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Yet another study in contrasts

OK, lemme see if I've got Liberal Logic understood properly:

Assembling the phone bills of a whole bunch of Americans (information already commercially available) into a huge database, then filtering them to try to discover possible terrorists: bad

Requiring hospitals to document the race, ethnicity, education levels, and all other kinds of personal information about patients and turn them over to the state: good.

Because, you see, finding, tracking, and foiling terrorists that want to kill us by the thousands is bad, but requiring everyone in Massachusetts to have health insurance is good. And the state NEEDS that information to find "inequities" in care and treatment.

I can kind of see the logic here. When the terrorists blow up a liquid natural gas tanker in Boston, all those who survive the blast better have health insurance.


Comments (27)

State managed anything is u... (Below threshold)
Economist:

State managed anything is usually going to be far worse at allocating resources and producing value than market based solutions. Healthcare is a weird one, since markets don't do a good job usually in dealing with negative externalities. The MA health care thing looks like a disaster in the making. But isn't the chief architect a Republican?

I think it comes down to ru... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I think it comes down to rules and exceptions to those rules. Liberals find state power and influence to be good, except anything that gives Bush power or influences, which is bad. Liberals tend to find laws upholding our constitutional civil liberties to be good, except when it comes to keeping and bearing arms or property rights, which are bad. Liberals find laws that give money to disadvantaged groups to be good, except when it's their own money, which is bad. Liberals find change to be good, except when it's in the right direction, which is bad.

Liberals tend to find progr... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Liberals tend to find programs which help the disadvantaged to be good. Liberals tend to find programs which allow the government to secretly spy on law-abiding citizens to be bad.

Jay Tea when are you going ... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Jay Tea when are you going to learn? IT'S THE CONTEXT! If it advances the revolution it is good! All else is bad! Four legs good! Two legs bad!.
Instead of WWJD change that to what would good uncle Joe Stalin do? You see it's not that hard to figure out.
When in doubt, have Berria shoot them.

Seiously Lee,If al... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Seiously Lee,

If all the details come out about the NSA story and it is just the collection of phone numbers to and from, length of call, and frequency, and nothing else, would you concede that there is nothing illegal about that?

And as such, would you then say that this patient information being gathered to go to the state is more of an invasion of privacy then the NSA program?

And if not, why not?

Legitimate Americans buying... (Below threshold)
virgo:

Legitimate Americans buying cheaper drugs and cigarettes from Canada 'BAD' Illegal Mexicans coming to America for free drugs,health care that real Americans pay for 'GOOD'.

Liberals believe that gover... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Liberals believe that government access to the records of millions of Americans who are not even suspected of being affiliated with Al Queda is unncessary and onerous. They believe that Al Queda and other terrorists can and should be spyed on using warrants issued by the FISA courts.

Conservatives used to fear government intrusion into people's personal lives. Liberterians were closer to conservatives than liberals.

If a new administration comes into power which is not conservative, it may be that conservatives will--at that point--conclude that the federal government has too much power.

If all the details come ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

If all the details come out about the NSA story and it is just the collection of phone numbers to and from, length of call, and frequency, and nothing else, would you concede that there is nothing illegal about that?

I'd leave it to a judge to decide if the program is illegal or not. There are a lot of factors that need to be weighed. The "we're at war" excuse has to have some limits - and I suspect this program crosses those limits, but I will concede "nothing illegal was done" only if and when judge hears all of the evidence and determines that nothing illegal was done. I do not trust the republicans currently in power to stay withing the confines of the law.

And as such, would you then say that this patient information being gathered to go to the state is more of an invasion of privacy then the NSA program?

The hospital program, if I understand it correctly, asks the patient for the information. I suspect, but don't know for sure, that the petient has a right to refuse to provide the information and still be treated at the hospital, receive on-going care, etc. Everytime I visit the doctor's office these days they throw multi-pages documents and brochures at me explaininf my legal rights. I would expect "disclosure" from the hospital.

Secretly spying on my grandmother, collecting her data, perhaps even recording and scanning her email, is a huge invasion of privacy. Now that it is out in the open, people will have to find ways to protect themselves from a spying, intrusive government.

It reminds me of Russia. It stinks.

Lee, be sure and protect yo... (Below threshold)

Lee, be sure and protect your grandma from all those credit bureaus and marketing companies who are "spying" on her even more than the government.

The other day my wife and I went to the mall. We walked through several "inventory control" doorways, things designed to curb shoplifting by scanning for those little electronic gizmos attached to everything in the store. I had no problem with that. When I walked into a store, however, that insisted that I check my bags of purchases from elsewhere at the front desk, I declined and walked out of the store. What was the difference?

I am intelligent and honest enough to recognize the difference between being subjected to monitoring that serves both my interests and those of the company and being treated like a suspected criminal. I suggest you ponder the differences yourself, as you have obviously blurred the line between the two.

Of course, if monitoring telephone traffic is unconstitutional, perhaps we can get rid of the various law enforcement speed radar guns...as I have never consented to having my travels surveilled by any government agency, either.

I don't consider myself a l... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I don't consider myself a liberal. Voted for Bush twice because I felt the alternatives were even poorer choices. I would vote for Bush again, I guess. I cannot tell from the link on the hospital story whether the requirement to solicit medical information equates with a patient having to fill in ALL the blanks to RECEIVE medical treatment, but (I agree with Lee) that I KNOW what is being asked of me in that case. I also think this whole issue smells and there is more to it than the terrorism angle - and no I'm not a conspiracy nut, either. Plus, I am under the impression that intelligence agencies in this country are still a mess - perhaps I am wrong but I'm surprised the current state of our intelligence network can even handle this volume of data.

Jamie, I think the radar gu... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Jamie, I think the radar gun analog does not work. Unless you are pulled over the radar gun does not record that you were an innocent driver on the road that day .

They believe that ... (Below threshold)
They believe that Al Queda and other terrorists can and should be spyed on using warrants issued by the FISA courts.

Because of course it makes perfect sense to wage a WAR according to the rules of criminal procedure.

I'm an "old school conserva... (Below threshold)
Scott Akridge:

I'm an "old school conservative" who is tired of non-thinking conservative elites who have ruined our time in power. The need to shove every debate into a black/white, either/or category and attack anyone we don't agree with has limited our influence at home and abroad.

The current republican religious fanatics have done more to increase government spending and intrusions in our lives than Democrats ever have. Worrying about what adults do in the bedroom, who can adopt who, what women do at the MDs office, giving up private property to local commercial interest, freeing up all our information for commercial use and the lists goes on and on. At the same time I am completely sick of people calling themselves conservatives claiming to support the military when it comes to sending them off to war/die and then cutting funding for programs back home. All this while they are happy to provide programs for the immigrants that are here illegally.

What's the point in cutting taxes if the idiots in Washington are putting us in debt and wasting what money we do have on a war that did nothing to solve the problem of terrorism and has actually made it worse and more expensive. Give me the days of real conservatives who knew how to cut taxes AND spending, who believed in SCIENCE over religion and who did need to blame everyone else for the problems they've created.

It's not just that, though.... (Below threshold)
Scott:

It's not just that, though. They're for Social Security, complete with personal I.D. numbers, which documents how much we make and where we make it. They support the I.R.S. and income taxes, at federal and state levels, which document how much we make, how much we spend, what charities we donate to, etc. They support a federal takeover of the healthcare system, which would not only put all our medical information in the hands of the government, but also our medical decisions. They also would like registration (and probably eventual confiscation) of guns.

The left is not for privacy.

The above list is by no mea... (Below threshold)
Scott:

The above list is by no means exhaustive. Let's not forget the laws lefties pass to dictate policies and speech at private businesses, including whether a business owner allows smoking. They make it punishable by law to discriminate in the workplace and in housing, but want racial discrimination codified in law when it comes to government schools, hiring, and contracts.

How can anyone take seriously leftist complaints of government intrusion into our lives? Leftism IS Government intrusion into our lives.

McGehee - re: Me: ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

McGehee - re:

Me: "They believe that Al Queda and other terrorists can and should be spyed on using warrants issued by the FISA courts."

You: "Because of course it makes perfect sense to wage a WAR according to the rules of criminal procedure."

As I understand it, liberals don't believe that evading the FISA courts, and spying on innocents citizens without probable cause makes our actions against Al Queda more effective.

We're not at war against in... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

We're not at war against innocent American citizens, are we?

"I'd leave it to a judge to... (Below threshold)
Big D:

"I'd leave it to a judge to decide if the program is illegal or not. There are a lot of factors that need to be weighed."

