Free Markets, Free People
Michael Bloomberg on what you’re going to have to put up with because, you know, freedom comes in second to safety:
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the country’s interpretation of the Constitution will “have to change” to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.
“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
Yeah … no. What you’re seeing there is just a different way of saying what potential tyrants (authoritarians) have said for centuries. A shorter version is what Bloomberg said before seen in the title. That’s what he really means. This? This is just him saying the same thing but trying to dress it up so it sounds semi-acceptable and reasonable. It is neither. What has to change is we need to stand up and say “no” finally.
Because, as you know, the Constitution has remained a consistent obstacle to the authoritarians who would rule over us:
“Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11,” he said.
“We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That’s good in some sense, but it’s different from what we are used to,” he said.
Or, welcome to the surveillance state. You may surrender your privacy rights over there.
Face it – the terrorists have won.
PS: Oh, btw, we made The New Yorker yesterday. Ironic, no?
Obviously my heart and condolences go out to those who were killed and injured in the cowardly bombings in Boston yesterday, and, as with everyone, I stand with the people of Boston. However, that all said, I have to tell you that when I heard what had happened yesterday, I had a sinking feeling that hasn’t dissipated yet.
I know, as usual, we’re going to over react. Well, perhaps not “us” as in you and I, but our betters in positions of elective power will. It is as sure a bet as the sun rising in the east.
Prepare yourself for more restrictions on you liberty and freedom. That’s a given. The only answer government has, in reality, is to clamp down even further on our ability to interact freely without it monitoring those interactions. How else, it will tell us, can it work toward ensuring another Boston doesn’t happen?
And, of course, this will manifest itself in the form of even more laws and restrictions all in the name of safety and security. Prepare for more justifications to intrude on your privacy. More laws that will restrict you from purchasing certain items. More scrutiny when you travel. In sum, less freedom and more government.
I’d love to believe that won’t happen. But it will. It’s not even in doubt. Just as we have seen government over-reaction in the aftermath of Newtown, CT, you can count on the same thing happening when the carnage is so much more.
Part of that will be driven by the usual media overload, the result of the 24 hour news cycle combined with “if it bleeds it leads” and the partisan talking heads who simply don’t know when to shut up. Chris Matthews, among many others, is an example of that ilk. And, of course, it will all boil down to opposing political agendas with the freedom and liberty lobby taking the usual beating.
We’ll also see a substantial portion of the population laud these new restrictions and laws, still not understanding who it is that pays no attention to (or figures out ways to circumvent) them. Instead the law abiding will live with the loss of liberty, while the terrorists and criminals will ignore the government’s “solution”.
We’re a nation without the ability to put events like this in context (thanks in part to the saturation coverage by the media and the alarmism by politicians). We’re a nation that has run scared for years.
It’s time to suck it up and stand up. These things are going to happen. None of us like that or find it acceptable. But what should be equally unacceptable and unliked is the continuous bleeding away of our liberties.
Free nations should understand that with that freedom comes risk. And, as we have seen, no matter how many laws and restrictions we put in place, these things still happen. I’m not saying we should be vigilant and take precautions. I’m saying we shouldn’t over-react like we constantly do.
Boston is a terrible tragedy. We don’t need to compound it by taking away more of the freedoms we have apparently taken for granted in the past.
It is coming to the point that it is obvious that the terrorists have won. Why? Because they have provided government the excuse to intrude more and more into our lives and government is more than willing to use it. If this doesn’t bother you, you’re not paying attention:
Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.
Not everyone was on board. “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.
A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.
Of course the Attorney General signed the changes into effect. He’s as big a criminal as the rest of them.
What does this do? Well here, take a look:
The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.
Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited.
Your activities are now presumed to be “suspicious”, one assumes, just by existing and doing the things you’ve always done. Host a foreign exchange student? Go under surveillance. Fly anywhere the government arbitrarily decides is tied into terrorists (or not) it is surveillance for you (can the “no-fly” list be far behind?). Work in a casino, go onto a surveillance list.
And all of this by unaccountable bureaucrats who have unilaterally decided that your 4th Amendment rights mean zip. In fact, they claim that the 4th doesn’t apply here.
Congress specifically sought to prevent government agents from rifling through government files indiscriminately when it passed the Federal Privacy Act in 1974. The act prohibits government agencies from sharing data with each other for purposes that aren’t “compatible” with the reason the data were originally collected.
