Archive for Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Retiree claims privacy invasion

Border Protection’ opened letter to KU professor

December 20, 2005


A retired Kansas University professor says the federal government has been poking into the mail he receives from abroad.

Grant Goodman on Monday showed the Journal-World a recent letter he had received from a friend in the Philippines; it apparently had been opened, then re-closed with green tape bearing the seal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a message that it had been opened "by Border Protection."

"Very uneasy. And very surprised," Goodman, 81, a KU professor emeritus of history, said of his reaction to the federal snooping. "I never expected to see that."

Goodman's revelation came the same day that President Bush defended his decision to authorize - without permission from Congress or the courts - a secret program to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism.

Goodman said the news about warrantless wiretaps prompted him to go public about his opened mail. He said he had last seen such intrusions during World War II, when as an Army lieutenant he was required to censor the mail of men under his command.

"I don't know why they would censor this kind of mail," he said. "It's amazing."

Grant Goodman says this letter from a friend in the Philippines was opened by a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Goodman, a Kansas University professor emeritus of history, says the government&squot;s actions make him "very uneasy."

Grant Goodman says this letter from a friend in the Philippines was opened by a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Goodman, a Kansas University professor emeritus of history, says the government's actions make him "very uneasy."

The U.S. government has been concerned about the Muslim insurgency in the Philippines, but Goodman said his correspondent - a devoutly Catholic Filipino history professor in her 80s - was an unlikely suspect to be connected to such causes. Goodman declined to reveal her name, saying he feared stirring up trouble for her.

"They were very upset it (warrantless wiretaps) was made public," he said of the government. "They might be upset with this."

The Web site of U.S. Customs and Border Protection says: "The Postal Service sends all foreign mail shipments to CBP for examination."

A spokesman for the agency, which is under the Homeland Security umbrella, said he couldn't speak specifically about Goodman's case.

John Mohan, the spokesman, said he didn't know how often the agency opened mail from abroad. And he wouldn't discuss the criteria for opening letters.

But he said such searches had helped the government protect American lives.

"Obviously," Mohan said, "it's a security thing."


Shardwurm 11 years, 11 months ago

You can have security or you can have privacy.

Pick one.

Rick Aldrich 11 years, 11 months ago

I'd rather read this so called BS on front page, than murders, rapes, shootings, fires, ect. feel lucky to live in such a non violent small city, i do. good work lj world.

average 11 years, 11 months ago

I had letters opened for years. In the early 80s, as a boy, I asked for 'QSL' cards from shortwave broadcasters like Radio Havana and Radio Prague. Got all sorts of fun schwag (Castro trading cards). Mail opened like clockwork, even from western countries (Radio Nederland). I assume I'm still on 'the list'.

candi044 11 years, 11 months ago

Y dont you all care that Dumb Bush has ok for your mail to be opened and read. Invasion of privacy in my world anyone elses? I dont understand why they are saying it helps saves live. Dont they get that people dont even write letter that much anymore if they are going to do something crazy the hold meetings and then blow stuff up. Well that what I get from reading all the news atleast.

c_doc77 11 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, Don, this is front page news. And given the choice between security and privacy, I believe I'll choose privacy. I refuse to live in fear, and loathe and administration who uses fear to justify every misguided action they take.

candi044 11 years, 11 months ago

Shardwurm... just to say a thing or two...what security. 9-11 wouldnt have happned if we had good security. I think our privacy is pretty much all we have.

hottruckinmama 11 years, 11 months ago

someone had to ask if this should be front page news? thats incredible! hll yes it should be front page news! it should be national news. and if people who don't think it should be news had a brain in there head they'd be scared as hll like the rest of us with any common sense!

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

ummm.....another k.u. professor looking for his 15 minutes?

as history shows -more people were killed on sept. 11, 2001, than killed during the japanese attack on pearl harbor, dec. 7, 1941.

