An open Society

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Pinto, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. Pinto macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I suppose at least they are getting a trial.
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #2
    Re: An open Society

    and i'm sure it'll be fair :rolleyes:

    does this sit well with _anyone_?
     
  3. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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  4. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #4
    I really hope we don't end up looking back at this period of the history of our judicial system with the same collective sense of shame we feel when we look at the interning of thousands of Japanese-Americans.
     
  5. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #5
    This is one of those deals where I guess I'm all over the spectrum of opinion. Fundamentally, I don't like secrecy in any governmental doings other than obvious national security.

    I had a Top Secret clearance while in the Army, during my two years in Paris. I was a typewriter jockey, a documents control clerk.

    I'd pick up a Paris "Tribune" at the news stand on the way to the office. There would be a story, say, "Russian submarine sighted SW of Malta." I'd see a Secret document saying, "Enemy submarine sighted at coordinates yadayada." I'd later see a Top Secret document saying, "Russian submarine sighted at coordinates yadayada." IOW, I'm cynical about some aspects of "national security". Too much overuse for coverup.

    It seems to me that it should be reasonably obvious about "turning" some Bad Guy. He either is or is not a candidate for that. If not, no secrecy is needed beyond some of the early days of detention...A caveat is that holding somebody incognito while searching for cohorts is reasonable, if said cohorts might flee the country if they know their associate has been arrested.

    But secrecy in judicial proceedings? Not Good.

    'Rat
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #6
    i hope we _do_. it's just as shameful and i'd feel better about my country if we realize, at some point, how badly we messed up.
     
  7. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #7
    SFAIK, there was neither evidence nor probable cause, insofar as internment of the Japanese-Americans. That's not the case with this present problem. There is some amount of probable cause or evidence. It's not the incarceration as such; it's the secrecy surrounding it. Worse, the secrecy in the judicial process.

    'Rat
     
  8. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    but we don't _know_ that, either in these specific cases, or (shudder) any future ones. the problem is, as you pointed out, the secrecy.

    authority w/o accountability is a scary thing indeed.
     
  9. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #9
    "authority w/o accountability is a scary thing indeed."

    You may focus on this WOT stuff, but that statement holds true for EPA, OSHA, and all the other alphabet agencies. HUD can put the shaft to you just as easily as Ashcroft's folks.

    'Rat
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #10
    point taken, though i'd argue that the operations of those other agencies are a lot more transparent, both to the general public and to congress.
     
  11. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #11
    zim, I'd just as soon not totally hijack a thread over it, but regardless of any transparency, going to jail on specious nonsense is bad--no matter which agency does it to you.

    'Rat
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know when the last time HUD put someone behind bars? Or the EPA? OSHA? AFAIK, those agencies mostly fine people, and inneffectually at that.

    And it's never secret. Except when they meet with Cheney.:p
     
  13. coolsoldier macrumors 6502

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    #13
    The trouble...

    Secrecy is a problem, not because it makes the case illegitimate, but because we have absolutely no way of ever knowing if the case was legitimate. Allowing secrecy is an open invitation to those in power to abuse the power they have, because we will have no way of knowing if they are doing anything wrong...
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    mac, I know of two cases where EPA has sent a couple of guys to "barbed wire city".

    One was in New Jersey. With a game warden's advice and approval, a guy had some three truckloads of fill dirt dumped across a small marshy area to create a duck pond. EPA decided to push this "wetlands despoliation" case; the guy did six months.

    In (IIRC) Tennessee, a man bought some land adjacent to a river. Away from the river and adjacent to this land, there had once been some sort of chemical facility. EPA discovered seepage into the river. Since it emanated from the new purchaser's land, he was ordered to stop the seepage. He didn't have the money to do this. (Estimated at some $300,000.) He wound up doing three years.

    'Rat
     
  15. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #15
    So the only examples you know are ones where the landowner was blameless and the big old nasty government came in and made an example of them?

    I wonder if there is another side to either of those stories....
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #16
    i think the bigger point is: at least we _do_ know of them.
     
  17. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #17
    I gotta say that the first instance was probably about right. If he didn't get permits and/or zoning variances from the local government to do what he did, it doesn't matter if GW Bush himself thought it was a good idea, he shouldn't have done it and got a bit (perhaps too much) of punishment.

