You may not be (or feel) obliged to exercise those rights for the good of society, but in my experience, most people don't actively exercise those rights for the detriment of society, whereas corporations frequently do.
We need to remember that most people come hard-wired with a conscience - there are relatively few psychopaths out there. If you accept the idea of a corporation as a "person" (which I don't), then corporations exhibit many of the characteristics of a psychopath - lack of concern for the feelings of others; disregard for the safety of others; inability to feel guilt; etc. The prime objective of a corporation is to financially benefit the shareholders. If the directors/executives/managers of a corporation fail in that objective, they are generally dismissed (and in some cases there can even be stiff penalties). But as a person, my prime objectives are very different. As a father and husband, my "shareholders" are my wife and children. And while I work hard to benefit them financially, there are other objectives which are far more important than making my family rich.
So, the problem as I see it is that corporations want to enjoy the same rights as people, but they have none of the in-built mechanisms to ensure they exercise those rights responsibly. In fact, I would argue that the very nature of a corporation predisposes it to exercise those right irresponsibly. I'm not a religious person by any stretch, and I don't believe that the "love of money is the root of all evil". But the love of money is the root of many evils in our society - and corporations love money more than most. Which is why I believe we need externally imposed regulations to try to ensure that corporations behave as responsibly as possible.
There was a definite shift from the end of WWII in the way that the US conducted itself on the world stage. I would characterise it as Imperialism. But the big question for me has always been "why"? Certainly there were economic factors at play - US companies wanted to be able to expand into foreign markets. But I think there is more to it than that. My gut feel is that it was largely fear-based. Perhaps it was Pearl Harbour, or just WWII in general, but I think a switch got turned on (in the American psyche) around that time (and it hasn't been turned off ever since). So much of American foreign policy (both official and unofficial - yes, CIA, I'm looking at you) seems to have been predicated on the belief that the rest of the world is a threat, be it economic, political or military, and the best defence is a good offence.
America is a great country, but it could be a REALLY REALLY great country if it just stopped being such a military and economic bully.
I believe just some of the benefits would be:
1. America would be far more respected by the rest of the world;
2. The threat of terrorism would most likely drop, which would hopefully lead to an easing of farcical security theatre practices;
3. Innovation and creativity would increase, which would stimulate your economy, and reduce unemployment
4. Huge reduction in the national debt by spending less on pointless wars (including the War on Terror)
There's probably a bunch of other benefits, but even if there weren't, wouldn't those four be enough?
You're absolutely right, but I also said "most acts of terrorism". I fully recognise that there is domestic terrorism (in many countries, not just the USA). I don't know for certain, but I suspect that even if you look back several decades, for each case of domestic terrorism (in the USA) carried out by "white people", there would be multiple cases of terrorism carried out by "non-white people". Maybe not all on US soil, but certainly directed at the USA.
Please don't misunderstand me - the fact that someone is not white is clearly not what makes them more (or less) likely to be a terrorist. Terrorists are made, not born. But to make a terrorist requires certain conditions, and it so happens that those conditions are more prevalent in certain parts of the world. I also don't think it is a coincidence that many of those places where terrorists are more likely to be "produced" are places where the US has a strong military presence and where there is a strong resentment towards the USA for "meddling". But that is a whole other debate. :-)
By way of an analogy, what I am saying is that if you know that 80% of the heroin being imported into the USA comes from Colombia, and that 80% of the mules who have been caught are Colombian, then you would be dumb not to pay close attention to Colombians. But you don't just look at Colombians. You look at how drug mules behave, study the surveillance footage of mules who have been caught in the past - were they nervous; how did the carry themselves; what was their general demeanour; etc. Then you look for tell-tale signs in anyone passing through the airport, but you focus more on Colombians than on 87 year old white ladies. Sure, the little old lady *could* be a drug mule, but it is pretty unlikely. That said, I think the War on Drugs is as stupid and misguided as the War on Terror.
Ultimately, I think effective profiling is more about studying behaviour than ethnicity, but you can't ignore ethnicity. And I suspect if the general public was better educated with regard to the key "tells" of someone who is prone to doing massive violence, as a community we may be able to prevent tragedies like Oklahoma City or Columbine or Port Arthur or the massacre in Norway last year. That doesn't mean everyone needs to be an expert "profiler" in the FBI sense. It just means that people pay attention to their friends and neighbours, etc. Of course, at the same time we don't want to end up with a situation where everyone is a volunteer spy for the government - that would be even worse. But there must be some way for society to keep a collective (and benevolent) eye on its members without turning into Orwell's Oceania.
What exactly is the problem with profiling? Like it or not, most acts of terrorism (directed against the USA) in the past decade were carried out by people of Middle Eastern or African extraction. There are a whole host of reasons for this, many of them political and in no way related to race or ethnicity. But that is the reality you (Americans) face.
I assume that the main argument against profiling is that it assumes guilt on the basis of appearance. Which naturally means that a reasonable number of innocent people would be subjected to fairly intense scrutiny. I would counter that by saying that the current system assumes EVERYONE is guilty, which is preposterous. Not everyone is likely to be a terrorist. And some people are absolutely more likely to be terrorists. So, you can have a system which assumes everyone is a likely terrorist, and treats them accordingly. Or you can have a system which recognises that there are different probabilities of people being a terrorist, and that you deal with the high probability people differently than the low probability people. And the other thing is that profiling is much more than just looking at appearance or ethnicity. If that was all it was, I agree that it should be avoided (if only because it would be easy to evade by simply recruiting someone who looks "OK"). Profiling, done properly in the context of security, considers a whole range of factors, of which appearance is just one.
The Israelis have been practising profiling as part of their security protocols for decades, and while it can be very intrusive for a relatively small number of people, for the majority, passing through airport security is relatively painless. Essentially, the Israeli position is that when it comes to security, there is no room for political correctness.
Rafi Sela, former chief security officer at the Israel Airport Authority has this to say: "[many] airports are so concentrated on finding your bottles of water and perfumes that they don't even look at you. The security personnel forget that they are in the business of looking for terrorists."
Granted, it is easy for me to advocate in favour of profiling because I don't fit the profile of a "typical" terrorist, and perhaps I would less inclined to support such a measure if I did fit the profile.
I'm also not sure I agree with one of the statements made by the former TSA boss: "No security agency on earth has the experience and pattern-recognition skills of TSA officers".
It seems to me that the TSA could benefit from a dose of humble pie and seek advice from the people who have been doing this type of thing a lot longer (and a lot better).
I think it is fair to say she is a terrorist and should be sent to Guantanamo Bay. But even worse than that, but her surname is CLEARLY infringing on the copyright that DreamWorks Pictures has over the name "Real Steel", so they should sue her for at least half a billion dollars. In addition, the star of Real Steel is Hugh Jackman, who is also an Aussie, which makes it very clear that she is orchestrating a concerted and deliberate attack on the entire Australian film industry. Under Section 4 of the Australian Film and Television Protection Act (1997), the penalty for such an egregious attack is triple the revenue of all Australian films ever produced. That includes any film which was filmed in mainland Australia (eg: The Matrix), or any film which was filmed outside Australia which stars an Aussie actor.
Seriously? A gang member deliberately gets done for running a red light (or 20), just so he can smuggle in a weapon to use against a rival gang member WHO IS ALREADY IN PRISON? If my enemy is in prison and I'm not in prison, doesn't that mean I've already won? I'd rather send my enemy a post card saying something pithy like "The weather is here, wish you were beautiful", or "Na-na-na-naaaa-na"
Rather than being disappointed by this, rejoice! Think of it as the taxpayers paying for the system to do its job, and hopefully police will now think twice before arresting someone just for filming them.
Better to pay one person $170,000 and prevent similar cases in the future than to have many folks being arrested because the cops got away with it once.
Plus, you can bet your arse that if someone was able to patent a method for thermally refreshing bread (Patent number 6080436 = fucking toast), someone else has patented the process of delivering food using unmanned devices (flying or otherwise).
I'll bet my left nut that the second after the first TacoCopter delivers its first taco, Intellectual Ventures lawyers will be all over this like a rash.
So why not create an account? I understand you probably value your right to privacy and anonymity, but you also expose yourself to the problems of mistaken identity (or no identity) - for all I know, every AC is the same person (despite the little coloured icons). What do you have to lose by creating an account? You can use a fictitious name, and no-one will know "who" you are.
Not saying you have to create an account - I just don't quite understand why so many ACs prefer to remain anonymous.
I live in Australia (we came second on the happiest countries list), and while far from perfect, it's a pretty nice place to live. Sure, we're not a superpower, but we do have cute koalas and 17 of the 20 most venomous snakes in the world.
OMG - that is hilarious! Even better than the original ad! That said - I own Old Spice, so I am about to sue you for a trillion gazillion dollars for copyright infringement. You'll be hearing from my attorneys shortly, once I stop giggling.