GAO notes properly that being on a terrorist watch list does not mean that someone is involved in any terrorist activity, so as I said, we're not talking about "known terrorists" at all. Neither are we talking about a "loophole" here; we're talking about punishment without due process.

We should all be concerned when there's a proposal to make an accusation, an opinion, a conjecture or a suspicion reason to take away someones constitutional rights, but of course there are those so frightened of coming to harm that they just don't care, which makes them unfit to be participants in a democracy such as ours: a government of laws, not of fear. Sad to say, they're not all Republicans.

Lautenberg refers to a GAO report released yesterday, which reveals that about 90% of people who have sought to buy firearms and who had their names on a "watch list" were allowed to buy them because there was no evidence that they actually were involved in illegal acts. Perhaps they had opinions that were scary, beliefs that troubled the list makers and somehow knew other scary people: perhaps they were falsely accused or, as is often the case, had a name similar to that of a convicted felon. But of course our thoughts are supposed to be free and our associations as well. Should we start putting people who oppose abortion on a terrorism watch list because others with similar beliefs have committed crimes? What about people who have attended "Tea bag" parties? People with an 'unauthorized' religion? Why isn't thought crime abhorrent to us any more?

From his perch in the grandstand, Lautenberg claims to be introducing legislation that would give the U.S. attorney general "authority to stop the sale of guns or explosives to terrorists." That's something the law already addresses and of course it's deceptive since one is not a terrorist without some evidence of illegal activity and indeed without due process to determine guilt or innocence. So what Frank is saying here is that suspicion is guilt and suspicion trumps a fair trial and if you're different or someone doesn't like you, you have no rights. How long have we been fighting monsters that we're starting not to notice what we've become?

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  • I agree completely. I can't believe the CNN poll was 90% in favor of the end of due process in the United States.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:41 AM  

  • I have a feeling that because the poll was worded in such a leading fashion and did not reference, people thought they were being asked if convicted terrorists should be able to buy firearms.

    I see it as more journalistic fear mongering for profit.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:49 AM  

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