Friday, June 28, 2013

Three Surpreme Court Decisions.

There are three interesting Supreme Court decisions I want to talk about.  Two of which I agree with and one is clearly a bad decision by 5 out of 9 judges.

First the bad decision.  SCOTUS had no business tearing apart the Voting Rights Act.  (Huffington Post News story)

They specifically declared the formula in Section 4 unconstitutional. "The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.”

Specifically they said that our country has changed and they the formula must be updated.

This is a bad decision because they admitted that at one time the formula was good.   Roberts said  "Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions"

But you see, that is CONGRESS's decision, not the Courts.  The court is there to determine if the Congress overstepped it's bounds, NOT to determine if they did a good job or a bad job.  If Congress has the power to  make that determination, they have the right to do so poorly.

Honestly, I believe that Congress should simply say, screw it, EVERYONE has to be subject to jurisdiction for preclearance.   That is, every single state and every single county should be forced to ask the DOJ if their voting procedures are racist.

It would end a lot of vile and corrupt practices, such as gerrymandering.

Second, the good news.  SCOTUS said that the Federal Government must recognize the Marriage of Gays, done by states.  Gays are people too, and as such have the rights to obtain the legal status of married, with all the tax, medical, etc. benefits. (CBS news story)

This is fairly obvious and not that surprising.  Scalia himself predicted it would happen 10 years ago  - although he was too preejudiced to understand it is a good thing.  He was kind of like an old racist from the 1860's saying "Why if we free the slaves, they might marry our white people."  Yes, his prediction was true but he was too prejudiced, and frankly, illogical to see that it was not a bad thing.

Thirdly, the Supreme Court also confirmed a lower courts decision that said being homeless does not mean you are not allowed to own anything.  Specifically they stated that the state of California could not take the possessions of homeless people and destroy them simply because they were on 'public grounds' and the homeless people had stepped away from them (to go to the bathroom or get on a food line.)  (Death and Taxes Blog)

Note, California had previously stolen and destroyed such possessions including identification (such as driver licenses, social security cards, etc.) and cellphones (if you don't have an address, a cellphone is vitally important to stay in touch with people.)

Frankly it was a rather evil attempt by the state of California and not that surprising that the Supreme Court sided with the homeless people.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Why Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden

First, for purposes of this article (and only this article), I am going to make a false assumption.

We will presume that the NSA's actions are entirely legal, appropriate and in no way an invasion of privacy or an abridgement of American rights. Edward Snowden has clearly committed a crime of treason and by all rights should go to prison.

Now, given that 'fact', I still say President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden, with certain conditions (specifically he must return to the US to answer questions in front of a closed session of congress and no longer talk tot he press about anything that happened prior to his pardon, and agree to never again reveal any information whatsoever about his work for the US government).

Why should we do this?

First, given the situation with Julian Assange, we already know the likely outcome for Snowden.  Most likely he will remain outside of US clutches, in the worst case locked up in an embassy of a foreign country. If we offer a pardon, we can at least avoid the embarrassment of having another Assange case out there.  Ending bad publicity is itself worth it.

Second, obtaining him will not end the issue, it will instead make it worse.  If we get him back it will look like we are holding a political prisoner, even if (as we presumed in this article) he is a traitor to this country and deserves no less than life in prison.

Third, capturing him will in not way discourage others from following in his footsteps.  Instead it will do the opposite.  Look, this is no man selling secrets to obtain a better life.  He had a better life and gave it up for principle.  He (and many others in this country) considers himself a patriot willing to give a six-figure job, a model girlfriend, and a home in Hawaii, all to fight the nasty evil dictatorship.  It doesn't matter that he is wrong and the US is a benevolent democracy.  He (and those that agree with him) considers himself to be Nathan Hale.  He regrets that he has but one life of pleasure to give up for his country.