Uh, Lee, hate to break it to you buddy, but every relevant precedent indicates that this program should be completely legal. Really, there is not a lot of doubt here except for amongst those who hate the president. It is always possible that some day a judge would overturn precedent, but as of right now the contention by Bush that this is legal is on very solid ground. Of course you'd never know that by reading the papers.

Question 1 - You are all hot on warrants being issued. Fine. But how is the government supposed to establish probable cause to legally obtain a warrant without performing exactly the type of activities that the NSA is doing? Observing activities consistent with the commission of a crime is the foundation of the warrant process.

Like many you confuse privacy with harassment. The purpose of warrants was to protect innocent citizens from the later, not preserve the former.

Question 2 - why is it that you have no problem with private corporations (the phone companies) collecting this information, but have a real problem when the government looks at it? Are you aware that the phone companies frequently SELL this information? To anyone with a $100 or so? That you have no control or say in who sees it or how it is used?

For the record, I don't lik... (Below threshold)

For the record, I don't like the fact that the NSA is searching these call records. But since 1979, even the Supreme Court has held that you don't have an expectation of privacy when it comes to these records:

See this over at The Art of the Blog

Can you give a link to the ... (Below threshold)
Drew E.:

Can you give a link to the explosion in Boston? Is that kinda like Saddam's mushroom cloud?
I remember the first 4th of July after 9/11. Our proud nation had become so afraid that Independence celebrations in small town Kansas were cancelled.
Ya know at the beginning of every day i am afraid of something that might happen. But my fears are based in reality. See, when I was around seven i found out both Santa and the bogyman were not real.

It comes down to credibility. If you trust George Bush, based on his past decesions and responses with your Constituional rights, then by all means treat this as something necessary to keep the terrorist from destroying a city, say the size of New Orleans. If you are convinced that any outside nation, let alone a terrorist oranization can destroy the United States, then by all means treat this as something necessary.

If you are convinced that a political party that has been in charge since 01/01 and has the trust of the majority of the citizens, then by all means treat this as something necessary that will not be screwed up or abused for political purposes.

opps..I retract my statemen... (Below threshold)
Drew E.:

opps..I retract my statement "has the trust of the majority of citizens" I meant to say "has the trust of around 1/3 of the citizens."

Don't forget this is a stor... (Below threshold)
John S:

Don't forget this is a story broken by USA Today, based on "anonymous" sources. None of it has been proven. The big guns like WaPo and NYT have been pounding on these same telephone carriers and have produced nada -- almost as if the USA Today sources don't exist. My gut feeling is USA Today is bluffing much of the story, knowing the MSM and the Dems wouldn't question them. Don't be surprised if those "millions of Americans" turn out to be a couple hundred people making calls to Pakistan.

John S - wishful thinking. ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

John S - wishful thinking. The EFF is all over this.

but you bring up a good point - we don't know all of the facts - and the barking dogs who are convinced that anything and everything that is being done is all legal, and are whining about the concern being expressed are waaaayyyy premature.

There is more to this than just phone records kiddies - and if you want to cover your ears and pretend it isn't happening, feel free. Meanwhile true patriots will push for the investigation as to what our government is doing snooping around in our phone records and internet traffic.

by the way - you're welcome.

Lee, Check the hea... (Below threshold)
John S:

Lee,

Check the headlines. The USA Today story is unraveling as BellSouth denies having provided bulk customer calling information to the NSA (and after a lengthy internal investigation said the agency had never contacted it to do so). So it looks like we're back to allegations of bugging a few dozen (possibly) U.S. citizens whose phone numbers happen to be on al Qaeda's speed dialer. It's going to be pretty hard for the Dems to raise voter furor over that action.

So it looks like we're b... (Below threshold)
Lee:

So it looks like we're back to allegations of bugging a few dozen (possibly) U.S. citizens whose phone numbers happen to be on al Qaeda's speed dialer.

That's a lovely piece of dis-information. AT&T only has a couple of dozen customers? Don't tell their stockholders....

I wrote earlier that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg, and there is a lot of discovery needed.

Glad to hear SWB wasn't involved. We should all look forward to learning more - which companies besides AT&T are involved? - the extent of the data mining? - whether internet browsing and email has been filtered? -- you know - the facts!

Considering the press still... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Considering the press still calls the data mining "eavesdropping" --- you won't be getting facts out of them.
-=Mike

Update: All three carriers ... (Below threshold)
John S:

Update: All three carriers have flatly denied the USA Today story. Looks like another case of "Fake, but accurate" to me.




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