But the Federal Privacy Act allows agencies to exempt themselves from many requirements by placing notices in the Federal Register, the government’s daily publication of proposed rules. In practice, these privacy-act notices are rarely contested by government watchdogs or members of the public. “All you have to do is publish a notice in the Federal Register and you can do whatever you want,” says Robert Gellman, a privacy consultant who advises agencies on how to comply with the Privacy Act.
As a result, the National Counterterrorism Center program’s opponents within the administration—led by Ms. Callahan of Homeland Security—couldn’t argue that the program would violate the law. Instead, they were left to question whether the rules were good policy.
Under the new rules issued in March, the National Counterterrorism Center, known as NCTC, can obtain almost any database the government collects that it says is “reasonably believed” to contain “terrorism information.” The list could potentially include almost any government database, from financial forms submitted by people seeking federally backed mortgages to the health records of people who sought treatment at Veterans Administration hospitals.
So they just exempted themselves without any outcry, without any accountability, without any review. They just published they were “exempt” from following the law of the land or worrying about 4th Amendment rights.
Here’s the absolutely hilarious “promise” made by these criminals:
Counterterrorism officials say they will be circumspect with the data. “The guidelines provide rigorous oversight to protect the information that we have, for authorized and narrow purposes,” said Alexander Joel, Civil Liberties Protection Officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the parent agency for the National Counterterrorism Center.
What a load of crap. If you believe that you’ll believe anything government says. Human nature says they’ll push this to whatever limit they can manage until someone calls their hand.
And, as if that’s all not bad enough:
The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.
So now our government is free to provide foreign governments with information about you, whether you like it or not.
This isn’t a new idea – here’s a little flashback from a time when people actually raised hell about stuff like this:
“If terrorist organizations are going to plan and execute attacks against the United States, their people must engage in transactions and they will leave signatures,” the program’s promoter, Admiral John Poindexter, said at the time. “We must be able to pick this signal out of the noise.”
Adm. Poindexter’s plans drew fire from across the political spectrum over the privacy implications of sorting through every single document available about U.S. citizens. Conservative columnist William Safire called the plan a “supersnoop’s dream.” Liberal columnist Molly Ivins suggested it could be akin to fascism. Congress eventually defunded the program.
Do you remember this? Do you remember how much hell was raised about this idea? However now, yeah, not such a big deal:
The National Counterterrorism Center’s ideas faced no similar public resistance. For one thing, the debate happened behind closed doors. In addition, unlike the Pentagon, the NCTC was created in 2004 specifically to use data to connect the dots in the fight against terrorism.
What a surprise.
I’m sorry, I see no reason for an unaccountable Matthew Olsen or his NCTC to know anything about me or have the ability to put a file together about me, keep that information for five years and, on his decision and his decision only, provide the information on me to foreign governments at his whim.
I remember the time the left went bonkers about the “Privacy Act”. Here’s something real to go bonkers on and what sound do we hear from the left (and the right, for that matter)?
I find this story to be fairly astonishing.
We’ve talked about immigration policy before and we’ve certainly noted the Federal government’s outright refusal to enforce our nation’s laws concerning some illegal immigrants. But what about those legally here and in violation of the law or deemed a threat?
Wasn’t that supposed to be the breaking point, the point at which this administration would step in and take action?
Back on Sunday I broke the news here at PJ Media of the arrest of Abdullatif Aldosary in connection with the bombing of a Social Security Administration office in Casa Grande, Arizona, last Friday morning. I noted that while the bombing and Aldosary’s arrest had received local news coverage, there was a virtual blackout by the national media on the Iraqi refugee’s identity.
Yesterday I reported on details provided to the federal court on Monday during Aldosary’s initial court hearing, which included information on what was found when the FBI conducted a search of his Coolidge, Arizona, home last Friday night. Among the items recovered was a bomb-making manual that had been hidden behind a photograph on the wall. Also discovered were an AK-47 and a 9mm Ruger handgun, along with more than a thousand rounds of ammunition. Kerry Picket at the Washington Times also reported that they recovered several gallons of chemicals typically used in bomb making.
When authorities checked Aldosary’s bank statements, they found he had more than $20,000 despite the fact that he was a convicted felon, only worked as a day laborer, and had no visible means of supporting himself sufficient to warrant having that kind of balance.
Sounds like a terrorist doesn’t he?
Well, that’s where the “bombshell” comes in:
But a bombshell report came out today based on information obtained by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who had received a request from Aldosary in November 2011 for assistance in obtaining a “green card.”