You do not discourage heroes by imprisoning them.  That ENCOURAGES them to fight on.     The people that think we need to discourage copy cats are right - but trying to put Snowden in prison will not in any way discourage them. 

Fourth, the way you convince honest, honorable men to lay down arms is to offer them trust and forgiveness, not jail.  It discourages others by making them look stupid, not heroic.  What, the hero is bravely standing up to fight against the injustice of being told he is pardoned and can go on his way????

Fifth, it would stand as a beacon to other countries showing them the fair, democratic way to handle dissent.  By pursuing Snowden we give China, Iran, and other countries moral standing. See, the US is no better than they are, we have our own 'political prisoners'.   By pardoning Snowden, we show them that a truely powerful country can handle a bit of dissent - as opposed to dissenters as criminals, we forgive and forget.

Sixth, we get control of the situation back. He will have to agree to certain conditions, we get to question him and we can stop further leaks of information other countries may want.

I see little if any upside from pursuing a criminal case against Snowden.  I see huge international political capital to be generated if we pardon him.

Monday, June 17, 2013

We don't need Morphine, we have Asprin????

One in a while I see people complaining about the problems of major bulwarks of our civil defense, often using the existence of other, relatively minor legal protections as an excuse to get rid of our most important rights.  For example some claims that we don't need the fifth amendment because we have laws against torture and unreasonable punishment.

But you see, the rules against torture are actually rather weak  I would call them paper thin..  Government torture happens all the time.   I am not just talking about being water boarded by the CIA, I am talking about police officers routinely using pain on criminals.  Part of the problem is that the line between torture and other, reasonable activities is rather blurry.  Hit a guy?  Is it torture, self defense, or an accident?   Or perhaps you were trying to get him to obey a reasonable order.

The fifth amendment however is a huge giant wall, one or the strongest protections we have. Punish a guy for not answering a question, that's a fifth amendment violation.  We easily see that and know it is wrong.

Lets talk a bit more about the thin line between torture and legal activities.  Cops love Tasers and they don't restrict them to preventing violence.    In fact, the very famous line "Don't Tase me Bro."  came from such an incident.  The guy was not a danger to anyone, he simply was refusing to cooperate with the police.  He wouldn't leave an event, and wouldn't give up the microphone.  (Source)

The cops tased him not because he was a threat, but to force him to obey.  They caused him pain and physically controlled him.  Some would say that is torture.  They hurt him to convince him to obey.   They didn't put hand cuffs on him first, they made no attempt at all to control him without pain, they moved directly to pain.  

Torture is not used just to get information.  As per the US legal definition:

(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

Tasers are supposed (i.e the company says their purpose is to) to be used not to obtain compliance, but to deal with dangerous situations.  As per Wikipedia:

"Tasers were introduced as non-lethal weapons to be used by police to subdue fleeing, belligerent, or potentially dangerous people, who would have otherwise been subjected to more lethal weapons such as a firearm."

Instead, they are often used as 'pain compliance' devices.  The difference between pain compliance and torture?   If you are under the control of the cop, it is torture.  If you are not yet under their control, it is pain compliance.  Who decides if you are under their control?  The cop.  With no second judging of his decision.
Torture is a relative word.  Hence the controversy under George Bush where moronic lawyers tried to argue that water boarding is not torture.   But there are many circumstances where torture is perfectly legal.   It is easy and COMMONPLACE for cops to claim you were resisting arrest and therefore use pain compliance.

They can even make that claim if you are already arrested, in handcuffs, in prison, and on the floor crying. They just have to claim you were not complying.

The fifth amendment is the big gun.  It is the brick wall.  Other laws are the small arms, the velvet rope.  We can't depend on the rope line to hold back the cops, we need the brick wall.

In part because if we have the brick wall, as opposed to just a rope line, it lets the cops slam you up against the brick wall, without worrying about going over it by mistake.  If we have just a rope line, then cops will mistakenly cross it.

