Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Terror Watch List Finally Reined In (bloomberg.com)
81 points by Anon84 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 55 comments

After only 17 years or so. The watch list was unconstitutional on its face, there were no criteria how to get on it, and no no-opaque way to get off it (violating the petition for redress of grievances clause). It was also un-American in spirit. Secret lists enforced by secret police in secret. Rubbish. George Washington would be ashamed.

>It was also un-American in spirit. Secret lists enforced by secret police in secret.

So like Hoover's, McCarthy's, and so on? What's more American than that?!

What's most disturbing is that it took 17 years. And whatever it is in the culture that uses liberty to zealously oppose regulation of fire arms and corporations but lets this stand for almost a generation. It'd be interesting to learn how these priorities came about.

> And whatever it is in the culture that uses liberty to zealously oppose regulation of fire arms and corporations but lets this stand for almost a generation.

I think if you talked to the people who opposed firearm regulation (not their representatives, not a media portrayal, and not some vocal minority), you would find that most also opposed this watch list. Hence the existence of the NRA, the EFF and the ACLU.

>not their representatives

Right, so why do these people let themselves be represented by those figures?

I have the same question for the vast majority of the conservative voter base.

Why does anyone end up represented by any imperfect person? That question is just as applicable on both sides of the political spectrum. If you're American, why did you let yourself be represented by President Trump?

I like Trump better than the alternative, and history has agreed.

We have record low unemployment for Blacks and Hispanics. Retirement accounts (401ks) are fat, good news for retirees. We have had rising wages for the working class for the first time in many years.

That's why I let myself be represented by President Trump. He isn't perfect, but he's done very well for most of America.

> history has agreed

I'm not sure where you get that idea. A 2018 poll of political scientists ranked him dead last, and a 2018 poll of presidential scholars ranked him third-to-last:


I meant the excellent economic statistics.

Let's give it a little time, then see how he is ranked.

He was also handed an economy with all those trajectories, the best a President has been given in decades. Wait to see how his run ends to see how his policies are working.

He’s also seen record foreclosures on farmers as his trade war has killed markets for them, US manufacturing shrank for the first time in a decade [1] due to cost increases from Trump trade war.

He’s also added to the deficit, heading towards 1 trillion annually, in a good economy when it wasn’t needed.

[1] https://fortune.com/2019/08/22/us-manufacturing-sector-shrin...

About the trajectories, that makes it all the more impressive, doesn't it?

It's easier to show growth (improved metrics in unemployment, positive changes in wage growth, higher stock market) after a crash, right? When things are bottomed out, it's not so difficult to show improvements (after the initial proper steps are taken.) Along those lines-- I do give Obama credit for making the right moves immediately after the crash. He just ran out of ideas after a few years, thus the 'jobless recovery'.

But after things are improved for a while, then it gets harder to make incremental improvements.

If you're walking, it's not hard to change to running. But if you're already running, it can be pretty hard to move faster.

About giving it some time to evaluate, I agree this is a good idea.

It’s not more impressive when a significant part of his problems are self made. There’s a reason trade wars are not fought, and protectionism has (had) died out. It empirically has been demonstrated to cost an economy many multiples of any hoped for benefits. This is Econ 101. The US was last this dumb with Smoot-Hawley, and we’d learned our lesson for almost 100 years.

Next, instead of paying down the debt, he ran the deficit up willingly during good times. Also bad Econ, no matter the party.

Steel and aluminum tariffs have raised the price of either in the US far above outside markets. As a result high tech industries that used to take that and turn it into precision instruments are losing foreign markets, many of which will never come back. Who wants unstable trading partners. And for what? Nothing but a handout to a few steelworkers at a large long term cost to consumers and producers alike.

The net result of all this nonsense is not making the US better off; Trump is running record trade deficits, despite saying he isn’t (easy to check). This is all unnecessary and only hurting the economy.

There’s a reason we (and most other countries) don’t do this type of nonsense anymore. It simply ruins economies. He was handed a strong one, still on an upswing. These choices will likely wreck it before it would have, through simple bad decisions.

I am very much a cynic. Show me references to data and let's do the math. This is HN after all.

I look forward to this exercise. I have a family of Trump supporters and I get percentages and perceptions like these from them in debate but have trouble getting them to point to those things as products of solid unbiased sources of statistical analyses.

Well, let's start with the record low unemployment for African Americans and Hispanics.

Can you agree that's a great accomplishment?

So I'm still here. Cite your sources. I am curious because I've heard that before in articles without references. Is it BoL statistics?

Again I've read flattering headlines but not sure where raw data comes from, and I also said to a parent unemployment rates do not signify a lot to me as an adult as a positive absolute measure where underemployment and real social issues are brushed under the rug as part of number shuffling to stroke political egos. Hence I want to know data points.

I think we can agree the disinterest or avoidance on both sides of the American political spectrum in analyzing factual data and not leaning on sound bites is a problem.

Please reference your sources. I am interested.