...we are at war.

tell_it_like_it_is 11 years, 11 months ago

We need to impeach Bush and Cheney and the sooner the better. Our country is in big trouble if people can be convinced that this type of thing is okay.

acg 11 years, 11 months ago

"Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty, nor safety"--Ben Franklin, 1759

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

i guess bush should round up all the muslims and throw them into concentration camps like FDR did to the japanese during WWII. or, perhaps he should arrest reporters like Abe lincoln.

...and wendt, we are at war with terrorists - not just at war in iraq and afghanistan. the phillipines has a lot of terrorists as well. don't forget the terrorists wanted to hijack airliners on trans-pacific flights from the philippines and fly them into the united states?

so he got his mail read. it isn't like someone went through with a magic marker and started deleting things to censor.

badger 11 years, 11 months ago

And, lunacydetector, being at war somehow justifies the government spying on citizens who aren't violating any laws? Following your theme, how come we haven't put our Arabic citizens into internment camps? If we're comparing 9/11 to Pearl Harbor, why not penalize certain ethnic groups of Americans for the actions of others, as we did then?

Because a lot of decisions this country's made in the name of security have seemed right at the time but turned out to be just plain wrongheaded upon review, that's why, and expecting to catch terrorists this way will be shown to be one of them.

You know, a common theme I heard from the less educated factions of the right-wing populace post 9-11 was 'They hate us because we're free and they're not.'

Well, it looks like President Bush's Administration is taking what steps it can to resolve that disparity. Our phones are tapped, our mail is read, we daren't request a controversial book from interlibrary loan (like, say, Mao's "Little Red Book" for a graduate project on Chinese Communism - I assume you all read about that?) lest we be visited by Homeland Security, decorated war veterans and distinguished members of Congress who speak against the war are derided as 'cowards', and we have to FIGHT in Congress to get our government to admit that torture is wrong and we won't do it.

Yeah, I think that if two history professors are getting their personal mail opened, that is in fact front-page news.

Additionally, it's not 'You can have privacy or security,' it's 'you can have complete security if you give up some of your rights, or you can have your rights if you give up some security,' and I will give up security before my rights. I'll live under threat of terrorism before I'll live under tyranny. I will happily go down fighting if my nation is threatened, but if they gut my Constitution from within, there's nothing here worth defending.

badger 11 years, 11 months ago

blows kisses at wendt's wife

It's because I'm incorrigible, I'm afraid.

I just can't resist the spectre of someone else's domestic dissent, given the tranquility and happiness of my own domestic situation.


hottruckinmama 11 years, 11 months ago

hey topflight...maybe that old man did fight in the war to give everybody those freedoms! did you ever think of that smart*ss? quit being disrespectful! you folks who think this is okay worry me! i think you are all brainwashed.

plainspeaking 11 years, 11 months ago


re-read the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. or take a history course.

Redneckgal 11 years, 11 months ago

Please lets impeach these clowns before it is to late.

jackmofo 11 years, 11 months ago

Somebody needs to put Bush in his freakin place! Imagine if a Democratic President did this crap! The Republicans would have a heart attack.

glockenspiel 11 years, 11 months ago

The US government has been sniffing emails for years. If you are concerned about privacy, thats fine, but don't politicize it when its convenient to advance your own agenda.

To read more, google "carnivore FBI" or visit:

The program recieved much of its use during the Clinton era, but naturally, wasn't given much attention, probably because it wasn't convenient at the time.

topflight 11 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

bthom37 11 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

badger 11 years, 11 months ago

You know, before I start hearing one 'i' word (impeachment), I'd really like to hear a different 'i' word thrown around a lot more, and that word is 'investigation.'

Several members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have called for an investigation into President Bush's domestic use of intelligence and surveillance. I'd like to see that, because the changes in the law the (*^&#^$%) Patriot Act has brought about mean that I don't entirely follow the trail of FISA violations or non-violations, Homeland Security authorizations, and NSA loopholes I'm being bombarded with.

I think that something inappropriate has gone on, but that it will take a more legally apt head than mine to really sit down and decide if the 'inappropriate' crossed into 'illegal.'