You don't demolish the brick wall because we have a velvet rope.  You don't get rid of morphine because we have aspirin.  The Fifth Amendment, which protects US citizens from self-incrimination is the strong protection and we must keep it that way.

It doesn't just stop torture, it stops many other problems caused by the police.  For example it stops the government from punishing you for not revealing something that you don't know (no matter how much they THINK you know it.  It also helps stop the government from learning things they have no right to know - such as your sexual orientation, accidentally or on purpose.  
Similarly, laws against excessive prosecution are not enough.   We need some ways to incentive criminals, some discretion by the government.   Given that we want to the cops to be able to talk to the criminals, and even bribe/punish them, we need strong laws that stop them from going too far.   If the cops won't even let you remain silent, that's going too far.  Honestly, if we really need the information, we can always offer immunity.

If immunity is not worth the trade, then don't demand they speak.

Friday, June 14, 2013

On Snowden Leaks

First let me discuss the facts about the Snowden leaks.

  1. Snowden was an employee of a private contractor.  He did not work directly for the government.
  2. Snowden had access to top secret information.  Specifically he ran computer programs that had the ability to obtain certain specific information about people's electronic communications, including american citizens.
  3. He leaked the existence of those programs to the press.
  4. He fled to Hong Kong
  5. He then publicly admitted what he had done.
  6. He claimed he did it because he had moral objections to the existence of that tracking abilitiy, believing it to be an immoral and unethical invasion of american citizen's privacy, that should be illegal.
  7. Some members of the government want him arrested for treason
  8. Some members of the government want to arrest the press for releasing that information.
I have not talked about this for a while because it is a complex issue.

First, let me talk about crime in general.   Intent, or the mental state of the criminal, is key to most crimes.

If you go to a car that looks like yours, put the key in, it works, and you drive off, then most people don't think you have committed a crime - even if it turns out to be someone else's car (car manufacturers re-use keys, so this can happen - it used to be common).

Similarly, the difference between:  Murder (tried to kill), manslaughter (tried to hurt, but killed), gross negligence (didn't care if he got hurt/died so did not take precautions), and an accident (took reasonable precautions but he died anyway)  are all about intent.

Mr. Snowden's actions clearly indicate he was attempting to be a whistleblower, not a traitor.

  1. He leaked to the press, not to a foregin nation or terrorist organization
  2. He publicly admitted responsibility, risking jail time
  3. He only released the information about what the government was doing.  He with-held sensitive specific information, instead of releasing everything he had access to.
This brings us to the first question:

Should it matter what he was trying to be?  That is, should we judge him by the results alone, or take into account his intent/motive?

Yes it does matter.   By giving a reduced/no punishment for whistle-blowers as opposed to traitors, we as a government and a culture gain the following:
  • Incentive for whistleblowers as opposed to simply spying for foreign powers.  (leaking to the press rather than a foreign organization, admitting your actions)  We as a nation are much better off if we know what they know, rather than being left in the dark about them knowing our secrets.   It also saves us money in the investigation, prevents innocent people from being targeted, and allows us to fire him immediately (which we did), as opposed to leaving a spy in our midst.
  • Incentives for whistle-blowers to report actual crimes (even if you don't think Snowden was a whistle-blower.   By treating people trying to be whilstle-blowers better than traitors, we encourage people to be whistle-blowers, as opposed to terrifying them into submission with possible false claims of treason.  
  • The knowledge that whistlblowing is legal/punished less than treason also encourages us to TRUST the government.
These are all valuable qualities that governments can not buy except by treating people trying to be whistleblowers different than regular traitors that do it for money.

The technical definition of treason says either "wages war against the US, adheres to enemy, giving them aid or comfort".  Snowden clearly did not intend to do any of those things.  He should not be treated as a traitor, if for no other reason than to encourage other people considering revealing top secret information to leak it to the press and publicly admit their guilt as opposed to leaking to China and keeping their identity secret.

Next up, did he do it by mistake?