Glad you're still here.

[1] an easy to read chart from data.bls.gov

[2] is an article from Black Enterprise, just for good measure

Black unemployment really is at record low levels. Trump's economy has been good for African Americans. (Rising wages help, too.)

[1] https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000006

[2] https://www.blackenterprise.com/black-unemployment-rate-fall...

So the article references the graph.

Where is the raw data? This gets back to the data literacy issues. How do we empower people like you and me to know if the BKS got those numbers accurately and from where? I'll look on their site for taw data inputs. I couldn't find easily, but I am sure they have. But also let's find what kind of employment they have and see what it gets them. A graph doesn't tell me that.

Also in the article it has been going down 107 months (so approaching ten years, not just since 2017 at the start of his tenure). I did not think he has been president that long, and if we look at just the graph, except for increases in the end of 2009, it seems to have been going down with some consistency since then at similar rates. Just look at the graph. So what are we crediting whom for? Why do we assume if it happened in 2017 it is an immediate consequence of presidential action at that same time that year? Also kind of dubious to me.

Do you ever worry that your opinions motivate how you see data, not the other way around? I do a lot and why I also generally worry about political administrations in all countries who reference their success with correlation and not causation in this way. These kinds of conversations keep telling me they have won the perception game and we do not care to run a government like a business project and measure our success. Maybe if anything a weird ad campaign where we throw money at problems and if people's behavior changes we are certain it is the ad campaign in a vacuum and without real evidence.

I hope you understand why I'm not sold on your example. Thanks.

I meant BKS to be BLS and taw to be raw. Stupid phone.

You wonder how these priorities came about? Do you not recall 9/11 or are you not an American? Scared people do irrational things.

"Scared people do irrational things" makes it sound as if the overall reaction was somehow reasonable at the time or that the priorities were organic. Most of the fear and panic was stoked by the mainstream media, in support of traitorous politicians seeing an opportunity to act on longstanding totalitarian wishes. Propaganda is a powerful weapon against Free people.

If the end goal of the terrorists was forcing the West into a more totalitarian, less free society, then they succeeded.

A terror watch list or a no-fly list isn't irrational at all. It's sensible in principle, if you don't value civil rights that much.

I congratulate whomever fought it, the biggest infringement of fundamental rights in a plain daylight in the free world.

I say it from a place completely antipodal from the free world. People who live in totalitarian states still look up to you, America, even in your current state of unending downward spiraling.

Think, if America in it current state is still kept in such esteem, and still though of as a "moral etalon," think just how much you still have to loose, and how deep is the abyss your country is edging on.

I beg to differ it going to be very hard to top when Obama ordered an extra extrajudicial killings of a US citizen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_al-Awlaki.

Said US citizen renounced his US citizenship and was not within the geographic territory of the US (including military bases, embassies, etc.).

Ergo, it is legally questionable that it was an extrajudicial killing of a US citizen and is more likely the legal killing of a non-state combatant not protected by the Geneva Convention.

Thiz is false, there is not evidence al Awlaki renounced his citizenship. The Obama administration didn’t even deny the fact of his citizenship.


The FP analysis admits that one of the ways that a citizen renounces their citizenship is by "serving in the armed forces of a foreign state if such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States."

The legal issue was whether serving in the armed forces of a non-state armed force engaged in hostilities against the US (i.e., Al Queda) would satisfy this condition.

And the overwhelming decision by every lawyer that reviewed this in the administration was that it would. Note that the linked NYT article does not say that the Obama administration admitted he was (still) a US citizen. That was added by the FP author, and the Obama administration has never conceded that point.

Note: if he had fought with ISIS instead of Al Queda, it wouldn't even be an issue, since ISIS did declare itself to be a state. Under US law, any US citizen who fought for ISIS could be treated as renouncing their US citizenship and the protection of the US constitution.

> The legal issue was whether serving in the armed forces of a non-state armed force engaged in hostilities against the US (i.e., Al Queda) would satisfy this condition.

To begin with, all record of his "hostile membership" come from US administration, and not much known about him as a man, aside from him delivering a quite certain opinion as a theologian.

What is certain is that he and his family been hunted for years and killed.

It might well be the case of the "security theatre" establishment completely making up a legend of him being a "super duper mastermind," and him unwittingly (and possibly unwillingly) assuming the role.

Imagine, a socio-racial profiling blacklist impacting 1m+ people, a double percentage of whom are your own citizens by birth, who grew up and live in US, and a murder of one very unlucky Yemeni family.

Of course both are reprehensible

He seems like an out and out terrorist. Easy to write something like this when you haven't lost a loved one to a terrorist attack.

The point of a trial is to have a better justification than your feeling of him being "an out and out terrorist".

There is no feeling. He was clearly planning things. And the govt may have got a confidential order from a judge.

I'm curious, would a secret order from a judge remain secret after his death? Forever?

Depending on what intelligence went into it, yes.

Then at least preform a trial in absentia rather than just putting them on the kill list.