According to today’s news report, the Department of Homeland Security responded to Gosar’s request on behalf of Aldosary last year by saying that he was ineligible for a change in status because of “terrorism-related grounds of inadmissibility”.
So DHS knew about this guy last year and yet he was still in this country?
Yes he was and last Friday he attempted to blow up a Social Security office.
As you might imagine Gosar wants to know why:
Gosar said DHS responded by saying Aldosary was not eligible for a permanent change to citizenship “pursuant to the terrorism-related grounds of inadmissibility, and that “individuals who engage in terrorism-related activity … are barred from receiving various immigration benefits.”
DHS did not elaborate on what the activity was. Gosar wrote that to be barred from permanent status, under federal law the immigrant must have engaged in activity “indicating an intention to cause death or serious bodily injury, a terrorist activity; to prepare or plan a terrorist activity; to gather information on potential targets for terrorist activity” or belong to “a terrorist organization” among other actions.
In light of the Casa Grande bombing, Gosar questioned why Aldosary was not detained and processed for deportation in November 2011, after it was determined he had engaged in terrorism-related activity.
The bombing happened about a block away from Gosar’s office.
“But for the grace of God, no one was injured in the bombing,” Gosar wrote.
Gosar also asked what efforts were made to track and monitor “a known terrorist.”
Of course this is all happening after the freaking guy bombed a building!
Where was DHS in all of this? Why was this guy still wandering around? Why hadn’t he been immediately deported?
And why in the hell isn’t this all over the news?
Reuters is reporting tonight that, "Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show."
These emails were sent from the State Department’s Operations Center to the White House, Director of National Intelligence, Pentagon, and FBI, and the first email was sent within 1/2 hour of the start of the attack. Two hours after the attack began, a third email was sent, bearing the subject line, "Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack".
The president then nipped off to bed, as he had to fly to an important campaign fundraiser in Las Vegas the next day.
That’s an amazing quote. Jake Tapper, who has done a pretty fair job of chasing the Benghazi debacle through the denials of the administration, reports on the Congressional hearings held yesterday about the terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
The former regional security officer in Libya, Eric Nordstrom, recalled talking to a regional director and asking for twelve security agents.
“His response to that was, ‘You are asking for the sun, moon and the stars.’ And my response to him – his name was Jim – ‘Jim, you know what makes most frustrating about this assignment? It is not the hardships, it is not the gunfire, it is not the threats. It is dealing and fighting against the people, programs and personnel who are supposed to be supporting me. And I added (sic) it by saying, ‘For me the Taliban is on the inside of the building.’”
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, the commander of a Security Support Team (SST) sent home in August – against his wishes and, he says, the wishes of the late Ambassador Chris Stevens – said “we were fighting a losing battle. We couldn’t even keep what we had.”
Nordstrom agreed, saying, “it was abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. And the question that we would ask is again, ‘How thin does the ice need to get until someone falls through?’”
Patrick Kennedy, a career foreign service officer, claims, on his honor, that the denial wasn’t driven by politics. And, when questioned, the State Department claimed funds or the lack thereof had nothing to do with it.
So what did? Why in the world wouldn’t the request of a regional security chief be filled? After all, isn’t that what you pay him for, to assess and recommend? And doesn’t it make sense, unless he’s crying “wolf” every 30 seconds (in which case he should be replaced), to listen to his assessment and err on the side of safety for your people? That is if politics and money weren’t a factor.
Tapper later confronts Presidential spokesman Jay Carney with a very pointed question:
TAPPER: President Obama shortly after the attacks told “60 Minutes” that regarding Romney’s response to the attack, specifically in Egypt, the president said that Romney has a tendency to shoot first and aim later. Given the fact that so much was made out of the video that apparently had absolutely nothing to do with the attack on Benghazi, that there wasn’t even a protest outside the Benghazi post, didn’t President Obama shoot first and aim later?
Carney, of course, goes into full dissemble and evade mode. Read the whole exchange, it’s interesting.
Big point? Tapper’s exactly right. What we know now, as opposed to what we were told prior too and during the “60 Minutes” broadcast, are totally different. We went from a spontaneous protest over the anti-Islam video that mophed into a murderous attack on our ambassador there to no protest at all, a planned terrorist attack and all of it having to nothing to do with any video.