Second question:

Was he really a whistle-blower, or just a traitor?

Polls show that Americans have mixed views on Snowden.  The numbers are all between 40% and 60% approval dissaproval.

It doesn't matter.  You see, you don't convict someone of a crime if 40% of people think he's innocent.

This is America.  If there is reasonable doubt, you go free.   40% thinking he is a patriot is reasonable doubt.

It's too close a call to send a guy to jail for something many of us consider to be a patriotic act. 

We don't even need to know if he actually was a whistle-blower.  We just need to ask does a reasonable person have reasonable doubts about his actions?   At least forty percent of our population does.   Therefore he is innocent.

More about this later (see the last issue).

This brings us to the third question:

Should the NSA be contracting our 'suspect' work to private industry, as opposed to doing it in hourse?

This answer is a clear NO.  This is a horrendous mistake on the part of our government.  Even assuming the electronic surveillaince in question is legal and appropriate, it should in NO way be done by private industry.

We don't let military contractors operate nuclear weapons.  The weapons in question are too powerful and too dangerous.  They may build them and even maintain them, but we insist they hand them over to the US government and we guard and operate them.

You don't let private contractors do the work that has extreme issues.   We don't let them control our nuclear issues and we certainly should not let private contractors spy on American citizens. 

What's appropriate for the US government to do is not always appropriate for contractors to do.

Even assuming the espionage in question is appropriate for the US to do, it can not in any way be appropriate for us to pay private contractors to do.

Should the electronic surveillance in question be legal?

To answer this question, lets start out discussing what should be happening.

I expect our government agencies to be MORE concerned about security than our privacy.  They should be trying to push up as close as possible to the wall of what is legal.  It is not their job to safeguard our privacy, it is their job to safeguard our country.

If they are not taking risks and getting close to the edge of what is legal, then they are failing.

Traditionally the 'movie' traitors do something like the following:

  • Reveal technical secrets on how to make top secret devices
  • Reveal top secret names of people who operate in secret and  would be at risk if their identities become known.
  • Reveal top secret locations that cold be targeted by enemies.
  • Reveal specific military plans currently being executed, allowing the enemy to counter-act them.

He did none of these things.  Instead he revealed the current practices of the USA, not it's current plans, nor even the possible capabilities (just because Snowden couldn't listen to your phone calls doesn't mean no one else working for the US government can't)

They claim that by maintaining secrecy of our current practices, they can make it harder for the bad guys to counter them.  Note, our capabilities keep increasing, so the bad guys still have to take more precautions than just avoid what they know we used to do.

There is a technical term for this type of secrecy:  "Security through Obscurity"  If your opponent does not know how you do things, it makes it harder for them to defeat your efforts.   But if you check the wikipedia page I linked to you can instantly see what a bad reputation Security through Obscurity has.

Honestly, the food industry wanted to do a similar thing.  We laughed and told them NO.  We required them to list all the ingredients, if not the proportions.    They clearly have an interest in preventing their competitors from knowing what they put into their food.   Why didn't we let them keep their ingredients simple?   Because our personal interest in knowing what we are consuming is more important.

Similarly, our personal interest in knowing what information the government is gathering on us FAR exceeds any minor increased efficiency the government gains by having the terrorists not know for certain some of the things the government is doing.

Especially when a large portion (over 40%) consider the government's actions to be questionable, if not innapropriate.

If your actions are close to the wall between ethical spying and unethical spying, then you have to accept the fact that the public will get to examine at least the actions that are closest to the wall, if not the ones far from it.

You want security through obscurity?  Then do your stuff away from the wall.  Not right up next to it.

The NSA leak did damage security, the same way requiring food companies to list their ingredients damaged their profits.   That is, it damaged security a tiny, insignificant amount, and gave the country a massive amount of information that we desperately needed.