> the biggest infringement of fundamental rights in a plain daylight

Aren't you forgetting about those lovely drone assassinations by presidential fiat?

> the biggest infringement of fundamental rights in a plain daylight in the free world.

Guantanamo Bay ring a bell?

If you ask me as a European citizen (well until Halloween maybe :/) to suggest areas problematic to human rights with regard to the US then Guantanamo is in my top five. But then I'm 52 and watched on TV Blair and Bush (aided by a compliant press) crowing about the use of "Gitmo" as a place where captured "combatants" were going to unlearn their ways....forever. Some of the captives have been in that shithole getting on for eighteen years now with no hope of a fair trial.

So I think for a lot of folks Guantanamo does ring a fairly loud bell.

It's clearly disgusting, but the total number of Guantanamo inmates seems to be 779[1]. The watch list had 1.2M names on it, so not be too utilitarian, but it seems like a pretty significant difference in terms of the number of people impacted (if not the severity).

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_detention_camp#...

Putting people on a list vs putting them in perpetual detention without a trial is on an entirely different level of moral failure.

I agree, but they're both important moral failures that should be challenged.

Here's a wee anecdote. When I was in my teens and early twenties (read that as late 80's) I was an active member of CND, the SNP and Scotland Out of NATO. I was active in the NUS (National Union of Students) as well and even organised a protest and student strike at my Scottish shithole of a college in Perth - having managed to drum up around 400 students to march upon the Tory offices in Perth to demonstrate against cuts to student grants and burseries.

During this time I was never arrested or apprehended by the Police. In fact I've never been arrested or apprehended and as far as I know don't have a criminal or civil violation record (except maybe a handful of traffic violations - speeding, and a driving without due care and attention when I was 26 [reading my map]).

After I left college, and despite being qualified for many jobs, the interviews came and went over around 6-7 years and I wondered why? Until it came to light there was an organisation called the Economic League[0] which manually compiled lists of UK activists and fed them to many organisations as a form of blacklisting.

Whilst I was never able to establish that I might have been on their list, I had a fairly strong suspicion, with hindsight, I was listed. There's no way that the sort of jobs I was applying for, where right up until the last minute, the offers were withdrawn with no explanation.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_League_(United_Kingdo...

That sounds actionable to me.

With GDPR, you should have a wonderful tool to go after them.

Some of the Guantanamo trials resulted in acquittals and charges being dropped against the defendant, with these defendants subsequently being released.

Contrast that with the standard European model of criminal jurisprudence, in which the judge deciding the case is frequently also the prosecutor, and there is no panel of jurors, and no threshold of proof.

I have a very hard time reconciling your view of the 'European model of criminal jurisprudence' (which is an interesting word salad by itself) with what I know of how the criminal prosecutions work in the various European countries. Let's just say that your view is incorrect. Judges are not typically prosecutors. And no, we usually do not have panels of jurors but consider that a good thing.

I've just read this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murat_Kurnaz

And what are you even talking about?

I think it will be a close second along with domestic espionage

What fundamental rights did Guantanamo Bay violate?

The prisoners kept there were picked up after attacks on US/Allied forces on battlefields or in areas immediately adjacent. Non-state combatants are not protected by the Geneva Convention, and the treatment of non-state prisoners was historically battlefield execution.

Some of the (innocent) noncombatants were released after investigation. The remaining purported noncombatants chose to boycott their trials.

Some were decided to be innocent, and held up and tortured for years afterwards, because there was "nowhere" to release them.

Of course it would be easy to release them to US if other countries refused. But instead of that US rather kept innocents locked up for years, out of convenience or whatever.

I think continued detention after you're determined to be innocent, is quite bad. Also if I make a mistake and lock you up and torture you for years, just releaseing you is not really justice.

Is it really that hard to read up a wikipedia page on Guantanamo bay for americans, if not a book or two? There's enough info just on wikipedia's main article and some linked articles from there to make your skin crawl.

Great. What website do I go to to make sure I'm not on the list?

There are websites you don't go to not get on the list...

They should just replace the terror watch list with the CIA payroll list + list of foreign donors to Washington think-tanks and their extended family members.

I suspect that would increase the accuracy marvelously.

Hah! Would we still get to watch them on TV news?

Man, I really need to keep better watch out for opinion pieces. Not that I disagree with this guy, but I'm looking for information, not moralization. Here's a NYT news article about the subject: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/04/us/politics/terrorism-wat...

I feel that as parties have learned how to abuse the "neutrality" of the media, a lot of real reporting has moved to the opinions section.

...where it mingles with content that clearly belongs in the opinion section and away from "news".

This creates a real problem - if people who want to know if any claim is TRUE rather than just hearing the claims of the various parties to a dispute, they move to these opinion sections (and opinion organizations). This gives the credibility of objective reporting to those that aren't even claiming to be objective.

I want my reporting to mention when something isn't proven...but also to not be victims of battles over the Overton window.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact