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Monday, November 26, 2007


Are cell phones with GPS a danger to liberty?


“Liberty must at all hazards be supported.” —John Adams


“Technology is making it easier to track and apprehend criminals in real time, but some civil libertarians worry that Fourth Amendment protections are being flouted in the process. Many new cell phones come equipped with tracking devices that can pinpoint the location of the phone to within 30 feet. The feature offers lots of possibilities both to users and law enforcement... But does having a cell phone now place ordinary citizens at risk of Big Brother keeping tabs on them everywhere they go, violating the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable searches?... The Fourth Amendment guarantees individuals have the right ‘to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,’ and that ‘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 of course, the Framers had no idea when they wrote those words that ordinary Americans would one day willingly carry around devices that could track their every movement and provide that information to scores of individuals. Many people already have signed up to have private companies track their cars with GPS systems. Others are thrilled that their friends can find them at the local mall by carrying phones equipped with an alert system that notifies them when callers in their loop are nearby. Parents love the ‘chaperone’ kid-tracking system offered by some cell companies, even if their kids don’t. When it comes to cell phones and other electronic devices, privacy seems to be the last thing on most users’ minds.” —Linda Chavez


“The Founding Fathers established a system which meant a radical break from that which preceded it. A written constitution would provide a permanent form of government, limited in scope, but effective in providing both liberty and order. Government was not to be a matter of self-appointed rulers, governing by whim or harsh ideology. It was not to be government by the strongest or for the few. Our principles were revolutionary. We began as a small, weak republic. But we survived. Our example inspired others, imperfectly at times, but it inspired them nevertheless. This constitutional republic, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, prospered and grew strong. To this day, America is still the abiding alternative to tyranny. That is our purpose in the world—nothing more and nothing less.” —Ronald Reagan


“It has become the worst drought in the history of the Southeast. The ground is parched; crops are dying. And last week, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue decided to do something about it. He urged Georgians to pray for desperately needed rain. Despite much ridicule and some protest, last week, Gov. Perdue led a prayer vigil on the steps of the State Capitol. Praying along with him were pastors from several denominations and hundreds of Georgians. Gov. Perdue may... was following in the steps of our Pilgrim fathers and mothers nearly 400 years ago: Joining together with neighbors for prayer was a familiar ritual for the Pilgrims...[T]he day after Governor Perdue prayed on the Capitol steps, rains swept the state—nearly an inch in places. But the drought has continued...[L]et’s remember those in the drought-stricken Southeast and ask the Giver of all good gifts to bless the land with rain.” —Chuck Colson


“’To read, or not to read, that is the question.’ This was the question posed by the National Endowment for the Arts for a national study about reading habits. The endowment found such a sharp decline of reading that few Americans could recognize Shakespeare’s antecedent for the question... Not only are teens and adults reading less, absorbing with shorter attention spans, they’re posting diminishing test scores at almost every reading level. Only 9-year-olds are showing better scores, but those are likely to evaporate by the time they’re seniors in high school. Gender gaps abound, and in this one, boys are bested by girls, who score 13 points higher than the boys in the 12th grade. There’s more at work here than an inability to sit still. In comparisons with 31 industrial nations, our 15-year-olds rank behind those in Poland, Korea, France and Canada, among others. Poor reading spills over into levels of academic achievement. Poor readers are more likely to drop out of school, are more difficult to employ and more likely to swell prison populations. One of the saddest findings in this report is that nearly half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 read no books for pleasure. While the electronic media is undoubtedly partly responsible, it doesn’t have to be that way.” —Suzanne Fields


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If you have not already done so, please take a moment to support The Patriot’s 2007 Annual Fund today with a secure online donation—however large or small. Every dollar you contribute provides a free subscription for someone serving our nation, or a young person who will fill a family, community and national leadership role in the next generation.

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I thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you as editor and publisher of The Patriot. On behalf of your Patriot staff and National Advisory Committee, thank you and God bless you and your family.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander



(Our servers automatically delete “Reply” messages to this e-mail. To submit or to view reader comments visit our Reader Comments page. Join the debate at the Patriot Blog.)

“No, thank you! It is my pleasure to support The Patriot. Keep up the great work—yours is the most important message we need to communicate. I pray for the day that your viewpoint becomes ‘mainstream’ in America.” —Charleston, South Carolina

“Allow me to take this opportunity to tender my compliments on the honesty, quality, and erudition of The Patriot Post. I am particularly impressed with your editorial command of the English Language and it’s grammar. As a professional engineer, I place great value on the ability to ‘communicate’; with people. I have been supporting The Patriot for years, and have come to regard it’s content highly. I never miss an edition of The Patriot!” —Chicago, Illinois

“Thank you for the wonderful work you do. The Patriot Post is my major source of information. And thank you too, for your continuing support of our troops. I have two Marine officers, one Army officer and one Air Force officer in the family. Your publication helps me keep my sanity—that’s why I give you my support.” —Larkspur, Colorado