It is our job to determine whether your security measures are worth the effort.   Therefore you must reveal the most questionable security methods you use to the public.  If you want to keep something secret, then you create a public, more invasive 'throw away'  method and see how the public responds to you admitting you do that.  If they object, then you cancel the 'throw away' method and then reveal the one you wish you could keep secret and hope they accept it.

You definitely should not under any circumstances, keep your most invasive privacy violating security methods secret.  

Because the damage that your most privacy violating methods do the country will always be greater than the damage you are protecting.   If only in  destroying the people's trust in the government and creating a climate of distrust.


Snowden may not be a hero, but he is definitely NOT a traitor.  The NSA has clearly made some bad decisions - having private contractors spy on American Citizens???? Shame on you for stupidity, let alone privacy violations

We need to slap the NSA down and have them re-think their strategies. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How to tell if you are a Partisan Fool.

There is nothing wrong with being partisan.  It just means you believe in a cause.  We should all believe in causes, and I pity the person that doesn't believe in anything.  I would go further and say:

If you don't have something worth dying for, then you don't have anything worth living for.

 But you can take things too far.  You can care more about your beliefs than they are worth.  Being willing to kill anyone that thinks a certain brand of cookies doesn't taste good is not a good thing.

Neither is putting the needs of your political party above the needs of your country.  Even if you think your party is correct and the other party is sent by the devil himself to destroy your country, you still can NOT put the needs of your party above the needs of the country.  Not even for a little bit.

So lets talk about the cases where people have their priorities backwards, where their partisanship has gone to the extreme and they are nothing but a joke.

Here are signs that you are a partisan fool:

  1. You do whats best for your party, even if it is bad for your country.
  2. You insist that EVERYTHING has to do with your group.  Anything bad you ascribe to enemies of your party, and anything good must be caused by your party.
  3. You can't conceive of a good person being both informed and not on your side.  You think the only reason good people are not for you is that they are ignorant/uneducated.
  4. You can't conceive of an informed person thinking your issues are irrelevant.  If they understand your issues than they must either be good people and on your side or bad people and your enemies.  No one is allowed to be informed yet remain neutral  (Thus you think the media must either be with your or against you, no neutrality)  "You are either with us or against us."
  5. You can't conceive of being wrong on even the smallest of side issues.  You think any scientific studies that prove you wrong must be invalid - done by the opposition and designed to fail.
  6. You defend (or refuse to attack) members of your own group even when you know they are wrong (or have committed a crime).

Political Parties are not the end all and be all.   The good of the country is far more important.

When you do these six things you are placing your partisan political party above the country, and have crossed the line from a loyal politically active person, and become a traitor to your own country.

It doesn't matter if you are liberal, conservative, fascist, communist, libertarian, monarchist, theocratic,republican, democrat, progressive, royalists, tory, whig, bull moose, or anything else.

Putting any political party above and beyond the country proves you to be a fool not worth listening to.   Political parties exist to serve the country, not the other way around.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Growth Stages of Empire.

Empires are a lot like people.

They start out young, small and weak.  They begin to learn, and as they learn, they grow larger.

Sometimes they lose a little power and come back.  But eventually they hit their prime, using what they have learned.  

Finally, they begin their real, permanent decline.  They try to hold on to old things they knew, talk about the good old times.

But they don't regain their power.  Instead they die.  A new empire takes over based in another part of the world, with a different culture.

The reason is simple.

Empires don't form because a country 'deserves it".

No.  Instead, the empire is created when one country invents/discovers something dramatic.  The US empire is fairly obvious.   A combination of capitalism and nuclear weapons made us a 'superpower'.  Those have spread to other countries, but by then we were already a superpower.

The truth cause of our success is the spirit of freedom and innovation.   Because you see, neither nuclear power nor capitalism were invented here.  Europeans (mostly Germans) invented nuclear power, but came to America because of the lack of freedom in Europe (Nazi Germany).  Adam Smith, a Scotsman, was the father of Capitalism.