We have rights and laws and procedures for stepping outside of the standard applications of law, and in the case of recent intelligence disclosures, there seems to be some dispute over whether he has broken the law.

Just as, ten years ago, I wanted to know if Bill Clinton had committed perjury and broken the law, today I want to know if President Bush has violated the laws that govern his ability to investigate his own citizens.

You can rail all you like about how "OMG WE HAVE TO CATCH THE TERRORISTS WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA AND SUPPORT THE TERRORISTS?" but when it comes right down to it, if we don't follow our own laws in protecting our country, what sort of an example of government are we providing? We claim to be bringing the light of democracy and freedom to others, but I'm not sure it's meaningful to 'bring democracy' when our example of 'democracy and freedom' means that our rights and freedoms can be suspended at any time our government finds doing so (with the justification that it's for our own safety) more convenient than the due processes laid out in our code of laws.

christie 11 years, 11 months ago

The government has no business keeping tabs on people because they believe one thing or another. I have no problem with the Government going after the bad guys but a bunch of Quakers being monitored because they oppose the war is b.s.

I oppose the War in Iraq ( not Afghanistan ), so am I now on the Governments Enemy List? I can now be quickly rounded up and shot.

This is what the stir is about. The government not only monitors but keeps a list of people who oppose the war. Where is the data. Who has it. How will it be used. Will it be destroyed. Inquiring minds want to know.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 11 months ago

I think it is HUGE news that a "nobody" can't even get mail from abroad without someone snooping. Wake up, people: there are SIGNIFICANT changes taking place in these present days. Our understanding of what "freedom" is is being changed, but those changes are not being challenged.

Me? I'm willing to exchange some security in order to maintain my freedoms.

It should be clear to us that Osama as "won" his holy war. Bush says Osama wants to destroy America. He HAS destroyed America (how does one say "mission accomplished" in Arabic?) by making us so fearful of him that WE are willing to destroy the very things that make this a great, strong country. Our democracy has been hamstrung by our fear. Do you remember "We have nothing to fear but fear itself"? Because we are living in constant fear of the terrorists who want to kill us, we are killing ourselves, slowly, by being so accepting of the gradual erosion of our freedoms. We are now a country defined by fear, not by freedom.

This is news people. The fact that some of you cannot see how important this is really, really concerns me.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 11 months ago

Christie said "I can now be quickly rounded up and shot."

Calm down, hon. I don't think we are QUITE there yet.

bthom37 11 years, 11 months ago


I'm not saying Echelon did not exist; I'm simply saying that posting stuff from newsmax as your source reduces your credibility about as much as claiming the knowledge was shot into your brain by laserbeams from Neptune.

Note: same applies to dailykos.

Kathleen Christian 11 years, 11 months ago

Amen Acg I warned people 5 years ago when Bush was running for President that not only would he start a war but will and is beginning WWIII. He is pitting neighbor against neighbor, taking away American Freedoms - He is Lucifer in disguise. I can't stand that smirky smile he wears because behind it I only see deviance. Bush is not for the working class Americans - the ones who do most of the building, living and dying in this country. He is for the rich, oil tycoons - his buddies and that includes the Bin Laden family. I turn Bush off when he comes on TV - I can't listen to a liar. I just hope I can hold my breathe long enough for him to get out of office - and pray to the Almighty that he or his cronies don't vote in one of their other butt buddies.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

i guess some people can't figure out a sarcastic comment with my previous post regarding incarcerating muslims like FDR (a democrat) did during WWII and like Abe Lincoln (a republican that history professors now claim to be more like a democrat than republican) did by jailing reporters during the civil war.

clinton did in fact use echelon.

capitulating to terrorists must be more important to the liberals than beating terrorists wanting to spread their taliban cruelty. liberals keep promoting the taliban, and i just can't understand it. liberals say one thing - even accusing conservatives of being the christian taliban - then in the same breath, try to circumvent any means to keep the real taliban (terrorists) in check. first there is the talk from liberal congressmen and women that we have lost the war in iraq -when in fact we are winning because i know personally. then, these same people want to put a time line on our liberation of iraq/afghanistan (in other words, they want to play war just like they did during vietnam where they wouldn't let the military do its job), now they don't want the united states government to investigate through intelligence terrorist organizations overseas who communicate with u.s. citizens. the anti-war demonstrators say they support the troops but at the same time call our military criminals. how blind can the so-called open minded people be? if it wasn't for the military, the liberals wouldn't have a right to speak about anything because we would no longer be a federal republic.