“In the 1920s and ‘30s, the American left was riven by multiple factions furiously representing different flavors of socialism, each accusing the others of revisionism and deviationism. Leftists comforted themselves with the thought that ‘you can’t split rotten wood.’ But you can. And the health of a political persuasion can be inversely proportional to the amount of time its adherents spend expelling heretics from the one true (and steadily smaller) church. Today’s arguments about conservatism are, however, evidence of healthy introspection... Conservatism is a political philosophy concerned with collective aspirations and actions. But conservatism teaches that benevolent government is not always a benefactor. Conservatism’s task is to distinguish between what government can and cannot do, and between what it can do but should not.” —George Will


“The United States Postal Service is an anachronism. Yale’s law and economics scholar George Priest has characterized it as ‘the most significant example of socialism in the United States...[embracing] almost all the aspects of socialism rejected in Eastern Europe and in the privatized Western economies.’ It employs 30 percent of the nonmilitary federal workforce; pays wages and benefits 30 percent above competitive levels; and operates more than 60 percent of its offices at a loss. The Postal Service has survived—despite high costs, bland offerings, and comparatively middling service—by exploiting its two statutory monopolies: the carriage of First Class mail; and exclusive access to customer-owned mail boxes.” —James Montanye


“Here’s a story that may not have been deemed ‘Fit to Print’: In the six months that ended Sept. 25, The New York Times’ daily circulation was down another 4.51 percent to about a million readers a day. The paper’s Sunday circulation was down 7.59 percent to about 1.5 million readers. In short, The Times is dropping faster than Hillary in New Hampshire... One can only hope that none of the Democratic presidential candidates are among the disaffected hordes lining up to cancel their Times subscriptions. The Times is so accustomed to lying about the news to prove that ‘most Americans’ agree with The Times, that it seems poised to lead the Democrats—and any Republicans stupid enough to believe The Times—down a primrose path to their own destruction... On Sunday, Times readers learned that despite this year’s historic revolt of normal Americans against amnesty for illegal aliens: ‘Some polls show that the majority of Americans agree with proposals backed by most Democrats in the Senate, as well as some Republicans, to establish a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.’ Was the reporter who wrote that sentence the Darfur bureau chief for the past year? By ‘some polls,’ I gather he means ‘a show of hands during a meeting of the Times’ editorial board’ or ‘a quick backstage survey in the MSNBC greenroom.’ As I believe Americans made resoundingly clear this year, the only ‘path to citizenship’ they favor involves making an application from Norway, waiting a few years and then coming over when it’s legal... The Times disregards all of that history to announce that it has secret polls showing that Americans support a ‘path to citizenship’ for illegals after all! These polls are living in the shadows!” —Ann Coulter


“What about the general election? Consider two poll results: When the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll asked voters which party they preferred to win the race for president, Democrats led 49 percent to 36 percent. When the FOX News poll asked which of two specific candidates would do the better job of protecting the country, Rudy Giuliani came out ahead of Hillary Clinton by 50 percent to 36 percent. Those numbers suggest to me that the range of possible outcomes in November 2008 is much wider than it was in November 2004. What we have not seen yet is a debate between the two parties on ideas. The Democratic candidates have been busy pounding George W. Bush, who will not be on the ballot. The Republican candidates have been busy pounding Hillary Clinton, who may or may not be on the ballot. And candidates in each of the parties have gotten started pounding each other. These arguments are mostly about the past. We haven’t heard much yet about the future.” —Michael Barone


“Who would respond to criticism from the Club for Growth by calling the conservative, free-market campaign organization the ‘Club for Greed’? That sounds like Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards, all Democrats preaching the class struggle. In fact, the rejoinder comes from Mike Huckabee, who has broken out of the pack of second-tier Republican presidential candidates to become a serious contender—definitely in Iowa and perhaps nationally. Huckabee is campaigning as a conservative, but serious Republicans know that he is a high-tax, protectionist, big-government advocate of a strong hand in the Oval Office directing the lives of Americans. Until now, they did not bother to expose the former governor of Arkansas as a false conservative because he seemed an underfunded, unknown nuisance candidate. Now that he has pulled even with Mitt Romney for the Iowa caucuses with the possibility of more progress, the beleaguered Republican Party has a frightening problem on its hands.” —Robert Novak

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“There are some people who believe faith doesn’t belong in politics. But it does, and it is there inextricably. The antislavery movement, the temperance movement, the civil rights movement, the antiabortion movement, all were political movements animated in large part by religious feeling. It’s not that it doesn’t matter. You bring your whole self into the polling booth, including your faith and your sense of right and wrong, good and bad, just as presidents bring their whole selves into the Oval Office. I can’t imagine how a president could do his job without faith. But faith is also personal. You can be touched by a candidate’s faith, or interested in his apparent lack of it. It’s never wholly unimportant, but you should never see a politician as a leader of faith, and we should not ask a man whose made his rise in the grubby world of politics to act as if he is an exemplar of his faith, or an explainer or defender of it. We have the emphasis wrong. It’s out of kilter. And the result is a Mitt Romney being harassed on radio shows about the particulars of his faith, and Hillary Clinton—a new-class yuppie attorney and board member—announcing how important her Methodist faith is and how much she loves wearing her diamond cross. For all I know, for all you know, it is true. But there is about it an air of patronizing the rubes...” —Peggy Noonan

Veritas vos Liberabit—Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis! Mark Alexander, Publisher, for The Patriot’s editors and staff. (Please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families—especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)

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