The United States true power came from embracing progress and liberalism where other countries preferred conservative values.  Note I am talking about real conservatism which is founded on the respect for tradition, not the new pseudo conservatism that embraces libertarianism in theory (though not in practice).

Because you see tradition is what kills empires.  When you start valuing things because of how great they were once as opposed to trying to make things better, then you are going backwards as opposed to forwards.

You can never back into an empire, no matter how great the old empire used to be.  Instead you have to charge forward into the unknown.

Any country that talks about how good the good old days were and how bad (immoral) the young folks are is doomed.  They can never become strong and powerful because they are preventing new ideas from bringing new power to you.

You can't copy your old ways to get power because everyone else already knows your old secrets.  You need new secrets, new ideas, you need liberalism.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The ACLU Agrees with me.

Just a short update.

A while ago I posted here and said the recent snooping by the government may give people standing to sue the government.  Previously  the Supreme Court said they could not sue to stop being spied upon because they could not prove they were being spied upon.

This article says the ACLU agrees with me about the snooping.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Victory for the Cowardly Idiots

The TSA, an agency known for spending excessive amounts of energy and money to avoid miniscule risks, declared that it was safe to take Swiss army knives and similar sports equipment onto planes.

Then a bunch of scared fools complained.   They complained so loudly that the TSA had to back down.

This is how the terrorists win - when we become so scared of them that we give up minor liberties in exchange for ZERO increased safety.

The TSA does not say that the weapons and sports equipment (golf clubs for example) are dangerous.  Instead the TSA continues to insist that they pose no danger to the aircraft.

But do admit that they can be used to harm individual passengers.    Big deal. So can eyeglasses.  I'm not talking about eyeglass ground into a shiv.  I mean regular normal, unaltered eyeglasses.

Not to mention what you can do with an ordinary, non-sharp piece of alkali metal and the water they give you on the plane.

The devices they are preventing are NOT in any way a danger to the plane, nor are they any more dangerous to airline passengers, air-marshals, or stewards than everything else they let passengers take on a plane.

They are being outlawed because of stupidity, not logic.

The TSA has no business attempting to control people and protect people.   It's their job to prevent terrorist related crime, not all crime. Attempting to prevent all crime is way too expensive and a massive invasion of our civil rights.

The cowardly morons that are too stupid to realize how deadly your belt, crutches, eyeglasses,rings, etc are helping the terrorists to win.  They are wasting our money, our time, and slowly eroding our personal rights.

The search and removal of such items - which is NOT done in other countries - takes up time and effort of the TSA.

More importantly, it lets the terrorists perform simple blocking maneuvers without any risk.  I.E.  they send a shill with a simple Swiss army knife who complains loudly when they take it away, distracting the TSA and taking their attention while the real terrorists breezes through the checkpoint with a perfunctory check.

This is a sad day in American History.  Logic and wisdom has lost to fear and stupidity.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The REAL IRS scandal

There is a real IRS scandal that is being mostly ignored by the main stream media.

It is also being mostly ignored by the conservatives.

And also by the liberals.

Try doing a google search on the words "IRS ADOPTION"

Sixty Nine percent of people that adopt children get audited

This compares with 1% of people that don't adopt.

 Some people get audited TWICE for the same claim.

Of course, this makes perfect sense because the fraud rate was as high as zero.  Yes zero.  In fact, after auditing, additional taxes was due 17% (from honest errors, not fraud) - as compared to an average of 86% of the time for audits for non-adoptions.  (Source)

Adoption is a complicated process that often involves huge fees, with a lot of bureaucratic paperwork. If it is an international adoption, sometimes those fees are more like bribes.  You are told to bring cash and they don't give receipts.  It is in fact legal for the US citizen to claim these expenses as as an Adoption Tax Credit (upto $112,650).   Even if they are cash and you don't have paper receipts.