badger 11 years, 11 months ago

"capitulating to terrorists must be more important to the liberals than beating terrorists wanting to spread their taliban cruelty. liberals keep promoting the taliban, and i just can't understand it. liberals say one thing - even accusing conservatives of being the christian taliban - then in the same breath, try to circumvent any means to keep the real taliban (terrorists) in check."

OK, I'll take this 'Liberal = Taliban' thing with a little logical analysis.

Let's see...some common Taliban objectives:

Repression of sexual expression - not particularly near and dear to liberals.

Decrease in the availability of medical care for women - Also not really a liberal goal.

Desecularization of schools and public organizations - Nope, liberals don't do this either.

Institution of a theocratic oligarchy - liberals can spell 'theocratic oligarchy', but they sure don't want one.

Reduction in the number of female professionals - Nope, again not so much a liberal goal.

Removal of womens' rights to vote, own property, attend college, run businesses, and leave their houses - I think NOW, a remarkably liberal organization, would probably declare feminist jihad if anyone suggested it.

Abolition of laws protecting victims of domestic abuse - since liberals wrote and passed most of them, I doubt they'd get behind this one.

Penalties for homosexuality up to and including death - liberals only support this for those the Fashion Police deem the most eggregious violators of the laws of Good Taste.

I see that in fact it was probably just a flippant and meaningless remark, not a real analysis or reasonable comparison. Detector, find thyself.

How, precisely, is it capitulating to terrorists to DEMAND that my Bill of Rights be honored and respected? Hundreds of thousands if not millions of people through history, from the Revolutionary War onward, have died to defend those principles. They didn't die to keep us safe, they died to keep us free, and if I give up one iota of what they gave their lives for in the name of giving in to my fear, then I disrespect their memories.

My father once told me, as I criticized my 'stupid' President (Reagan) that my right to free speech was at the expense of the lives of others, and I better not forget it. In his words, "Never shrink from speaking against your government when it is wrong, but remember that every thing you say is steeped in the blood of those who believed with their lives in your right to say it, and make those words worth what was spent on them."

I have it on my bathroom mirror.

coach 11 years, 11 months ago

They should check the mail. Thats all.

chicklet 11 years, 11 months ago

i fail to see how invasion of privacy has stopped ANY "terrorists" from attacking america.

didn't the 9/11 commission say the country was doing basically NOTHING in the way of security?

ksmattfish 11 years, 11 months ago

Benjamin Franklin said it best

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

badger 11 years, 11 months ago


Was Echelon legal?

That's the concern I have, not that Bush used intelligence agencies against Americans, but that he may have broken the law to do it.

There remains question, and until that question is resolved, I shall continue to poke at people about it. Folks on both sides of the aisle are questioning the legality of the wiretaps and the powers President Bush has claimed under the Patriot Act, and that gives me pause enough that I don't accept the administration's, "It was all OK, don't worry about it," at face value.

So, if Echelon was legal, shut up about it and admit that it's acceptable to object to the government breaking its own laws.

If Echelon wasn't legal, then the Clinton Administration deserved exactly this level of scrutiny.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

from 1982!!!

David Burnham, The New York Times, writes:

Washington, Nov 6 --- A Federal appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe they Americans are foreign agents, and then provide summaries of these messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

...i rest my case.

dviper 11 years, 11 months ago

Some of the first posted comments about this newspaper article questioned its newsworthiness. I don't have a problem one way or the other about it being published.