We know as a matter of course that the terrorists like to do things on certain anniversaries (it was 9/11) and since this was the year their leader had been killed, it stood to reason something like this would likely happen.
We also learned the US was warned about it 24 hours prior to it happening. And, as the hearings have pointed out, additional security assets were denied numerous times and an unacceptable security situation was left in place with the ultimate outcome being an attack, the murder of US citizens to include the Ambassador, the compromise of sensitive information and then a massive attempt at coverup.
Obama has a second debate coming up. It’s the foreign affairs debate. If this isn’t the topic of the night, then it will be clear he’s being covered for by those moderating the debate. Fair warning. Don’t be surprised if that’s the case. What should also be a topic is Russia’s refusal yesterday to renew it’s nuclear arms treaty with the US (how’s that “reset” working out?) as well as it’s overt and material support of both Syria and Iran, China’s apparent comfort with bullying our ally Japan over some South China Sea islands, why our relationship with Israel is so strained, how well he thinks the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt is working out in terms of the best interests of the US (which is, by the way, why we supposedly conduct foreign policy), and the obvious failure of his Afghanistan “strategy” (announce a surge at the same time you announce the pull out).
If those are actually things which are brought up and he walks off the stage afterward thinking he won, Dems can pack it in.
My guess is we’ll be hearing questions and comments about Bain’s investments in China (they have to be careful there since it seems one of Obama’s campaign finance bundlers is in China), as if that has anything to do with foreign affairs.
Hopefully I’m proven wrong and that dismal foreign affairs record (supposedly his “strength”) of this awful administration is actually brought out that night.
I’ll not be holding my breath though.
That’s when, if he wins, Obama promises to be “more flexible”:
The Obama administration is weighing the release of blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman — the spiritual adviser to the 1993 World Trade Center bombers — in a stunning goodwill gesture toward Egypt that has touched off a political firestorm, officials said yesterday.
The Egyptian government “asked for his release,” an administration source told The Post — and Rep. Peter King (R-LI) confirmed the request is being considered.
The White House, State Department and Justice Department each issued statements denying any deal is in the works, but, “There’s no way to believe anything they say,” said Andrew McCarthy, the former assistant US attorney who prosecuted Abdel-Rahman. “I believe there may already be a nod-and-wink agreement in place.” Abdel-Rahman, 74, was convicted in 1995 of plotting terror attacks throughout the city and is locked away in the medical wing of the Butner Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina.
That would rock the house, wouldn’t it? Wonder what the Egyptians are promising … not to attack the Embassy anymore? Or to at least try to protect it?
This crew in the White House really needs to go home in a few months.
Oh, wait … Yemen too?
Yup, that “Arab Spring” thing is sure a positive for the US. Says the NY Times:
Turmoil in the Arab world linked to an American-made video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad spread on Thursday to Yemen, where hundreds of protesters attacked the American Embassy, two days after assailants killed the American ambassador in Libya and crowds tried to overrun the embassy compound in Cairo.
Is it about an “American-made video” really?
There are reports that those who stormed the embassy in Cairo were chanting: “Obama, Obama! There are still a billion Osama’s!”
They certainly weren’t chanting the crazy pastor’s name.
And it was done when? Oh yeah, on September 11th. And what was it they raised after they tore down the American flag and burned it?
Say, wasn’t it Al-Queda’s flag?
So, spontaneous, huh? In reaction to a film, eh?
Meanwhile in Libya, it appears that the “spontaneous” riot was a carefully planned assasination plot. And it worked.
But stick with that “in reaction to a film about Mohammed” nonsense, MSM.
The New York Times leads with that, but in passing, in the 24th paragraph of the story, it almost figures it out:
Also on Tuesday, a car bomb exploded in Yemen alongside a convoy of vehicles used by Yemen’s defense minister, killing seven bodyguards and five civilians in the heart of the capital, while the minister escaped unharmed, government and hospital officials said. The attack came one day after a top operative of Al Qaeda in Yemen was killed in what Yemeni officials called an American drone strike.
Those episodes and the violence on Thursday spoke to the continued volatility in poverty-stricken Yemen, where the United States is seeking to eradicate militant cells held responsible for a number of conspiracies, including an attempt by an operative of Al Qaeda to detonate a bomb hidden in his clothes on a flight bound for Detroit in December 2009.
Sorry folks … not buying the “this is about a film” nonsense. This is and was planned to happen on 9/11 in the same year Osama bin Laden was killed.
