Surveillance

What if the Government Fears Freedom?

What if Bush and Obama have been wrong about the priority of their constitutional duties as president?

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What if the current massive spying on Americans began with an innocent secret executive order signed by President Reagan in 1986? What if Reagan contemplated that he was only authorizing American spies to spy on foreign spies unlawfully present in the U.S.?

What if Reagan knew and respected the history of the Fourth Amendment? What if the essence of that history is the colonial revulsion at the British use of general warrants? What if general warrants were issued by a secret court in London and authorized British agents in America to search wherever they wished and to seize whatever they found? What if the revulsion at this British government practice was so overwhelming that it led to the Revolutionary War against the king?

What if the whole purpose of the Fourth Amendment was to outlaw general warrants? What if the Fourth Amendment specifically guarantees the right to privacy to all in America in their persons, houses, papers, and effects?

What if, in order to emphasize its condemnation of general warrants, the Fourth Amendment requires the government to obtain a warrant from a judge before invading the persons, houses, papers, or effects of anyone and lays down the preconditions for the issuance of such warrants? What if those preconditions are individualized suspicion and articulated evidence of crime—called probable cause— about the specific person whose privacy the government seeks to invade?

What if these principles of constitutional fidelity, privacy, and probable cause and the unlawfulness of general warrants have been regarded universally and publicly as quintessentially American values, values that set this nation apart from all others?

What if the administration of President George W. Bush was so embarrassed that 9/11 happened on its watch that it fought a useless public war in Iraq—which had nothing to do with 9/11—and a pernicious private war against American values by unleashing American spies on innocent Americans as to whom there was no individualized probable cause so that it could create the impression it was doing something to keep America safe from another 9/11-like attack?

What if the Bush folks took Reagan's idea of spying on foreign spies and twisted it so that they could spy on not just foreign spies, but also on foreign persons? What if they took that and leapt to spying on Americans who communicated with foreign persons?

What if they then concluded that it was easier to spy on all Americans rather than just those who communicated with foreign persons? What if they claimed in secret that all this was authorized by Reagan's executive order and two federal statutes, their unique interpretations of which they refused to discuss in public? What if the Reagan order and the statutes authorized no such thing?

What if The New York Times caught the Bush administration in its massive violation of the Fourth Amendment, whereby it was spying on all Americans all the time without any warrants? What if the Times sat on that knowledge during, throughout, and beyond the presidential election campaign of 2004? What if, when the Times revealed all this, the Bush administration agreed to stop spying? What if it didn't stop?

What if President Obama came up with a scheme to make the spying appear legal? What if that scheme involved using secret judges in secret courts to issue general warrants? What if the Obama administration swore those judges to secrecy? What if it swore to secrecy all in the government who are involved in undermining basic American values? What if it forgot that everyone in government also swears an oath to uphold the Constitution? What if Edward Snowden violated his oath to secrecy in order to uphold his oath to the Constitution, which includes the Fourth Amendment, and spilled the beans on the government?

What if all this spying by the feds has spawned spying by the locals? What if more than 50 local police departments now have received false cell towers from the FBI, but have sworn not to tell anyone about them? What if these towers trick cellphone signals into exposing the content of cellphone conversations to the police? What if the police have done this without the knowledge of the elected representatives who are their bosses? What if they do this without any warrants? What if the Supreme Court last year outlawed police invading cellphones without warrants?

What if both Bush and Obama have argued that their first job is to keep America safe, and they will twist, torture the plain meaning of and even break laws in order to accomplish that job? What if the presidential oath is to enforce all laws faithfully, including ones the president may hate?

What if Bush and Obama have been wrong about the priority of their constitutional duties as president? What if the president's first job is to preserve the Constitution? What if that includes the Fourth Amendment? What if the president keeps us safe but unfree?

What if invading our freedoms keeps us less safe? What if the president has failed to keep our freedoms safe? What if the government doesn't like freedoms? What if the government is afraid we will exercise them?

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  1. All I’m seeing are questions and no answers. Classic libertarianism.

    1. Can you say that in question form?

      1. What if Fist didn’t post first? What if he did post his statement in the form of a question? What if a woodchuck could, in fact, chuck wood? What if John Lennon called the song “What If” instead of “Imagine”? What if deep-dish were actually “pizza”? What if the law broke itself?

        I ask you.

      2. +1 Alex Trebek.

        Although at least you’re not bitching about how we don’t know enough about Canada.

        1. “don’t know enough aboot Canada, eh.”

          fixed

          1. So you know how Canada got its name, eh?

            Used to be the Commonwealth Northern Dominions, a real mouthful. So they formed a royal commission to study the matter and come up with a better name. There were the usual suggestions, like Sir HugoLand, and they just bickered a lot, until the local lumberjack (there are local lumberjacks everywhere in Canada, apparently) got tired of them all and said they ought to just abbreviate the name.

            “What do you mean, abbreviate it?”

            “Well, C, eh. N, eh. D, eh.”

    2. There’s the Mr. Napolitano we know and love.

      1. “Andrew Napolitano asks”

        You don’t say!

  2. What if there were a single full stop used in an article instead of an endless parade of question marks?

    If you barrage me with questions, I’m just going to tune you out. Make a declarative statement now and then.

    1. I mentally change the Judge’s what ifs to “Check this shit out”. It reads better.

  3. OT: What if Ron Paul wants a very lonely Fathers Day this year?

    http://tinyurl.com/l4e5z7h

    “I was always annoyed with it in Congress because we had an anti-war unofficial group, a few libertarian Republicans and generally the Black Caucus and others did not?they are really against war because they want all of that money to go to food stamps for people here,” Ron Paul told Lew Rockwell in early February during a discussion on sanctions.

    1. Food not bombs!

    2. Shit. Is he trying to make sure his son can’t win?

    3. Shrugs. This is news? Didn’t he say a while back that he didn’t think the Iraq War was worth it because it was money spent trying to pacify Mooslims, who have historically been fighting for thousands of years. It’s just who they are, you know. This coming from a man who belonged to a government with enough nuclear bombs to essentially make homo sapient extinct. I mean, the USA is a very peaceful country after all.

        1. Amsoc is a very young troll do not feed it

      1. “USA is a very peaceful country after all”

        That’s why we have a large predatory bird as our symbol. How else could you symbolize peace…

        1. The bald eagle is a scavenger of carrion not a predator
          much more appropriate since we like to pick clean fledgling 3rd world nations.

  4. What if Napolitano wrote a piece without questions? What if Reason refused to run such a piece? What if people responded by acting unReasonably? What if more trolls invaded Reason-dot-com?

    What if they gave an orgy and nobody came?

    1. Warty would have a sad.

  5. Hint: it starts with the letter “F”

    Objection, leading the witness.

    1. Overruled!

      /FISA Court

      1. REDACTED

        /FISA Court

      2. He means “f” as in “fuck,” followed by something about not spending so much.

  6. Thats downright insane dude I mean like seriously.

    http://www.GoAnon.tk

    1. Anonbot passes the Turing test. Now go enslave mankind.

      1. Hehe. +1

  7. “Hint: it starts with the letter “F”

    Is it Frankenstein? Because I can see fearing him.

    1. Nope, I bet it’s Full Stop.

    2. Frank Stallone. it’s always Frank Stallone.

    3. You know who else’s name started with an F?

  8. What if we were free to ask questions?

  9. “NOW! That’s what I called Judge Napolitano! Featuring his greatest hit: rhetorical question!”

    I love the judge (not as much as Stossel) but jfc…

  10. George W. Bush was so embarrassed that 9/11 happened on its watch that it fought a useless public war in Iraq?which had nothing to do with 9/11

    BOOOOSSSHHH!!! NO FAIR! NO FAIR!!!