Both Democratic and Republican presidents have used covert spying both domestically and internationally for many years. That fact has rarely made the front page or lead story of the news. From a political perspective, the president is 'roasted' by political operatives and media no matter what action he takes. How many times after 9-11 did I read and hear news reports that our federal government and president failed by not being proactive and establishing intelligence gathering means that could better protect Americans?

Most important is the factual accuracy of all news, and how and when it is published. Ultimately people are going to believe what they want to believe, and hopefully the mainstream public can decide what to believe without swallowing the Medias' version fully, partially, and sometimes not at all.

Poll after poll has shown for years the distrust of the American people of its news media. That includes not only TV news, but also newspapers and news magazines. In 1990 the distrust factor in the media was at 70%. A poll (may have been CNN) about 8 weeks ago showed that number now at 79%.

And one last note, for those readers new to Lawrence, the LJW is a Liberal newspaper run by and owned by a company that has always shown a Liberal bias. Nothing new here, nor the published timing of this article. Thank goodness, the LJW is not a radical Liberal newspaper like the NY Times or LA Times. Lawrence has enough radical Liberals and Conservatives to keep the LJW publishing news articles forever. But there are plenty of us moderate Liberals and Conservatives around here. And don't get discouraged by some of the prodigious posters on this site, who think they are experts on everything.

People::..Think:::Analyze:::.and determine your own opinion.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

here is everything you ever wanted to know about eavesdropping- Echelon (without the highlights). looks like nobody is getting their rights violated.

monkeyspunk 11 years, 11 months ago

Echelon was NOT illegal b/c it involved spying on FOREIGN nationals and their communications abroad, NOT spying on American citizens, which is what the current administration is doing. Atleast that is how I understand it from what I have read. Could be wrong ofcourse.

As a conservative, I would like to be the first to tell my fellow conservatives to STOP justifying actions of this president with the actions of a president you hate! Honestly, how can you talk smack on Slick Willy, and then go ahead and justify something Dubya does with something the former moron did? Two wrongs don't make a...oh hell why bother.

And, Wendt, FYI, Roosevelt did have business dealings with the Japanese before Pearl Harbor. America was selling the Japanese our scrap metal, which they in turn used to create battleships that broke International regulations. ALSO, during the McCarthy Era, there were KGB and other Eastern bloc agents operating inside the United States, they had been since before the first world war. McCarthy's paranoia was well founded, as agents working in the US were consistently sending information to the Soviets. Oh and for someone that constantly cries 'ad hominem' when someone insults you, you sure do enough of it yourself...

Bob Forer 11 years, 11 months ago

What should also be front page news is the fact that there are wingnut rightwing idiots out there such as DonQuipunch who have no idea at all about the great tradition of American Demoracy and Constitutuional freedoms and how the Bush administration is enroaching on those freedoms with publicity stunts and empty ideological campaigns such as his "war on terror."

compmd 11 years, 11 months ago

As we have seen, Echelon was legal. As far as retention of data goes, Echelon wouldn't record until a trigger word was spoken; it was a passive scanner.

Arminius, I thought it was kind of funny that you cited NewsMax for this topic. There are 32 individual advertisements on the page you reference, and each of them is tagged with the Urchin tracking system. Just by going to that website, there was probably more data collected than Echelon ever collected about you. This may not be true if you repeatedly used the words "assassination" and "president" on the phone though.

For all you paranoid folks that think the government is reading all your electronic correspondence, its really not that hard to use encryption, so use it. And no, the government is not breaking your encryption. You need a few lessons in mathematics if you think that.

glockenspiel 11 years, 11 months ago

"You stupid, ignorant, conservative right-wing, close-minded, racist, Christian fundies...Bush..consipracy...greed...corrupt..."

A typical liberal's answer when confronted by a view other than their own agenda.

badger 11 years, 11 months ago


Let me paraphrase my sentence and clarify the pronouns and references:

If Echelon was legal, then shut up about it (Echelon, with references to comparison with the Bush Administrations possibly illegal surveillance) and admit that it's acceptable (for the people questioning the legality of what President Bush did, which remains open to question) to object to the (concept of) the government breaking its own laws (it still hasn't been established that recently disclosed spying was in accordance with FISA, though President Bush says it was - because it's not generally accepted to take the word of someone accused of committing a crime that the action was legal based on his interpretation of what is legal, instead of having an appropriately impartial legal entity scrutinize the process and verify the legality of the action).