For goodness sake, consider the facts and think about it instead of sucking up the MSM pablum designed to protect the incumbent president (after all, why was the story about a dead US ambassador on an inside page and the NY Times condemnation of Mitt Romney on page 1?).
I guess some people have to have a whack over the head with a clue bat before they begin to realize that Egypt is headed down an Islamist path with a military twist:
Gaza’s Hamas premier was in Egypt Monday on his first trip outside the blockaded territory since the Islamists overran it in 2007, saying his meeting with his Islamic ideological mentors threatens Israel.
Ismail Haniyeh discussed Mideast politics with the leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as the biggest winner in the first parliamentary elections in post-uprising Egypt, capturing nearly half of the seats so far.
Hamas is considered an offshoot of the Brotherhood.
Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie met Haniyeh at the group’s newly inaugurated headquarters in a Cairo suburb.
But, but … the Muslim Brotherhood is a “moderate” organization. Why? Uh, because they said so.
I don’t know about you but I’ve always believed that actions speak louder than words.
The Brotherhood center has always embraced issues of liberation, foremost the Palestinian issue," Badie said, according to Egypt’s state Middle East News Agency.
The Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s, but it supports Hamas in its "resistance" against Israel.
That’s how the “Brotherhood” can continue to claim it is a “moderate” organization while still remaining a radical terrorist organization … simply do the terrorism by proxy. Hamas is their terror organization and it is fully funded and supported by the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood. Oh, and by the way, don’t be surprised if you see a Hamas presence established in Egypt now. The “moderate” Brotherhood will need a means of plausible deniability when acts of terror are perpetrated on enemies of the Brotherhood in days to come. And of course Hamas will provide that means and, of course, the Brotherhood can then condemn its actions in public for the Western press even while giving it the next mission.
That way the can keep the façade of moderation alive among those gullible enough in the West to still believe that.
And we still try to deny the source of the terror. What am I talking about, you ask?
A Massachusetts man who was plotting to use explosives and radio controlled aircraft was arrested yesterday by the FBI for plotting to blow up the Capital and Pentagon.
It was a rather imaginative and fantastic plot by Rezwan Ferdaus who believed himself to be working with members of al Qaeda. Of course that’s key to the point in the first sentence as you’ll see. Anyway, the plot:
Ferdaus allegedly gave the undercover FBI agents a detailed set of attack plans “with step-by-step instructions as to how he planned to attack the Pentagon and Capitol,” according to the Department of Justice.
The plans focused on the use of three small remote-controlled drone-like aircraft loaded with C-4 plastic explosives, which he planned to fly into the Capitol and the Pentagon using GPS equipment, according to the DOJ.
Ferdaus’s plan allegedly evolved to include a “ground assault” as well, in which six people would coordinate an automatic weapons attack with the aerial assault and massacre whomever came into their path, according to the DOJ.
For the past five months, Ferdaus has allegedly been stockpiling the equipment he needed for his proposed attack, including a remote-controlled aircraft, 25 pounds of fake C-4 explosives, six automatic AK-47 assault rifles and three grenades, according to the DOJ. He allegedly kept all of it in a storage facility in Massachusetts, where he was arrested.
Ferdaus allegedly modified eight cellphones to act as detonation devices for improvised explosive devices, and gave them to the FBI agents to be used against American soldiers in Iraq.
“During a June 2011 meeting, he appeared gratified when he was told that his first phone detonation device had killed three U.S. soldiers and injured four or five others in Iraq,” according to the DOJ. “Ferdaus responded, ‘That was exactly what I wanted.’”
According to the DOJ, a focal point of Ferdaus’s plots revolved around “jihad” and his desire to carry out the will of Allah.
The U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz, stressed that any underlying religious motives to Ferdaus’s actions should not reflect on the Muslim culture at-large.
“I want the public to understand that Mr. Ferdaus’s conduct, as alleged in the complaint, is not reflective of a particular culture, community or religion,” Ortiz said.
Really? So none of this was “reflective of a particular culture, community or religion?
Poppycock. It is indeed reflective of a particular culture, community and religion no matter how perverted other adherents of that religion claim otherwise. It certainly doesn’t mean that that all Muslims agree or that the community at large would act this way, but we need to quit pretending actions like this just magically happen without any influence from those three areas.
How else, then, do you get the “culture, community and religion” to face up to the fact that it has some responsibility in what is happening in this ongoing “jihad” (yeah, there’s a religion and culture free word)?