    1. Expecting me to understand the difference between a logical argument and a tu quoque argument is NO FAIR!

      1. CHRISTFAG! BUSHPIG! Obamacare doesn’t affect anyone and will not be an issue in any elections! Gold bugs are retards!

        1. Shreeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiik

  11. The middle class is getting killed. The middle class is getting slammed. They are in worse shape than in any time since the 20’s.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer……le/2560680

    Psst, Joe, you’re not supposed to say that until you’re out of office.

    1. “A lot of wealthy white and black people aren’t bad but they control 1 percent of the economy and this cannot stand,” Biden told about 100 guests, including past civil rights activists and NBC weatherman Al Roker.

      Said the guy who campaigned to have 18% of the economy controlled by a bunch of wealthy black and white people in government.

  12. What if reasonable added a switch to remove the first two words from every sentence in an article?

    1. reasonable added a switch to remove the first two words from every sentence in an article?

      1. What you did there…

        1. Can’t even…

  13. What if privacy were baked into the entire Constitution? What if someone said a cake didn’t list calories as an ingredient, therefore it had none?

    1. What if they all wanted cake?

      1. What if someone left my cake out in the rain?

        1. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Fat joints on fire off the coast of Seattle. I watched spent brass glitter in the dark at the Knob Creek machine gun shoot.

          All those … freedoms … will be lost in time like … cake in rain.

          1. That was totally fucking awesome.

          2. Sometimes people get lost in the rain (auto-opening pdf file):

            http://eolit.hrw.com/hlla/writ….._P0902.pdf

  14. I may be buying more 5.56 today.
    LET THE PANIC BUYING BEGIN!!!!!

    1. Hint: it starts with the letter “F”

      1. No, no, no. “ATF” ?ends? with the letter “F”.

        1. All Things Fun

  15. What if there were 8% more troll content, complete with shrieking and retardation? What if people insisted upon feeding the trolls? What if Reasonoids declared and adhered to a voluntary “Troll Free Thursday”? What if monkeys flew out of Tony’s ass?

    1. Monkeys do not fly out of Tony’s ass. Gerbils, however, quite often do. Monkeys hate the shit out of gerbils.

  16. I don’t have a passport handy and I’m in Brownsville today.

    Question: can I drive across the border and come back in with my license as long as I don’t go far enough inland to his a customs checkpoint?

    1. I need to go over to look at a crane that’s working on the other side of the fence. And I really want to get it done today.

      1. Use great caution.

        That is work related. They will fuck with you if they get half a chance.

        No work visa?

        My brother had a hell of a time doing something very similar a few years back.

        1. Same happened to me once before in Canada. But the shitty thing is that the top of the boom is apparently visible if it’s fully extended to someone on this side of the fence. The fucker is that close to the border. And to get them to stop work and bring it back is gonna cost the guy at least $5k. Which would suck for him.

          I may risk it and go talk to a border agent at the foot crossing exit and see if they can use my license only if I have them look at it all ahead of time. That might work.

          1. Just remember freedom means asking permission and following orders.

    2. Why would you want to do that?

      Better check your car very carefully for anything whatsoever gun related and remove it.

      1. Well, I want to buy a crane. And I’m not paying $425,000 for it without inspecting it. I looked at its sister here in Mission and it looks fine. But Im a bit leery of making an offer on both without seeing both.

        1. Be careful.

          You must present a valid U.S. passport or passport card in order to enter Mexico. Although documents may not be routinely checked along the land border, Mexican authorities at immigration checkpoints approximately 25 kilometers from the U.S. border will often conduct vehicle and document inspections and require valid travel documents and an entry permit or Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM). If you enter by land and travel further than 25 kilometers into Mexico, you should stop at an immigration checkpoint to obtain an FMM, even if not explicitly directed to do so by Mexican officials. Beyond the border zone, all non-Mexican citizens must have valid immigration documents (an FMM or temporary or permanent resident card) regardless of the original place of entry. Failure to present an FMM or other valid immigration document can result in detention by immigration authorities and/or delays or missed flights because airlines may insist that a valid immigration document be obtained from Mexican immigration authorities before issuing a boarding pass.