In other words, it's now been stated that Echelon was legal. Therefore, though I don't like it, I can't condemn Clinton for doing it - because he didn't break the law. I can lobby to have the laws that allowed it changed, and let my elected representatives know just how displeased I am about it, but it isn't legally or ethically inappropriate for the government to have done what it did.

Both Dems and Republicans have stated that the recently disclosed domestic use of intelligence may not be in accordance with FISA procedures, which (among other things) allow for a wiretap to be issued without a warrant, so long as the FISA entity is informed within 72 hours. Until the legality of what was done is established, my argument is less about the legalized invasions of my privacy (to which I strenuously object, and regarding which I've written frequent letters to my elected representatives), but about the abuses of the legal process that this country is based on, in the name of safety and security.

Consequently, if it's established by a legal entity with authority to determine the legality of the President's actions (like, say, a Congressional investigation) that this domestic spying was legal, then it compares to Echelon, and a lot of us will shut up about it. But if it's determined that it wasn't legal, it bears no relation to legally sanctioned domestic surveillance at all.

It is precisely the notion of, "I don't have to do what's legal if I'm doing what I think is right," that I have the problem with.

In the case reported here, I'm bothered because I don't know that the law really allows any and all foreign correspondence to or from specific nations to be opened without any further criteria established as to its likelihood of terrorist involvement. I think there are criteria, and that there is a possibility that this particular letter may not have met any of them.

tell_it_like_it_is 11 years, 11 months ago

Who cares what Clinton did? He's been out of office for years now. We are talking about the here and now. And frankly your boy has done 10 times more to get impeached then Clinton ever did anyway.

badger 11 years, 11 months ago


I get the impression you're utterly wrong, and that you don't actually read what people say, just fill in what you expect based on whether they fit in a 'liberal' or 'conservative' pigeonhole for you.


If Clinton did it and it was legal, it was legal whether I think it was right or not. I can still object, but to the law that allows it, not the person who chose to use it. If Clinton did it and it was illegal, he deserves the full scrutiny of the law and consequences for breaking same (for example, if he'd perjured himself and been impeached or something). If Bush did it and it was legal, then it was legal whether I think it was right or not. I can still object, but to the law that allows it, not to the person that chose to use it. If Bush did it and it was illegal, then he deserves the full scrutiny of the law and consequences for breaking same.

I'm not really sure how I can simplify this any more for you. Let me try shorter sentences:

Clinton + legal act = Thing badger doesn't particularly like but can't oppose Clinton for. Clinton + illegal act = Thing badger feels Clinton should have been punished for according to law Bush + legal act = Thing badger doesn't particularly like but can't oppose Bush for. Bush + illegal act = Thing badger feels Bush should be punished for according to law.

Echelon = apparently legal act according to informational sites posted here and a couple of others

Recently disclosed domestic intelligence gathering = act of indeterminate legality being debated across party lines = something I support a Congressional investigation to determine, instead of playing armchair Constitutional law expert on the Internet

Does that clear it up for you?

I'm a moderate.


Please add a third pigeonhole to your way of thinking.

badger 11 years, 11 months ago


OK, you have to be someone's group anthropology project or something, Arminius.


Thanks for the midday laugh, though. That's a pretty good one.

Yes, Virginia, there are moderates.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 11 months ago


My keyboard can BEAT up your keyboard.

I should have stayed in lurk.

tell_it_like_it_is 11 years, 11 months ago

Oh forget it! Arminius is the type who would vote for a rabid stray dog walking down the street if you dressed it up and called it a republican. You can't reason with those kind of folks. In fact they are so blinded by the right you have to feel kind of sorry for them.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

From the N.Y. Times, 1982

Washington, Nov 6 --- A Federal appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe the Americans are foreign agents, and then provide summaries of these messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

....much adoodoo about nothin'

Bobo Fleming 11 years, 11 months ago

Goodman was my Asian History prof. He was a great prof and there is no possible way that he could be dangerous to anyone except possibly to my gradepoint average. Homeland Sec needs to get a life and go after some really bad guys. They are wasteing their time with Goodman.

