Earlier this week a client wire transferred a substantial amount of money to a business account. Imagine his surprise to learn that he's a fargin terrorist.
Mellon Bank, duly deputized by Homeland Security, dropped the funds into a deep freeze pending a hard look at my guy.
Interestingly enough, the other three wire transfers, also significant sums, didn't raise a solitary eyebrow on the laid-back, kinder-and-gentler West Coast. Apparently the Iron City terrorist list isn't available elswhere or the slushy, miserably cold, March weather in the 'Burgh leaves people with little else to do but scrutinize The List.
Best part? They called him up to give him the bad news. Was he listed in the Yellow Pages under Terrorist?
What's entirely lost on middle America is that this never happens to actual bad guys. And sticking a half million Americans on a terrorist list because they happen to share an especially common name with a suspicious character somewhere is well beyond inefficient use of scarce resources.
And the answer to the question de jour? Confidentiality dictates that I can't tell you what it is, but his surname isn't of Arabic origin. Not even close, boys.
The Patriot Act didn't come out of a vacuum though. It is the logical outgrowth of a series of ever tightening banking laws, Rico, and IRS privacy invasions dating at least to the mid-1960's, all of which was fine with the lefties, including the ACLU. But now the pot's begun to boil, the dratted Republicans are in power, and somebody has just got to do something.
Here's a heads up: being a mouse click away from babes.com ain't freedom. And ignoring Constitutional (and moral) niceties like probable cause, warrants, or court orders, isn't likely to enhance our security.
Not sure if civics is even taught in high school any more but for those of you who spent your class time chewing gum and giggling, smoking dope in the Senior Bathrooms, or gawking at the hot chick sitting next to you here's a brief refresher:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
But hey, if you've got nothing to hide why do you care if the government pokes around in your private affairs?