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    « Morning Joe 2/18/2013 -- Master of Strawmen | Main | Up with Chris Hayes 2/16/2013 : The President's Agenda »

    Up with Chris Hayes 2/17/2013 -- Different aspects of State power

    On Up with Chris Hayes, the show started with a discussion related to a US military vet, Saddiq Long, who converted to Islam and moved to Egypt, or somewhere in that region. When Long tried to visit his sick mother recently in the states, he was told that his name is on the no-fly list. Long finally got permission to visit his mother, but, despite preparations made by his lawyer with the FBI for a smooth return home to his familiy and job, the vet, Long, has been prevented from flying back home. No one in the FBI will tell him why he's on the no-fly list.

    So, the discussion revolved around the need for US authorities to know if terrorists are flying, balanced against lists maintained by bureacracies for years, getting out of control, resulting in violations of individual rights. James Poulos was on the show, and he addressed the problem of bureacracy and lack of oversight and information regarding such "lists". Ben Jealous, of the NAACP, related the problem to profiling, while others looked at the problem for different angles. This problem will continue to get worse as we trade liberty for safety. No doubt many Americans will say that the trade off is worth it, but at some point, when these violations begin affecting more and more Americans, and they experience what Saddiq Long is experiencing, there will be a backlash. We can only hope that the backlash doesn't come too late. It's also true, though, that we don't know if Long is legitimately on the list because of terrorist connections, but the point is that the FBI should come forth with information, and if Long is a threat to national security, then why did they let him fly to the US -- why haven't they questioned him regarding terrorist activity? There are already many known mistakes with the no fly list, and as Hayes brought up, with background checks being proposed for gun control, violations of rights will likely get worse not better. Poulos called it people control, not flying control or gun control. When authorities can jerk people around with no offered justifications, no process that protects our rights, then we're in trouble. We're in trouble.

    Hayes went on to discuss climate change, and I won't argue climate change because I don't know enough about the history of scientific findings to dispute anyone with authority. I've read contradicting accounts regarding how much man can be blamed for changes in the climate. This is something I have committed to study this year, so that I can square the evidence with my libertarian viewpoints. I had one big problem with what Hayes said, though, when he denigrated the importance of deficits to elevate the importance of climate change. Hayes said no one knows what the defict was in 1950 or 1929, because it doesn't matter, they are just numbers, but carbon is going into the atmosphere and causing real damage. Why Hayes would advocate denial of important economic information that can have a devasting impact on people, especially those without power that he professes to care about, is beyond me. Both the implications and causes of high deficits are important, and they are not made less important because climate change is important. Deficits, per se, are just numbers, but they indicate causes, and these causes are related to the health of economy, the power of our government, and our foreign policy.

    When countries like Germany denied the economic health of their nation, and then when economic events careened out of control, much human suffering followed -- the same happend in the Soviet Union, Ancient Rome, Great Britain, and many other countries, nations and empires throughout history. Deficits are signals, and they tell us something important about our economy and our system of government -- they do matter. I don't think Hayes meant it as it sounded, or maybe he did, but it's just as closeminded and ignorant to deny economic signals, signals that tell us a lot about the health of our economy and government, as it is to deny signals related to climate change.

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