Bob Forer 11 years, 11 months ago

Is your agenda so flimsy that you have to revert to exaggerations, assumptions and name-calling to make it? Represent, little Democrat. Represent.

My answer: Yes, because that's all you dumb ignorant f** wingnuts understand.

raine 11 years, 11 months ago

the end does not or ever justify the means.. at least in my eyes.. and a true man or woman of God does not fall into a bunch of lies. funny but on most of the real issues that concern us americans there isn't a big dividing factor. i think we all want the ability to pursue the American dream and that would include any of our immigrating new family members here.. it seems to me(although this will possibly be to simple for the comprehension of ones so learned ..) that if you would stop focusing on who's right and who's wrong that a truce could be called.
oh wendt don't mean to offend but i am with your wife, badger approaches his opinions with grace and reasoning.. he doesn't seem to have an agenda against anyone here..:) peace btw~ i am all for the homeland security folding up and going away.. i value our freedoms..

Bob Forer 11 years, 11 months ago

thank you. I thought iit was highly appropriate for the circumstances and the audience.

Jay_Z 11 years, 11 months ago

Good lord I enjoy reading the train wreck you liberals create when you try to debate something. Your nonsensical, contradictory arguments are hysterical to me. The LJ World just feeds your ignorance.

glockenspiel 11 years, 11 months ago

My answer: Yes, because that's all you dumb ignorant f** wingnuts understand.

Thanks for proving my point above.


badger 11 years, 11 months ago

Arminius asked:


On what issues to your views differ from most Liberals?"

All right, time to alienate some on the left...

  1. I support smaller government in truth, including the notion that welfare ought not to be a lifetime vocation, and that "spend less" is a much better answer to a budget crisis than "tax rich people some more," because there comes a certain point of taxation at which you're discouraging people from becoming prosperous.

  2. I don't oppose religious displays on public property (with the exception of putting the Ten Commandments in a courtroom, because the first three present some problems - however, anyone who wants to put up 4-10, which are fairly universal codes, has my support), including a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn if someone wants to put it up without spending tax dollars.

  3. If kids want to pray in school, I say let them, just don't force them.

  4. I believe that Bill Clinton committed perjury and broke the law, and that it doesn't matter whether or not the line of inquiry was valid; he should not have lied under oath and there is no justification or rationalization that can make it OK for him to have done so.

  5. I think parental consent for abortion, just the same as any other major surgery, is a necessity for minors.

  6. I think that social programming needs to spend a lot more time encouraging people to take charge and responsibility in their lives, and a lot less time letting them tell themselves they're victims of the system.

  7. I think affirmative action is a racist and unfair policy that has outlived its usefulness, and that any racially, sexually, or ethnically based criteria for admission and employment will just continue to perpetuate stereotypes and division.

  8. I think that the use of military force is occasionally necessary, and that the judicious use of military force can accomplish things that that diplomacy and sanctions cannot.

  9. I think that education will benefit more from returning the power of discipline to teachers that it will from just throwing more money at the classrooms. My other thought with education is that I don't particularly care about your little darling's self-esteem; if he can't read at the second-grade level, he doesn't go to the third grade.

  10. I would probably prefer to emigrate to a Third World country rather than live in a nation of which Hilary Clinton was President. Same for just about a third of the field putting itself in the running for the Democratic nomination.

  11. I believe that one of the top three priorities of government is to keep the economy strong, because a strong economy is the best prevention for the welfare state.

  12. In 2000, I supported McCain over not only the entire Republican field, but also over the Democratic field in toto.

There's more, but I figure 12 points is a good start.