It is made worse because the IRS does not do a good job telling taxpayers what records they need, how to fill out their forms, or put those forms in their e-filing process.  (Source)

This is what a real scandal looks like.  69% auditing with zero fraud found and a relatively small amount of additional taxes owed.

The partisan crap?  It is not worth of the name scandal.  It's low level partisan bull that has been going on since the IRS was founded.  The only real difference now is that they got a couple of incriminating emails from low level employees.   It is being talked up because the GOP wish it went much higher than it really is.  So they keep digging, hoping to find proof of something that doesn't exist.

P.S.   Warning, some of the people that discovered this adoption scandal are partisan fools.
They see everything through a lens of 'it must be liberals doing it to hurt conservatives".   They can't conceive of people not giving a crap about their personal political wars.

So they come up with ridiculous theories to try and blame this on Obama and the liberals.  (Silly ideas such as the belief that liberals think that people that adopt must be conservatives, because religious people adopt)

That is bull.

This is a real problem but it is not a conservative-liberal thing.  It is a bureaucratic  government screw up that has nothing to do with partisan politics and everything to do with incompetence.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Supreme Court ruling allows DNA abuses

In one of the few times I agree with Scalia, he has dissented from a 5/4 ruling that says it is OK for cops to take DNA samples upon arrest.

Kennedy incorrectly stated that DNA sampling is like fingerprinting or photographing.

Privacy invasions is not measured solely by how much time or physical inconvenience, but instead by what you can learn about someone, and countered by the safety needs of the cop.  That is, it is OK to to do a strip search to check for weapons before you put someone in jail, but to forensically examine their financials based on a belief they mugged someone.

Fingerprinting and photographing are used solely to identify the person arrested.  Yes, you can sometimes connect fingerprints to a location (proving presence, but not the committing of a crime), but DNA goes far beyond that.

I am going to ignore the facts that DNA is both easier to plant as evidence (anyone can move a liquid sample, prints stick to surfaces)  and less reliable than fingerprints (fingerprints are always unique, some people have twins and they don't do full DNA scans so DNA false positives can happen).

Instead I am going to talk about the many personal and private things that DNA says about you besides your identity.  These are all things DNA can tell you NOW, let alone in a decade.

  1. It clearly lists parentage.  People should not be forced to deal with sudden realization that you are a bastard or adopted.
  2. It identifies racial groups that can not be identified any other way (As in, wow, I didn't know I was descendent from Jews and apparently my dark skin and curly hair come from a black great grandfather, not from being Italian.)
  3. Health issues, including the knowledge of specific deadly disease that DO NOT HAVE ANY TREATMENT.
These things are not minor issues.  They are major ones with major psychological impacts on people.  

I am not saying we should outlaw DNA testing, or even not do it on jailed citizens.  I am saying that arresting someone does not meet the barrier for doing the testing.

Police can arrest ANYONE for ANYTHING.   They don't need a reasonable suspicion, they can do it on a whim.  Cops are known to arrest people based on race, based on political beliefs, or merely for pissing of the cop.  If the cop wants DNA, they can arrest an 4 year old child on an accusation of money laundering, then test his DNA, then release him saying "woops, we got the wrong guy".

Then they can match his DNA up on a familial basis and issue an arrest warrant for his father for an unrelated murder charge.

No, this law is rife with potential abuses.

If we want to do a DNA scan of every single citizen of the country, that is one thing.  I would be happy to consider such a dramatic and drastic change.  It makes a lot more sense than doing it to people arrested.  It could stop quite a bit of crime, rape in particular, as well as make assigning financial responsibility for fathering a child much easier.

But there is NOTHING special about arresting someone except in the mind of the cop, something we can not trust.  Most cops are good guys, but some can not be trusted.  That is why we don't let them search houses without a warrant, and why they should not have the right to pick and choose who gets a DNA test.

Either give it to all of us, or give it only with a warrant.

Doing it on 'arrest' is asking for discriminatory abuse.