          All U.S. citizens traveling outside of the United States by land or sea (except closed-loop cruises) are required to present a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document, such as a passport or a passport card, to return to the United States.

          http://travel.state.gov/conten…..exico.html

          1. You mean Mexico doesn’t have open borders!?

            1. THEY ARE NOT LIBERTARIANS, DAMMIT!

    3. IANAL, sloopy, but it seems kind of risky to me.

    4. I overheard the postal worker telling a woman getting here passport that US citizens used to be able to go back and forth without a passport, just a valid ID, but not anymore.

  17. OT: This is the “conservative” Heritage Foundation:

    As a first step toward rebuilding America’s military, Congress should increase the FY 2016 defense budget to $584 billion. Six years of defense cuts, totaling 25 percent reductions in annual spending, have degraded the U.S. military, and it needs to be rebuilt.

    http://www.heritage.org/resear…..nse-budget

    1. Not gonna lie : We could use the money. I got my hand out just like everyone else, and lately it has been hard times to be a wealthy and lazy gub’mint drone!

    2. It’s stupid from the point of view of the classic critique of big government i.e. assume that US fighting ability has been degraded over the last 6 years. Are you actually going to sit there and suggest that every single person employed by the DoD is necessary? Sheesh, the Pentagon alone has 26,000 employees.

  18. On Topic:

    “What if the current massive spying on Americans began with an innocent secret executive order signed by President Reagan in 1986? ”

    What if Reagan knew that government is a one-way ratchet and is filled with people who think an inch equals a mile? What if there was nothing innocent about it, or at least no excuse?

  19. Hint: it starts with the letter “F”

    February? (I fucking hate snow)

  20. What if pizza included deep dish?

    1. What if tuna included bumble bees?

  21. What if the Government Fears Freedom?

    What if a bear shits in the woods?
    What if the Pope is Catholic?
    What if the sun rises in the East?

  22. Is this a Hewlett Packard commercial?

  23. …Revolutionary War against the king? = countercry
    …guarantees the right to privacy to all in America in their persons, houses, papers, and effects? = counteroffensive
    …values that set this nation apart from all others? = counterpart
    …spy on all Americans rather than just those who communicated with foreign persons? = counter-conspiracy
    … Supreme Court last year outlawed police invading cellphones without warrants? = counter-assault
    …president’s first job is to preserve the Constitution? = counterfoil
    …Edward Snowden violated his oath to secrecy in order to uphold his oath = counterspy
    …invading our freedoms keeps us less safe? = counterproductive
    …government doesn’t like freedoms? = counteract
    …government is afraid we will exercise them? = counterrevolution

  24. Don’t people learn how others react to endless rhetorical questions? Do they not remember Socrates?

  25. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is wha? I do……

    http://www.wixjob.com

  26. What if this series of questions style of writing was one of the most annoying rhetorical devices ever?

  27. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail

    ———————-WWW.NETJOB80.COM

  28. my neighbor’s step-aunt makes $85 every hour on the laptop . She has been without work for five months but last month her payment was $17746 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check out the post right here……..
    ????? http://www.netpay20.com

  29. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is wha? I do……

    http://www.wixjob.com

  30. Gross! Dear Reason, never publish anything like this article ever again.

  31. Glad to see the judge is back at it.
    Thank you sir, i didnt read yet it but i laughed my ass off at the wall of rhetorical questions, made my day.
    Go Judge!

  32. What if many of the posters here miss the point?

    Just cross out the “What if” at the beginning of all the sentences, to see what Napolitano is saying.

  33. What if all this national security is a big lie and the government doesn’t know what it is doing?

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