Boxcar_Bobby85 11 years, 11 months ago

Bravo Badger. I think your moderate credentials are now beyond question. And the really funny thing is most Americans agree, more or less with the majority of the points you outlined. It's just that you'll never convince those with ideologically oriented outlooks (from either end of the political spectum) that you're not just "wishy- washy". It's very sad indeed.

badger 11 years, 11 months ago

You missed the point again.

You didn't ask me what defines a moderate.

You asked how I differed from liberals, because it was your contention that I was just a liberal ashamed to face the label. I answered that question; I wasn't defining what it means to be moderate. Please don't misrepresent me; while your consistence in doing so is somewhat comforting, the act itself is becoming tiresome.

For a test of your own moderate-ness, tell me how you differ from the conservative party line. Everyone here knows you're no liberal.

There is no one definition of 'moderate', sparky. 'Moderate' just means that you stand to the left roughly as often as you stand to the right on things. There's left-leaning moderates, and right-leaning moderates, and strict middle moderates. I'm slightly left of center.

I am a fiscal conservative, a social liberal, and a governmental pragmatist. Ergo, I fit into neither party's particular platform. If someone who held the exact opposite opinions as I on every known issue from abortion to zebra mussels asked me how I'd describe him, I'd have to say he was a slightly right-leaning moderate.

'Moderate' is just the word for those of us who don't fit any one pigeonhole, usually for one of two reasons:

  1. We've thought through the complex issues thoroughly, and have not found satisfactory answers in the agendas of either political party, and so we seek compromise by trying to find the most reasonable course for the nation as a whole to proceed.

  2. We have no vested interest, no opinion, or no concern regarding the issue under discussion. Either a left-leaning or right-leaning solution would be satisfactory.

Either way, we're most likely to be the ones looking for a workable compromise, trying to get the left and the right to cool their posturing and stop throwing poo.

HUB 11 years, 11 months ago

I will leave the national security to the people who know what they are doing, and they are not the people who post on here all day long. I imagine it is difficult protecting the millions of americans who reside in this great country. I also imagine it is easy to second guess those who work so hard to protect us.

P.S> To the genius who quoted Ben Franklin. How many planes were flown into buildings during his time, was there the internet back then, How many thousands of people were there to protect.....different circumstances????????????

badger 11 years, 11 months ago


Let's try the answer again. I'll rephrase and put in lots of examples, like pictures, so perhaps you can understand it. If you still don't get it, I'll try again with smaller words and sentences.

There is no one true definition of 'moderate.' They are not defining themselves incorrectly, and neither am I.

Not all people who consider themselves moderate will agree on all issues (is there another way I can say this to help you understand it? I've tried several different ones). I do agree on a lot of other issues with people who consider themselves moderate. You'll notice there's nothing on my list about gay marriage, the overall legality of abortion, decriminalization of certain drugs, environmental legislation, flag burning, the NEA, the NRA, the NSA, alternative energy research, AIDS privacy rules, and about a thousand other topics. Some I lean right on, some I lean left, but since assuming would be futile without knowing me, you'd actually have to ask my opinion to know which way I lean on it.

So there's a Mainstream Coalition. They don't speak for all moderates any more than Log Cabin Republicans speak for the entire Republican Party, any more than Ted Kennedy speaks for all Democrats.

Political opinion is a spectrum, with extreme conservativism on all economic and social issues at one end, and complete liberalism on all economic and social issues at the other. If you used a Kinsey-type scale with 1 as the far right and 10 as the far left, most people would be between 3 and 8 somewhere. Between 5 and 6 you'd find the most evenly balanced of the moderates, and between 4 and 7 you'd find most of the people who describe themselves as moderate.

The fact that you can't perceive a non-binary political spectrum isn't particularly surprising, but it does make this discussion pretty unproductive to continue.

Lori_Price_CLG 11 years, 10 months ago

Let the treason trials (of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove) begin!

"We want either a hammer or a fire, to break the spell or dissolve the ice." Artisan radical freethinker, George Jacob Holyoake, Reasoner V (1848): 2.


Lori R. Price Gen. Mgr. Citizens For Legitimate Government

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