    The second case sound fishy. I'd like to see a link to that case. AFAIK, the guy could have made some reasonable defense against this sort of thing. At the very least, he could have forfeited the land to rid himself of the problem.
     
  18. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #18
    We need to enforce the laws on the books right? I mean, thats what the NRA keeps saying.;)
     
  19. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #19
    "If he didn't get permits and/or zoning variances from the local government to do what he did..."

    Huh? Who sez this was needed? The guy wanted to make the world better for ducks, on his own land, out in the boonies.

    Ranchers have been building stock ponds for their cattle since long before I was born. Same sort of process, same sort of locations. Can make for excellent fishing, too.

    You think maybe we should have permits for just breathing?

    'Rat
     
  20. coolsoldier macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Comparing breathing to building a pond--
    Bad comparison. The guy didn't need to build a duck pond to live ;)

    Requiring a permit for that sort of thing just makes sure that people don't do stupid things. You can never count on "some guy" to be smart. Think of it as a counter-stupidity method :D.
     
  21. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #21
    Possibly. If your breathing affects someones property, or health somehow.

    I hope that's not the case however!;)

    Oh and I'm just guessing, but does "making the world better for ducks" mean shooting them in part?
     
  22. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #22
    Come on now, that's a bit of an over-reaction.

    "I'll just build a refinery in my parents' backyard. So what if it's zoned residential?

    Just trying to make a buck, y'know. Next thing you know, breathing will be outlawed!"

    Don't be silly.

    Zoning ordinances, fire codes, building codes and the permit system have been around for a long time. Breaking them is a serious violation of the law.

    Terraforming is not something to be taken lightly. It can destroy acres of other people's property. I've seen it done wrong, and it ruined an entire stream for a few miles.

    If you want a new pool but hit a gas main digging it because you didn't get clearance from the utilities and a permit from your township, don't you agree that you've broken the law and should pay dearly?
     
  23. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #23
    I don't think it's an overreaction to him Pseudo. It's the same slippery slope that conservatives seem to fear, namely that if you give the government a little bit of control, it will take control of everything. Registering your guns will get them taken away. Regulate land use and all of a sudden you need a permit to breath. It's a common tactic.

    Restricting what you can and can't do on/with your land is not the same as taking it away from you.
     
  24. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #24
    I'd appreciate it if folks didn't push the envelope to extremes. I mentioned, specifically, a duck-pond sized deal. I gave a common example of somewhat larger projects that are commonly accepted practice. I did not bring up large dams or projects which could "destroy acres of other people's property".

    I spent eleven years working in a state regulatory agency. Since way back before WW II, the law in Texas about reservoirs is that if the capacity is over 100 acre-feet, you need a state permit. But our engineers didn't go out and worry over whether or not a small reservoir might just be too much over 75 or 80 acre-feet...(Most of the projects are in the tens of thousands of acre-feet, and I was involved in the designs of over a dozen thereof.)

    My gripe is not with regulation. It is against regulation enforced in really-weird manner. And, to some extent I have a gripe with those who'd have it believed that regulatory weirdlies are rare. They're not.
     
  25. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #25
    'Rat, ad absurdum is a useful tool, so don't get too infuriated when people push your theories to the edge of the envelope.

    And I know regulatory weirdness occurs often. My biggest gripe is with those who feel it's easier to ask forgivness than permission. There have been a couple of prime examples around here lately, one involving a golf course and another involving a Home Depot (neither of which are small projects). In both of these cases, the owners did things behind the regulators backs, then stalled and greased palms and generally Did Bad until they got something close to the permit that they would never have been able to get had they gone the legal route. I would like to see the laws applied to them in the same manner as the duck farmer (who you never did say if he was shooting those ducks;)). Inconsistency in how the law is applied is bad, but ignorance of the law is no defense, as I'm sure you would agree. If the regulation says get permission before you make a duck pond, you better go do it or risk the consequences!

    From what you said, it sounds like you think the duck farmer got the shaft for some reason other than flaunting the law. What other reason would the gov't have had to go after him? Did he piss someone in a high place off?
     

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